My art materials and tools

It seems very common to be asked the questions: What materials do you use? What program did you make that in? So to save myself some time responding, and to save you the time in waiting for a response, here are the answers!

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Disclaimer: Clicking on any of these products will take you to the DickBlick page for that item. I am part of the DickBlick affiliate program, which means that I get a small percentage of the profit if you choose to buy one of their products through these links. However, this was something I volunteered to do and I will never recommend a product that I don’t personally use and love.

Drawing & Sketching

Faber-Castell Sketching Pencils (9000, Goldfaber)

These pencils come in a range of hardness/softness, from 8B (softest) to 6H (hardest). I use these pencils for my pencil drawings, especially when I am going to do detailed graphite portraits.

Alvin Draft/Matic Mechanical Pencil

I love these mechanical pencils. They’re very heavy duty (not that that is necessary!) and to me they feel very smooth to write with. They come in a variety of thicknesses.

Prismacolor Premier Verithin Colored Pencils

These are very nice pencils to sketch with. The pencil is relatively hard, so the lines don’t come out too pigmented and if you press lightly they erase pretty well. I like using these to lay out a drawing before inking, and often will leave the pencil marks in the final product because it adds a sketchy appeal.

Caran d'Ache Supracolor Soft Aquarelle Pencils

These colored pencils are a bit pricey for me to buy on a regular basis, but what I can say about them is - WOW! They are so deeply pigmented, soft and buttery smooth, and they are water-soluble so you can use them as watercolors as well.


Copic Multiliner Pens

These are waterproof and “copic proof” fine line inking markers, so theoretically you should be able to paint over them without smearing. I find that this is more or less true, though I would wait for them to fully dry first. They have a great variety of sizes, and I especially love both the soft/small and medium brush tips.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

The Micron pens are a standard in inking. The archival ink means that they are long-lasting and very nice. I have found that the tips tend to wear with time, though, especially the very fine tips.

Staedtler Pigment Liners

I like these pens for the way they write and handle, but they do not come out quite as black as the Copics and Microns. The product description says that they are waterproof, erasable on drafting paper, and won’t bleed - I haven't tested them extensively but so far they seem great.

Copic Gasenfude

This nylon brush is springy and has incredible ink flow. I just love how rich and deep the pigment is. It is also one of the few brushes that I can achieve quite fine lines with.

Pentel Color Brush

I have this in red, black, pink, and grey, and I love it so much that I’m tempted to get other colors. It can create very fine to very broad strokes, and plays almost like a watercolor brush.

Pentel Fude Touch Sign Pen

This pen really grips the paper… almost like the feeling of an eraser. When I first saw the nib I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, but I was surprised at the variety of the strokes I could get. I haven’t used it a lot, but I keep it nearby in case I find the right project for it.

Plumchester 1.5 Fine Brush Pen

This is a unique pen because it was specially created for the monthly-art-supplies company, ArtSnacks. I am in love with this brush. I love the way it handles, and the stiffness of the brush allows me to get a lot of control. My one complaint is that the ink dries a faded black instead of a deep, rich black.


Prismacolor Premier Art Markers

I have included the link to the original double-ended markers, but Prismacolor is now making double-ended markers that have a brush tip instead of a chisel tip. I do like the chisel tip markers for covering larger areas, but the brush tips are nice as I have gotten more used to them. These markers are deeply pigmented but so much fun and great quality for a reasonable price.

Copic Sketch .Too Markers

I honestly can't tell a difference in quality between Prismascolor and Copic, but there seems to be a larger color selection with Copic. These markers are also refillable, so they are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run - although the upfront price is quite high. I do like the smaller, oval-shaped barrel which makes the Copics fit much more comfortably in your hand and prevents rolling.

Molotow Liquid Chrome

I got my first marker in an ArtSnacks box, and it was absolutely glorious! When they named it “liquid chrome” they were not kidding around. This stuff is practically reflective when you use it on marker paper. Amaaaazing!

Tombow Dual Brush Pen

Tombow Dual Brush Pens have a flexible brush tip and a fine-point, hard nylon tip. I love how bright and colorful they are - but be warned, they are water-based and will smear before drying. Probably not great for certain mixed media.

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen

The Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen is great for its variety. There are numerous tip sizes and shapes, and many colors as well as several shades of grey - french, warm, cool, and black. I love these markers for Inktober projects.

Paints & Inks

Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours

When it comes to quality, these are far and beyond what you’ll get for a cheap watercolor set and the Cotman line is really affordable for entry-level artists or people who are just beginning to try their hand at watercolors.

Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour

A step up from the Winsor & Newton Cotman line, the W&N Professional line of watercolors is everything you could want in a tube of paint. They are creamy, free of flakes or separation, and very rich.

Finetec Artist Mica Watercolors

I am absolutely obsessed with these shimmery gold watercolors. Every one of them is beautiful and wonderfully iridescent. The trick is to make sure you wet them a few minutes before painting, and the more water you use the deeper the color will be.

Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink!

These are my new favorites! I got the limited edition muted violet color in my October ArtSnacks box and I could not get over it. The product is waterproof, but while it is wet you can mix it with water to thin it out and that works just fine. These are so beautiful - I couldn’t help but order a handful more! Their iridescent colors are delightful.

Amsterdam Acrylic Ink

This is another product that I never would have tried if it weren't for ArtSnacks, and yet I was blown away. The colors have an unmatched vibrancy and the ink itself is buttery smooth. These inks also dry super fast and they are water-resistant, so they are perfect for all kinds of mixed-media fun!

Holbein Artists' Gouache

I bought this set of Holbein Artists' Gouache because I am absolutely no good at acrylic painting and I have been told/learned that gouache is a happy medium between acrylic and watercolor. These paints are thick and brilliantly colorful.

Other materials

Escoda Versatil synthetic Kolinsky brush

These watercolor brushes are the finest quality synthetic brushes I've ever handled. There is absolutely no comparison to other synthetic brushes - they really behave very similarly to real hair brushes.

Raphaël Kaërell Synthetic Sable Brushes

My other favorite watercolor brushes. I find that these are quite springy and stiff, so they allow me to get very accurate fine lines.

Pentel Aquash Water Brush

I love this brush for on-the-go watercolor, because there's no need to bring extra water! Just grab the brush and a paper towel. I've even successfully mixed Higgins ink and water in this brush to create my own ink brush pen.

Sakura Gelly Roll Pen - White

When it comes to white markers or pens, things get real. The Sakura Gelly Roll pen has the finest tip and the most opaque white ink that I have found in any pen without having to move on to ink and brush.

Winsor & Newton Colourless Art Masking Fluid

This stuff is great for blocking off white/light spaces when you are doing watercolor. Just make sure you know which one you want … the “colorless art masking fluid” is temporary and you can peel it off when you are done with it while the “permanent masking fluid” will stay on the page once you put it down. (Hint: If you want to do permanent masking fluid, you can mix it with a paint color before applying it, and then other colors that you put over it will not adhere to and change the color of that area)

Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleed Proof White

This is an opaque white paint/ink/dye/?? that I tend to use for highlights. It brushes on nicely but it is a bit thick, so I wait until my paints are dry and then I brush this on where I want shine.

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