My Favorite Art Supplies

My Favorite Art Supplies #WorldWatercolorGroup Cheap Joe's Travel Palette Escoda Versatil Travel Brushes Metal Palette Lamy Safari Al Star Fountain Pens

I can’t really choose a single favorite art supply so I did a little doodlewash of my entire kit! Beyond a mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser, and the Pentalic Aqua Journal this is sketched in, here’s everything I ever use. This is good because it has to fit on my little corner of the kitchen counter, which serves as my temporary art studio for the brief hour each evening I can paint. Starting clockwise at the top left we have my tiny metal travel palette (from my Joe Miller’s Travel Painter Set), Escoda Versatil Travel Brush Set (sizes 2-10, though I typically always use a 6, shown in front), Lamy Safari Al Star Pens with black, sepia and blue Platinum Carbon ink (color coded so I remember what’s in them), and a small anodized aluminum palette (I don’t like the way colors pool in plastic). I’ve always loved little shiny things, so this kit suits me well and is all I really need! (All palette colors are listed at the bottom of the full post).

Though I added the Lamy Safari Pens last December and January, this is pretty much the kit I acquired within the first couple months of beginning to paint. I’ve played with some new colors from Sennelier, and will probably swap some of those colors for the ones I rarely use in my little tin once I get the energy to clean it out and start fresh. The primary reason I personally fell in love with watercolor was the ability to be this compact when it comes to art supplies. It’s a ridiculously portable studio that you can take with you wherever you like! I’ve always felt that less is more, so this suits me just fine. Also, if you don’t have a dedicated room to acquire art supplies, which I don’t, then this is also quite necessary. After 404 days of consecutive painting, all the doodlewashes I’ve featured here were made with just this little studio.

I’ve always dreamed of having my own dedicated studio with lovely windows looking out onto some brilliant scene. I like the idea of it more than the actual thing though. Each evening while Philippe is making dinner, we’re chatting and talking about the day, while I quickly make a little doodlewash of some kind. After dinner, I scan it and very quickly type some sort of stream of consciousness post like the one you’re reading now. It’s certainly a brief little ritual, but it’s a wonderful way to end the work day and segue into the evening. I don’t have much more time than that, but like my art supplies, I’m good with the little I have. The important thing to me has always been grabbing a little bit of time daily to practice. Just a few minutes each day for a doodlewash and often a little glass of wine. And despite anything that happened during the day, I’m always reminded in that little moment, that life is actually kind of perfect after all.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors: (Shown in the little metal palette above, starting at the top left) Azo Yellow, Gamboge, Quinacridone Gold, Azo Orange, Alazarin Crimson (rarely use it), Pyrrol Red, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Sap Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Azo Green, Burnt Sienna, Neutral Tint, Permanet Green Pale, Quinacridone Rust, and Perylene Maroon. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink for this sketch in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
35 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 10 months ago

    With those few supplies, you’ve created a whole year’s worth of amazing and entertaining art – and told us about your experiences. In an hour, i might have gathered everything in one place and fiddled with a paintbrush. You are certainly dedicated – and how you have mastered the craft – just, WOW!

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much, Sharon! What a wonderful thing to say! 😊💕 It’s been such a fun journey. I love that it’s become a habit now. It’s definitely tough some days to sneak in my little doodlewash and post, but it’s kind of fun to always try! Glad you enjoy them!

  2. Teri C 10 months ago

    I think you’re the only artist I know who is not an art supply addict! Jessica and I have a little ‘art addict’ club😄).
    But you’re right, the important part is the sketch everyday and your sketches are always wonderful!

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Teri! 😃💕 hehe… now you know why I was thrilled that Jessica came on board to talk about art supplies! I’d be super boring on that topic! Lol I love looking at them and learning about them, but I know if I bought them, I’d just go back to these tried and true little friends of mine. 😊😊

  3. kirkistan 10 months ago

    You tell a compelling story, my friend. Nice drawing.

  4. Jodi 10 months ago

    Love your compact little set of supplies that you create absolute magic with – like today’s amazing painting and wonderful post. What a lovely routine you have, and aren’t you just the lucky one getting to paint while Phillippe cooks you dinner! I hope you at least do the clean up! LOL! If not – I am TOTALLY jealous! 🙂 xo

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jodi! 😃💕 haha! yes!! I always do the clean up! I’m not that spoiled! LOL And sometimes when I’m cleaning, then Philippe is painting, so it all works out.

  5. Heather Macumber 10 months ago

    O.k. Should we invite JUDY?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  6. artandmoondreams 10 months ago

    Wow. Totally awestruck, love what you have done here. Adore the painting, and really want to create a little corner like what you described, it sounds great and makes perfect sense. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing and inspiring.

