Even though I’ve taken digital illustration very seriously with Photoshop and Procreate, I’m forced to admit that I suffer from a terrible addiction that can take hold of me at any moment and make me abandon the entire Succession series in a second to run to my nearest supplier. Give me all the sellers of artist’s materials in every country. Believe me, I know them all, from Montreal to Paris and every website on the planet. Even as far away as Australia.

More colors, and more colors

I can’t settle for just one felt color, I need them all. And what can I say about inks, papers, watercolors, pens, pencils, the list goes on and on. In cases of extreme frustration or advanced depression, of the kind that assail us in May, after 6 months of winter, when it’s 2 degrees and hailing… some people buy ties or shoes, in my case it’s tubes of paint and pencils. Not necessarily more economical, believe me. The problem is that this represents a budget that I obviously don’t have. And since when is that a problem?

You can’t afford to buy cheap

That’s my dad’s old adage, and when I buy a medium, I tend to go straight for the mid- to high-end product, not because there’s nothing nice enough for me… although, on second thought… No, no, it’s mainly because if I decide to try something new, I go all out. It often takes a long time to think about it, but when I do… So in those cases, I’d rather wait… a little… not too long… and buy good quality rather than buy anything and then have to start all over again. So yes, I have quite a lot of equipment, but I swear I use it all.

So I’m going to try and pick my 5 favorite tools…. Well, it’s hard to choose just 5, but you don’t want me to list them all.

Watercolors

I’ve tried a few and my preference is for watercolors in tubes rather than cups. My favorite brand, but also the most expensive, is Daniel Smith. The colors are vibrant and I really like the granulation of some of them, which adds texture. I really like Windsor and Newton, my favorite color is Payne gray, which I use for shading and replaces the black I never use in watercolors. I really like Sennelier, which I buy when I’m in France.

Pens

Although I love drawing with pen and ink, it’s not always easy to carry them around. I’ve had a real passion for fountain pens ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always written with a fountain pen, and I still do. I often draw with my Lamy Safari with a broad nib and of course the irreplaceable Carbon Platinum with Carbon ink permanent ink. Pure delight. It glides over the paper, the black is deep, and it’s totally compatible with watercolors because it is permanent.

I also use pens, my favorites being Copic Multiliner, and Sakura’s very popular Micron Pen.

Copic markers

I’ve been building my collection for over 10 years, patiently one color at a time. There are over 350 of them, so I’d better be patient. They’re expensive, but they last a lifetime because they’re refillable and you can even change the tips. It’s magic! My favorites are the sketches with the brush tip. Unfortunately, I don’t use them often enough for my taste, but even under threat, I’ll never part with them (isn’t my Copic shelf built with my nimble little hands?).

Sketchbook

I’m not loyal to any brand when it comes to my sketchbooks. As long as the paper is thick enough for watercolors, I change regularly. It’s a special delight, when I finish a sketchbook, to go in search of the next one, to try out new kinds or brands recommended by illustrators I like. So of course there’s Stillman and Birn, the paper is super thick and smooth just the way I like it, and they open really flat which is really handy for drawing on two pages. And of course I really like Moleskine, but who doesn’t?

Watercolor paper

I’m totally sold to Fabriano Artistico (the purple one) hot pressed 300g/m2. It’s smooth and soft. I love it.

I said 5 but I’m adding a bonus:

Special mention to my stencils that I use in my creative journal pages, and also in my illustrations. There are all sorts of brands out there with very original stencils. My favorites come from Ranger ink, with Tim Holtz for the grunge side, Dina Wakley and Dyan Reavely for the girly and slightly wacky side etc.

….and another bonus:

My favorite colored pencils: Prismacolor Premier. The colors!!! The colors!

Okay, I’ll stop, otherwise this could go on for pages and pages. I’m telling you, it’s an addiction.

What about you? What are your favorite tools?

I hope you have a great, toolful and colorful week and I’ll see you next Thursday if you don’t mind.

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