Favorite Supplies

I am an Art Supply Addict.  I love looking at them, touching them, smelling them, buying them, having them, hoarding them, and of course using them!  I will try most anything at least once.

These are some of my absolute favorite supplies.  The ones I reach for over and over again.

**I am not getting paid to promote any of these products or companies.  I just want to share what I use and what works for me.**

*clicking on images will take you to Amazon where you can purchase these particular supplies* 

I'm going to break these supplies down into categories, so if you're looking for something specific (i.e. pens), press Ctrl F on your keyboard to search!

I use a variety of papers in my art.  My go to paper is Canson XL Mix Media Paper.  I keep two different sizes on hand at all times.


I use the 7"x10" for sketching, doodling, zentangling, and art journaling.  I prefer the spiral bound pads because they're easy to disassemble and work with the loose pages.  I always use the Mix Media paper rather than just plain sketch paper because it's thicker and can stand up to wet media.  Truly, I have yet to find anything that this paper cannot handle.  It's a nice 98lb paper.

I had to have the larger 18"x24" size for a class and caught it on a buy one get one sale, so I have a lot of this sized paper.  I have used the full size to paint and draw on, but what I mostly do with it is cut it down and use it for ATCs!  I can get 16 ATCs from one sheet if I use my Cricut and 18 ATCs if I cut it by hand.  I am now totally lazy and only cut them using my Cricut, but I use the scraps to make bookmarks and to stamp things I want to cut and collage.

There are a couple of other sizes available in these pads, but these 2 work really well for me.

I do use Watercolor paper sometimes.  If I'm doing a large piece that is mostly watercolor (or watered down acrylic paint), I will often use watercolor paper instead of canvas.  I also use watercolor paper for ATCs.  I use Canson XL Watercolor Paper.  It's a good 140lb. cold pressed paper.  And it stands up to any level of abuse!

I have tried many different brands of paper throughout the years, and truly, I haven't noticed a difference between Strathmore or Canson papers.  I'm sure my old art teacher would disagree on principle though.  But I get more paper per pad for less money using the Canson than I ever could using the Strathmore.  And since I notice no quality differences, I say it's a good thing!


I do have a Dylusions Creative Journal.  I haven't used it much, but have plans to use it more in the future.  What my few experiments have done though is show me that I absolutely love this line of art journals.  It has thick paper interspersed with cardstock plus a perfect cover to make beautiful.  It comes in 2 sizes and I have plans to get a couple of the small ones as well as another large one!


The Documented Life Project 2015 is using the large journal and as of this update I am 10 weeks into the challenge.  I am in love with this journal!  I have abused the mess out of it!  Tons of layers of paint, wet media, collage, 3D heavy elements, etc.  And it is holding up like a boss!  I can't wait to see it at the end of the year, but I will stand behind this journal as my all time favorite bound journal.

Scrapbook papers, Cardstock, Paper Ephemera, Die Cuts, Old Book Pages, Cardboard

I use all of these for collage purposes.  I stamp on them, cut them out, glue them down, paint on them, etc.  I use them on everything from ATCs to large canvases.

You should try them too!

** A great place to find old books is at Library and Garage Sales.  I found a massive collection of dictionaries and other old random books at my work's Libary Sale.  The last day of the sale, they simply gave them to me because they were going to toss them in the recycling bin!

I've heard tons of different things about different brands of canvas.  I'm not sure what all the hype is really about, but I have a few basic tips that might be helpful.

I buy cheap, pre-stretched, primed canvas on wooden stretchers.  I have bought it at expensive high-end art supply stores and I have bought it from Walmart.  And let me tell you, it pretty much paints the same.  The cheaper canvas will sometimes have imperfections in the weave - little knots and bumps.  But they don't bother me any.  If they really bother you, you could always go over it with a couple of coats of gesso and sand it smooth.  I just consider them added texture.

Size isn't everything, but when it comes to canvas, size does matter!

If you're painting anything larger than 16"20", make sure there are additional support bars behind the canvas.  Starting with 18"x24", there should be one bar across the middle and there should be additional bars as you go up in size.  My 24"x48" have 2 large bars making "window panes" on the back.  If you don't have this additional support, your canvas won't be able to take a lot of pressure in the middle and it will become loose and warped.  You want your canvas to be stretched tight!

Of course, you could always stretch your own canvas.  This is something I would love to try one day, just for the fun of it.  But not today!

I almost always buy my canvases in bulk and I'll let y'all in on my secret canvas supplier.

