Any painter or crafter knows how cool buying supplies is, it's definitely one of my favorite activities! Every time I travel I make sure I hit the best arts and crafts shop in town. After years of painting you pretty much know what works best for you, but it's also really fun to try at least one new item, this is how you end up discovering your favorite supplies!
I get asked a bunch of technical questions on Instagram, like "how did you make the white lines?", "what kind of paper do you use?", how did you make your lines so fine?", etc. Some of these questions are hard to answer because each artists developed their own style and way of painting, fine lines are just easier when you practice practice practice! But I can make a personal list of my favorite painting supplies :)
Ok, so I've painted with acrylics and gauche in the past, but my personal favorite is definitely watercolor. It's very practical, dries beautifully and creates amazing texture. I usually mix my pan sets with concentrated watercolor. What I am using now is Sennelier, Winsor & Newton and Dr Ph Martins. Winsor & Newton (Cotman) is great for staring out because it's not as expensive as other professional brands. I've heard schmincke watercolors are amazing too, I will be ordering those soon!
Always mix your paints in porcelain dishes, or any palette you feel comfortable with.
Personaly, I always use watercolor pads. Some people buy big sheets of paper and tape the edges onto their desk or a board. Pads are what I feel most comfortable with, my personal favorite is Arches, but it is pretty pricey... if I'm experimenting or painting color boards, I will use Canson or Strathmore. They are all pretty great. If you use a lot of water in your paintings I would recomend you paper be as heavy as possible.
Just make sure your pad says "watercolor" on the cover, sketch or mixed media paper will not work, it won't be able to handle all the water we use for this technique.
Brushes are known to be super personal for each artist. I've acquired so many throughout the years, but lately I end up using these winsor ones. I don't even think they are meant for watercolor, pretty sure it's in the acrylic paintbrush section at Blick, but these white sable brushes work great for me!
I usually work with about 3 or 4 brushes simultaneously when painting an illustration, there's always a 0 or 00 (sometimes 000!) for details. I like round brushes like these:
Ink, acrylic and masking fluid
One of my favorite techniques is mixing watercolor with thicker paints. I usually use ink over watercolor once it's dried, for details, like in this paiting:
I use a few different brands for this, but I absolutely looooove a japanese brand, used for anime, named Copic. It's thick but can be used again and again once it's dried on your palette.
I will also use masking fluid from time to time. My favorite brand in Winsor & Newton.
Where to shop
My absolute favorite place to buy supplies is BLICK. No one beats those prices and variety! This place is awesome, and it carries Dr Ph Martins, not too easy to find.
Para amigos en México: Normalmente compro todo mi material cuando viajo a Estados Unidos, los precios y variedad son inigualables! Aún así, hay muchos lugares buenos en México. Arte y Material tiene muy buena variedad de papel, no tanto en acuarela. Los precios son un poco excesivos pero te puede sacar de cualquier apuro. Lumen también tiene buena variedad, y me comentan que Casa Serra está bastante bien :)
Best of wishes to everyone looking for supplies. Remember to experiment and try out what works best for you!