Of late, I have been receiving plenty of queries regarding the materials I use for creating all of my artwork. Since I don’t stick to a particular style of art, I use a variety of stationery for every style I work on. I will be listing each and every tool, stationery, the material I use and where you can get them from. All the things I use can be found at your local stationery store or at the usual online stores.
Most of the materials I mention in this post are available online on Amazon, Flipkart, Hindustan Trading Company or at your friendly neighbourhood (or city) stationery store(s).
Doodling, Sketching & Drawing
When I got into doodling, drawing mandalas and sketching, I started out with pencils and then graduated out to pens. Over the years I have used multiple brands of pens, papers and many other art supplies and still keep my eyes open for anything new that comes out. Here are the most common ones I use almost on a daily basis:
- Staedtler Pigment Liners (Black and Colour)
- Sakura Pigma Microns (The complete black set and the primary colours set)
- Faber Castell Artist PITT Pens
- Copic Multiliners (Expensive stuff this, so if you are a beginner I wouldn’t recommend you splurging money on this. I got this set as a gift from a friend)
- Stabilo Point 88 Pens
- Rotring Isograph Pens (Pricey pens, but useful for intricate detailing. Get it if you see yourself drawing intricate doodles, otherwise, it really isn’t necessary)
- Sharpies (The popular sketch pen brand; amazing pens, super expensive here, so if you know someone who is coming from abroad, bribe them to get you this :P)
- Sakura Gelly Rolls (Gorgeous on black paper, these gel pens come in fluorescent colours that are an absolute treat to draw with)
There are many other brands (Pelikan, Schneider, Schmincke) which come out with pens you can use for doodling, drawing mandalas, sketching; the ones I have mentioned here are the ones I use frequently in most of my works. If you think I have missed any brand, do let me know in the comments below 🙂
Paper and Sketch Pads
Ah paper! You don’t need to start of with real expensive sheets of paper at all. In fact, till date, I don’t use fancy paper at all. The only investment I made were on Moleskine sketch pads, because I had to give them a shot after hearing a lot about them. Mentioning below are a few of the papers and pads I would recommend using.
- Moleskine Sketch Pads – Beautiful small and pocket sized notebooks, but a little on the pricey side of things.
- Regular A4 paper – You can use these to practice your basic shapes, small doodles and experiments.
- Brustro Artist Sketch Book
- Bianyo Black Paper Sketch Pads (ideal for drawing and doodling with gelly roll pens which I have mentioned above)
- Fabriano 120 or 200 GSM sketch pad
- Strathmore 400 Series Sketch Pad
- Fabriano Spriral Bound Sketch Book – Landscape (A4)
- Chart or Cardstock paper from your local stationery store will be ideal for big drawings and mandalas.
Watercolour and Gouache Painting
When I got into painting, I was absolutely clueless about which brushes, paints and papers to use. Luckily, I happen to have a mother who worked (and still works) with watercolours, so she gave a few ideas on what I could use. I started and still use inexpensive paints for all my paintings (except the times I steal my mother’s expensive watercolour set). Mentioned here are few of the supplies I use/used to use (but now don’t) for my watercolour and gouache artwork.
- Camel Artist Watercolour Tubes
- Sakura Watercolour Pan Set
- Faber Castell Artist Watercolour Tubes
- Daler Rowney Artist Gouache Paints
- Daler Rowney Watercolour Tubes
- Grumbacher Artist Watercolour Pan Set (happens to be the mothership’s expensive watercolour set which I “borrow” sometimes)
- Winsor and Newton Artist Paint Tubes (used it, don’t use it now because, well come on, it’s expensive)
- Daniel Smith Watercolours (I see you guys rolling your eyes there but hear me out; I tried one tube of it, which happened to be my mother’s, again and after checking out the price, decided never to use it anymore. Unless maybe when I become a millionaire or something.)
There are so so many brushes out there it does get confusing to select the best ones suited to your needs. I don’t really go with really fancy brushes (unless I am rummaging through my mom’s collection). I use simple plain ones and they get my job done easily. The need to use super fancy, expensive, squirrel hair (oh come on! Seriously, squirrel hair?) brushes doesn’t arise for me and for the kind of artwork and illustrations I create.
- Faber Castell Synthetic Round Brush Set
- Sakura Water Brushes (does the job perfectly)
- Some locally sourced huge round and flat brushes (I found them in my local stationery store at a real cheap price)
- Winsor and Newton, Princeton brushes – These all belong to my mother, so I just happened to try them out. Obviously, they are super awesome, but for my needs of creating simple fun artwork, it really isn’t required.
Watercolor requires the use of heavier paper to hold the amount of water you use for your paintings. Any paper over 220 gsm (grams per square meter) works, but for paintings which need a lot of washes, uses papers upwards of 300 gsm. Watercolor paper come in 3 forms: Rough, Hot Pressed and Cold Pressed; Hot Pressed paper has a real smooth texture and can be used for light watercolor paintings and gouache paintings. Cold Pressed (sometimes called NOT) paper has a beautiful texture and is the perfect paper for every kind of watercolor painting. For even more stronger texture and water absorption, you can choose Rough papers.
I use the following papers to work on my watercolour and gouache artworks:
- Brustro 300 gsm A5 sheets (For compositions like small illustrations, illustrated lettering, brush lettering, bookmarks and more)
- Khadi Papers – I got my hands on these pretty recently and I can’t wait to try them out. These papers are super heavy (about 440 gsm) and have gorgeous texture to them. If you are a fan of textured paper and the effects it creates when painted on, these are for you.
- Strathmore 300 Series Watercolour Natural White Medium & Smooth Grain 300 GSM Paper – 15 sheet watercolour pad.
- Fabriano Studio 300 gsm Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper Blocks.
- Handmade paper – locally sourced from a market where I stay. It has an amazing texture but I found it unable to hold water for heavy wash based paintings.
Ah! Everyone seems to be getting into this these days. Which has inundated me with questions on what pens to begin with and how to start (I am overwhelmed by the response, thank you guys!). There are quite a few pens out in the market which you can get your hands on for lettering. Below is a list of pens that I have used, tried and continue to use for all my lettering projects:
- Add Gel Brush Pens (the best for beginners)
- Camlin Brush Pens (Beautiful broad tip makes it a joy to use)
- Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens (was gifted this set of pens and the first pens I used to get into lettering)
- Sakura Brush Pens
- Faber Castell Artist Brush Pens
- Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens
- Tombow Fudenosuke – Hard and Soft Tip (Pricey pens, but recommended for beginners)
- Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (you get some beautifully textured lettering with these pens)
- Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pens (Don’t think about getting these pens until you are either a really rich person or can bribe somebody who is coming from out of the country. I got these pens as a gift from the family. To be more specific, by bribing my mother.)
- Sakura Water Brush (useful for watercolour brush lettering)
There sure may be other pens that I haven’t had the shot at trying it. If there is a brand you think is worth checking out, do mention it in the comments below and I will definitely give it a try.)
As for paper, you can use regular old A4 sheets to practice your drills. If you have a good quality notebook (mentioned above) you can use that too for your practice. You can also make use of tracing paper (butter paper, whatever you call it) to make multiple trials and iterations of your lettering.
Ultimately, it’s not about the really expensive paints or pens or paper you use that will give you the best efforts. It is the patience and the will to learn and constant practice that will get you places. Start out with simple materials, keep practicing, and as you gain prowess, start investing in new materials. Don’t buy materials just because someone decides to show off a new set of paints, pens or papers. Buy and use whatever you are comfortable with using