Art Supplies For Arists Who Have Everything Lead

Art Supplies For The Artist Who Has Everything

It’s the time of year when people are looking for good deals on art supplies and everybody’s making lists of possible gifts. Here’s mine.

Many of these are items I’ve reviewed for Doodlewash, because that is how I get many of my art supplies. Some were gifts or items I bought. The thing they all have in common is that they are a little unusual, I use them on a regular basis, and I love them.


Magnani Italia DS and Portofino DS Round Watercolor Blocks*

  • *Blocks are pads of papers that are glued all the way around except for one small area. This keeps the paper from wrinkling while painting and protects the sheets underneath.
Art Supplies Magnani Italia DS and Portofino DS Round Watercolor Blocks Product Photo

These Magnani blocks are mouldmade,100% cotton, neutral PH, acid and Chlorine Free, and both externally and internally sized. They come in many shapes and sizes but it’s the 140 lb. round watercolor blocks that captured my imagination.

The Italia has a cold press surface, and the Portofino a smoother hot press surface. They’ve been formulated with mixed media in mind, so even the cold press is smooth enough for pen and marker.  They’re great paper for just about any medium, with the Italia a bit better for pencil, charcoal and pastel and the Portofino a bit better for pen and marker.

The round shape is fabulous for mandalas and tangle patterns, painting and mixed media. These come in two sizes, 20 sheets to a block and include a cool carrying bag, too.

Stonehenge Aqua Black Cold Press Watercolor Paper 

Stonehenge Aqua Black Cold Press Watercolor Paper Product Photo

The words ‘Black’ and ‘watercolor paper’ don’t seem to go together. Sure, there are tons of black papers out there. But watercolor is transparent! How could it show up on black? What makes this black paper different?

  • First off, it’s 100% cotton, so it’s higher quality than most black papers.
  • Secondly – It’s formulated for watercolor with a weight of 140 lb., a cold press surface.
  • And, it is neutral pH, acid free, and chlorine free, with animal-free sizing that helps color stay bright on the paper.

This is all pretty standard for a high-quality watercolor paper but pretty rare for black papers.

So, can you use watercolor on it? Wellll, yes. The paint does need to be opaque. Metallic, iridescent and other specialty colors that glitter or shine (the pumpkin below), opaque watercolors, like the pastel watercolors from White Knights, or watercolors mixed with white work well. Transparent watercolors will only show up with many layers of color.

Gouache, a naturally opaque watercolor, is a dream on this paper (see the seascape below).  The texture of the paper is suitable for metallic and iridescent pens and marker too. Even fabric tips (see the barrel below).

Painting (or drawing) on black creates an instant sense of drama. There are other black ‘watercolor’ papers out there, and more coming out each day. Of the three brands I’ve tried, I like this one the best.

Stonehenge Aqua Black comes in pads of three sizes:

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.

Hahnemühle Watercolor Postcards in a Tin 

Art Supplies Hahnemühle Watercolor Postcards in a Tin Product Photo

Every day that my hubby goes to work, I slip a drawing or painting into his lunch bag. The 4 x6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Postcards are by far my favorite.

They come in two different surface textures, cold press and rough. Line and wash is my favorite technique for these cards so I can definitely say that both are okay for pen (though if you like super-crisp bold lines, you should check out their Nostalgie postcards).

And yes, there are scads of watercolor postcards out there. What makes these special is the tin they come in and the quality of the paper. The postcards are 6.5 x 4.5 inches (A6 / 10,5 x 14,8 cm) in a natural white color. They’re 230 gsm, archival, acid-free, age-resistant, and unbleached. The front is blank and there is an address panel printed on back. You get 30 postcards per tin.

The cold press tin and rough each have different artwork embedded into the lid, and the artwork changes every year. Of course, this makes them collector’s items.

If you like postcard swaps or just sending a hand-decorated greeting to friends and family, whether you like the idea of adding a little ‘I love you’ artwork into lunch bags and boxes or like the idea of storing your small artwork in the beautiful tin the cards came in – these are fabulous.

Personally, I convert the tins into palettes or storage for buttons, pins and miscellaneous objects, and keep the artwork in a photo album that becomes a coffee-table book.

Hahnemühle Watercolor Postcards can be purchased:

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.


Miya Arts 18-Color Solid Watercolor Set

Miya Arts 18-Color Solid Watercolor Set Product Photo

This is a cheap, practical travel-sized set that is a terrific bang for the buck, at around $20 USD. The 18-color set has non-toxic paints (SGS tested) so they’re safe for kids. They rewet easily, have intense vibrant color and dry quickly. To top it off, the set comes with a water brush, five sheets of postcard sized watercolor paper and a case with a handle. And it’s all cute as a bug!

Personally, I use this set often and just love it. That said, I suspect the paints aren’t lightfast, and you don’t get properties, such as granulation, that many artists want. It’s a great starter set, travel set and just ‘what-the-heck-I-love-that-case’ set.