I buy most of my canvas these days from Amazon.  Click the pictures above.  The company is US Art Supply.  They are based on the West Coast and I have talked to them on the phone.  They are wonderful!  These particular canvases are promoted as "Professional Quality" Canvas 6 Packs.  They have unbelievable prices.  I got a 6 pack of 24"x48" canvas for $70.  Unheard of!  When they came in, I opened the box and could not believe what I saw!  It was Winsor & Newton Artists' 13/16" Profile Cotton Canvas.  When they labeled it "Professional Quality" they weren't kidding!!

One day, I am going to buy a great big roll of canvas.  Some to stretch, but because I would love to learn how to sew and make tote bags, purses, pouches, etc. with my painted canvas.  That's on the list of one of these days!

I'm going to mention Canvas Panels - I don't like using them personally.  There's nothing wrong with them (other than, they're backed by cardboard and sometimes you can put too much wet stuff on them that it will destroy the panel).  I don't use them mainly because they're a pain to hang!  I don't like framing my work -  I like to paint the edges, and panels are just not my thing.

.Once upon a time I painted strictly in oils.  I'm not going to include oil paints in this list because I haven't used them in years.  We're going to talk about Acrylic paints now.
Craft Paint - It's cheap.  The thing about Craft Paint - in whatever brand you choose, try, or prefer - versus Artist's Acrylic Paint is that it contains more medium and less pigment than the more expensive stuff.  This doesn't make it any less worthy of being called paint and used in whatever way you want.  Don't want to buy the expensive Hi-Flow stuff?  Craft Paint is thin and contains enough medium to make it drip, drizzle, and splatter with wonderful effects!  Because it's thing, it is wonderfully transparent.  Want to mix, blend, and glaze without fooling with mediums?  Craft paint works wonders!  It also dries very quickly. 

I buy it when it goes on sale, usually from my local Hobby Lobby.  I can buy a ton and spend very little.  Plus, it comes in about a gazillion awesome colors and I didn't have to spend any time trying to mix it!

Craft Paint is also wonderful to use with a Gelli Plate.  Mainly because it's thin, spreads easily, and dries quickly so you can move on to the next layer without waiting more than a few minutes!

Distress Paint  - I love my Distress Paint!  It's thinner than Craft Paint but contains the same water-reactive properties as the other Distress products.  I also love that it has a sponge dabber and top which make it very portable.  It dries to a wonderful flat matte finish and isn't sticky when dry.  (Which is good in art journals.) 

Artist's Acrylic Paint - Plain and simply, I'm a fan of Liquitex Basics.  It's considered "Student Quality", but I love it.  I have tried the more expensive paints and they're wonderful, but I consistently buy the Liquitex.  I have not tried the Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics yet.  Those are on my list of "one day".  I will usually buy Titanium White and Mars Black in the Winsor & Newton Galeria line because I usually want my white and black (when used pure) to be very opaque.  The Galeria is still a student quality, but I find it to be more what I'm looking for than the Basics.

I have tried some of the Golden Paints - the Open (which truly take forever to dry.... I'm sure they'd be wonderful for blending, and the heavy body, which are very nice.  But as I'm not working on my da Vinci masterpiece, I'll stick to the cheaper stuff.

Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylic Paint - So far, this is the only Heavy Body Acrylic Paint that I am in love with.  I can say nothing bad about this paint (other than only 6 of the 12 colors are carried at my local Hobby Lobby!).  Beautiful, vibrant, and really fun to work with.

Claudine Hellmuth Studio Semi-Gloss Acrylic Paint - I bought a small jar of the charcoal black from Tuesday Morning one day and finally got around to trying it.  Now I've discovered how difficult it is to find these paints and I am so sad.  I adore this paint.  It says semi-gloss, and I really thought it would dry kind of sticky.  Not at all!  It dried flat, and while it is a little "glossy" in the light, it has a matte-finish feel.  

I want more of this paint!  It seems that Ranger is no longer making this line.  I've seen it at Tuesday Morning and in the clearance aisle of Hobby Lobby.  Now I know to snatch it up when I see it.  If anyone knows where I can find the large jars of it, please tell me! 

Watercolors - I have no real preference for watercolors as I don't use them all that often.  With one exception of course...
I adore my Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Set - and it comes with a waterbrush.  I have the 24 set and I carry it everywhere I go.  I have been known to pull it out at restaurants where they have paper on the tables (for the kids *and kids at heart*) and paint and doodle to my heart's content.  I get a lot of strange looks at those restaurants!


Gouache - As of right now, I have no preference.  I have a set by Daler Rowney that I use occasionally.

I'm afraid that my knowledge of different gessos is limited.  I just haven't really experimented properly.  These are the ones that I have, I use, and I know about.

