tools & materials

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Remember this piece ? in progress shots of my submission to Argyle Fine Art's Pre-Shrunk show - all pieces submitted could be any medium but must be 4" x 5" I made a 20" by 5" painting and then cut it into 5 trying to make sure that my composition allowed for 5 stand alone tiny works - it has been accepted ;-) the show of over 300 little art pieces begins Jan 25th in Halifax

Never, never, never give up
Winston Churchill

Yesterday I ordered new art supplies online from Deserres (my No.1 choice), Dick Blick the famous and incredible (for choice & selection) US based art supply company sadly is cost prohibitive to us Canadians because of very expensive shipping and hidden duty costs. I sometimes order from Curry's a Toronto based art supply store & a new great find also in T0 Above Ground Art Supplies near the OCAD campus just of Queen West (shipping from Deserres & Curry's is free over 75.00 and free over 200. from Above Ground). Thinking so much about art supplies I decided to share a few of my favourites and must-haves.

drawing pens - my favourite is made by Staedtler - 0.05/.1/.3 & .5 (others I've tried Micron & Pilot)
gel pens - love the colours, the opaqueness, the fine line & they write on anything - Walmart any kind
paint pens - same as above - colour, opaque & writes/draws on anything
markers - my favourite & wish I had 2 of every colour
tracing paper - Canson - I've tried many brands and this one's my favourite - super smooth
grid paper - any pad of gridded paper will do or should get one of these
kneaded eraser - Staedtler (do not buy the cheaper ones they become a dirty sticky mess fast)
mechanical pencil - Staedtler again ! though lots of choice in this category HB lead & occasionally a harder 3H lead)
exacto knife - & a big supply of No.11 blades  - because happiness is a sharp exacto blade
scissors - from medium/small size craft scissors to smaller manicure quilting types - sharp is key
rulers - clear see through & metal (for cutting)
self sealing cutting mat - a small portable 8 x10 size and a large tabletop version
portable light table - I have this one though I have my eye on this brighter & bigger version
coil bound sketchbooks - in assorted sizes, I love coil bound books best
water colour paper - Fabriano hot press bright white - smooth texture
vintage paper - encyclopedias, atlases, old letters, postcards, ledgers - anything yellowed & musty smelling
scrapbooking paper - especially small decorative prints, or small graphic prints (like teeny polka dots or stripes)
art paper - coloured, Japanese - check out this amazing paper store inToronto (Queen West) paper nirvana
neon paper - post its & note paper - I love my neon - Walmart again has a great neon stack
glues - basic white kraft glue & I'm crazy about ZIG glue sticks & pens in all sizes - love them.
gel medium - I use a matt gloss UV protection to glue and protect - much like mod-podge
paint - acrylics, gesso, gouache & watercolour
ink - both transparent & opaque acrylic ink + I love to use a pen with asst knibs to draw)
brushes - from large hardware store bristle & foam brushes, to teeny 0 & 00 sable for outlining & I love the forced looseness of drawing with  Chinese calligraphy brushes - lots of brushes lots of sizes
surfaces - heavy kraft board (I always recycle the backs of tracing paper pads), watercolour paper or these wooden canvases love their smooth surface

Wow ! that's a big list and finally (below) my favourite lined, coil bound, journal keeping book. Love these Ecojot brand jumbo 6 x 9 journals with super thick hard cardboard covers. They come ina huge variety of brightly coloured & patterned covers & many with great inspirational quotes. My current and almost used up journal has the above Churchill quote and my waiting in the wings new journal (below). The paper in these journals is subtley lined (oh my how I do love a very subtle line) and are thick with quite heavy paper, heavy enough to withstand the dreaded bleed through when using my most fav writing pen (buy them by the box) the Sharpie ultra fine point pen ;-)

I'm planning a post in February documenting my step-by-step journey from beginning, initial rough concept sketch (usually in my journal or sketchbook) through finished mixed media (most likely typographic somewhat) illustration which will show you & explain how I use all these fabulous tools & materials !


  1. I look forward to your "step-by-step" in February. I will be paying attention! While I clean out old files, I will watch out for vintage papers for you.

  2. thanks Amy &
    omg ! thanks judy in KY
    xo s + gang

  3. That's great about the tiny work show! Congrats. :) And I just bought some Inktense Pencils and they are so much fun. Like I needed more art supplies. :))

  4. If you ever get to London (and something to swoon over via youtube anyway) - Cornelissen

    They have a website, but again, postage. Husband buys me something from here every Christmas!

  5. Congratulations on the Halifax show.

  6. congrats on the Halifax show! Love the list - thank you. btw Costco Halifax has a big pack of BLEED PROOF Sharpies! yup bleed proof! fine point - red, green, blue and black in the package - hubby brought me home some the other day :)

  7. Amazing art work. Love it!

  8. Beautiful art as always dear Susan. It was great to see all of your tools and your supplies, thanks for sharing.
    xoxoxo ♡

  9. thank you veg artist for the lovely link to historic art supplies shop. I've been to their web site and will return for deeper study & Yoboro thanks for the heads up - I'd not heard of InkTense pencils


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