Summary of Product Links
Get straight to the shopping source for all the mentioned products through the following links:
• Pencil • Eraser • Kneaded Eraser • Ruler • Watercolor Paper • Light Box • Transfer Paper • Board • Tape • Frisket • Ramekin • Color Shaper • Rubber Cement Pick-up • Watercolor Paint • Palette • Water Bin • Paint Brushes • Pipette • Watercolor Book •
rOtring 600 0.5mm Black Barrel Mechanical Pencil
My all time favorite pencil! I do most of my drawing with this. It’s great for detailed line work and mark making. It’s got a nice weight to it in your hand and I love the sleek look.
Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser
A simple, reliable eraser! Works well and lasts a good, long time! What more could you ask for?
Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Eraser Large
What is that grey lump? It’s a kneaded eraser! I use mine all the time to lighten pencil lines that I want to stay in place, just not as dark. Kneaded erasers are also wonderful for picking up after other erasers that litter small rubber bits around your art, much safer than trying to sweep them away with your hand and potentially smearing your work. Side note: they are fun to mush around and pull apart!
Blick 18” Stainless Steel Ruler with Cork Back
I use this ruler primarily for tearing watercolor paper. The stainless steel edge is perfect for creating a deckled edge and the cork back prevents the ruler from sliding around which is really important when you are tearing paper after you’ve painted it!
Arches Natural White 100% Cotton Rag Cold Press 140 lb
What does all of that mean? Let’s break it down. Arches is the name of the paper mill in France. Natural white means the paper isn’t bleached to be bright white. 100% cotton rag means the paper is acid-free and won’t yellow over time like paper that has been treated with chemicals. Cold pressed paper is the technique in which the paper is made that leaves it slightly textured. Hot pressed paper is usually rolled through hot metal cylinders that leave the paper super smooth. 140 lb is the weight of the paper, obviously not each individual sheet but rather a ream of the paper, or 500 sheets. Other common sizes are the thinner 90 lb and the much thicker 300 lb. There is so many types of paper out there and it’s best to experiment with all of them, this is just my go-to!
Gagne Porta-Trace 12” x 14" American Walnut Light Box
All of my paintings start of as sketches that need to eventually be transferred to watercolor paper for painting. I use a light box to do this. It allows me to transfer the drawing lightly and prevents it from looking too traced. I love this light box. Not only does it work wonderfully, it’s also beautiful with the walnut frame! It can be hard to find so if it ever broke and I couldn’t replace it I’d likely buy the LED Tracing Light Pad by AGPtek which is really thin and sleek.
MyArtscape Graphite Transfer Paper - 25 Sheets (9" x 13")
If you are just getting started and don’t want to invest in a light box and the space it may take up, transfer paper is a great alternative. You can reuse a piece of transfer paper over and over, which is great! It’s also easy to travel with because you can bring a single sheet and fold it up in a sketch book. I find this brand isn’t super forgiving with erasing so be careful and test it out first. You also have to remember which side has the graphite on it so you don’t accidentally spend hours tracing an entire sketch only to find you had the transfer paper upside down!
Grafix 16” x 24" Incredible Art Board
I have about 4 of these floating around my studio. I use these to stretch my watercolor paper on. They are light, thick, and waterproof! Alternatively you can purchase masonite at a hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes or nab these hardboard panels at Dick Blick.
ScotchBlue Painter's Tape
This tape is great for stretching paper! I also use it to mask off areas of my painting that I’d like to stay white. It doesn’t pull up graphite as much as frisket can so often I put this down first and then cover it with frisket to be extra safe. In my experience it doesn’t pull up any of the fibers of my paper. As always, it’s wise to experiment first with any material so you don’t accidentally ruin a precious piece that you spend valuable time on.
Grafix Incredible White Mask Liquid Frisket
This stuff changed my life. Seriously! It protects the white of your watercolor paper. I buy the 4.5 oz bottle. It does smell particularly bad and is really difficult to get out of fabric if you spill it. Trust me. I know. I prefer this brand for one reason, the bottle is easy to open! Normally I’d go for the Winsor & Newton brand but I have so much trouble opening the dang bottle it’s ridiculous! Some brands of frisket will put a dye in it making it a strange yellow-green color (as opposed to just white) which makes it easier to see when you paint with it and when it dries.
