Rebecca's Favorite Supplies & Tools

Absolute Top Favorite Supplies:

  • Signo Uniball Pen in white

  • Acrylic Ink in white

  • Matte Medium

  • Art Journals

  • Hand Sanitizer

 

Substrates:

  • Canvases and Canvas Boards – I prefer the gallery-wrapped canvases because it eliminates the need for a frame

  • Wood – cradle boards, MDF pieces, even wood chunks, can be painted upon

  • Paper – as a substrate, I prefer heavy watercolor paper.  The cheaper brands are great for making journals, and for working with mixed media and collage.  If I was using only watercolor for painting, I would probably stick to the higher end papers (ex: Arches or Fabriano)

  • Vintage Books/Paper – I use a LOT of vintage paper in my collages, but I have also found that I LOVE working in vintage books (using them as art journals).  The paper in each book really makes a difference, but it is a lot of fun to experiment with!

  • Art Journals – I love to practice new techniques in a journal, or create practice-layouts in my journals.  I even occasionally journal in my journals.  My favorite journals right now are ones that I’ve made myself.  I either make journals out of thick watercolor paper, or I make junk journals out of literally any paper I can find. 

  • Fabric 

    • I paint upon silk and prefer to recycle silk I find at thrift stores and garage sales.  Thrifted silk usually comes in the form of shirts, dresses, and sometimes other things like bedding, nightgowns, curtains

    • Canvas can be bought art stores, fabric stores and sometimes thrifted

    • Linen can also be bought at art stores, fabric stores, and sometimes thrifted

 

Gesso – a great base for painting, drawing, collage, but also adds a wonderful, light cloudy look or softens the look of other paints or surfaces (especially when used with a brayer).  I also use it with stencils for a slightly raised effect

 

Matte Medium / Matte Gel – I use this all the time as a glue for collage, but I also use it to seal surfaces or mediums like stabile all pencils (but it will activate water-soluble media, so you have to be careful it doesn’t smear)

 

Molding paste – wonderful for mark making or using with stencils.  All of the molding pastes are fun but I especially love the light molding paste because it’s light weight and easy to carve into when dry.

 

Acrylic paints – they are all fun to play with.  The higher the grade, the more pigmented they are but the inexpensive options can actually be quite lovely too in fact my favorite colors I use all the time are from Liquitex Basics and Amsterdam (titanium buff, titanium white, parchment, naples yellow light, opera pink?).  You can’t go wrong with Golden Acrylics and I love how helpful their staff is!

 

Acrylic Inks: Liquitex, Sennelier, and Amsterdam are most easily found.  Personally, I love the colors of the liquitex inks, but I have started using a few Senneilier and I love their applicator because it makes lovely, fine lines (I occasionally use the applicators to apply the inks directly to surfaces).  The inks can act a lot like watercolor, which is fun to play with. And my favorite supply is white acrylic ink (any brand)!!! I LOVE how you can use it to add lovely drips and drops to your painting, plus when spread thin, it becomes translucent and cloud-like.  Softening the look and lines, giving a misty-looking quality.

 

Baby Wipes – I find that I prefer the standard ones (rather than the ones made for sensitive skin).  Probably the cheaper the better!  The more alcohol they have, the better they will be at removing paint etc from your hands!

 

Hand Sanitizer – this is one of my all-time favorite items!  Yes, you can use it for sanitizing your hands, but did you know you can use it to remove acrylic paint/ink for most things?  For example – I use it to remove paint splotches on my computer. 

  • I also use it to lift acrylic paint off of a painting if I made a mistake or just didn’t like what I did.  Use a cotton swab, dip it in sanitizer, gently rub on the paint you want to lift, once the paint has lifted, use another swab dipped in water to neutralize the sanitizer

 

Watercolor Ground – white is great for the standard background, but I also love the clear ground which adds a bit of tooth without adding color, and the pearl? Ground adds a lovely luminescence to paintings

 

Watercolor paints – at this point, I am mainly using Danial Smith Watercolors.  They have a wonderful selection of colors and they are really nice, quality paints.  But I have a few Winsor & Newton, M. Graham, as well as some inexpensive metallic watercolors to play with.

 

Pens

  • Signo Uniball Pens – I prefer white and occasionally use black or blue.  They are not waterproof so they are usually the last thing I add to a painting (although I have sealed them with workable fixative when needed – but they sometimes fade a bit when the fixative is applied).

  • Micron Pens – they are awesome for their super-fine tips… but you have to be VERY careful with them as their tips bend easily and clog even easier (so writing on top of mixed media may damage them). 

  • Zebra Pens – a bit hard to find, they are basically a ball-point pen that can write on almost anything. And they write upside down and when wet??

  • Colored Pens – I like the Tombow dual brush pens because they have a brush tip as well as a hard, medium-tip on each pen.  Plus you can buy them in sets or buy individual colors (usually at art stores). And they are affordable (which is always a bonus for me!)

  • Sharpies – I always have a couple of these in fine and bold tips. 

Pencils

  • Stabilo-All pencils are a lot of fun.  They are water-soluble and make for great, smeary-effects when you work with them.  I sometimes use them for adding greys/shadows to mixed media pieces.  You do need to be careful because they can muddy your work pretty quickly

  • Standard #2 pencil are so handy

  • Colored Pencils – I love the looks you can get with Prisma Color Pencils and the fact that they are found in most craft stores and art stores is a major bonus.

  • Watercolor Pencils – Derwent has a lovely set of standard watercolor pencils that are fun to play with, but they also make Inktense pencils which act like watercolors while wet, but are permanent when dry.  Inktense can be used on most paper surfaces and many fabric surfaces as well.

