Never ever let me near an art shop. I have a problem.
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I covet art materials. I adore and cherish art materials. I cry and dance over colour pencils, paper, paint, brushes, little pencil sharpeners. Ah! I love it all. Don't get me started on rhinestones. Really. But as I have become more settled in the work I create, the things I actually use day-to-day has begun to refine and I now have my favourite tools that I use regularly and always replace.
Today I’d like to share my updated list of materials so you can have a go with them yourselves.
For dry work such as colour pencil and graphite I use Daler Rowney or A4 Winsor and Newton Bristol Board in sizes a3 and a4. It is a thick, smooth, white paper that takes colour pencil and graphite brilliantly.
For wet work like ink and wash, watercolour or mixed media work I use blocks from Daler Rowney which are great because they don't cockle as they're already stretched, but they only come in a few sizes (no big sizes). I got a really good pack of practice watercolour paper from Ken Bromley and that's lasted me for ages and the quality is really good. I've also started experimenting with HP 640gsm Arches watercolour paper, which is super expensive, but you can buy it in large sheets and then cut it down to size. It's amazingly smooth, doesn't cockle and takes watercolour and pencil beautifully. I tend to use Hot Pressed and a little Rough, but hardly ever Not Pressed. I like the texture in Rough but details can be lost in it. I like HP for detailed work when I'm using pencils too.
I also have my sketchbooks. I've used all kinds and I've made my own from loose sheets. ATM I'm enjoying Seawhite, Moleskine and a Damien Hirst one (which you can't find anymore). I prefer them ring bound and hard back but i'll use anything really.
For graphite work i use a standard range of sketching pencils, usually grade 4H to 8B, specifically 4H, HB, 3B, 6B and 8B. I particularly like my woodless graphite pencils. They're solid graphite so you can get some lovely big marks by using them on the side. I think Koh-i-noor sell a variety but I get mine from WHSmith. I like Lyra Rembrandt pencils at the moment I also useDerwent Graphitone Pencils in 8B because it's super dark and matte compared to a standard 8B and helps keep my drawings looking deep, dark and clean.
To sharpen I use a variety of sharpeners. I'm really fussy so I'm always changing what I use. And top tip- ALWAYS replace the blades! To erase I just use a standard eraser. I hate putty erasers. They either erase badly or leave a streak- I can't understand why they're so popular! I also LOVE Faber Castell Eraser Pencils. Another essential tool are my blending stumps and of course fixative- which I don't have a particular brand I'm loyal to.
Standard office highlighters are great fun and you can also get some washes out of them.
Other miscellaneous items include my drawing board, vintage paper ephemera like sheet music and postcards, and paper doilies…