You can purchase the MIYA Solid Water Colors Palette here.

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.

Van Gogh Specialty Watercolor Set 

Art Supplies for Artists Van Gogh Specialty Watercolor Set Metallic Colors Product Photo

You can tell that I’ve used this set quite a bit. It comes with a tiny, size 6 brush, which I promptly lost even though it has a very practical little groove in the lid for storing it.

So what makes this set special besides the unusual black plastic body and mixing area in the lid? It’s full of metallic and interference colors. Metallic – yeah, silver, light gold, deep gold, copper, bronze, and graphite. That’s pretty standard. But the Interference Red, Blue, Violet, Green and White are a bit more unusual.

I can hear the voices … “What are Interference Paints?” Similar to iridescent colors, they have a more opalescent sheen and they change color depending on the light. There is a gotcha – interference colors hardly show up on white. You need some color beneath them.

They’re fabulous on black or dark-colored paper. They can also be used over other watercolors for something like the sheen on a bird’s feathers or freshly fallen snow. If someone is into mixed media, they can add an opalescence to collages and abstracts.

You can purchase the Van Gogh Specialty Palette here.

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.

Da Vinci Watercolor Trios  

Art Supplies Da Vinci Watercolor Tubes In Assorted Colors

A couple of years ago, Da Vinci introduced a line of ‘Trio’ sets. These each contain three 5 ml tubes of three colors. They are up to 12 sets at the moment, and constantly adding more.

These are fantastic sets for the beginner or someone who wants to experiment with color mixing. Each set is curated by an artist, who choose three colors that play together beautifully. Even though you only get three colors, you can mix dozens of others and paint a wide range of subjects.

I’ve been painting quite a while, and still had great fun playing with these sets. I learned a lot too! I’ve long since used up the colors from the first three trios and bought larger tubes.

You can purchase the Da Vinci Watercolor Trios here.

For more information, read a review on Doodlewash.


Miya Himi 18-color Gouache Paint Set

Miya Himi 18-color Gouache Paint Set Product Photo

Like the solid watercolor set mentioned above, Miya’s gouache paint set is non-toxic and great for kids. The 18 colors are much the same pigments; they’re vibrant and intense, and easy to use.

The paints come in ‘jelly cups’, 30 ml tubs that lift out of the plastic body. There is a mixing palette as well as a mixing area on the inside of the lid. You can see from the photo that the paints get crumbly and ugly-looking. That’s gouache for you. But they all rewet with just a swipe of the brush, so they are perfectly usable.

Gouache is beautiful on white paper, but on color or black – whoah! Instant drama, mood and atmosphere!

I suspect these colors are not lightfast (the set costs around $20 – they can’t be!), but I use them a lot, and have done some very professional looking paintings with them.

A truly great introductory set for kids or the artist who wants to experiment with gouache without paying too much.

You can purchase the Miya Himi 18-color Gouache Paint Set here.

Da Vinci Gouache 37 ml Tubes

You can purchase 37 ml. Da Vinci Gouache paint tubes here.


Hahnemühle ZigZag Accordion Book

Hahnemühle ZigZag Accordion Book Product Photo

The Hahnemühle ZigZag Accordion Book comes in four sizes: A5, A6, 5 ½ x 5 ½ and 2×2″. That 2 x 2” is the cutest little thing. I like using it instead of greeting cards.

So what’s with the accordion thing? The book is essentially one long sheet folded into 18 pages. You can draw or paint page by page or do one lo-o-ong artwork. People can look through it like a regular book or you stand it up to make a display. You could even hang it from the wall!

It has dark gray, clothbound hard covers and a red band that loops from the back over a corner to keep the book shut.

The paper is cellulose, the same paper found in their watercolour book only the 140 lb. paper in the Zig Zag is stiffer. It’s fine-grained, natural white, acid free. I love painting on this paper. Whether I wanted detail or drippy effects, whether I used masking fluid or lifted color, it held up beautifully. Though formulated for watercolor, the texture is smooth enough that you can use pen, marker, and color pencil with ease.

You can purchase the Hahnemühle ZigZag Accordion Book here.

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.

Mary Roff Handmade Sketchbook with Criss-Cross Binding

Mary Roff makes arts of work in the form of sketchbooks. Each one is unique with a variety of covers, sizes, paper and binding.

I recently bought a 5” x 5.5” book with exposed Criss-Cross binding, Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper and the beautiful birch cover you see above. The stitching is expertly done, pulling the book together while adding an elegant design element.

Since each of her books is unique, I won’t go into a lot of detail about the specifics of mine except that it is gorgeous and beautifully made. If you like to support the small seller and purchase handmade, one-of-a-kind items, I recommend visiting her Etsy shop.

You can purchase a Mary Roff Handmade Sketchbook (and greeting cards and prints and jewelry!) here.