 

Papers for Collage

  • Vintage Books

  • Vintage Sheet Music

  • Tissue Paper

  • Paper Napkins (peel apart the layers – they are usually 2 or 3 layers thick)

  • Paper Towels used for wiping brushes – save and use in collage!

  • Protective papers used for keeping your table surfaces clean (I use the blank newsprint that comes in Amazon boxes, as surface protectors and then when I take the old, dirty ones off, I keep them for collage)

Additional Items for Collage

  • Vintage Lace

  • Vintage Fabric Scraps

  • Vintage Ribbons

  • Cheesecloth

  • Burlap

  • Any fabric with texture

  • Buttons

  • Natural items (twigs, grasses, petals, leaves, etc)

Favorite Supplies

Favorite Tools

Absolute Favorite Tools

Brayer

Snap Brush

Plastic card

Glass Vases

 

Brushes:

  • Snap Brushes – super cheap, springy tips that usually stay pointed.  I use them for watercolors and for silk painting - if they wear out, I move them over to use with acrylics.

  • Billy Showel Brushes – lovely, springy brushes with fine points.  Currently I only use them for watercolors or maybe for silk painting

  • Hake brushes – I use them for applying large quantities of paint or dyes to surfaces

 

Ruler – I have two I use all the time, a clear plastic which I am always using to measure items, and an 18” metal ruler which I often use along with an x-acto knife to measure and cut items

 

X-acto or razer-blade knife – I have several types including an x-acto knife for detail work, and a box-knife for cutting thicker items

 

Cutting Mat – I have several, all of which I got at thrift stores.  They are awesome as surface protectors (to prevent paint from getting on your tabletop) as well as for cutting upon. I did learn the hard way. Store them flat! If they are stored standing, they will slouch and bend – which may become permanent.  I have one that I was able to mostly-flatten, but it will always have a bit of a bubble/bend in it – super frustrating!

 

Brayer – I have a tiny, 2-inch one, and many 4-inch ones, I probably even have a 6 or 8-inch one somewhere.  I find I use the standard 4” or the small 2” one the most.  I love applying paint to my substrates with these – they are wonderful at applying the paint smoothly over the surface or at applying it to the high points of a collage surface

 

Sticks and Chopstick – these are so much fun to use! I use all of them for mark-making.  You can get a wide variety of marks just by changing the angle or side of the stick you are using

 

Cell Phone – I use my camera on my cell to take pictures of my artwork in-progress as well as when it’s finished.  I find that I see more clearly when I look at my artwork in a picture.  When I look at a picture of my artwork I often see what is missing, or mistakes that have been made. Plus, I can turn my picture into black&white and get a much better idea of the value range (making sure to have enough darks and lights).  Plus it’s an easy way to post right away to social media

 

I-Pad – this is a tool I am still learning to use.  I have downloaded Procreate and there are a lot of useful functions in that program!  It’s not just for creating new art, but you can also edit your pictures and play with the art you’ve made (for example, you could use it to change your back ground… to help you pick out the best color for framing or mats, etc)

 

Glass Vases – These are one of my favorite tools!  I use them for organizing my supplies (I keep brushes, pens, pencils, etc in them) and I use them for my water containers.  I can easily tell when the water Is dirty, and I can easily see when I gotten the container clean!

 

Vintage Frogs – Ok, I have to admit… I have a frog problem! Lol.  I love these darned things!! I use them to organize some of my painting and drawing tools.  I use bigger ones for organizing drawing supplies, or for organizing my dye droppers

 

Saki Cups with Muffin Tins – I found my saki cups at a thrift store when I was trying to figure out what to use as a paint palette for silk dyes.  The ones I use are white ceramic and they fit perfectly into mini muffin tins which helps me to not only keep them organized, but also lets me move them around without knocking them over.  They hold a good amount of dye, which is important when painting on large pieces of silk

 

PVC Pipe & Connectors – inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to cut.  I have a bunch of different sizes of pipe lengths so I can easily make stretcher frames for any size silk painting I want to make

 

PVC Pipe Cutter – a super-easy way to quickly cut PVC pipe!  Much easier than a hack saw

 

Rubber Brush Pucks – Found on Amazon, these are wonderful little pucks with suction cups on the bottom. 

 

Sewing Machine – A must-have for a fiber artist!  Mine is an older Bernina, which I love!!  But I also have a newer Singer for working on items that I wouldn’t want to do on the Bernina (like sewing through paper)

 

Babylock Felting Machine – One of my favorite machines to play with.  This machine can felt almost anything.  You do have to watch the needles, because they are easy to break and hard to replace. There is a bit of a learning curve with them, but once you start, it’s hard to stop.

 

Travel Tool Case – I so love this case, that I bought two more of them!  They have well-thought-out storage organization.  I use one for carrying hand-stitching supplies, and one for nature journaling supplies.  I haven’t decided how to use the third yet.

 

Travel Hair Dryer – I use this to help dry art projects.  I also use it to help control the dyes when I am painting on silk

 

Palettes for Acrylic Paints – otherwise known as plastic meal/meat trays, I keep any clean tray and use it until it breaks.  I also use them to help organize small items for projects I’m working on (example: I use a small tray to hold text/words torn out of magazines for collage)

 

Watercolor Palette – my current watercolor palette is in the shape of a rose.  It has a ton of mixing wells of different sizes – which is perfect for me because I often mix my own colors but I don’t need large quantities of paint

 

Scissors

 

Table protection

Stencils

 

FINGERS! – I use them all the time

 

Pencil Sharpener

 

Q-tips

 

Baby Wipes

 

Art Journals – store bought and hand-made