You will need a full range of graphite pencils to practice your tonal work in graphite e.g.4H- 8B
Different brands of pencils give different results, and some are much softer and grainier than others. I use the green Faber Castell pencils, working mainly with H, 2H & 3H
Soft putty eraser. I use the Faber Castell putty erasers as they are the softest. They also come in a range of colours, so when you see it getting too grey, when it is time to get a new one!
Vinyl eraser (the Tombow Mono Eraser is brilliant) https://www.tomboweurope.com/en/eh-kur83-mono-zero.html
Black fineliner pen (waterproof ink) size 0.05
I like the Uni Pin pens but any brand is good
Watercolour round brushes (sizes 0,2,4) sable OR synthetic
A brush with a good point on the tip is essential!
My favourite brushes are-
Winsor & Newton Series 7 miniature rounds. They are pricey but so reliable.
An alternative would be the Rosemary & Co. spotters. They are a little more affordable and quite good. https://www.rosemaryandco.com/watercolour-brushes/pure-kolinsky-sable/pure-kolinsky-spotters
Interlon brushes. These synthetic brushes have an incredibly fine tip. They were designed for painting dentures but are increasingly popular with botanical artists http://www.bestfromjapan.com/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=15946
I love these Japanese brushes from Pigment https://bit.ly/2MbP2oW
A flat/filbert brush is recommended for flat washes and blending (size 2,4) I have just bought the Pro Arte Prolene Plus size 2 and am very impressed at the price and quality.
A small flat stiff brush is strongly recommended for lifting. The watercolour eradicator brush from Rosemary & co is superb https://www.rosemaryandco.com/acrylic-brushes/new-acrylic-ranges/eradicator-brush
Hot Pressed watercolour paper 300gsm Size A3 (11”x 17”)
- Canson Moulin du Roy HP is great for practicing on and affordable.
- Saunders Waterford HP, Arches HP are good but more expensive options
Computer paper for sketching
Tracing paper Size A4 (8.5”x 11”)
I prefer hardbound sketchbooks as you can do a double-spread across the two pages, and you are less tempted to rip out pages if it goes wrong. Paper quality varies greatly in sketchbooks, but the Stillman & Birn zeta series is excellent https://www.stillmanandbirn.com/zeta.html
Choose a palette that has a wide area for mixing. A white plate or tile works really well. I use the fold-up plastic palettes as they can be pinned to my upright easel and the partitioned sections keep the paints clean.
Clip-on, hand held or headset. I use a goose necked clip-on magnifier with a 5” lens that clips onto my desk as I prefer handsfree. The magnification is only 2x as I find any stronger affects my eyes. https://amzn.to/2za3Mm2
Daylight lamps are a great way of illuminating your subject. I also use a second light for my work for when natural light is poor. There are many options available if you google ‘Portable Daylight Lamp’. Choose an LED light (e.g. https://amzn.to/2su4hAv ) as the bulbs do not emit heat which can cause your plant to wilt!
OPTIONAL- I prefer to work upright because it helps reduce neck and back strain. Desktop easels are affordable and fold up flat when not in use. It is possible to work flat on a table. The Blundell harling A2 desk easel is a good starter easel https://amzn.to/2MAlIbS
Found in most pharmacies/drug stores and very cheap. Used to wet your paints and save your brushes. It can also be used to revitalize a tired plant that has started to wilt before it’s portrait is done.
- Cloths (old shirt or cloth handkerchief) are better than kitchen towel
- Water containers (jam jars)
- Ruler (plastic)
- Craft knife
- Re-usable putty (blu-tack/ power-tack) has infinite uses in a studio
- Gooseneck selfie-stick for holding subjects at the best angle for painting (see image below)
The paints listed below are the ones that I use most often. Feel free to use whatever paints you already have, and you are welcome to substitute any of the paints with an alternative. Pans or tubes are both good. Make sure that you use Artist Quality paints, not student quality (e.g. Cotmans) as student quality paints tend to be chalkier.
I use mainly Winsor & Newton and Schmincke, but any good brand is acceptable.
I will be discussing colour in a lot of detail in the Colour Module
Holbein Jaune Brilliant 1
Lemon Yellow (Nickel Titanate)
W&N Perylene Maroon
W&N Cobalt Violet OR Schmincke Purple Magenta
W&N Perylene Violet
|Optional- Designers White Gouache
- Drawing Template with circles and squares for colour charts
- Vernier Digital Calipers – a useful and fun tool to have. There is a wide range available but don’t spend more than €10
- Plastic water floral tube- useful and very cheap
- Ruler (metal for cutting paper)