Wednesday, August 29, 2012

some art materials i use on a daily basis...

i love happy bunny... :-)

i want to post some of the materials i use,
so that some of you can see that we don't always need
the best of the best to CREATE. I use most of these materials on a daily
(or almost daily) basis.

My watercolor brushes. I usually always gravitate towards the bigger one,
and the one on the bottom (with the white handle). As long as you have a big brush, and smaller one, you're ok. Prices range, obviously, but i don't think you should have to sell your house to buy a brush. ;-) 

My trusty micron pens. These are .05 but i have a few .01 tips lying around too. I prefer the smaller tips, .01

My watercolor set. As you can see, a few of the little compartments need to be filled again. Funny how we always tend to use the same colors. The orange and red at the top are still the original colors. Not colors i naturally gravitate to.

I buy a few watercolors in tubes and simply squeeze the watercolor paint out of the tube whenever i need more. I know there are fancier shmancier watercolor sets, but this one is small and portable - so i love it. It's a Windsor Newton, but i know there are tons of brands out there. Start with a DollarStore set if you want to test it out first to see if you like it.

My brush tip markers. i love these because they don't bleed at all and you can do thick or thin lines with the same tip. You can always buy just the ONE marker to give it a try and see how you like it before buying a package.

i love these color pencils... love the weight of them in my hand and they are SO friggin' smooth... 

a few extra markers - the ones on the left are BIC markers (thin point) and the bleed far too much for my liking. They're great on glossy paper (photographic paper) but i use them very little. The ones on the right are Sharpies. Excellent. 

This is the one material i don't use on a daily basis...
but whenever i DO use it, i enjoy them. Oil pastels.
The cheapo brand from Michael's. 

Some artists feel that art isn't valuable art unless it's done with expensive materials. I'm not one of those artists. I saw masterpieces done with Crayola wax crayons. I think the important thing is for YOU to be comfortable with the materials you use, and to be aware of what's out there. Sure, a $100 box of pastels will probably feel better than a $20 one, but you may be ok with the $20 one...and it may feel totally ok to you. You'll still get the feel of pastels and if you discover along the way that you DO love it, you can always buy more expensive brands later. 

A few of my acrylic paints... in my green plastic basket. :-)

Liquid acrylics, from the Dollar Store. A few are a bit more expensive, from Michael's. I think i may continue buying the more expensive ones. They just feel better to me on paper.

I especially love these for journaling. You can pour the paint directly on the paper and it's easy peasy clean up. 

These i use less often too, but whenever i do, i love them.
Dry pastels i bought like a gazillion years ago, and only recently began using them. Much messier than some of the other material i use, but still - for those who like to get their hands dirty - this will do it. Plus, i love that it's simple to use. This and paper, and you're good to go.

Paper is probably the most important material for me

The one i'm willing to spend more money for. i use a variety of papers, depending on what i'm doing and how serious the work is. My journal is basically a black hard cover book (with spiral) and thick watercolor like paper. As long as the paper is not too thin for journaling. Some people don't mind the paper rolling when water is added to it, but it drives me nuts. So i prefer a thicker paper, even if it's not top of the line watercolor paper. As long as it's thicker and able to hold water and gesso and mod podge, and markers, i'm good. ;-)

Painting on paper has brought me a lot of freedom and released a lot of the pressure we sometimes feel when we're painting on canvas. We all know we can wipe a canvas clean or paint over it if we don't like what we see, but i find with paper, it's a much more 'freeing' feeling from the beginning. It may be psychological, i don't know. I only know that it feels good for me to paint on paper, so i do it. ;-) 

Sometimes i use cheapo DollarStore journals like this one... simple, easy to carry around, perfect for jotting down ideas or quick sketches. A little harder to find ones with blank white paper (without lines) though.

a little peek in my semi organized art supplies cabinet. I see photos on blogs sometimes of studios and art supplies and i think "HOLY SHIT!! Where are they going with all these supplies?"

I basically try to buy what i need for now. I never run out of supplies, but i'm not stocked for a nuclear meltdown either. ;-) I always have an extra journal book, cause that's more important to me than anything.

Maybe some people think there's gonna be a shortage of art supplies in the years to come and they're just stocking up?

So i guess i'll buy from them when and if the time comes. :-)  

Some of my brushes - some in pretty sad condition. But i keep them all, even the ones that are all torn up. I still use them when i'm painting. 

Who doesn't need a big box of crayola wax crayons?! 

These are the watercolor tubes (and a few gouache) i mentioned earlier, the ones i use to refill my little watercolor set. I've gathered these for years. It's amazing how long they last.

