I’ve been getting quite a few questions on Instagram lately about what supplies I use so this post will outline what art supplies are my favorite.
Here is the short version:
Watercolor paper This is the watercolor I work on when I’m doing the backgrounds for my illustrations. I like it because it is nice and thick and it has a nice texture to it.
Prismacolor Pencils These are sold in all sorts of packs. I would suggest if you are just starting out to get the 36 or 48 pack and then buy them individually from there.
Micron Ink Pens These are an absolute must. I go through almost a pack a week… (I sound like a smoker)
Martha Stewart Glitter: here and here are some great options (yes all three of those are on my wish list…I mean neon glitter?!? Um yes please). I have the 24 pack which is more glitter than anyone would know what to do with and it is amazing. I couldn’t find it online but it is in stores everywhere. You can also buy them individually but I recommend staying away from that because then you have way too much of one color.
My latest work (that includes the ballerinas, skyline and any handwriting) has been on an iPad. The app I use is called Paper by 53. It is free to download and then you can buy the different pens and tools that let you blend endless color options. I was very apprehensive at first to draw anything on it because I hate working on computers. I call myself a “designer” now but it is a stretch for me because I don’t have any skills in Photoshop, Illustrator or any other programs like that. The paper app was a game changer for me because it cut out about half of the process for me as far as drawing and uploading my work goes because of their rewind feature that lets you easily erase the mistakes you made. It is safe to say I am obsessed with this app and I highly recommend it for drawing and concept sketches. I also know people use it for note taking, floor plan layouts, making charts and graphs…really the possibilities are endless. You can use your finger to draw on it but I use a stylus which is much better. 53 just came out with a “pencil” which is a stylus that does amazing things like blending and erasing so I will be putting that on my Christmas list. When you’re done with your illustration, you can export the image right to your camera roll without the off-white background and it is all ready to go onto blogs, Etsy shops and ready to be printed. It’s a dream. Okay, it totally sounds like I’m getting paid to say this stuff but I promise you, I’m not, the app just fascinates me.
When I work on actual paper, I draw on super thick drawing paper and sometimes I draw on certain watercolor papers because they have a texture to them that I like to work on. I sketch on much lighter, cheaper paper but thickness is important to me for final pieces. I press hard when I draw and I don’t like the colored pencil to have a transparent look to it so the paper needs to be able to withstand that. I also layer a lot of color and thin paper will tear if you do that. I work strictly in colored pencil. It is by far my favorite medium. Although it is very time-consuming, it allows for intricate details and a lot of control. I use Prismacolor pencils and I would say they are a must have if you’re going to be working in colored pencil. They almost melt together on the page and it makes blending so much easier.
That’s all for now. I’m always happy to answer any questions about materials because I stocked a few of my favorite fashion illustrators to figure out what their methods were. I can still remember my senior year of college tweeting at Katie Rogers of Paper Fashion to ask her how she got the shade of blonde hair she did and I was ecstatic when she responded that it was a hint of light blue. I still use that trick to this day.
Thanks for reading. xoxo,
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.