One of the things I like best about doodling and visual journaling is you can use super cheap supplies or really expensive ones. No matter what your budget is, you can afford to gather up a few supplies and make some art. So today I wanted to share some of my favorite tools and materials. I always have a basic set of the usual tools: drawing pencils, a few different erasers and plain white cardstock. I figure you know what all those things look like, so let’s get to all the fun colorful stuff.
For Christmas 2013, my husband got me a subscription to Art Snacks. I LOVED it. A handful of random supplies and a piece of candy, what’s not to love. This box contains almost all of the things I got from those boxes. A few things migrated elsewhere, but this is a pretty fair representation of the goodies they offer.
These are my five favorite items so far.
- The Zig Cocoiro lettering pen and body. I love this little guy for base doodles when I want the outline to run a bit. It just writes so smooth!
- General’s White Charcoal Pencil. This works really great as a highlighting tool. In the same box, I got a tube of brown gouache paint and this pencil works wonderfully over the top.
- Irojiten Colored Pencil by Tombow. This layered and blended really nicely without the waxy feeling that basic colored pencils have.
- Aristo 3Fit Mechanical Pencil. I generally prefer using a mechanical pencil to a standard drawing pencil when I am doing outlines and lettering. This one is the perfect size to hold and since it’s triangular it doesn’t roll away on my work surface.
- Connoisseur Protege Short Handle Premium Taklon Brush. The shape and size of this brush make it a really nice general use brush. I am able to get good color coverage as well as some really fine lines.
Tombow open stock markers. These are dual-tipped (one brush tip and one fine point) both made of nylon. The pigments in them are water-based, so they work great for layering and blends, as well as large color washes. As you can see here, I only own 10 of the 96 colors, but I have been able to do so much with just those that they are well worth it.
Montana liquid acrylic paint markers. These were also a gift and I have used them so, so much. On canvas, on paper, they are just so much fun. These markers come in a bunch of colors including neons and metallics. Since they are all refillable markers, you can custom mix any color you want. If you like creating large color washes, the largest marker is nearly 2 inches wide so you can create an even area of color very quickly. Be careful though, because you will seriously fall in love with these and want to own them all.
Reeves water soluble oil pastels. These are probably my favorite cheap supply. They are so inexpensive but still really good quality. When I am sitting in the front seat of the car on trips and working on some sketches, these are always what I use for color. It’s easy to either make the color really light or really heavy. Best of all, you can wait to blend with water until a later time.
Studio G glitter paints. Another cheap material, only $1 a bottle. These are just fun to have around for adding little accents to my journal pages.
Scotch Expressions Washi Tape. This is one place I do NOT cheap out. Washi tape is so popular and you can get it everywhere. There are some really cute designs out there, but there is a downside to that. I have gotten a few of the really cheap rolls, and they just don’t stick. I haven’t tried every brand out there, that’s just been my experience so far. The Scotch brand comes in a giant roll and actually hold things together.
Forget cheap, how about free? I save pretty much any container that will stand up to more use. Yogurt lids, cottage cheese containers, gelato bowls. Eventually they all find their way downstairs.
I don’t know if I would call this one free, but at least very cheap. When our house gets overrun with syringes from kids medications, those get promoted to studio use again. They are really nice for adding bits of water to travel watercolor palettes or creating drips on canvas. Also, old gift cards are really great for pressing air bubbles out of layers or scraping paint.
Water brushes. These are another great tool to have on hand for travel. They work great for blending the Tombows and oil pastels.
Dental tools! I got them for free from my aunt. All the different shapes are so much fun when experimenting with texture and pattern. They are very helpful for removing paint, creating detail and cleaning dried paint out of tight spaces.
Mini spray bottles. These are wonderful for evenly wetting a page in prep for a watercolor wash. If you can’t find one at your local craft shop, beauty supply stores also carry them.
The pride and joy of my drawing tool kit…my Levenger pencil sharpener. It used to be green with a really lovely label. The years of use have really beat it up. But considering it is glass and I have taken it everywhere, it is holding up really well.
I should say I haven’t gotten any compensation from anyone to talk about any of this stuff. I really just love my supply stash and wanted to share it with all of you. So if any of you are itching to try something new, now you can go shopping and experiment with one of these new goodies. If you love them, great! If you hate them, they can always come to live with me.