Whether I’m working in my studio, travelling, or maybe one day, if I’m cast away on a desert island, there are a few essentials that I just have to have in my art kit. I love to use a mixed media approach in my painting and sketchbook work, layering colour and techniques to create painterly results.
I can’t be without oil pastels. I love the buttery, luscious texture and how quickly they can be used to apply colour to a page. My favourite at the moment are these by Sennelier which come in a gorgeous range of colours. If you’ve never used oil pastels do give them a try – my only word of advice is buy artist quality though. Cheaper pastels tend to be very hard and reluctant to give up their colour!
Paint has been a lifelong love and for me the most magical of all paint is watercolour. I try my hand at oils and acrylics, but I always come back to the fluid, intensity of watercolours. As I’ve used up the original contents of my paintbox I’ve replaced them with my favourite choice of colours. When a half pan is almost empty, I like to squeeze out a little tube colour into the plastic container. It’ll start to dry, but it’s simple to rehydrate and I find the tube colours are ideal for mixing up larger washes.
Last but not least, if I could only have three art materials, the final one would have to be water-soluble coloured pencils. I use them at the start of a piece of work for sketching out a rough drawing. Because they are soluble, as soon as I start to add watercolour, the lines bleed and merge with the wash becoming part of the painting. I also love to use them towards the end of a sketchbook page or painting to add final delicate details and fine, linear marks. My favourites are Derwent Intense, but I’ve also been experimenting with Graphitint for a softer approach. Any brand of water-soluble pencil will work in combination with watercolour paints so I’d encourage you to have a go if you have some.
Just those few simple materials could keep me happily occupied for months if not years! You can see how I use all of them in the latest DesignMattersTV video workshop called ‘Sketchbook Secrets: Painterly Pages’.
What are your favourite materials and media that you can’t be without?