I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite art (and writing) supplies. Like a lucky pair of mismatched dirty socks that, when worn, inexplicably lead to sports success these are my personal favorites because they help me forget about the materials and focus on creating.
Before I go any further I want to disclose that I’m an affiliate with Tombow and Arteza and will include my affiliate links in this post. I sought them out because I have a preference for their products and had planned a supply post in which I wanted to include links to their product sites. I have ordered directly from Tombow and had an excellent experience. My Arteza acrylics I’ve ordered through Amazon but I’ve since learned that sometimes the prices on the Arteza site are better. Phew. I’m not one for the hard sell, I honestly love the products I’ll be mentioning here but as you read on I hope you will also understand that I think that everyone has preferences for certain supplies and although quality and affordability are factors there’s an additional level of comfort necessary for any supply to become a personal favorite. These are mine.
My number one supply is and has been for many years Pentel’s Hybrid Technica Gel Pen. I have been journaling daily for 10 years and I refuse to use any other pen. I used to use any number of pens for journaling because I couldn’t afford anything fancier but often found that lengthy journaling sessions were annoying. Once I found the Hybrid Technica I realized that it wasn’t that I couldn’t focus but that uncomfortable grip, inconsistent ink and other subtle factors were frustrating my creative process. Like I say, this is a bit like having a lucky pair of socks–it is possible to work with tools that are less than ideal and it is an act of self-sabotage to give up on creating because you don’t have ideal tools but it is also vital to keep searching if you find yourself frustrated with the tools you’re using. If you’re annoyed working with a particular material, no matter how highly recommended, keep looking!
From Pentel you can find the pens for $2.99 but you’ll need to pay for shipping if your purchase is under $40. On Amazon the price is variable but last I saw they were selling a single pen for $5.99. When I originally purchased mine I paid the $2.99 price at my local art store.
I used to use cheap composition notebooks and loose leaf paper to journal in from my teens through my late 20s on the heels of reading Anais Nin’s diaries I began to think of journaling differently and began investing in hardbound journals. It is painful to admit that a lot of my writing from my teens and 20s left me an emotional mess and I would often tear up writing and art I’d created because I was ashamed of my imperfections and struggles. Journaling and diary keeping is a journey toward truth. As people we often lie to ourselves along the journey because truth is painful but even within those lies we tell ourselves there are little bits of truth that shine forth and are undeniable. When I wrote on cheap paper I felt comfortable destroying what I had made because it seemed okay to do. They weren’t things I wanted to keep and having permission to see them as easily disposable made it simple to fall into a cycle of writing, being disappointed in what I wrote and giving up entirely on it. Anais’ diaries are a journey into this process. She’s incredibly vulnerable but also deviously tries to hide the truth from everyone, including at times herself. She’s a must read for anyone wanting to seriously keep a journal not as much because of the moments where she’s insightful, salacious or interesting but because of the many more moments when she’s boring, self-centered and difficult to love. What her work teaches is that these explorations are how you discover those few quotable lines from your life among the many words you don’t even want to revisit for yourself. For 10 years I’ve been using Peter Pauper Press journals, I prefer the oversize because it allows my words to flow easily. I find the medium and small size to be confining for my type of journaling (I try for a daily minimum of three pages but definitely don’t stick to that religiously). I like the small size for taking along while traveling because it makes it easy to jot down quick notes. The oversize are $16 on their site but depending on which covers you like you’ll find them down to $12 on Amazon at times.
During my search for the perfect journaling pen I discovered Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I fell in love and began slowly buying every color (they’ve recently released several more that I don’t have). The pens are $3.19 through Tombow, I’ve seen them individually for $5+ on Amazon and they are cheaper if you get them in sets or at Michaels when there’s a coupon. What attracted me to them was the buttery quality of the ink and the vibrancy of the colors. I found them in my local art store in 2013 and had never heard of them–now I see them everywhere on Instagram. Although I wasn’t sure how I would use them I bought them and over time I’ve found that I prefer using them as watercolors because certain shades are just stunning once you add water. I ended up purchasing their Recycled Pencils and Irojiten pencils last year through their site without trying them out because I had an inkling that the colors would be just as yummy as the Dual Brush Pens. I was not disappointed. They also have my favorite pencils for drawing and sketching. Which is why I requested an affiliate link for Tombow
I’d been wanting to get into acrylic painting for awhile and did a little bit of research on brands but I hadn’t heard of Arteza yet when I purchased their 60 piece set during a Black Friday deal on Amazon. It was entirely the price and the positive reviews that sold it for it. I wasn’t sure if I’d like them and was nervous because they were so affordable (same thing with their canvases) but after working with their products for a month I fell utterly in love. I even tried a couple other brands but I love the way it feels to paint with it and I love the color. After exploring other brands I’ve repurchased from Arteza because I just love working with their acrylics, I find them a joy to paint with. The best thing is that they’ve started selling the colors individually which resolved my complaint about having to buy a full set to rebuy colors I liked. And as such I inquired about an affiliate link: Shop ARTEZA Paints now!
I’m also developing new favorites but these are my must have supplies that help me get in the zone and that I find delightful to work with. There are many resources for investigating the quality of art products which I think are important up to a point. Lightfastness, archival and other technical specs are important when you’re thinking about the longevity of your art but I think it’s easy to get lost in thinking about your art as a product and forgetting about the feeling of creating art. There’s a physical connection with your work and your supplies are the medium through which you interact and translate all those abstract thoughts your brain has floating around. I hope I’ve helped you in your journey to finding the right supplies for you and leave me a comment with your favorite art supplies and why you love them.