Top Recommended Art Supplies
I sometimes get questions about the art supplies, books, and electronics I recommend. So if you’re an artist I’ve got you covered. I not only listed what I use, but I also listed how I use them and supplied links to purchase. Click any coloured link that looks like this, and it’ll take you to an Amazon page to buy them. This saves you hours of scouring the internet to find each item. Whether you’re a new or long time artist, I hope this comprehensive list of recommended art supplies helps you out.
Order of recommended art supplies
- Drawing supplies, 2. Painting supplies, 3. Cameras, Computers and Streaming equipment, 4. Books.
Recommended Art Supplies For Drawing
Faber-castell Watercolour Pencils These are the watercolour pencils I mainly use for drawing. They’re very dry and act a little more like graphite pencils, though less powdery. They also have the ability to be watered down and used for watercolour washes. I often use their black pencil instead of charcoal or graphite. This is because of how dark they’re capable of going, While still being useful for subtle light tones (if less pressure is applied.)
Prismacolor Pencils These are another brand of pencils I like to use. They’re a bit more oily, and are better suited for blending into other pencils and making smooth transitions. I also find they’re better for realistic colour drawings.
Staedtler Graphite Pencils These are the brand of pencils I use when doing graphite drawings. I go between their wooden pencils, mechanical pencils, and their lead holders. They’re of great quality and I highly recommend them!
Kneaded Eraser I use this to erase things while having more control and the ability to subtly erase drawings. It’s great compared to normal erasers who have a nasty habit of erasing a lot of pencil with every stroke. With this, you can lightly dap and take off a tiny bit of pencil every time, slowly making things lighter. It’s a must-have for realistic drawings as well as more abstract or textural pieces. Best used with graphite, charcoal or watercolour pencils.
Faber-Castell Eraser This is the regular eraser I use, nothing mind-blowing about it. I will say though, It’s best to use a kneaded eraser first, then use this normal eraser after. As sometimes using this type of eraser on a heavily coated pencil drawing will smudge and scar the paper, before actually erasing.
Tombow Mono Fine Eraser This is a really great eraser I use for fine sections and hair strands. Think of it as an eraser that kind of functions the same way a mechanical pencil does. I very much recommend this product!
Swiss Army Knife Whenever I sharpen my pencils it’s with my swiss army knife. I use the blade to sharpen, the file to shape the pencil tip, and the scissors to trim splayed hairs on my paintbrushes. VERY USEFUL!
Willow Charcoal Charcoal pencils often scar the paper and leave strokes that you’re unable to erase. Willow charcoal is a lot softer, more forgiving, and is easy to erase. So I usually start with willow charcoal and then use charcoal pencils to later shape the drawing.
Charcoal Pencils This pack of charcoal pencils contains all you’ll need. General’s is also a good brand when it comes to charcoal.
Fixative This is Invaluable for someone planing on drawing, and is top tier on my recommended art supplies list. You simply spray this on your drawing after you’ve finished the piece. By doing so it seals your drawing and prevents smudging or fading, Very important! You can also get a workable fixative that enables you to work on the drawing a little after you’ve sprayed it. In general though, the fixative is mainly used after you’ve fully finished your drawing.
Blending Stumps You use these to blend dry media like graphite, charcoal or pastel. As a result, you can get really smooth transitions. Once the stump is “dirty” with Graphite or so on, you can also use the stump draw with. It’s a very helpful instrument.
Toned Sketch Pad I bought this pad recently and really love the paper. Good for most types of dry mediums, though I find it works really well with charcoal. You can also use white pastels to get your highlights, instead of having to leave the paper untouched the way you do with white paper.
White Smooth Bristol Paper This is the paper I like to use for realistic portraiture work. The paper is smooth which also helps in attaining good transitions. It can handle a lot of different mediums, which makes it very versatile.
Moleskine Sketchbook The sketchbooks I like to use are Moleskines. Very well made and I like the paper. The only thing to take notice of is the paper isn’t extremely white, but I like it. A good sketchbook is always at the top of my recommended art supplies list, due to its ability to organize, take notes, and for drawing on the go. To see a video of a speed drawing I did (using a Moleskine sketchbook) Click Here
Rembrandt Soft Pastels These are my favourite dry pastels, as they work really well on tanned paper. The white Pastel and Charcoal combination has a really cool effect too. These large ones are great, but I also recommend pastel pencils for more precise drawing.
Caran D’ache Pastel Pencils These are the pastel pencils I use and recommend. The white Pastel pencil (once again) is really great on tanned paper, enabling you to get really bright lights and highlights.
Sennelier Oil Pastel These are by far the best oil pastels I have used, this is mainly due to their consistency and the amount of pigment they lay down. If you’re in the market for oil pastels, these are the only ones I recommend. I think they’re pretty amazing!
Once again click The coloured links/product names, if you’d like to be taken to an Amazon page in order to buy.
