Happy Friday y’all! I thought I would end the week with a little “whats in my toolbox” roundup (the one I teased about last week on instagram and just now finished, yikes). Anyways, I hope this gives a little insight to my process and answers some of the questions I neglect on instagram. I guess I was sort of feeling guilty that I have a hard time keeping up with questions between insta, e-mails, and Facebook. I’m getting a lot of the same ones about supplies and such these days so hopefully I can cover a few. So basically this post is inspired by my guilt but also my appreciation for your sweet words and encouragement when I post my art on social media. I truly thank you!
PAPER: I’m a long time fan of Canson brand watercolor paper (the larger pad shown in the photo). I typically buy the 11 x 15. It is 140 lb stock and I always (for any paper) prefer the “cold pressed”. I don’t know why I like the larger paper because I sometimes have to trim my edges to scan but I like having a larger canvas to play around with and I also will mix my colors / dab my brush on a corner of the paper as well. I buy Canson at Michael’s craft store, which is great because Michaels always has a 40% off coupon and sometimes these are buy one get one. Just as of this year, I also started using the Arches cold pressed watercolor pads (size 9″ x 12″). These are more expensive at around $26 for 12 sheets. It’s definitely not necessary to have this type of paper but if you are a professional making art for re-sale then the price balances out and the quality of this paper when scanned is excellent. Honestly, I use the canson more because sometimes I’m just sketching for fun and don’t know how it will turn out. If I end up loving my creation, I still get a great scan quality and just do a little cleaning up in Photoshop.
BRUSHES: This is something I get asked about a lot. I hesitated to answer because I truly believe it is your skill (and natural eye) not the tools you use that make you a good artist. Buying a certain brush is not going to make you be able to letter a certain way. It takes tons of practice to perfect letters and truly find your own unique style. However, I do have a few favorite sizes that have helped me. I recommend not skimping on brushes (aka don’t get the cheap packs at the craft store). The cheap ones have harder bristles and they will start falling out quickly (and get stuck in the paint, it’s not fun). I’m not really concerned about brands when it comes to brushes though. In the photo of my brushes, I keep a variety of very tiny heads for lettering. Those first few are my favorites, I’m almost always using a brush this small. They are round brushes (as opposed to flat heads) and definitely help with fluid strokes. I don’t like ones with long bristles because I feel there is less control. The two thicker ones I use for larger lettering projects and blending my florals. The last largest one I like for making brush strokes or watercolor washed backgrounds. Again, this takes practice! I recommend buying a lot of different brushes to see what works for you.
PAINTS: I’m truly obsessed with gouache. I almost always use Acryla paints (I buy them locally but they are available at various online art suppliers). I spend a lot of money of paints but I don’t think it’s always necessary, especially if your just getting started and experimenting. The Acrylas are around $6.49 for .68 oz tube. A good old watercolor palette works great for practicing, combined with the cold pressed paper, you’re going to still get a great result when scanning. I’ve read that some artists actually prefer the lesser quality paints to the more expensive paper. Again, this all comes with time and experimentation to see what works for you and your goals!
MISC: I use standard no. 2 pencils for sketching. Prismacolor is my favorite brand of pencils, I use their erasers for cleaning up my paintings as well.
I’m not always great with words, but hopefully this was a little helpful insight to my process! I added a FAQ page to my blog and have started answering some further questions about art, business, my art background, etc (it’s not finished yet but will be up there soon). I’m happy to try and answer anything further if you leave questions in the comment section below.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by! xoxo