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AshlynM's avatar

For the artists out there, what are some art supplies that you use?

Asked by AshlynM (6519 points ) April 28th, 2012

and what are some you can’t live without?

Also, are there certain brands of charcoal, pastel or colored pencils you find that works better than others? I find being a budding artist is a little complicated. There are so many different drawing implements, different types of paper, different drawing techniques. Would you be so kind as to share some techniques you use, drawing tips in general, and what kind of drawing tools you use?

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14 Answers

cookieman's avatar

I was originally trained as a draftsman (in high school) and illustrator (in college). I draw and paint. Then everything went digital and I got into graphic design and web design, but that’s another story.

Anywho, this is what I use:

brand name stuff
• Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils
• Prismicolor colored pencils
• Prismicolor markers
• Micron technical pens (black)
• Liquitex acrylics
• Windsor Newton watercolors
• Pache V3 airbrush

any brand will do
• Cold-press illustration board
• White synthetic brushes
• White plastic erasers

ragingloli's avatar

I only do art digitally, so it would be my PC, Photoshop, Cinema4D, CrazyBump (to create specular and normal maps), my Wacom Tablet and occasionally 3ds Max.

Kayak8's avatar

I kind of have two sets of art supplies—things for practice (less expensive) and things for real pieces (more expensive stuff). I will use store brand (Blick, Uetrecht) for studies and name brand (Windsor Newton, etc.) for final pieces. I always use good paper except for quick sketches. I also love the Pigma Micron pens for pen and ink work (I buy them in large quantities as they are less work to maintain than Rapidograph pens which can clog in the small sizes that I use).

I don’t do a lot of work in pastels, but when I do, I like Sennelier. In my experience, plain old colored pencils that come in a set (from an art supply store, not the drug store) work fine. I am not a huge fan of the watercolor-type pencils—just me, if I want watercolors, I use water colors.

cookieman's avatar

@Kayak8: Oy… I used Rapidographs for years before Micron pens were around. They were a pain in the @$$.

Cleaning fluid, vibrating cleaning cup, all those little pieces, clogging… Ugh.

janbb's avatar

I also use Micron pens or Pilot fine lines for drawing; Winsor Newton artist quality water color paints and Arches cold press 140 lb. paper for watercolor painting. If I am drawing prior to doing a painting, I’ll usually just use a plain HB #2 pencil. I like a lot of the Golden Fleece paintbrushes and have many different ones but mainly use a 12 or 14 round for most things. Check out Cheap Joe’s online and catalog for good prices and ideas.

ucme's avatar

Crayons & elbow grease, takes a lot of hard work to colour in those animal pictures.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m mostly a painter. I hardly ever use canvas these days, as I prefer to dumpster dive and paint on boards, cardboard, particle board, tile, and so on. I use a lot of acrylic gesso and acrylic paints. I venture into oil every now and then (I have a TON of old high quality oil paints from the 70’s, as well as some of Bob Ross’s expensive stuff he came out with years ago). I use a lot of acrylic mediums. Charcoal and technical pens are always good to have. I have a ton of brushes, but I find myself only ever really using a big painters brush, a small filbert, a bright, and a tiny detail brush. I like finishing my paintings with thick layers of high gloss varnish, so I have a lot of UV resistant spray lacquer as well as high gloss furniture lacquer that I use. I also have a bit of spraypaint and quite a bit of glitter.

Sculpture-wise, I have a ton of junk lying around, a lot of wire of various gauges, some clay, lots of mosaic stuff, solder and an iron, lots of epoxy, a gluegun, and so on.

I also have a lot of printmaking stuff. Rollers, rubber, carving tools, and so on. Also, screenprinting stuff which I haven’t used yet.

I don’t care what brands I use as long as it gets the job done.

cookieman's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard: I was so with you, until you got to glitter. Glitter?! What do you do with glitter?

janbb's avatar

@cprevite I suspect we don’t want to know.

ragingloli's avatar

For the maid costumes he sews, obviously.

TexasDude's avatar

@cprevite I actually mix glitter with my paint sometimes when I do backgrounds and base coats. I love adding shiny elements to my paintings. I’ll often use glitter, mica flakes, aluminum, metallic paint, high gloss varnish and lacquer, and other shiny/glossy elements in paintings, sometimes all at once.

rooeytoo's avatar

I am lucky, I go driving down the road and when I see a fallen tree, I pull over, pull out the chainsaw and help myself to all the carving material I want.

I also paint watercolors and I like to use Arches papers and Windsor Newton pigment, although there are some aussie brands that have colors peculiar to the Australian landscape and I use those as well. Corrugated iron is the iconic aussie building material and there are pieces of it lying around dumps, it is beautifully aged with amazing rust colors. I cut that, hammer it flat, prime parts of it to paint and then use acrylics. Since a lot of Australia has red earth, it makes for fantastic, textured landscapes.

Haleth's avatar

Buying paper and art supplies is such a weakness of mine. The best guideline I can offer is to look closely at the art supplies and feel them. Some of them will be more appealing to you than others- maybe thicker, textured paper, firm chalk pastels that don’t easily rub off on your hands, or shiny, smooth graphite.

When art supplies come in shiny boxed sets, it makes me worry that they’re trying to hide a lack of quality. If they’re sold individually and you can handle them and look at them, it usually means the manufacturer is confident in the product and doesn’t have anything to hide. Also, sets are often sold as gifts (my relatives used to always buy me nice gift sets for birthdays and holidays, and they’re really not interested in art). Individual items are the kind of thing an artist might buy for themselves, to supplement supplies they already have.

A couple colors to look for- in watercolors or acrylics, look for sets that have cyan, magenta, and yellow. These are the purest primary colors; you can mix them to make yellow, blue, and red. There’s no reverse process for mixing these colors out of others, and they can be the building blocks of any painting. If paints aren’t available in these colors, to me it says that the paints are for casual hobbyists.

Other “building block” colors to look out for are burnt sienna (a warm, earthy reddish-brown) and burnt umber (coffee-colored brown) which you can mix with primary colors to make almost anything, from skin tones to realistic earth tones to warm lighting.

I guess I do have favorite brands. Windsor-Newton makes water-solulable oil paints, which are pretty awesome and versatile. You can water them down to the consistency of watercolor (and on a gessoed surface, which is awesome) or you can build them up in layers like oil paints. They stay wet for a long time in layers, but dry fast when watered down. It gives you a lot of control. Prismacolor nupastels are my favorite chalk pastels; they’re very firm and don’t crumble or get chalk dust all over the place. You can draw with them and not have to worry about smudging the drawing or spraying it with hair spray. Liquitex acrylics are also pretty solid and I have a whole bunch of them.

Plucky's avatar

For pencil drawing, I usually use Strathmore Bristol 400 (500 for special drawings – as this paper is hard to find).

For pencils, anything really.
I’ve made clay sculptures here and there but no favourite clays yet.
Painting, I’m not experienced enough to have favourites yet.
I’d love to experiment with clays and paint more often in the future.

Like @rooeytoo, I love getting wood from fallen trees for all sorts of things.

I don’t exactly have any tips. Everyone is kind of different in their artistic technique and style. I’ve never been in art school/programs, so I do not know what type things are taught.

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