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much, Haunani! 😃💕 You always make me smile with your lovely comments. My little corner is temporary… everything goes back in my tiny bag each night. I was wondering about a room, but perhaps I should start with even a permanent corner! 😊Hehe

  7. Jill Kuhn 10 months ago

    WOWZA! That’s impressive, Charlie!! 😉💕🎨 I, on the other hand, have 4 different watercolor pallettes and art supplies spread over the entire house! 😆 Love what you can create with your supplies like your painting today!! AWESOME! 🌟😃🎉

    • Author

      Awww… thanks Jill!! 😃💕 Haha! Yeah, I’m totally weird in that I LOVE art supplies and reading about them and yet never pull the trigger to actually buy many. 😊 There’s a tiny tub under the bed downstairs with some lonely contenders. I felt bad for them, so I stopped buying new supplies. Except paint… I’m still interested in playing with different colors and brands of paint!

  8. Monique 10 months ago

    What a lovely post.I am so impressed that you create so much and so well after so little time.
    I too have that travel set..have not used it a lot yet but I will.I am a bit of a collector…should focus more on getting better.
    When we were in arks I would paint at the end of the day with a glass of wine.The two went very well together.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Monique! 😃💕 It’s been a fun journey and I’ve only gotten the supply bug with paint types and colors. hehe… still want to play a bit more there. And yeah… a glass of wine goes pretty well with painting! hehe

  9. Carol 10 months ago

    I also have found that less is more when it comes to watercolor painting and have a simple travel pallette. I really enjoy mixing most colors so I don’t need a large number of pans or tubes to fill up the spots. I also enjoy having everything fit in a small, tidy travel bag. However, I go through spells of painting with my Derwent Inktense pencils, and I want ALL of those gorgeous colors! Your evening routines of painting, blogging, and Phillipe cooking sound wonderfully satisfying🍷🍷. Thanks for sharing a little glimpse into your evenings, your supplies, and your tiny spot on the counter where the paintbrushes fly. Yes, less really can be a whole lot more! 🎨💖

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Carol! 😃💕 Yeah, colored pencils are definitely something I’ve considered, but you DO need all them to get the colors you want! hehe… so I just avoided that trap. Plus I like mixing colors too much! So happy you enjoy my little stories and doodlewashes. Thanks, friend!

  10. Jacob 10 months ago

    Fantastic! How indebted we are to this portable studio – wherever would we be without these hallowed tools and the artist’s corner? Doesn’t bear thinking about!

    • Author

      Hehe… awww thanks so much, Jacob!! 😃💕Hallowed tools makes them sound much cooler! And the artist’s corner is temporary each night, so really more of a vagrant studio. Lol

  11. So much from so little! Once again I raise my metaphorical hat to you. A lovely post too: much wisdom imparted so gently. Keep up the great work, Charlie.

  12. M. L. Kappa 10 months ago

    Yes, lovely post, Charlie. I think I will join Teri and Jessica’s club, being addicted to art supplies. However, spurred on by your example, I have been experimenting and am amazed by how much variety you can get with just a few colors. I live and learn…👍

    • Author

      Thanks, Marina! 😃💕 There’s little doubt that art supplies are just FUN! hehe… Honestly, I’m probably doing myself a disservice by not experimenting with more. But I just love my little set… playing with too many other things would feel like I’m cheating on it! Lol

  13. A great post Charlie, this really is a great advert to show that anyone can do it, just a few supplies, and a little space, but still an amazing 404 days of consecutive painting, a little watercolour does go a long way. Interestingly as I use all mediums ( so my living room has become quite full of supplies) the space taken up by each, watercolour, least space, pastel…one little box, oil next, surprisingly this also lasts ages, and a little goes a long way…..followed by acrylic, eeek too much space taken up by this medium!
    Amazing also that you only spend 1 hr… I usually go from 1.5- 4 hours, I wish it was always 1.5 hours 😀

    • Author

      Thanks, Rebecca! 😃💕 Glad you liked this post! And wow! I wish I had 4 hours to paint! (I think 1.5 is the longest I’ve ever had) Then I could do proper layers without blowing on the paper or just splashing more paint on anyway. hehe I used acrylics in college and disliked them so much it actually put me off of painting entirely. I can’t even say why, but the mess was a huge part of it. Looking back, I think it’s the light to dark thing with watercolor and the transparency that made it sing for me. Can’t believe I didn’t discover it until last year, but better late than never! 😊

  14. creatingincolors 10 months ago

    What a great reality check on how little we really need when it comes to supplies!

    • Author

      Thanks so much! 😃hehe… either that or I’m simply not adventurous enough. But you don’t actually need much to make art!

  15. memadtwo 10 months ago

    You do a lot with a little. And sharing your art time with Philippe makes it even better! (K)

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃 Yeah, I no art is a solo experience for some, but I think it’s more fun when you have someone you care about nearby! 😊

  16. I love the magic you make with your supplies, Charlie! Beautiful! And I do hope you are now seeing my comments lol.

    • Author

      Aww thanks, Laura!! 😃💕 And I got your comment! Yay! But just had to rescue Jodi from the Spam bin. Still working with WordPress on it… they’re super cool so should get it sorted!

  17. […] doodlewashed most of my art supplies in a previous post, so I figured I’d share the origin of my little travel palette. In the very first month I […]

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