My Favorite Tools
Basic Journal / Idea-Keeping Tools
I have a serious addiction to these. This is where I keep all my notes, my thumbnails, my ideas, my recipes and measurements. Basically, if I want to keep track of a piece of information, this is where it goes. I have several in various colors for various projects, and like both the smooth and the “iconic” embossed covers. They sell out regularly so keep checking back on Amazon to get the color you want!!
For writing in the planner. I don’t use these for art because they’re not permanent or acid-free, but for writing, notes, and that sort of thing, I heart them very, very much. I have two, a pink one (with blue ink) and a blue one (with black ink). I know. Confusing! It wasn’t planned. :-)
Not as eco as a dip fountain pen, but it does at least somewhat minimize the waste!!
Sketchbooks / Paper Pads
I use one of these every day for doing my daily challenges, sketching out ideas, thumbnailing, doodling. I like the 9”x12” size, it’s big enough to be useful but small enough to be portable. The paper is decent but not overly thick so you can get 100 pages in a reasonable sized book. My first hand-lettered pieces were all done in a book like this one.
Once I started working with more paints and painting with ink, and working at larger sizes, I started using a mixed media sketch book from Canson. For working with paints/inks and larger-size drawings. The paper is super heavy so you can go to town with large coverage of ink or paint and it won’t warp or bleed. I regularly use two different sizes, the 11 inch by 14 inch and the 14 inch by 17 inch.
Once I started working BIG and wanting that super-smooth finish for doing inking and hand lettering, I started using bristol board. The vellum side of the paper allows the pen to smooth along with fewer bumps and bruises along the way (at least in theory). Also a heavy paper that can handle paints and inks. I love using this at biiiiig sizes! Right now I’m using a 19” x 24” size most often.
Rules & Rulers
For those bigger pieces or when I want a really precise line. I love my Westcott because it’s stainless steel and has a cork back so it won’t slip.
Sakura Pigma Micron & Graphic Pens
These are the workhorses of my art supplies. I use them for EVERYTHING. They last forever, have archival quality ink and the pen nibs are precise sizes so you know what width of line you are getting.
I ink with them and fill in, too. I recommend starting with a pack of assorted sizes so you can try them out and find what you like. I usually use the Micron 08 (.50mm) for most lines. It’s hefty but still precise. If I need more detail or fine line I’ll go for a Micron 05 (.45mm) or a Micron 03 (.35mm). For filling in spaces and inking inside of letters and the like, I love the Micron Graphic 1.
Pens / Pencils / Erasers
I use these for sketching and for outlining all of my pieces. I love these things. I just love a good #2 pencil anyway, but these have the plain wood surface that just feels good in my hand. My favorite.
I learned about these erasers in the 1980’s when I took a drafting class (for my then-major of engineering). They are sooooo good. They get all the pencil off and don’t rub away any of the paper. Must have.
Looooove this thing! For tiny details of white on black you can’t beat it. Completely opaque white on black paper or over black ink, it’s amazing.
For filling in larger spaces!! A great quickie tool when you need to cover some ground but don’t want to bust out the full-on ink bottles.