Brushes, Palettes and Water Cups
1) Ceramic Palette: I've used many DIY palettes over the years (my favorite one is just buying a document frame and using the glass plate that comes with it!), but the difference is very visible (literally) when you choose a porcelain/ceramic one. You can see the effects in this video :) Plastic palettes are cheap and super easy to find, but over time it gets slightly annoying to mix your colors when the paint is always separating in smaller pools and overall breaking up your mixture again and again.
3) 2 Well Water Container: I couldn't find the exact one I use, but this is a second close!
5) Silicon Brushes: I use these to apply the masking fluid, so it won't damage the bristles of my real brushes. They work like a charm!
6) Brushes: To be honest, I don't really care about the brand that much. I have expensive ones from Winsor & Newton, but also a few others from the dollar store that I love just the same. With brushes, the best thing is to feel the bristles and make sure they are what you're looking for (soft and pointy for a good multi-purpose brush, for example). I couldn't find the exact ones I have, but this set and this one feel very similar.
7) Water Brushes: Not really a super fan of using water brushes for full paintings, but I'm not gonna lie, they're super handy sometimes! I specifically reach out of them whenever I make a mistake with water-based paints, so I can easily "erase" it and brush it off before it dries out completely. The extra time I save from washing away the away the paint with the actual brush I was using can be enough to fully get rid of messy non-wanted washes!
Watercolors, Gouache and Acrylic Paints
1) Cotman Watercolor Field Set: This set is the perfect beginner friend! It has great pigmentation and a basic set of colors to make anything you'd need! They look small, but actually last quite long!
2) Liquitex Acrylic Gouache: I tried these at first just because my local art supply store didn't carry Holbein tubes, but they were a very pleasant surprise! Yes, a lot pricier to begin with, but well.. they are 59mL bottles after all! Plus, the nozzle got me completely hooked! I totally love the control we have with these :) way less wasted paints!
3) Chalkola Acrylic Paints: If you paint quite small like I do, and are not comfortable with going for big boy tubes as we usually find around, these are actually a great alternative! I didn't know about them until the brand contacted me for a collaboration, but it was a happy painting experience for the price. If you feel like grabbing anything from them, my codes are "IVNA10" on their website, and "CHALKOLA10" on amazon for 10% off! Wohoo :-)
4) Arteza Gouache: I had really cheap tubes from Reeve's as my first gouache set, and decided to try out Arteza's. They have a good selection of colors for a decent price!
5) Holbein Acryla Gouache: They're so popular for a reason! Many reasons, in fact, right?! Such great quality paints, with stunning colors!
6) Ecoline Liquid Watercolors: Liquid watercolors are so practical for bigger paintings, or just for the days you don't feel like scrubbing lots of paint pans in general. I don't really love the quality on these (at least for the colors I got), and they are also NOT light fast, so be mindful when going for them. I'd recommend trying 1 or 2 separately to see if you really like it, and then slowly build up your collection.
7) Dr. P.H. Martin's Liquid Watercolors: They're the same exact liquid watercolor as the ones above, but a completely different experience! They're so so vibrant and smooth, in general they feel extremely high quality. They ARE light fast, so.. hooray!! :)
8) Kuretake Gamsai Tambi 24 Watercolor Set: Watercolors can be quite different, not only for coming in pans, tubes or liquid form, but also the ingredients/composition. Western/European watercolors behave very differently than Japanese ones, for example. The Kuretake Gamsai Tambi is known to be a more opaque type, with very vibrant and bright colors.
Left (Wet Media):
1) Canson XL Watercolor Paper: I don't really love the Canson XL series, but I feel like gouache is a more forgiving technique that doesn't. always require 100% cotton paper. If it's for watercolors, you'll know when you outgrow this one. I was very stubborn and used it for years just because it's cheap, but now it's crystal clear how bad the quality is for serious paintings. Go with your guts, try it, but just remember that there is so much more out there :)
2) Fabriano Artistico 100% Cotton Watercolor Paper (Hot Pressed + Cold Pressed): I will never be able to explain how different your experience is going to be when you go from cellulose to 100% cotton paper. Steve does a great job showing it all in this video right here. When the time comes and you're ready to take the jump, I'd recommend Fabriano Artistico and Arches.
