skip to Main Content

TOP TOOLS LIST

We like to use the right tool for the job. We’ve learned that the best ideas turn out even better when executed with the right materials and tools. This has led to a great deal of research and experimentation. As a result, we’ve created a Top Tools List of tools that have made the cut. These are the tools we have tested and love.

This is a living list (like our Reading List), and it is constantly updated as we improve our techniques.

Now, we’re happy to share it with you! What do you think? I know we have appreciated lists like as we have grown as artists and designers.

We also keep a list of our FAVORITE BOOKS: the ones we can’t live without and read repeatedly.

DRAWING

Pens

  • Lamy Fountain PenWe particularly like this pen because the flow is so clean. It has a variety of nibs to get different effects
  • Zebra Ballpoint F-301Our favorite basic ballpoint pen. We’ve tried many, but we think this is the best. It has good sensitivity to touch, so you can get very fine/light lines or thicker/darker lines. This makes it really nice for sketching. It also rarely has issue with clogging or getting stuck

Sketchbooks and Papers

ARTIS/BPMI 327 Pen & Ink Supplies

These are the items you will need for the pen and ink portion of the course. You do not need to buy them from Amazon, but I have listed the links as available for your convenience. You do not need to buy duplicates of things like artist tape, eraser, etc. You can re-purchase those supplies if/as needed.

WATERCOLOR
top tools list

Watercolor PAINT/PIGMENT List

We most commonly use the following brands and have found them to be of excellent quality

  • Schmincke
  • Daniel Smith
  • M. Graham

Laura’s Current Standard Watercolor Palette (all Schmincke unless otherwise noted):

*NOTE: You can get most of these colors with the palette in this set

Top Watercolor BRUSHES List

Top Watercolor PAPERS List

  • Canson XL Watercolor Pad – a basic but very functional paper that I use frequently. As long as you don’t overwork it or expect a super-absorbant paper, this works very well (and it is very reasonably-priced)
  • Fabriano Artistico 300 lb – my preferred heavier paper. This is my choice for larger work and work where I will want more absorption.

TRAVEL Watercolor Tools List

  • Watercolor Brush Pens – I prefer this particular brand (Kuretake) because the flow seems to be just right. I’ve tried several types and definitely prefer these. I also like this set since it has three sizes which make for a very versatile travel set.
  • Load-it-yourself Travel Watercolor Palette – This is my most-used palette. I use my own pans and refill them with tube paint (a subset of the list above).
  • Travel Watercolor Palette with Paint – This is a great travel palette that is very similar to the one above, except that it comes preloaded with high quality paint. The Schmincke colors are excellent and the feel is great.

ARTIS/BPMI 327 Watercolor Supplies

These are the items you will need for the watercolor portion of the course. You do not need to buy them from Amazon, but I have listed the links as available for your convenience. You do not need to buy duplicates of things like artist tape, eraser, etc. You can re-purchase those supplies if/as needed.

  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers’ Pocket Box, Half Pans, 14-Pieces : this is a great intro palette. It has a nice range of colors at an inexpensive price. It will work great for learning to watercolor. If you decide you love watercolor, you will eventually want to invest in better pigments.
  • Mixed Media Sketchbook:Canson XL Mixed Media 9″x12″
    NOTE: you only need to buy this once for the class
  • 3-4 sheets: 140#+ 22″x30″ Quality Watercolor Paper (recommended: Moulin du Roy)
  • Round watercolor brushes (one small, one medium, one larger, e.g. 1 round, 6 round, 8 round). Da Vinci is good. I find the affordable Winsor Newton Series 101 Sceptre Gold to work well. Here are links to there brushes I regularly use:

TECH

DIGITAL DRAWING Tools

  • iPad Pro – The tool we use to do the majority of our digital painting for both illustration and fine art.
    NOTE: You’ll also need an Apple Pencil to do a proper job. We also really like Procreate for iPad painting and use it in conjunction with Photoshop.

Computer Accessories, Monitors, and Tools List

  • Asus ProArt – My favorite secondary monitor that we use to attach to our primary computers for excellent illustration work.
  • Asus ProArt – A less expensive secondary monitor that still does a great job
  • Microphone – The microphone we use for our forthcoming online courses.

SOFTWARE

3D Modeling

  • Cinema 4D – our preferred 3D software for hard-surface modeling and animating
  • ZBrush – the software we use for most of our organic and fine-detail 3d modeling

Digital Painting

  • Photoshop – Workhorse for organic and high detail illustration. This is also great for photo editing.
  • Illustrator – This is an excellent program for creating logos and branding assets, as well as illustrations that are intended to be reproduced at very large scale without loss of clarity
  • iPad Pro – The tool we use to do the majority of our digital painting for both illustration and fine art.
    NOTE: You’ll also need an Apple Pencil to do a proper job. We also really like Procreate for iPad painting and use it in conjunction with Photoshop.

Video Editing

  • After Effects – the software we use to edit our animations and videos.

WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA

Web and Social Media Tools

  • WordPress.org – the platform we use for our website
  • DreamHost – This has been an awesome and reliable host for our site
  • Grammarly – The tool we use to check our copy.
  • MailChimp– The tool we use to automate emails, launch email campaigns and manage subscribers

PRODUCTIVITY

Productivity

  • Dropbox – Our favorite place for cloud file storage and sharing with clients.
  • Zoom – our preferred video conference for one-on-one meetings
  • Dropbox – Our favorite place for cloud file storage and sharing with clients.
  • Zoom – our preferred video conference for one-on-one meetings

Since some of the materials/items listed above are associated with affiliate links, we may earn a commission If you end up deciding to purchase any of the products. We only recommend products that we fully support.

Top Tools List Banner Roy
Top Tools List Banner Roy
Back To Top