And last but not least... another happy bunny, to end this post on a high note.
These little notebooks are great. Portable, small and funny. What more do you need to jot down your fantastico ideas?

i know there are surely some materials i use and haven't posted, but in general, when i'm making art, this is all i need. As for canvas, i buy the higher quality ones when i'm doing a serious painting, but i also buy a few cheap canvas panels at the DollarStore, just for playing with paint.  

It's important not to feel like we need a certain brand, or a certain experience, to be able to make art.

EVERYONE can make art.

Not everyone does, but everyone CAN. We are all creative beings, and while most of us have stifled this creativity, for fear of not being good enough or not being seen by society as serious enough, I believe the need to create is always there - the need to express, to share, to connect, whether you do it with cooking or writing or dancing or playing music.

If one could only make art with expensive materials, then art would only be for the rich. And we all know that's not true. I've seen some crappy art done with expensive material, and some fascinating art done with a pencil. Don't ever feel like you need every material available to make good art. The only thing you really need is the heart to do it.

Thank you for all your kind comments. I hate that i can't reply to each and every one of them, but i hope you all know how much your support means to me.

Click here to read about how Henri Matisse felt a deep need to create, regardless of circumstances or materials. So inspirational.


  1. This is the second post I've seen recently about art supplies, and the second one making the same point - it's not what you use, it's the way that you use it :)

    I have boxes full of stamps and stuff from when I started out, and I hardly use them any longer. Instead it's mostly cheap paint sets, and some basic inks. I can't be doing with really cheap canvases though, they just don't feel right.


  2. Wonderful post ~ loved seeing your art supplies ~ agree the talent is in the hand not the materials ~ although I do think good paper can make a difference with most creations ~ enjoy the day ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  3. Hey Pauline-
    I totally agree with you on art materials they don't have to be expensive.
    I use cheap acrylics, a few expensive ones and a lot of crayola kids markers.
    I treat my brushes like crap. I buy cheap ones and a few expensive ones for oils.

    Oil paint is my most expensive material. I like the water-mixable oil paints. They wash out with soap and water.

    I find art supplies expensive. I buy a lot. I do try to use what I have before going to a craft store.

    I wish I could find a dollar store that sold art supplies. So far I've only found markers and odd objects for stamping. Looking for stencils and stamp materials in kitchen, bath, beauty sections is fun. I'm always amazed at the things I find.

    Happy arting!

  4. Yes, everything you show is there in my stash, except for the pastels. (a) I do hate getting dusty hands, which also means I hate to draw with charcoal, and (b) the dust is bad for my asthma. But another thing I have, one of my favourites, is a pack of 24 kiddies sparkly gel pens, from the pound shop. I always make a bee-line for the children's section in shops, they have such nice things.
    Loved your post. I like the way you can take a simple subject and make it so interesting to read.

  5. Thanks so much for this post. I am very new to art journaling; basically picked it up because I so want to try to create art even though I have no creative talent whatsoever.
    Thanks for reminding me that I don't need to spend a fortune to create! Thank you also for sharing your talents, your art is very inspirational!

  6. I'll have to post a picture sometime of my very first painting. I was lucky to spend the last 10 days or so with my grandkids and boy oh boy the dollar store sure made some money off me!!! I actually bought my first canvas, paintbrushes and wayercolors...I think I may have discovered something about myself thst I wasn't aware of...I loved making my first work of art! Must run in the family : )

  7. I have cheap supplies and some more expensive supplies. My problem is I have so many different types of supplies because I like to rotate around, have too many interests, still like to try new things, and have some supplies that are decades old--plus some of them were from art classes I took in college. Just painting, for example, I have watercolors, acrylics, oils, gouache, and Chinese brush painting supplies.

    As an obvious dabbler and novice at painting, I have to say that I prefer the better quality for paper, paints, and brushes. But I think it depends on what you are doing. I've found that for art journaling and mixed media I don't notice that artist quality is important at all. Then I agree with you, in that you really just do need some durable tough paper most of all.

    And frankly, I have found this past year that playing with mixed media is just plain fun!! ;)

  8. Great post, Pauline,

    I have a mix of cheap and costlier supplies and must admit I am one of those who must think there is a shortage coming.

    I am trying to use up what I have before buying any more, though,


  9. I LOVE my koh-i-noor pencils! Used to use them all the time but haven't lately - need to get them out and give them some love. I've been curious about gouache paints but haven't jumped into those yet. I'm getting ready to take Jane Davenport's Supplies Me class (a generous gift from my mom) to learn more about the supplies I have.