Art Essentials

So far I have only shared other people’s art and some of my own creations but today I have been thinking about art essentials, basically a list of all the things I can’t do without and seem to carry around with me most of the time to and from uni.  This was prompted by me arriving in uni and getting down to work only to realise I had left my double-sided tape and my masking tape at home (quite possibly the two major things I can’t do without) and then having to wait hours for the S.U shop to open so I could purchase more.  So here it is, my list of art essentials that is neither complete or comprehensive.

PAPER – Plain white or off white, good quality and good thickness.  A4, A3, A2, A1 or bigger are best.  Move away from the smaller stuff unless sketching for research.

PENS/PENCILS – A selection of lead pencils of different grades is good, from HB to the heavier grade ones (B, 2B, 3B etc), Black fine line pen (Hi-Techpoint are good… V5 series, 0.5mm), coloured pencils, felt pens (I use brush markers but general felt pens are also useful), charcoal sticks (the pencils, I find, aren’t so good as the charcoal snaps inside leaving you sharpening constantly and getting nowhere), Oil and chalk pastels are also useful, and permanent markers, I swear by Sharpie Markers.

PAINT – There are loads to choose from, pick whatever suits you.  Choose from acrylic (I use this), watercolour, poster paint, powder paint, oils, household, spray paint, inks, you could even use food, dyes etc, the list is pretty limitless.

BRUSHES – Whatever you are happy using – normal paint brushes, specialist brushes, household, toothbrushes, dustpan brushes.  Experiment, Improvise and have Fun working out what is best for you.

STICKY STUFF – Glue, PVA is multi purpose and you can use it to stick pretty much anything, sellotape, masking tape, double-sided tape, glue dots, glue gun and sticks, plastic glue (eg Bison Plastic Adhesive) and electrical tape.

CUTTING STUFF – scissors, big ones (kitchen scissors), medium ones (fine ones like hairdressing ones), delicate ones (like sewing ones), guillotine or something for straight edge cutting (I use a ruler with a built-in roller cutting blade), a scalpel for the little bits.

OTHER STUFF – metal ruler, compass (the circle drawing one!), sticky notes (I use these when I have ideas that I want to look into but don’t want to commit to my sketch book permanently just incase I don’t use those ideas later on), notepad, A1 mountboard (to mount completed work onto), good camera (mine has proved invaluable.  Use it for photographing things for research, for photographing your work etc…), A1 portfolio (for keeping your work safe and for ease of transportation), A3 or over sized wooden board (loads of uses, cutting board, drawing board, surface protector…), white sheet (to give a clean background when photographing work etc), a tool box to keep your kit safe in, a pencil-case to transport bits of your kit easily, pencil sharpener (trust me on this, buy a more expensive one, it will last longer), cutting mat, memory card to transport work and photos  from place to place easily), plasters (keep them in your kit, in your bag, in your room, in your pocket, trust me, you do not want to spoil work by bleeding on it from cuts caused by paper, scissor nicks, blades…)

A sense of fun, experimentation, imagination, improvisation and humour are also good additions.

As is a partner who doesn’t mind too much mess, noise, silence and chatter about nothing else but art.  One who doesn’t mind when you do something a bit odd in the name of art (see previous blog where I hung my bag contents from the washing line.) One who doesn’t mind helping when you can’t do something yourself (mine helped me create a harmonograph recently!), and who doesn’t mind you using their tools, or household items (in ways that they are not supposed to be used.  I have been known to create “art” from cutlery!)

The main thing to remember with art is to have fun!

As I said at the beginning, this list is not complete by any means as I have created it in the space of less than an hour and is not meant as a complete list of things an artist should rush out and buy.  These are things that I merely can not do without on a daily basis and are my basics.  I do use other things in my art but have not included these here.  Perhaps I shall create a new list at some point to encompass these items?

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