This is a fairly good gesso for very little money.  It does take several coats sometimes if you are trying to cover up a background.  Very runny.  Got it at Walmart.  Lasts forever!  Is great for very thin coats (if you want text to show through on an old book page, for example).  Multiple coats must be used for any sort of opaque coverage.  Dries really quickly.

I know!  Why on earth would anyone want to use clear gesso?  Because,  my friend!  If you're working on a background that isn't particularly suitable for watery media and you need to make a better surface!  Clear Gesso is great for this!  It goes on milky, dries clear, and then has a rough toothy texture.  Very runny!  I managed to snag a giant bottle on clearance so I gave it a try!  It's fun stuff to work with.

Just an FYI though - using over Dylusions Spray - it will smear the spray unless you seal the background first.  But it does make a neat effect!

I haven't had a chance to experiment thoroughly with this gesso yet.  When I do, I'll add more info here.

Snagged this tiny little bottle at Tuesday Morning.  Love it.  Good, thick gesso that is quite opaque.  NEED to get a bigger jar.  Love it.

I finally was able to catch Liquitex on a 50% off sale at Michaels.  I was out of gesso and decided that it was a good time to try this one!  Let me start out by saying just how much I love it.  It is thick, very opaque (not complete, but much more than the Daler& Rowney.  It's worth the full price, but if you can snag it for less I say go for it.  As of right now, this is my go to gesso.

I haven't tried any gesso by Golden yet.  They're on my list of "need to get, need to try".  I hear they're very good though.

I also haven't tried any black gesso yet.  Again, it's on the list!

I use several Mediums with regularity.


Golden Soft Gel (Matte) Medium - Great for adding texture.  Wonderful as an adhesive for collage and sealing papers so inks, etc. will sit on top of the collage paper instead of seeping into them.  Goes on milky, dries clear.  Can be tinted with anything - distress inks, sprays, paint, etc.

Golden Heavy Gel (Matte) Medium - Again, great for adding more "stiff" texture.  Wonderful as an adhesive for heavier collage (i.e. trinkets or other bulky items), and of course, for sealing what you've just stuck down.  Can be tinted with anything - distress inks, sprays, paint, etc.

Golden Molding Paste - I use this all the time.  Especially through stencils.  It's white, but if you apply it thinly, paint will show through.  Applying it thickly will keep it opaque.  It is also wonderful if applied with an old gift card to a background.  Can be mixed with paint, gelatos, etc. to tint.  If used over ink - especially Dylusions, it will pull the ink "through" and you can clearly see it no matter how thickly you apply.  If using over ink, be sure to tint!


Golden Fiber Paste - This stuff is just cool!  I use it through stencils and also freely on backgrounds and in spots.  Once dry, it looks and feels like handmade paper.  Water based (i.e. inktense pencils) colorants work very very well over this.  Goes on and dries white unless tinted.  The thicker it's applied, the more opaque it is.  You can also mix it with paint, gelatos, etc. to tint.

You can spend a fortune on paint brushes.  I use both really really cheap brushes and some medium-range brushes.  I have occasionally used the super expensive brushes.  In my personal experience, you get what you pay for.  The cheap brushes work just fine but they don't last forever.  The better you take care of them, the longer they'll last though.  So be diligent about your brush care!

All that being said, here are my favorite brushes ever!  I love long handled brushes for painting at an easel, but you can use them just fine if you're painting flat too.  I suggest a mixture of the two.


Majestic Royal and Langnickel brushes are my favorite.  They're medium-range in price and I have yet to have any problems with them, such as hairs falling out.

My second favorite set of brushes are by Royal and Langnickel as well.  But these are the Soft-Grip brushes.
I like the Soft-Grip brushes better with the short handles.  They are very comfortable to hold for any period of time and they're wonderful brushes.  These brushes also come with an angled end.  That's wonderful because you can use the end for all sorts of mark making, smearing paint or medium through a stencil, and even mixing paint!

Water Brushes - I use water brushes a lot.  I love that they're refillable and easy to take on the go without having to worry about carrying a cup or finding water.  
I have used both of these water brushes with great success and highly recommend them.

I have not yet tried the Ranger Water Brush.  If and when I do, I'll let you know.

I do want to stress that you get what you pay for when it comes to water brushes!


I purchased the above set of brushes because they were cheap.  Under $6 for the set of three (at the time I bought them).  They're made by Royal Langnickel.  I thought they'd be great.  They're not.  They are crap!  Do not waste your money.  Go ahead and spend a little more.  You will be so glad you did!


 I don't really use markers.  Not because I have anything against them, only because I don't have any!

