Are you looking for creative release, or otherwise interested in experimenting with drawing and painting? Below are some of my favorite tools, equipment, and supplies (though be sure to read the Amazon product descriptions and reviews to determine what's right for you).
NOTE: Links to products listed below take you to Amazon product pages. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
For drawing & sketching
Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens these are waterproof and pigment-based, so they're GREAT for withstanding watercolor application without smearing and meant to last (whereas dye-based inks are prone to fading). When I most recently bought these, the set only came with the black soft tip and blue hard tip pens, so I can't vouch for, or explain usage for, the twin-tip that is now included.
PaperMate Flair pens Note: these are NOT waterproof nor pigment-based ink. As such, I DON'T use these for commissions, but rather for quick sketching in my sketchbook when I don't intend to overlay watercolor. I just love the way the ink applies to paper, and they're more affordable than pigment-based pens.
Sakura Pigma Micron pens (different tip widths) these are pigment-based pens that I use for drawing finer detail.
Posca acrylic paint marker (chisel tip, black) I absolutely love using this when I want to draw large-scale and loosely. It is so fun to draw with paint!
For Copic ink artwork
Samples of my Copic artwork: Eastern Market | Pretzel Bakery | East Capitol St.
When I create artwork with Copic ink, I typically start with a drawing, using Tombow Fudenosuke pens and Micron pens (see above). In addition, I use the following:
Copic Blending Card paper (8.5x11) Copic ink blends pretty nicely on this paper; note: the ink does bleed through so you can see it on the backside
Canson Bristol paper (9x12) I really like using this for Copic ink pieces. Note: as with the Copic blending card above, the ink does bleed through so you can see it on the backside
Copic Sketch pens, set of 72 — this one is a huge investment, so if you are just starting out, you could try a smaller set (for example, the basic set of 12, or this set of 36) or even a different line of Copics (the Copic Ciao line is considered more of an entry-level version compared to Copic Sketch line; I haven't used it, so I can't speak to its pros/cons); I have a set of 72 Copic Sketch pens, many of which I use, and I've discovered a few additional workhorse colors that I've added along the way:
Reddish Brass (E17) — I love this color for red brick sidewalks! I tend to layer it with a few other hues, but it's a great component.
Greens set (3 tones)
Cool grays set (12 shades) — I use these ALL the time for shadow effects and adjusting hues. They have a cool blueness to them that I love.
For watercolor artwork
Samples of my watercolor paintings: Tunnicliff's Tavern | Capitol Lounge
Arches cold press watercolor paper block (12x16, 20 sheets) — this paper is amazing. It handles watercolor so nicely, allowing layers of paint and enabling easier removal of minor mistakes. It has notable watercolor texture, which makes it a little harder to draw on (particularly with finer-point pens) but it's lovely to paint on! When painting on a watercolor block, you'll need a sharp blade to cut the paper off the block when you're finished painting (I use one that's very similar to (and probably just an old model of) this retractable X-Acto knife. No need to be afraid of this step it's easier than it sounds!
Arches cold press watercolor paper block (9x12, 2-pack) this is the same paper as above, but in a smaller block size. I like having more than one block of watercolor paper available, so that I can work on multiple pieces at the same time (in some cases, while one is drying, I can work on the other; in other cases, I may be working on multiple pieces of a set for one client). See above note about cutting the paper off the block when you're done.
Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper block (9"x12") — I use this kind of paper for smaller pieces or ones where I will have more fine detail. It's much smoother than cold press paper, so it handles finer detail drawings better, and it's pretty nice to paint on, too, but I don't like it quite as much as Arches for the painting phase (though it looks lovely in the end).
I almost-exclusively use Winsor & Newton professional-quality watercolor paints, which tend to have a higher permanence/lightfastness rating than others because of the quality of pigments they use (meaning they will last longer and be less prone to fading over time, though it is never recommended to display original artwork in direct sunlight).
For what it's worth, these are my go-to colors, and it makes more sense to me to buy them individually, since I rarely use many of the colors that come in packaged sets:
Burnt Sienna — I use this when mixing red brick color, when mixing grays (combined with French Ultramarine), etc.
Winsor Red — this is my favorite red for mixing other colors (rarely do I paint red without mixing/altering its hue), though I also use Alazarin Crimson for certain flesh tones
Winsor Yellow — I go through lots of this in color mixing, as yellow tends to have a harder time standing up to other colors
French Ultramarine — I use this blue constantly, often for mixing grays (combined with Burnt Sienna), and sometimes in combination with Cerulean for a sky blue
Cerulean Blue — this is my main go-to for sky color (though I don't often include sky detail in my artwork), sometimes combined with French Ultramarine
Winsor Permanent Sap Green — I often use this as a base green when mixing greens for gardens, bushes, tree leaves, etc., adding in Winsor Yellow and/or French Ultramarine, and sometimes Winsor Red to vary the hue
Alazarin Crimson — I use this for some flesh tones
Winsor & Newton Watercolor Promarkers (this link is to the basic set) I've lately been experimenting with Winsor & Newton's pigment-based watercolor markers (note: these are different than the alcohol-based Winsor & Newton regular promarkers if you want the watercolor ones, be sure the product says "watercolor"). There are other color sets of the watercolor promarkers, too: sky tones / floral tones / foliage tones / landscape tones (but note: there is some duplication of colors between sets)
*If you're just starting out, you may prefer to try some more affordable paints, and there are lots of other options out there (for example, Winsor & Newton Cottman watercolors)
I currently use two palettes. I got one from Michael's a while back, and it looks similar to this enamel paint mixing tray. My other tray was a gift, but it looks somewhat similar to this ceramic paint-mixing tray with compartments (although mine is larger than the linked one and has a center divide in the middle mixing area). There are lots of options available for mixing trays. These trays are fine options for use at home, but if you are hoping to paint on-the-go, you might want to consider something with a lid.
For post-artwork work
After I create handmade artwork, or even at certain stages during the creation process, I typically scan the artwork to save for future reference. This is the one I use:
Epson Perfection V600 Scanner I'm very happy with the quality of the scans, and it was pretty easy to learn to use. My main complaint (and this vexes me constantly) is that the scanner bed is not as large as I'd like it to be (it's only slightly larger than an 8.5x11 piece of paper; not large enough to fully fit a 9x12 piece of paper). I often work larger and trim when I'm finished working on a piece (and not always to smaller than those dimensions), so it can take some finagling to get a good scan.
Matting & framing
I made an entire page with matting/framing guidance, whether you intend to DIY or are interested in custom framing.
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