Recommended Art Supplies For Painting
Winsor and Newton Oil Paint’s Although I use various brands of paint, Winsor And Newton are a good brand that can be found almost everywhere. So if I was going to suggest one brand of paint to everyone (across the world) Winsor and Newton would be it. That’s why you’ll see Winsor and Newton many times in my recommended art supplies list. Just make sure you buy the artists version of their paints, and not the student or water-mixable versions they also sell. To make it easy I have linked the right type of Winsor And Newton oil paints above, just click the coloured link. The colours I use are Titanium White, Bismuth Yellow, Winsor Red, Cobalt Blue, and Ivory Black. You can mix almost any colour with those suggested, so don’t worry about buying tons of other paints. For a great tutorial on colour theory and how to mix colours Click Here. When you click the Winsor And Newton link above they’ll l have an option of two different size paints, 37ml and 200ml. If they don’t have the paint you’re looking for in one size, choose the other and it will probably be there. Also, keep in mind the type of painting you’re going to be doing. If you’re going to be painting thinly, you may only need the 37ml tubes. If you’re going to be painting thickly, you may need the 200ml tubes (so you don’t run out so quickly.) Other brands I use are Art Spectrum and M.Graham.
Winsor And Newton Stand Oil A slow drying medium that’s good for glazing, it also leaves the paint more saturated and glossy. Another bonus, it’s more resistant to yellowing than regular linseed oil!
Winsor And Newton Liquin A semi-gloss medium I love, which also speeds up drying times, Improves flow and reduces brush stroke texture. It’s also known to resist yellowing better than some other mediums.
Winsor And Newton Gloss Varnish You use Gloss Varnish after your painting is fully dry, this can sometimes take 6+ months. It seals your paintings, protects them, and also adds more gloss and saturation to your work.
Odourless Solvent I use odourless solvent to clean my brushes, thin paint and mix with oil mediums. It’s something every oil painter needs.
Solvent Container I recommend a solvent container for any artist working with oil paints. You fill it up with odourless solvent and use it to clean your brushes. In doing so it keeps all the toxins out of the air (when closed.) Definitely a great thing to have for an oil painter.
Small Solvent Containers This is what you use to contain mediums while painting, it also helps prevent spilling and cuts down on exposure to fumes. Plus It has a small clip on the bottom that enables you to attach it to a palette. Very useful!
Palette You need a palette to mix your paint on. The one I listed is pretty cheap but it’ll do the job. The one I use however is a glass palette by EdgePro Gear. The benefit of using a glass palette is being able to scrape off the paint with a razor blade.
Acrylic Gesso You use this to prime boards (and canvas) to then paint on. If you don’t prime the board or canvas first the longevity of the painting will not be assured. Very important to prime your painting supports!
MDF Boards For small to medium painting supports I always use Primed MDF boards. First, you cut the MDF boards to the size you want to paint on, then prime both sides twice over with the acrylic gesso. After letting it dry you should be good to paint on it (with almost any medium.)
Paint Brushes The paint brushes I usually use are Art Spectrum and Rosemary brushes. Though I found these, which would be a good set for any beginner. In the set are a good variety of brushes, this way you can figure out the ones most suited for your work. I mostly use filberts and rounds, sometimes flats and fans (but rarely.) Just make sure you use separate brushes for oils, acrylics, and watercolours. Also with watercolour brushes, you want the softest ones possible, this way it does less damage to the paper. So keep all that in mind when choosing your brushes. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking you need the most expensive ones to paint with!
Palette Knives Many artists like myself never even use palette knives. Though if you want to get into them, I recommend something like the set listed. With a set like that, you can try 5 different types and see which one suits you best.
Tabletop Easel Every artist needs a good easel. The one I use is by EdgePro Gear, they’re expensive but very good and portable. For a large one, I recommend going to an art store and figuring out which one would suit you best. I have also linked a very cheap but good tabletop easel, suitable for beginners.
Winsor And Newton Acrylic Paints Like with the oil paints I use, I once again paint with a limited pallet. The colours I use are Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine Blue, And Ivory Black. You can mix almost any colour with this combination, plus only buying 5 paints really saves on cost. For a great tutorial on colour theory and how to mix colours Click Here
Liquitex Acrylic Paints Another brand I really like (possibly more so than Winsor and Newton) is Liquitex. The colours I use are Titanium White, Yellow Light Hansa, Naphthol Red Light, Cobalt Blue, and Ivory Black.
Liquitex Acrylic Gloss Medium This is a great medium that adds more gloss and saturation to your acrylic colours. So instead of Ivory black drying lighter and less saturated, It stays almost as rich as when wet.
Winsor And Newton Watercolour Set This is the set I always use when painting with watercolours. You can also buy new Winsor And Newton watercolour blocks (if some of the colours run out) and insert them into the set. This makes it really useful, as you could have the same tin your entire life by just replace the ones that run out. The colours are beautiful and very archival. I highly recommend this particular set rather than going for the cheaper ones out there, those paints are nowhere near as good! Even Winsor and Newton have a cheaper lower quality set aimed at students, do not go for them, they’re cheap for a reason. I highly recommend this particular “artists quality” Winsor And Newton set, It’s really amazing, and it’s all I’ll use! Though that’s enough of me putting Winsor And Newton on my recommended art supplies list, especially when they aren’t paying me directly XD.
Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook This is the Sketchbook/Watercolour paper I use for almost all my watercolour work. It’s a really good and convenient watercolour sketchbook. You can get individual sheets of watercolour paper that are better in quality, but for a watercolour sketchbook, I’d say this is almost unbeatable! This with the Winsor And Newton watercolour set is a great and very portable combination!
Cameras, Computers and Streaming Equipment
You wouldn’t think electronics would be on a recommended art supplies list, but given the age we live in, technology is a huge component of being an artist! Because of this here are some of the things I use and recommend!
Sony A7 III This is the camera I use for all my photography, whether it be animal photography, photographing artwork, or taking reference images. Sony is a great brand, and this is really a good camera! Though for long length video recording I recommend the camcorder below. I will say though, don’t feel you need as expensive equipment as I have listed. I built up this collection of my recommended art supplies over the course of 10 years, and at one stage I had a lot of spare money (now flat broke XD.) Buy stuff in stages (when you can afford it) the way I did. Plus you really don’t need great equipment to make great work!
Sony 70-200 F2.8 This is the lens I use for everything, with a 2X teleconverter it can even reach 400mm making it pretty good for wildlife photography. It’s also good for portraiture and gathering reference images, it’s just a great lens in general.
Sony FDR-AX700 This is what I record all my art with, it’s also what I use to stream with on Twitch. It really is a great camcorder, capable of many things and I highly recommend it!
Sony 128GB Memory Card To record everything you need a really good memory card, especially if you’re going to record in 4K! With 128GB you can record around 4 hours of 4K footage. I have 2 of them so I can record for 8 hours uninterrupted (if I wish to.) I highly recommend this memory card!
Neewer 72.4-Inch Aluminum Camera Tripod I couldn’t find the exact tripod I use, but this is the type that’s best for recording and streaming. The reason why it’s the best is the adjustable bar. It lets the camera extend away from the tripod, allowing it to record from directly above you while painting.
Elgato HD60S+ I use this to connect my camcorder to my MacBook Pro, this enables me to stream on twitch with a really good camera instead of using a webcam. No sense in streaming art on twitch If they can’t clearly see what you’re making.
Lacie 20TB Hard drive This is the hard drive I use to store all my data. It is comprised of 2x 10TB Hard drives that write the same information to both at the same time, This way if one drive fails you have a backup.
MacBook Pro This is the type of laptop I have, In a lot of ways it’s really good, in other ways it really sucks. If you plan to stream at any point I highly recommend getting a gaming pc, as any time I try to stream on my MacBook Pro it crashes. If you plan to do general video and photo editing it’s great, if you plan to do more than that, get a gaming PC!
Cintiq These amazing devices have become the industry standard in digital painting, all the pros use them, and there are reasons why. The colour representation and ease of use are second to none. They’re however quite pricey, so I also recommend an iPad pro with an apple pencil, that’s what I use.
Behringer b2 I use this microphone for streaming audio on twitch, to do narration for videos, and to record music from time to time. It’s a really good mic, I recommend it!
PreSonus AudioBox An Audio Interface may seem like an odd thing to put on a recommended art supplies list, but you need one of these to connect your mic to a computer. That is unless you’re using a lower quality mic that connects via USB, or goes directly into a small mic port. Mine has always done a good job, so I recommend it.
Softbox When recording your art, it’s always a great idea to have good continuous light. For painting in general, light is very important! I recommend a really bright 5000-kelvin bulb. Good lighting should be at the top of any good recommended art supplies list. As the right lighting will help you judge your painting more clearly and enable you to take better photos of your work.
Books are another essential of my recommended art supplies list, as the amount of knowledge you can gain from them is invaluable. Here are some of the ones I recommend.
Richard Schmid, Alla Prima II Everything I Know about Painting If you’re a painter this is perhaps the best book you could have. Richard Schmid is a great artist and he did an amazing job of putting his wealth of knowledge into a book. I highly recommend this one!
Andrew Loomis Books This set contains two really good books, one for heads and one for bodies. These books are also recommended reading in many art schools. They contain a lot of great information about the construction of anatomy so I definitely recommend these books!
Andrew Loomis Creative Illustration Unlike his anatomy books this one is more so focused on design, illustration and layouts. So it contains some very useful information for those trying to design their art. Equally as good and deserves a place on my recommended art supplies list.
George Bridgman This is a great book on anatomy construction, though unlike books by Andrew Loomis, this book is more about flow. He uses a lot of gesture in his drawings, and because of this, they’re anything but boring. This book is more about the movement and rhythm of form, which can greatly help give life to your art. So another good book I recommend to artists!
James Gurney Imaginative Realism This is a really good book for those trying to create art without directly copying reference images. In it he shows multiple ways of doing so while also teaching you more lessons along the way. It’s a great book!
It took a reeeeeealy long time to get all the links, photos, and write the descriptions. So I hope this list of recommended art supplies has helped you in some way. I will say, this is only the list so far, check back later for more recommended art supplies to come! Also, thanks if you used the links above. Amazon gives me a really tiny commission if you use these links to buy something, hopefully it’ll be enough to cover the running of this site. Leave a comment below if you have any more questions, or if a link isn’t working, have a great day:)