I'm slowly going to start chipping away at that and I'll list my preferences here.  Until then, I'll tell you what sets are on my "must have" list.  Why?  Because I've heard nothing but awesome things about them.

I've gotten to play with Distress Markers a little bit - a friend of mine has a few and I liked them.  They've always been on my want list since I discovered Distress.

Faber-Castell Stampers Big Brush Pens are a definite on my want list.  I've seen them used in Video Tutorials with wonderful results.  Technically they're pens and not markers, but I'm including them in this section because pens to me are small.  These are India Ink and you have a few seconds to smudge and blend them before they dry.

Copics - yeah.  That's really all I have to say.  One day I will splurge like crazy and get a set.

Black - Black pens are a dime a dozen, but there are good ones and there are bad ones.  For what I do, these are my favorite pens.

Faber-Castell Pitt Pens - Definitely in my top 3 of black pens of all time.  Amazing for zentangles, random doodles, and will write on most surfaces.  Be careful of the nibs, they will gunk up a bit over some media such as watercolor crayons and I don't advise trying to write over gelatos with them.  Seal media of that type with a gel medium and let dry.  Then doodle all you like!

Microns - Definitely makes my top 3 list.  I love my Microns.  And I love that they come in smaller sizes than Pitt Pens.  Perfect for doodles, zentangling, and other random black markings.  Love!  Again, you can gunk up the nib with some media.  Also, be very gentle with the smaller nib sizes - once you break the nib, you have to get a new pen!


Sharpies - The last contender for my top 3 list.  Who doesn't love Sharpies?  They're cheap, easily available, and come in a million sizes.  The only bad thing I have to say about sharpies is that I have noticed a weird brownish halo around the line after several years or if it gets wet for any reason.  I generally use Sharpies over acrylic paint.  I'm not so worried about the weird halo and I have yet to gunk up a Sharpie.

Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen - I love the Uni-Ball Signo series of pens.  They're simply fantastic.  Permanent when dry and will write over most anything.

White - There are about a million bad white pens.  I have found several good ones that absolutely work for me every time I pick them up.


Uni-Ball Signo Angelic UM-120AC Gel Ink Pen 0.7mm - this is a fine tipped white gel pen from Uni-Ball.  It is hands down my favorite and number one white pen.  If this pen gets gunky and starts skipping, scribble on a scratch piece of paper or your hand until it clears.  It writes on almost anything.

It has a long and complicated name, but there are imposters out there.  You want the one that has Japanese writing on the sticker on the other side of the cap.  If this pen gets gunky and starts skipping, scribble on a scratch piece of paper or your hand until it clears.


Uniball Signo Broad Point Gel Impact Pen White Ink - this is a broader version of the above pen.  It ties as a favorite with the Angelic.  Same properties as the Angelic pen, just a broader stroke.

***Special note about the Uni-Ball gel pens***

I mentioned that there are imposters of these pens.  By that I mean that there are American versions.  American made is great in many respects, but as for these pens, the American versions are crap.  When purchasing these pens - both Broad Point and Angelic, you want to buy the Japanese imports.  If it doesn't have Japenese writing on the stickers or the pen itself, don't buy it.  The American versions skip, don't work at all, gunk up once and are ruined.  Don't waste your time or money.  Buy the Japanese ones.  You'll thank me later.

** These are my most favorite white pens of all time!  They are so very opaque and I never have any trouble out of them!  They are my absolutely number one go-to white pens!

Sakura White Pens - 

Gelly Roll - wonderful pen.  Love it!  Let the ink flow and don't be heavy handed.  It's wonderful and writes on most surfaces.

Souffle Pen - Again, wonderful.  Use it often.  Flows clear and becomes opaque once dry.  Fabulous pen.  The slower you write, the thicker and more dimensional it becomes.

Glaze Pen - have not yet tried this one but have heard wonderful things about it.

Pentel White Pens -

The only white Pentel pen that I've tried is the Sunburst.  Out of a pack of 5, two worked wonderfully and three didn't work at all.  These were a friend's pens and I don't know how long she'd had them or what she'd done with them before I tried them.  I would still recommend them, though.  However, Pentel has stopped making them.  (Why????  They're great!!!)  As far as I know, Pentel has not come out with any others.
 Paint Pens - there are 2 types of paint pens: oil based and water based.  So far I've only tried the oil-based ones but I hear amazing things about water-based pens.

 The above is the set that I bought.  They're wonderful pens/markers.  The only one I have had any problems with is the white pen.

I'm still on the hunt for a really good white paint pen.  I might get one good use out my pens before something happens and the paint just pours out of it.  It's probably user error as I have seen other artists use white paint pens with excellent results.