To learn more about Mary, read her artist feature on Doodlewash.


Princeton Neptune and Elite Travel Brush Sets  

Princeton Neptune and Elite Travel Brush Sets Product Photo

The Neptune and Elite brushes have been around for quite a while, but last year they came out in neat little travel sets with four rounds: size 4, 6, 8, and 10.

Bullet-shaped in the vinyl case, you pull off the cap and stick it on the bottom to create a full-sized brush. The case folds up to create a stand. When you’re done painting, you slip the cap back in place. The case is small enough to easily fit in a pocket, and the magnet closure keeps the brushes secure.

The Neptune Series 4750 is a synthetic squirrel, incredibly soft and capable of holding an enormous amount of paint and water. These brushes are best for the painter who paints in watercolor and prefers soft, drippy effects over detail. They aren’t suitable for acrylic or oil paint.

The Elite Series 4850 is a synthetic sable, rated for watercolor and oil paint, but not acrylic. They hold less water than the Neptune, making them better for detail, yet still good for washes and drippy effects.

You can purchase Princeton Travel Brush Sets at:

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.


‘Tangle All Around the World’ by Alice Hendon  

‘Tangle All Around the World’ by Alice Hendon  Book Cover

‘Artist does not live by paint alone’ to misquote the old proverb. Tangling is an art form that uses pattern. There is a community of artists that share patterns in the form of step by step drawings. Usually these are under six steps, and make it easy for anyone to recreate the pattern.

With 453 step-by-steps, created by a total of 50 different tangle artists, Alice Hendon’s latest book ‘Tangle All Around the World’ could well be considered an encyclopedia of tangle patterns!

A great introduction to tangling or a reference for those already into tangling!

You can purchase ‘Tangle All Around the World’ by Alice Hendon here.

For more information, read the review on Doodlewash.

So many supplies, so little time! Doodlewash has pages and pages of reviews. You can find the list under ‘Art Supply Reviews


The items listed here came from many different sources.

  • Miya Arts sent me the 18-color solid watercolor set for review and Princeton Brush Co. sent me the Neptune and Elite travel sets for review.
  • Alice Hendon sent me a copy of ‘Tangle All Around the World’ for review. I also bought a copy. Hahnemühle_USA sent me several ZigZag Books and many tins of postcards but I have also purchased several of both on my own. Legion Paper sent me a 9 x 12 pad of Stonehenge Aqua Black. I purchased an 8 x 10 pad on my own. Da Vinci sent me tubes of gouache, but I’ve also purchased tubes my own.
  • I bought the Miya Art Gouache, the Da Vinci Trios, the Magnani Rounds, the Van Gogh Specialty Watercolor Set, and the Mary Roff Sketchbook without prompting or expectation of a review from anyone.
  • I received no other considerations, though this post contains affiliate links which help support Doodlewash community features. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews, Recommendations

31 thoughts on “Art Supplies For The Artist Who Has Everything

  1. A great and useful list Sandra. A few of these I already have – probably thanks to reading about them via you or Alice, and a few more I want to try next year. Thanks for always being so informative and thorough about each product.

  2. This is the first I have heard of Tangle art. How very interesting!!!! Of course I have seen a bit of it here and there but had no idea what it was. I am especially intrigued by that “electric pen” you were using in the video….WoW!! I would love to try one of those. Is that how that sort of “stippling” is done on the sheep…..i.e. all those little dots? Very cool!

    1. Thank you, Teresa! Yes, the dots on the penguin and the sheep were from the Cuttlelola dotspen. In essence, you control the the number of dots by the speed at which you move the pen around. You still have to draw, the pen just moves the nib up and down for you. It lessens the stress on your wrist, but there is a vibration so there is still some stress. It’s a little faster than stippling with a regular pen, but still time-consuming or I would do more of it.

      1. Thank you very much for explaining that…. I am really intrigued!! I may have to try that. I have some pretty significant arthritis in my hands and am always interested in new things that may help me in my creative efforts. 😊

  3. Thanks so much for this. I’ve been looking at that Miya Art set. I suspected it was more of a child’s set given the cuteness but figured I could always refill it when the paint ran out and I’d have a nice little travel set. The only thing holding me back was the weirdly folding palette.

    I also have my eye on those postcards in a tin but haven’t been able to justify a purchase yet.

    I have a block of the black watercolor paper but have yet to take the plunge.

    I guess the holidays are just too distracting. But thanks for the timely review. Perhaps after the new year I’ll have a change to go back and consider adding to my stash. Those Princeton travel brushes are tempting.

  4. Able to find good information from your blog articles.Great job! Keep it up! If anyone looking forward to Buy Indian Paintings from online? Just visit IndianArtZone from where you get a huge range of famous paintings from Indian Artists to decor your home & office.

Leave Me A Comment!

%d bloggers like this: