Everyone has their preferred products, whether it is cleaning, beauty, or in my case, art supplies. Even as a kid, I remember only wanting to use Crayola crayons and markers. Now I have graduated to "big kid supplies,” but don't worry, they don't break the bank. Paints, paper, and brushes can add up fast, especially at fine art supply stores. I like to splurge on occasion when I am near one, but my go-to art supply stores for everyday needs are Michaels and Cheap Joe's.
Last year I switched to ceramic pallets, and y’all, I am never going back. Sure, the plastic ones are much cheaper, but the paint stains it when you go to clean them. So after a while, I want a fresh, bright white one and find myself throwing the plastic pallet away. The ceramic is considerably more pricey but cleans easily back to bright white and thus produces less waste and saves you money over time. I have two go-to sizes; one small that is great for painting on the road and a large one that stays in the studio.
I am a brush hoarder. I have cute ones that are themed like mermaid tales and unicorn horns and specialty brushes for specific techniques, but I honestly only use about three round tip Princeton Aqua Elite brushes. I love the handle's matte, smooth finish instead of the super slick, glossy handles of more traditional brushes, and the brush keeps its shape with no loose bristles.
I have tried many different paints and have found a set of watercolors from an off-brand works just fine when trying watercolor for the first time. If you want to step up your art supplies, my personal favorite for great pigmentation that seems to last longer and mix well are Winsor & Newton. I have been slowly changing my paints over to Winsor, but only as I run out of a color or want to try a new hue on a splurge.
I only use Canson watercolor paper. Paper can be expensive, and there are supposedly better ones. You have a hot press, cold press, ones with raw edges, and some with more texture. But for everyday painting and especially for paintings that will be scanned and digitized, this paper is perfect; minimal texture, and I love how the paint interacts with it.
Now remember, most importantly, my favorites as a "professional," if you can call me that, may not be in your budget. That is okay! Buy the cheapest kit you can and create something!
Photos by Erin Daniel Photography