Where ever your interests lie; whether you like to cook, sew, build models, or take photos, or tumble rocks (or climb them!), don’t you find that looking at all of your equipment and supplies just makes you so happy? I admit it, I am a total art supply hoarder. I love looking at other people’s stuff, so I thought I’d show you some of mine!
Some of my brushes. I only have synthetic ones because I don’t want to use animal hair. My latest purchase is a Winsor & Newton “Cotman” round brush for watercolours (highly recommended if you’re looking for a decent quality synthetic brush).
A plethora of pencils! Clockwise from top left: set of 12 Stabilo pastel pencils, set of 12 Conté a Paris graphite and carbon pencils (which I didn’t use until recently because they didn’t fit into any of my pencil sharpeners!), set of 24 Staedtler “Aquarell” pencils (I also have a set of 42 Derwent watercolour pencils), set of 24 Winsor & Newton soft pastels (that I’ve barely used – not my favourite medium), set of 12 Derwent “Inktense” watercolour pencils, set of 12 Bruynzeel-Sakura “Design” graphite drawing pencils.
This tin of 72 Derwent colour pencils is very dear to me because I’ve owned it since I was a young’un (the eighties!). I actually typed out a colour chart – on a typewriter! Side note: my grandma once told me that when she was in primary school they used a tray of wet sand and a stick to learn how to write the alphabet (almost as good as an iPad)!
And now for some “shelfies”…
And some of my favourite things…
I only bought these Bruynzeel-Sakura “Design” graphite pencils earlier this year, but they are my favourite drawing pencils ever. They range from 2H to 9B – previously I’d only used up to 6B, I didn’t even know they made 9Bs! They’re nice and smooth (not scratchy) and dense. I have two sets, one that I keep with nice sharp points for detail, and one with rounded points for shading. This works out to be quite economical in the long run because you’re not constantly sharpening pencils you’ve blunted from shading.
One thing I forgot to take a photo of is my tin of General’s Charcoal White pencils, which I absolutely love. They’re not too soft or crumbly, incredibly smooth, never scratchy, and have much denser pigment than even the softest colour pencil I’ve tried. I love drawing on coloured paper with them. There was one problem…they were impossible to sharpen. I was driven to distraction trying to maintain a fine point, because no matter what I tried, they would always break. Then the lady at the art shop recommended the (rather unfortunately named) KUM Automatic Long Point sharpener, which is the best ten dollars I’ve ever spent – not a single breakage since! This is the bees knees of pencil sharpeners, and I’m a total convert to the long point. It sharpens the wood first, then the point, and works out to be quite economical because sometimes when your pencil starts to get a bit blunt you can get away with just sharpening the lead, so your pencils last longer! The only little downside…it doesn’t sharpen pastel pencils, you’ll still need a special sharpener for those.
You might already know how great erasers are when it comes to drawing and blending, not just for erasing mistakes. I used to use kneadable erasers for fine details, but I’ve always found them a bit messy, so here’s a little tip of mine… I slice off little pieces of eraser with a sharp knife and mitre the ends to a fine point, and they’re incredibly precise for those little details. When the eraser gets blunt and/or grubby you just cut it to a pointy edge again. My favourite eraser (again, another recommendation from the art shop lady) is a Moo Professional Eraser. The art shop lady (maybe I’ll refer to her as “ASL” from now on) described it as a cross between a kneadable and a regular vinyl eraser, and that pretty much explains it. They come in a big block, are quite soft (perhaps a little too crumbly), and work with graphite, colour pencils, charcoal and pastels. Rather than all those little messy bits that you normally have to brush from your drawings, this eraser just kind of gathers into one bit so your artwork is easier to clean up. Because of its softness you don’t get any shine or damage to the surface of your paper and it does a really effective job of erasing.
Some new(ish) things that I really love…
These Molotow markers are amazing! I bought two; a 1mm fine tip, and a 1mm brush tip “Softliner”, along with a couple of spares (the tips are replaceable) and some refill paint. I was only interested in white because I wanted to use them to add details to monochrome ink drawings, but they come in a range of colours. What’s so great about Molotow markers is that instead of ink, they hold acrylic paint that although quite thin, has incredibly dense pigment – the white is truly opaque. They have a pump action (but beware of over doing it and causing the paint to flood) and absolutely amazing flow. They’re refillable, and you can mix and/or dilute the colours. A couple of downsides… The paint takes a little while to dry (especially on non-porous surfaces) so you do need to be careful not to smudge your work, and you also have to be careful the tips don’t dry out and become clogged. Some people recommend soaking blocked tips in acetone, but I just rinse them in water after each use and let them dry thoroughly (this takes a few days, so if you plan to use them again in the immediate future, best to leave the tips in but make sure the caps are properly sealed). They write on a huge range of surfaces, and all in all are very versatile and totally nifty. Whatever will they think of next?!
I tried Derivan “Liquid Pencil” and found it lumpy and difficult to blend. Disappointing, because the idea of watercolour graphite is really appealing. Then I discovered Viarco “Art Graf” water soluble graphite. It’s very smooth and blendable and nice to use. One small criticism…I haven’t been able to achieve a really dense dark grey-black, but it’s great for washes and easy to build up lovely tones.
So there you are; a little wrap up of some of my art stuff. I hope some of you fellow art supply hoarders found it interesting!