Supplies & Materials Overview


___ Pencil Range from a dizzying array of numbers and brands. For quick sketching F/HB/2B/or 4B. To refine details, H/2H or 4/H. If you later decide to pursue highly rendered depictions and tonals…consider buying a boxed set. Pencils vary widely in quality but being relatively inexpensive, experiment with brands and manufacturers.

___Sharpener Small hand held canister style sharpener. Option: Small battery sharpener.

___Emery Board Small, free, portable and functions to brighten the pencil tip.

___Eraser The soft and pulley kneaded leaves no crumbs to sweep away and can be kneaded into specific shape for erasure precision.

A white vinyl eraser erases cleaner however. Avoid colored erasers and any version sitting atop a pencil.

___Sketch Books/Pads Papers labeled 'drawing' are a heavier weight than 'sketching'.

___ Ruler Clear.
___ C-Thru Ruler  Has gridded markings.

___Hand Lens Reveals the glorious details you would miss with just the naked eye.

If working in pen, add to the above BASICS list, the following:

___Pen or Pen Set Black, waterproof, fade resistant, archival i.e. Micron, Pilot, Zig, Sakura, Staedleter, Pitt, etc.

Sketch Books/Pads For optimum pen movement across the paper, without skips or drags, look for descriptive words like 'hot press' or 'vellum surface.'


___ WATER SOLUBLE PENCIL Dissolves in water for a lovely subtle grey wash. Available in light, medium and dark. Or packaged with all 3 greys. This medium is lovely over pen & ink.

If working in water soluble graphite pencil, add them to the above BASICS and PEN lists.

If working in wc, add to the above BASICS list, the following:

___Watercolors Pans or tubes for indoor work. A very affordable option is the child’s ‘ Prang’ set. Limited color selection, but these pan colors are rich and creamy and quite serviceable for beginners.

___Pad Any paper weight hefty enough and/ or indicated as ‘suitable for water media.’ A watercolor pad is also an option. Hot press or ‘grain fin’ is a perfect surface for detailed drawing PLUS wet media. Available via online art suppliers but this surface not as readily available in retail stores.

___Watercolor Block A pad of watercolor pages glued together at the sides eliminating the need to stretch your watercolor paper prior to painting.

___Brush (1) small and (1) medium watercolor 'round.' Must come to a fine tip.  A 'flat' can come in handy.

___Palette Many options. Small metal or plastic palettes are susceptible to flipping over outdoors or 'on location' and making a mess of your page. Ceramic or porcelain palettes are sturdier and easy to clean. But heavier weight and could break. Rubber versions with tight Tupperware – like sealed lids are a fav.
Lidded palettes offers extra space for color mixing. Palettes are cheap. Experiment.

___Water Container Many options. For in classroom settings flat bottom, wide mouth containers are best ie Cool Whip type best for cleaning brushes. I like the look of a thick glass container in my home studio.

___Spritzer A wee sized mister to keep paints moist and workable. Or a medicine dropper.

___Jelly Roller Pen White 

 ___Rag [from above PEN].

If working in the new Watercolor Pencils or Watercolor Crayons, add to the above BASICS list and WATERCOLOR list the following:

___Pad  Compare brands and decide on the wc pad with the smoothest [ie hot press-like] surface. Not easy to find. But a rough surface paper will trap and scuff the wc pencil strokes, resulting in a child-like painting and you will abandon this fun and portable wc medium. A pad labeled bristol vellum is not a wc pad and not marketed to water colorist but is one you should give a try.

Ideal for building subtle glazes of color layers. New ‘open’ acrylics are formulated to stay wet and workable long enough for on location work. As a ‘teaching artist’ for Chroma’s Interactive professional acrylics, it is the brand I demo in, teach with, and use in my own work.

If you want to give acrylics a try, bring in acrylics and all the supplies listed in WATERCOLOR:

___Miscellaneous - Plastic knives; Coffee stirrers; 1 or 2 participants bring small hand- held hair dryer + extension cord; Disposable foam plates or trays for mixing;

WORKSHOP TECHNIQUE: PASTEL [Soft pastel/ often referred to as chalk pastel].
In stick, pencil, crayon form and the new ‘pan’ pastels. Few think of pastel as a water soluble medium but when wet with just a damp brush, are lovely. Especially for rendering delicately colored specimens.

If giving pastels a try, add to the ‘BASICS’ above, the following:

___Pastels Pastelists are advised to buy as many as possible. Sure, if you can afford the indulgence. Tip: Buy a set with the smallest sticks and you get more colors.

___Pastel Pad or other suitable for dry media. [ie 9 x 12 Strathmore charcoal pad, assorted tints]. Slip sheets of glassine or waxed paper between the sheets before arriving.

___Chamois/Cotton Balls/ Cotton Pads/Q tips; Old Brushes for blending.

___Drafting Tape Preplaced on papers edges help keep fingers clean.

___Vine Charcoal Sticks

___ Rag Kept damp inside a ziplock bag to keep finger tips clean.

In addition to the ‘BASICS’ above, include the supplies under ‘PEN.’

___Colored Pencils Avoid kiddie quality sets. Professional or Artist grade cps will be soft and creamy with uniform color and texture. Buy a dark grey to add depth to your darks, a creamy neutral to blend, and a white to lift brights.

___Blending Colorless blender pencil from cp manufacturers; Soft T shirt-like scrap.

___Sketch Book For advanced artists seeking the optimum in blendability and layering, look for descriptive words like hot press or bristol vellum or just a vellum surface. Likely only at online sources… not at local art & craft retailers.