The 10 Things I Can’t Live Without in My Studio

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Messy watercolor palette with many colors

Like many other artists I know, I have an unhealthy obsession with art materials.  I’ve tried just about everything over the years, but not all paints and pencils and paper are created equal.  Here’s a rundown of my top 10 favorite items that I make sure to keep on hand in my studio space.  Many of these items have been recommended by other artists I know, so I hope my suggestions will inspire you to try something new. 

Arches watercolor paper block from Amazon
I can’t function without a pad of Arches 140 pound hot press paper in my desk.  I prefer hot press paper as it scans much smoother than a more textured cold press and details are much easier to get just right on a smoother surface.  I scan all my work to edit and then add elements digitally, so a paper that scans well is an absolute must. 
porcelain paint palette with 7 wells
One of the best tools in my arsenal is a small porcelain palette with seven wells.  I’m the kind of gal that doesn’t like my food to touch and that goes double for my watercolors.  I love that you can add as much water as you need for a wash and there are plenty of wells for a full range of colors.  

daylight combo desk lamp by amazon
For the last two years I’ve been on the hunt for a great desk lamp for my studio.  I’ve tried so many different options and have read hundreds of reviews online trying to find the perfect solution.  It wasn’t until Katie Rodgers posted about her Daylight Combo lamp purchase that I ended my search.  It’s BRIGHT, lights a large work area and offers two light sources so you can customize your light source for the situation.
watercolor scrubber brushes
Watercolor is notoriously unforgiving but it doesn’t have to be.  I have a few tricks that I use to make small corrections to my paintings when small mistakes occur.  Scrubber brushes are one of them!  A delicate scrub with one of these brushes and you can pick color up right off the paper.  

winsor and newton india ink
I love how dark and opaque you can get your blacks with this india ink.  I have a few black watercolor tubes but none come close to the true black of India ink.

daniel smith extra fine watercolors
Daniel Smith is hands down my favorite brand of watercolor.  I love the way each color they produce is so individual.  They have a number of colors that have a separating effect as they dry which is so stunning in a finished painting.  This pack of primaries are the perfect introduction to tube paints and can yield every color when mixed.  

travel watercolor palette
This last year I had my first live travel event and had to lug around all my supplies which was such a struggle.  My paints live in a huge metal palette that is less than convenient for throwing in a tote and keeping everything in place.  I purchased this travel palette that completely folds up and seals for travel.  Highly recommended for any traveling artist. 

Epson Perfection V370 Scanner for watercolor
Those who scan their watercolors know the struggle of getting the scan to look the same as the original.  During my very first watercolor commission, I realized the scanner I was using had been washing out the lightest values, making the end product look unprofessional.  I bought an Epson Perfection and have never had an issue since.  THE scanner for scanning artwork. 

Prismacolor ebony graphite pencil from amazon
My paintings always start with a detailed drawing and I have been using these Ebony graphite pencils from Prismacolor since I was in high school.  You can get such a great range of values from this one pencil, including perfect black.

Tombow Mono Zero eraser for erasing details
This eraser changed my life, however dramatic that sounds.  Erasing with precision is so easy with this guy!

I have compiled a full list of all my favorite supplies that you can find on my Amazon Influencer page as well as the new Toolbox section on my website.  Happy shopping!



by mlekoshi