Art Supplies - Favorite Things Edition

I'm as much a sucker for art supplies as I am for office supplies. I don't know what it is about new brushes, pencils, and pens but I just love them. I don't think you necessarily have to get the most expensive to produce good art (but it can help, depending on what it is). Here's a few of my favorite and most frequently used art making items!

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(I've provided some links to these, they aren't affiliated but they are mostly from the same source for simplicity's sake. Of course, where and what you purchase is 100% up to you.)

*Edited to include Van Gogh watercolor paints!

Paper 

I've been a cold-pressed watercolor paper loyalist for yeeeears until trying hot-pressed last fall. It handles water differently, but I really enjoyed it's smooth surface. Strathmore is a brand I've bought over and over again, with Canson and Fabriano being newer additions to my paper selection. You can't go wrong with Strathmore's cold-pressed watercolor pads, or Canson's watercolor or mixed media pads. I use the mixed media one for creating illustrations to digitize for clip art, and the watercolor paper for fine art purposes. Fabriano also makes a decent sketchbook. I feel like the paper has a similar feel and grit to Moleskine's, but is way more budget friendly.

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Pencils & Erasers

I don't really stick with a specific brand as far as pencils go. I just gravitate towards which is most comfortable to hold. I really like how easy the SumoGrip mechanical pencil is to hold, but the Zebra Frisha pencil is so enjoyable to use. I found this pencil back during my college days and if I had known how hard they would be to find in the future, I would have bought an arm full. I think they've been discontinued, sadly. The blue ones I have I hunted down online and promptly ordered them. I also keep some standard pencils of varying hardness for transferring drawings to paper for painting. I use a harder lead and a light touch to keep lines from showing up too much in my paintings. As for erasers, I like the retractible ones. The small Tombow one is convenient for small areas, and the rectangle eraser for large areas. And of course, a quirky Blue Q bag to carry it all in.

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Brushes & Paint

I have an assortment of brushes, some with brand labels on them and others without (some are really old, they were my grandmothers!). A brand I've found recently that I really like are the Princeton Artist Brush Co. Select Artiste brushes. They're affordable and hold their shape really well. I also like using water brushes. Pentel makes some good ones but ArtnFly has a more affordable version, too. I do feel like the ArtnFly ones are easier to flush water from, but sometimes a little too easy because it can be tricky to blend color with when the brush is sopping wet. I usually just dab it off a bit and it's fine.

For paint brands, I like Winsor & Newton and Van Gogh. I've also used Da Vinci. I'm a Daniel Smith newbie but I love how pigmented the paints are. I think if you're going to splurge anywhere, it should be paint. I've noticed that cheaper paint can look chalky when building layers, but a good, high quality paint is well pigmented and blends nicely. I've had many palettes, ranging from extra large to small, but this little metal 48-pan palette is my new love. I'm able to put all of my current color collection into it (I can't do that with my other palettes). Mixing area is a little limited but it's not a deal breaker.

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