Whether you’re taking an Art course at GCSE, A Level, Degree or similar or you’re just interested in art, having your own art supplies is essential to be able to experiment and practice with different techniques and medias outside of the classroom. It’s also really nice to have your own art supplies to take to class such as brushes, paints and pencils that haven’t already been ruined by everyone else. At school I find it so hard to find a clean paintbrush where the bristles haven’t already been splayed or a palette that’s not coated in hard acrylic, so most people in my Art class have started bringing their own supplies with them, and I think that’s actually a really good idea so here’s my art supplies haul!
This year I have bought 4 new packets of paintbrushes – that sounds like a lot – but I did actually need all of them! I bought new set of acrylic brushes from WHSmith as my current set are getting a bit old and misshapen now. Some watercolour brushes again from WHSmith as before I’ve only had 4 small brushes that are specifically for watercolours, and I’m really excited to use the wider brushes and the fan brush! I also bought a set of 4 nylon detail brushes from The Works as I was finding painting details really hard as I didn’t have a brush with a small enough tip. And finally some pink art brushes also from The Works (they’re so pretty and I’ve never had brushes that weren’t just plain black or brown before so I love them!).
I get through acrylic paint so quickly! So this year I bought a set of 24 acrylic paints from WHSmith, this has a wide selection of pre mixed colours which I’m finding really helpful as I find that sometimes I waste a lot of paint trying to mix the right shade. I also picked up some silver and gold acrylic paint at The Works which I’m really interested to test out as I haven’t worked with metallic paint before.
Lastly I chose a 36 pan set of watercolours from Amazon as I was finding the smaller 8-12 pan sets that we use at school, and I have one in my Reeves watercolour case at home, very limiting even when mixing the colours together, so hopefully this new set (and the colours look amazing!) will give my artwork a wider tonal range.
Over the summer holidays I started doing a lot more work with colouring pencils, however I found most of the leads were breaking when I tried to sharpen them, so they weren’t really practical anymore and I needed a new set. A decided on a 48 pack from WHSmith, I really like the quality of WHSmith pencils for drawing, the leads on these pencils are soft for a good amount of colour but also strong so they won’t break too easily. To accompany this I bought a set of blender and Derwent Blender and Burnisher Pencils from Amazon and also some Faber Castell Eraser Pencils. I’m not really sure how well these are going to work yet but I’m really excited to try them out, but I’m hoping the blender and burnisher pencils will improve the quality of my pencil drawings. Instead of lead the eraser pencils have an actual eraser through the centre that can be sharpened to a point, which sounds really handy for erasing very tiny mistakes so you don’t erase another part of the illustration which may have been pretty much perfect and have to draw it again.
As I’ve been studying Degas, I asked for another set of Derwent Charcoal Pencils for my Birthday in September. My light and white charcoal pencils from my original set are getting quite short now, and to be honest I don’t think charcoal pencils last very long compared to graphite pencils, and you have to sharpen them pretty regularly. I really like the effect these pencils give and they’re really smooth and easy to blend. However blending these by hand can make your fingers messy pretty quickly and leaving black and grey finger prints all over your art work and everywhere else isn’t great. So I decided to buy some Derwent Paper Stumps on Amazon which I’ve seen many others use for blending so I’m going to try these and hopefully they’ll make my charcoal drawings look a bit more professional with hopefully no fingerprints in sight. I haven’t bought any paper to go with the charcoals as I’ve using neutral toned sugar paper from the art cupboard at school, I’ve tried to find similar online but I can’t really find anything so if you use charcoals and you have any suggestions please can you leave them in the comments section below?
To go with the acrylic paints I bought 2 pads of acrylic paper, one very big and one quite small, from WHSmith. I saw these in the reduced section near the front of the store and I picked it up straight away. I didn’t know acrylic paper was an actual thing as I thought you were just supposed to use them on canvases, which I picked up a pack of 3 in The Works to test out as I haven’t used canvases either before. I’ve actually only ever used acrylic paint on jute bags, which I really enjoy doing and they’re great for presents or for gift bags. But this year I thought it was time to try using acrylic paint on other surfaces such as canvases and seeing whether it would be good enough for my art project or exam. I like the idea of acrylic paper, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to frame and store than canvases so I’m excited to test both of these out.
For my birthday I also asked for some watercolour paper to go with my new watercolours. Watercolour paper is usually quite expensive so for a while I’ve been just using ordinary paper, but the printer paper or sketchbook paper can get damp and soggy pretty quickly making it harder to blend or add details. The Watercolour Paper from WHSmith comes in ring bound books of 12 sheets perfect for if you want to do a project or a series of paintings in a theme.
For years I’ve wanted tracing paper as we’re rarely allowed any at school and one teacher said that was because it’s too expensive but to be honest I don’t think 30 sheets for £2 in Wilko is that bad, so I decided to get some. I’ve been using it for working out embroidery patterns so far and they’ve turned out great, and I have another project that I’m thinking of using this for and hopefully it’ll turn out much better with the tracing paper so I’m excited about that.
This year I bought 2 new sketchbooks, as I think as an artist you can never have enough and it’s good to have lots of different styles and sizes for whether you’re working at home or on the go. I chose a blue square fabric covered sketchbook in Paperchase, I love the shade of blue and the paper has a really nice texture. I’m really excited to use this sketchbook as I bought it with a project already in mind. I also chose a black A5 sketchbook from Ryman, this sketchbook is the perfect size to fit in my bag and the cover is a quite strong plastic so great to take anywhere with me.
And other things . . .
As I’ve never used canvases before I decided to buy an easel too. This easel from The Works is made of metal and foldable so good for storage, it is a table easel so you can only really take it to places with tables, though people usually stand up when using the full size easels, but I’d rather not stand up if I don’t have to as I found an acrylic painting can take me hours to paint so the table easel is perfect for me. As I’ve been studying movement and dance I decided to buy a manikin from The Works so I can try drawing different positions from a 3D model. I also picked up 2 paint palettes, as acrylic paint can be hard to get out of palettes without staining so I decided to get a couple of clean new ones, both palettes were only £1! Which is a really great price so how could I not buy 2? The round palette is from The Works and the Reeves flower palette is from Wilko.
After searching for ages for a pack of black fine liners, and I finally found this pack of 10 on Amazon! Stabilo are my favourite brand of fine liners; I got the case of 20 a couple of years ago and the colours are so pretty, but the black was the only colour that had started to run out so I didn’t really want to buy a whole set, so this pack of 10 in just black were perfect for what I needed. In art we’ve used fine liners or handwriting pens with water to create pen and ink style drawings. Finally I bought another pack of 50 Crayola Supertips as they were only £4.50 in Tesco. I bought a pack from Tesco a couple of years ago when they first came out for £20 as I’m the kind of person who likes to have every shade possible. I couldn’t believe how much cheaper they were compared to when I first bought them so I decided to buy another pack to keep as spare, the colours in the 50 pack are amazing and so pretty, although I don’t really use these to draw as much as I used to, I’ve been using them a lot for brush lettering and headings in my bullet journal and art book.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post! Art is definitely my favourite subject at the moment and I’m so excited to use my new art supplies. What is your favourite subject? Follow me on Instagram @emily.m.adventures and @princessemily_m for daily updates, and Twitter @EmilyMAdventure for info on my next blog.
Emily M x