Stainless Steel Condiment Sauce Cup
I pour a bit of frisket in a ramekin and work out of that for two reasons. One, if I spill it I’m only losing a small amount of frisket rather than a whole bottle. Two, frisket’s whole job is to go on wet and then dry so if a bottle is left open for a long period of time, guess what, the material is going to dry. Pouring a little into a container will save you material in the long run. When I’m done using the ramekin I pour the excess frisket back in the bottle and then let the remainder stuck in the ramekin dry. The best part is peeling it out once it has dried!
Royal Sovereign Ltd Colour Shaper
I have ruined many a brush by using frisket so I was relieved (and so were my brushes) when I stumbled upon these color shapers. They are silicon brushes meant for blending pastels, mixing and moving paint, or shaping soft clay sculptures but they also work great for applying frisket. Unlike a brush made of fibers that get glued together with dried frisket, these color shapers are one piece and the frisket pulls right off. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and firmness levels. I use the firm angle chisel size 0 and the firm flat chisel size 6. One small, one big!
Rubber Cement Pick-up
Pik-Up Rubber Cement Eraser
This weird thing is traditionally used to remove dried rubber cement. I had to buy one in college to use for cleaning up printed designs glued and mounted on foam board as a requirement for turning in assignments to professors. I discovered that it works really well for lifting and removing dried frisket (or masking fluid) from my watercolor paintings as opposed to smearing my grimy finger across a painting. Lo and behold, it works wonders! To my surprise I’ve started seeing it marketed for this use too!
Winsor & Newton Watercolors Professional Series
There are so many options out there! I enjoy the Winsor & Newton professional series and I buy the 14ml tubes. One of the best qualities about watercolor paint is when it dries in your palette you can activate it again with water, unlike oils or acrylics which when they dry in your palette they are dry forever. That means a little watercolor tube goes a long way making them great for travel! A few of my favorite colors include: Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Yellow Ochre, Sap Green, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Winsor Violet, Burnt Umber, and Payne’s Grey. If you are just starting out I recommend experimenting with a few colors that you can mix into a variety of others or picking up one of these Winsor & Newton sets!
Martin Mijello Airtight Watercolor 18-Well Blue Palette
I love this palette! It has 18 wells, which is more than enough room for a variety of colors, and it folds up making it easy to store and to travel with. I wouldn’t say it’s leak proof, so be careful if you put it in a bag while your paints are still wet. I have it in blue!
Loew Cornell Brush Tub II
Love this thing! I use the holes on the sides for holding brushes, the ridged lines in the larger half are great for rinsing dirty brushes, and I save the other side for clean water. Mason jars work just as well! Just don’t drink that dirty paint water!
Loew Cornell Brush Tub II
It’s difficult to recommend brushes since there are so many! I like to have brushes with a variety of shapes, sizes, and hair textures on hand. I work small so one of my most beloved and most used brushes is the 5/0 Beste Spot brush. I enjoy the Beste series as they don’t cost too much. One of the most expensive and luxurious brushes I own is a $66 Isabey Siberian Blue Squirrel Quill Mop Brush. These are fantastic brushes but they are made out of animal hair. Brushes are either made of synthetic hair or real animal hair. It’s best to do your research to make sure you are buying the tool that sits best with your beliefs. Ultimately I’d recommend going into your local art supply store to buy your first set of brushes so you can touch them all and really get a feel for the varying sizes in person.
Plastic Transfer Pipettes 3ml Graduated
Pipettes are great for grabbing a bunch of water and transferring it to your palette if you need to make a really light color or large wash.
Urban Watercolor Sketching
If you were to get one watercolor book I’d recommend this one by Felix Scheinberger. The title is a little misleading, it’s less about urban watercolor sketching and more about general watercolor information. I think it is a great resource! There’s a ton of info about how paints are made, various tools to use, watercolor techniques to practice, color theory, how to stretch your paper, and even where certain pigments are traditionally sourced.
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