I receive many questions on Facebook and Instagram about what kind of art supplies I use so I decided to dedicate and entire post to this subject. I know that purchasing art supplies can be intimidating at first, especially if you are just getting started. There are so many companies and products to choose from and some of them can be really expensive so I’m hoping you’ll find this review helpful. The products listed below are from brands that are well-known among artists from all over the world for the good quality of the products they offer. That said, please also keep in mind that, in the end, it all comes down to personal preference. The following list reflects my current favorite art supplies and therefore my personal taste. I costantly discover and try new art supplies so I’ll try to update this post whenever I fall in love with a new product.
When it comes to top quality watercolor paper you’ll hear most artists naming Arches. I personally believe there are other companies out there making good quality paper, my current favorite being Hahnemühle. I have tried other brands in the past, but I must say, I wasn’t very impressed with them. I did a full review of Hahnemühle papers which you can find here. The series of Hahnemühle watercolor paper I am currently using and loving is Cézanne 300gr, 100% cotton, hot pressed.
If you are just getting started with watercolor painting and you are looking for a more affordable paper I’d suggest you try Strathmore 400 series/best paper which I reviewed here and you can purchase here.
As for the brushes, again you don’t need to spend a crazy amount of money on them. The ones I am currently using are from Kolibri. I both use synthetic and natural hair brushes, (the second ones being more expensive). As for the size I use relatively small sized brushes because my illustrations are pretty small and detailed. If you are just getting started you definitely don’t need to buy lots of different brushes. I started out with three of different sizes which may be different for you depending on what you are planning on painting.
Here are some of the brushes I use the most:
– synth. golden sable 5/0
– golden star kolinsky size 4
– sqi line size 2
For watercolors you may have to invest some money to get good ones. I use Windsor & Newton The Cotman Studio set – 24 whole pans ( which my sister got me for Christmas and I just now realised that it retails for over 90$ on their website…). If you are not willing to invest that kind of money, I would suggest you go for the 12 pans set which is a lot cheaper. Another good way to save some money is purchasing from websites such as Jackson’s Art Supplies or MisterArt.com, they usually offer very good deals.
The reason why I love Windsor&Newton watercolors is because you can achieve beautiful washes. They are also very pigmented, so you don’t need to use a lot of it, which means they will last you longer. I’ve had this set for a while now and I paint almost everyday but, again, it depends on what type of illustrations you draw. However, next time I will purchase watercolor I am definitely not gonna purchase a big set like the one I am using now. The reason is that I mostly use happy colors for my illustrations (like pink, purple, red, yellow and so on…) but a third of the hues in this set are various shades of brown, umber and sienna which I don’t use very often.
Last but not least, I always like to contour my illustrations with a Staedtler black pigment liner (size 0.1). I have been using and loving their products since I was in high school. I also reviewed their triplus fineliners here.
So these are pretty much all the art supplies that I am currently using, let me know in the comments if you have a favorite brand or if there is a specific product you’d like me to try and review.
I hope you enjoyed this post!