Industrious Illustrating #6 – Supplies

Geez, how have I gone this long without posting about my supplies? I guess it’s better late than never.
(Despite the posting date, this is not an April Fools’ Day joke. Unfortunate that my Friday posting schedule would lead to this confusion.)

My handy-dandy traditional supplies which I have been using for years are alcohol-based markers (mainly Copics), Winsor & Newton Professional-grade watercolors, and Copic multi-liner ink pens. Layering alcohol-based inks and watercolors on top of each other leads to vibrant mixtures of opaque and transparent colors on the paper. I also sometimes use Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils (not pictured) for additional texture, as the wax-based pigments repel water and create a unique look on the paper.

In terms of paper, I currently mostly use Smooth Bristol Board and both cold-press and hot-press watercolor paper. Bristol Board is a semi-thick type of smooth paper that somewhat resembles cardstock, and it holds inks + pigments quite well. For heavier-duty paintings with multiple layers of watercolors, though, I use one of the watercolor paper textures. Cold press is rougher and has more of a visible texture to it, while hot press is smoother, almost like a thicker version of Bristol Board. I use Arches-brand watercolor paper, but honestly it doesn’t feel that much better than the Strathmore 400 Series. I also prefer using value-priced XL or 300 Series Bristol Board from either Canson or Strathmore because it’s more cost efficient than buying higher quality but far more expensive paper pads.

I actually used to create my digital artwork on a cruddy little Wacom Intuos S until this Monday, when its USB port decided to crap out on me and leave me without a digital tablet. I borrowed a much, much better Wacom Intuos Pro Medium from the Stamps ECHO equipment borrowing office so that I could finish some school assignments, and I’ll receive my own personal Wacom Intuos Pro Medium this weekend. While a tablet with a screen would feel more tactile and closer to the experience of drawing on paper, currently I would prefer to have a portable tablet which won’t break if I’m a little rough with it.
I would recommend this tablet to people who are serious about drawing (whether as a hobby or as a job) and are looking for something portable and sturdy. While the initial price tag might seem pricey (between 300 to 400 dollars on Amazon), trust me when I say that purchasing and refilling traditional supplies instead of just using a tablet will become much, much more expensive over time. Also, it’s very useful to at least know how to use digital media in today’s commercial art world. That’s why I started to actually use Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop after I started attending university.

That’s all for this week! If you have any more questions about the supplies I use or what I think of them, feel free to ask them in the comments section!


I'm Robin (he/they), a second year Art & Design student. I'm especially interested in eventually professionally creating artwork for entertainment such as animated films, books, and video games. I want to share my artwork with a wider audience using this blog, and I also want to open up a conversation about what goes into making illustrations and artwork.

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