This year, I’ve really taken the opportunity to dive into the creative realm and experiment with a handful of different brands and quality. And while there’s still more out there to test out, I have come out of this year with some favorites that I’ve been using consistently throughout the year.
Now let me preface this ENTIRE ARTICLE by saying… TOOLS DON’T MAKE THE ARTIST. The artist makes the tools. Getting the biggest and best quality materials will not cover up an inability to practice… trust me on this one.
BUT! If you ever feel ready enough to give some quality equipment a try, here are some of my favorite things that I’ve tangled with this year of 2018. This is not in a particular order, but I’ll try to separate them into sections according to the different areas of my blog and YouTube channel.
* There are affiliate links in this post. But don’t be alarmed. When you use my affiliate link to purchase your order, I receive a small commission with no extra charge to you. Using my affiliate links helps to show your support for my content. It is certainly not a requirement to use them in order to enjoy my blog, but if you do choose to use them, thank you so incredibly much!
The quality of her products, the paper, the styles, the colors, the everything about this company is just wonderful and only seems to get better every year! (click here get $10 OFF your FIRST PURCHASE with Erin Condren!*)
OnlineLabels Sticker Paper
For the people interested in printing stickers for personal use or commercial use, I feel like OnlineLabels is a great place to start. It’s a really good company with high quality sticker paper and so many choices to choose from! My personal favorites are the weatherproof paper for vibrancy and the matte repositionable paper for repositioning.
I think nearly every planner girl has been introduced to this pen at least once! And I’m pretty sure 99% of them have it in their pen stash. This is by FAR one of my favorite writing pens. I am partial to the thicker tip (there is also a 0.5mm size) because I like the bolder style.
Whenever I need a fine tipped, but colorful and beautifully smooth writing pen, I go with these.
These are the absolute BEST metallic pens that I, personally, have come across. They write very smooth and the shine they add to the page can spice up any spread!
I like them because of all the colors they come in, plus they have a writing tip, not just the chiseled, highlighter tip.
I’ve never really been one to experiment with erasable pens, but I must admit, I love using these pens on a brainstorming session!
YES! I got my Kate Spade Wellesley Planner and literally have not batted an eye to changing it out for something else. The material feels so good in my hands, and it suits my cash envelope system perfectly.
I mentioned Erin Condren merchandise before, but I thought this deserved it’s own spot. The Deluxe Monthly is the reason why I got into Erin Condren to begin with. I’ve been a customer since 2017 and so far have planners from each of the 3 years I’ve been following. The materials used, the styles and color choices chosen, it just makes it so easy to interact with this planner. (click here get $10 OFF your FIRST PURCHASE with Erin Condren!*)
I have been using crayolas since I first learned how to spell “color”. I just never really thought anything outside of those same ol crayola pencil boxes with the fancy sharpener built into the back. (you know the ones). Finally deciding to splurge on these “pricier” coloring pencils were the best thing I had ever done. Now, it should be noted that these are rivaled by the Faber Castell coloring pencils, but I tend to like the prismacolors more because they are much brighter and vibrant, but they’re more waxy.
I’ve actually JUST started using Daniel Smith watercolor paints but I am already in love! They have a very bold and bright pigment, and they blend and smooth out into my watercolor paper so well.
My first set of true watercolor paints. Technically, White Nights are kinda “student grade” paint. I suppose because of how affordable they are. But they definitely can rival some of the better professional grade paints. One thing I tend to dislike about the White Nights set is that they tend to dry with harsh ridged lines if you don’t blend it out enough. Unlike the Daniel Smiths, it just requires a little extra oomph! But overall, this is a REALLY great set to start out with. Especially if you love bright and vibrant colors like I do.
I think I should also note what watercolor paper I use, and it’s generally the Canson brand. I love how thick it is and it absorbs my watercolor paints really well without any warping, and the colors show up pretty well. Now, I haven’t tested many watercolor papers so there could definitely be better brands out there. So I insist you do your research. And not just on this product, on everything I mention here. But for me, these little watercolor pads are affordable. Always available at my local Michaels, and they work well for me.
It wouldn’t be a complete list if I didn’t rave about these wonderful fine-tipped artist pens! If there’s any artistic supply I use the most, Faber Castell Artist Pens would definitely reach the Top 3. My most preferred sizes are the XS, S, and M.
Learning how to do calligraphy with this hard-tipped calligraphy pen was the BEST discovery ever! It really does help you build muscle memory in your hand in regards to learning how to perfect your calligraphy skills and make working with more flexible tipped brushes easier.
The colors are just so bright and the flexible and writing tips add a lot of versatility to this pen.
They come in so many wonderful colors and are definitely more cost-effective. I’ve seen many people even use them in calligraphy (I’ve tried too… still a work in progress 😐 ) and more!
When you need to add a good highlight or want to write white on black, this is a GREAT pen. This pen has a much more vivid white ink than any other pen I’ve seen reviews on. It’s not that transparent and that’s what I really like about this pen.
ANIMATIONS / SOFTWARES
If you are looking into trying to animate 2D animation but can’t afford the softwares, OpenToonz is a GREAT alternative resource. The learning curve can be a bit… weird. (click here to learn of some useful tips for beginners) Though there are videos out there to help you through it.
First completed digital art made with Wacom tablet in Krita program.
Another wonderful free alternative drawing program to Photoshop. And personally, I feel it works much better, though there are still things in Photoshop that I like (or just haven’t learned to do specifically in Krita). But otherwise, Krita is a GREAT free program to test out for digital art.
Adobe Suite (Illustrator/Premiere/Lightroom/Photoshop)
I’ll always be a fan of Adobe. Illustrator and Premiere are HEAVILY used programs on my computer. I create nearly EVERYTHING in Illustrator and all my edited videos are processed through Premiere.
It’s tiny, but it gets the job done! It’s a wonderful introductory tablet if you are trying to do more digital art and/or animations.
YOUTUBE AND BLOGGING OVERALL
I currently use Siteground for my site hosting service and I absolutely LOVE it. I’ve been in contact with customer service several times and they have always been quick, courteous, and efficient.
I really like this softbox because it comes with multi-switches. So you can actually have a dimmed effect for your videos and photos if you so choose.
My trusty DSLR camera! The only thing I don’t like about it… is that it doesn’t have a flip-out screen lol. That is my only gripe with this camera. But everything else is wonderful from the video and photo quality to ease of using it.
It’s been a lot of trial and error this year. But in the end, I feel it was all absolutely worth it!
Hope that helped you, especially if you’re just starting out. I hope you all have an awesome day, and feel free to leave in the comment sections any personal recommendations, favorites, reviews, or anything else you’d like to contribute.
Have a great day, everyone!