I found another really good set of paint pens at Walmart!  Also available on Amazon (and cheaper too).


Elmer's Painters Paint Pen - Much much cheaper than Sharpie Paint Pens and they work better in my opinion.  Huge variety of colors.  And the white works wonderfully!  Very opaque too.

 Sketching & Drawing - anything will do in a pinch, but I generally use, 
Yep, generally I use Generals pencil sets.  And their charcoal pencils as well.  They're cheap and easy to find.

I do have one single Derwent 8H pencil which is super super light.  I use it when sketching out zentangle designs usually.  One of these days, I'm going to get a Derwent set just to compare.

If you haven't tried Inktense pencils, you haven't a clue what you're missing!  These little yummy sticks of color are simply amazing!  They are vivid, brilliant, and simply stunning.  I can't rave enough.

I will admit to owning this set but not actually having used it before.  I'm going to have to remedy that and let y'all know what I decide.

Inks can be broken down into several different categories.  Right this moment I don't have any Alcohol Inks or Acrylic Inks.  Those are all on my "want list". 

Stamping Ink:

Distress Ink - I am a sucker for Distress Ink.  I use it as water color, stamping ink, backgrounds, etc.  There is hardly a single piece of art I have created in the past 6 months or so that doesn't have at least a little distress ink on it!

Ranger Archival Ink - I love my Jet Black.  For whatever reason, I prefer it in black to any other black stamping ink.  It comes in a multitude of colors, but I only have it in black right now.  Love.
StazOn Ink - I have StazOn ink in several colors.  It's wonderful ink.  Dries quickly, brilliant color.  Love.
 Stampabilities Ink - Apparently Hobby Lobby is the only place you can find these inks besides Ebay.  They are cheap - $2.99 a pad either dye or pigment.  Cheap is awesome.  And honestly, I have found these inks to stand up to anything I want to do on top of it.  Including water!  I do heat set these inks though just for an added measure.  Pigment Ink takes ages to dry otherwise.  It takes a while to dry completely even using a heat gun, but that's a post for another day.  


Colorbox Archival Pigment Ink - I have a couple of these inks - both pigment so I can't give any information on their dye ink.  As for their pigment inks, I have Black and White.  LOVE!  Takes ages to heat set and even longer (I'm talking days) to air dry.  Instructions say to emboss with these inks to make them permanent, but I have found that once you heat set the crap out of them, they're permanent without embossing.

India Ink:

 Dr Martins Bombay India Ink - I love India Ink.  It's so vibrant, can be mixed with water to create a wash, is fabulous for drips and splatters.  Permanent when dry.  Dries in seconds.

 I use quite a lot of sprays in my work.  I love them for their intense colors, large area coverage, and because they are so darn fun!

Distress Sprays - I told you I was in love with the whole Distress line didn't I?  I love these sprays too.  Everything there is to love about Distress inks and stains in a convenient spray bottle!

 Dylusions Ink Spray - What's not to love about Dylusions?  Way more vibrant than Distress Sprays, these inks are bold, keep their color well, and have some pretty nifty techniques for some really cool effects!

 Perfect Pearls Mist - Shiny, shimmery, and beautiful!  I love these sprays for adding a touch of shimmer without having to add glitter!

 These are other random goodies that I like to use in my art that wouldn't fit into other categories.

Faber-Castell Gelatos - these are wonderful, thick, creamy little sticks of rainbow goodness.  Water soluable, they make great watercolor effects, but are fantastic just blended together!

Oil Pastels - these and Gelatos are very similar, but Oil Pastels of course aren't water-soluable.  But they blend beautifully and can give you many beautiful effects.

Chalk Pastels - These are fun little sticks of brilliant chalk that are a lot of fun to play with.  Mix them with mediums, erase them with a pink eraser, blend them, just have fun with them!  A few quick sprays of a Workable Fixative or Hairspray over the top and you can continue to layer media over them.  Seal with a gel medium if you're going to be using any wet medium.  Although brushing gesso over the top does create a cool ghostly blended effect.


 That's a really big list...

And it's no where near complete.  I'll keep adding to it as my collection grows!  I hope y'all enjoy using these supplies as much as I do.  If  you ever have questions about any of these supplies, just drop me a line and I'll do my best to answer them!


  1. Thanks so much for this very informative list. Definitely not too long. So glad I stopped by on woyww

    1. Thank you Pat! I'm glad you found it useful!

  2. thank you so much. I have the answer to my white pen dilemma!

    1. You're very welcome!! I know that good white pens are sooo hard to find! I think I've spent a small fortune on trying them. I'm glad you found this useful. :)


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