When I moved to Tanzania last month all I took was a medium sized suitcase and a carry on bag. This meant I had to make some serious decisions about which items were essential in my life and which weren’t, including my art supplies. Now my collection is quite small but I love and use everything I have.
My favourite paints are the Windsor and Newton designers gouache. I won’t say I’ve tried many different gouache paints, mainly because my first set was from Windsor and Newton about three years ago and I immediately fell in love, but I have tried a few cheaper brands and they just haven’t matched up. These ones are completely opaque which I love, and can be re-wet and used again so they’re more cost-effective. The colours I currently have in my collection are:
Permanent green middle
I also have a lovely Windsor and Newton gold ink pot for special details.
I have some gorgeous Daler Rowney Canford card in ‘snow white’. I find card easier to work with for gouache as it doesn’t wrinkle up, nor does it have too much texture.
I recently treated myself to some professional brushes which was the best decision ever. I’d previously been using cheap ones from random children’s multi-packs but they just weren’t cutting it anymore, especially for the smaller details. The ones I bought were:
Jacksons Finest Sable, size 4
Kolinsky Tajmyr, Reserva, Escoda, size 2 and size 0
I also recently decided to invest in a ceramic palette for two reasons, to save money in the long run and waste less plastic on disposable palettes (and also because it looks better in my Instagram photos, let’s be real).
My favourite rubber (yes, I have a favourite rubber) is the Staedtler Mars Plastic. I also love my cutting board from The Works and my Swan-Morton stainless steel craft knife. Also, washi tape is useful for tracing my sketches because it doesn’t tear the paper. I’m not really fussy about the pencil I use as long as it’s sharp, and that’s pretty much it!
I think if there’s any takeaway from my downsizing it’s that quality is more important than quantity. When I started studying illustration at uni I thought I needed all the different art supplies but in reality I hardly used most of them. Also, investing in the best you can afford will definitely improve the quality of your work and make the process all the more enjoyable too.