Right (Dry Media):
1) Rendr Drawing Pad: I absolutely love the texture and feel of this paper! Extra bonus points for being perfectly bleed-proof and laying flat (when buying sketchbooks). I had been using the cheap Canxon XL Marker Paper, which has very transparent sheets, and I'd say the only downside to the Rendr ones are that they're so thick you can't really use a light pad to trace your sketches onto it.
2) Canson XL Mix Media Sketchbook: I feel like this is a great alternative for pencil sketches and colored pencils overall. There is some texture, and the paper feel quite thick, but I wouldn't really lay serious washes in it. A fun sketchbook to have, nonetheless.
3) Copic Sketchbook: Love this sketchbook so much! It ends up being a lot pricy, because you lose the back of whatever page you're painting on due to heavy bleeding (remember to use something in between pages to catch that or you'll end up with stains all over!). Other than that, the colors are vibrant and the texture is lovely!
Colored Pencil, Oil Pastels
1) Mungyo 36 Oil Pastel Set: Oil Pastels add such a fun texture to mixed media pieces, that's my favorite way of using them! That's why buing a medium set comes in handy, for sure you'll find the colors you're looking for :)
2) Pentel 25 Oil Pastel Set: I believe these are the cheapest you can find, but I still think they're good quality to add details.
3) Polychromos Colored Pencils: These are a lot stronger than Prismacolors for being a bit harder, and lovely as well! Just a little bit more expensive, but totally worth it!
4) Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils: My favorite colored pencils! They're soft and smooth, the texture and the lines are such a joy to work with! Will break a lot, though... I use them with a very short tip to save a lot of their life expectancy.. hahaha
1) Winsor & Newton Brushmarkers: The ink quality is definitely my favorite! The colors are vibrant but they have this matte effect that is so beautiful! I feel like the barrels are a bit too chunky, but still.. so good! Love them! Too bad they have such limited colors available.
2) Winsor & Newton Promarker: The same ink as the brushmarkers, but these don't have a brush nib :( On the good side, they have way more color choices.
3) Copic Sketch: The king of all markers, specially in price! Nothing beats Copics in the long run, because you can buy refills and reuse those barrels you like the most, which gives them extra mother nature points!
4) Copic Ciao: My dear favorite of all times! They have the perfect nib, the barrel feels light and super fun to use, and they are also refillable! Win win win!
5) Touch: I feel like these are close thirds as the cheapest options after the promarkers. They also have brush nibs! :) Couldn't find them online, but here are the cheapest brush markers around.
6) Posca: Perfect to cover anything up, add white details, and even paint unusual surfaces. Not a fan of the sound of the nib scratching the paper, but acrylic markers are so convenient.. :)
Erasers, Pencils, Shapeners, Misc
2) Faber Castell Kneaded Eraser: For gentle erasing, and softening roughs and sketches, these are your best friend!
3) Tgaal Pencil Sharpener: I absolutely love this sharpener! It comes with 5 different lengths, perfect for using up the most of your colored pencils while still having a perfect sharp tip.
4) Radar plastic Eraser Light: My favorite eraser! Very little dust, zero smudges, cute colors :)
5) Tihoo Desk Vacuum: At first I had bought desk top Henry for the loveliest experience of looking at his adorable face all day, but to be honest... he sucks at his job! On the other hand, this Tihoo one is perfect, it does everything I ever wanted on a desk vacuum (eats up eraser dust, pencil shavings, thread cuttings and pretty much any dust).
6) Derwent Electric Eraser: The electric erasers I tried were all a bit crazy (this one included), so I don't really use it a lot for erasing (when it decides to smudge things, it's gonna smudge BIG TIME and super fast, so be careful and make sure it's clean!). But.. I've found that the perfect use for it is to remove masking fluid :) works so well!
8) Pilot Color Eno Mechanical Pencil: It's so much fun to sketch with colorful lead! These are a less dirty/messy alternative to the col-erase pencils, and of course.. no need to sharpen! So handy!
9) Prismacolor Col-Erase Erasable Colored Pencils: They're so popular for a reason! They feel good, erase quite nicely and your sketch/painting ends up with this really cool undertone. No need to erase everything if you sketch lightly enough for it to blend in with the rest of the piece.