My Favorite Art Supplies

All my favorite art supplies

I am constantly trying new things, but this list contains only the best – the stuff I’ve been using for years and always reach for.

This page contains affiliate links. I am not sponsored by any companies, this is all gear I’ve tried and trust and use by my own will. If you decide to purchase one, I get a tiny store credit so I can buy art supplies, so thank you for your support! New Jacksons Art customers will receive a 10% discount on their first order if it is made through any of these links.


What I Draw With

New: View my Google Spreadsheet with all my active drawing supplies – updated regularly.

Pentel Mechanical Pencil
Thin .5 mm tip and practically indestructible. I use Staedtler Mars Micro Blue Lead. (UK)(USA)

Pentel Energize Mechanical Pencil

I love how comfortable this one is, and very lightweight. I also prefer the .7mm size lead. I use the blue one. (UK)(USA)

Posca Pen (white)
Super bright opaque white. Waterproof. I usually use .7mm, but try the brush tip and chisel tip. (UK)(USA)

Uni Jetstream Edge
Fadeproof & waterproof. Great for super thin lines. Oil based ink. Because it’s so thin it sometimes struggles on really textured paper. (UK)

Shinhan Touch Twin Markers
These are my favorite markers for drawing landscapes. I especially love the grey scale set for doing value studies. See my colors & how I use them here. (UK)(USA)

Brush Pens
Brush pens are great for adding really bold marks. They also allow you to go from super thin to really thick lines in an instant. (UK)(USA)

Uni Signo DX Pen
Smooth gel pen, waterproof on some papers. Will sometimes bleed a little under water but barely. But it’s my most reliable pen even on textured paper and I love it for sketching. (UK)

Sailor Fude de Mannen Calligraphy Fountain Pen
I love this unique 55° nib! It allows for thick and very fine lines depending on the angle. I use it with green De Atramentis Document Ink. (UK)


My studio watercolor palette contains these colors:

My color choices are non-toxic and vegan friendly.

Brands I Recommend

Cotman Watercolor Travel Set
The cheapest option – Great for your first set of colors. (This is what I started with!) Student quality, bright, reactivates easily. Vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Daniel Smith Extra Fine™ Watercolors
When you’re ready to upgrade, this is an amazing brand. Not only are they vegan friendly but they are extremely pigmented and easy to rewet! Currently my favorite. (UK EU)(USA)

Schmincke Watercolor Set (12 Colors)
Schmincke Horadam watercolors rewet beautifully and are packed with pigment. I used them for many years. However they are not vegan friendly (contain ox-gall). (UK EU)(USA)

Watercolor Brushes

Silver Black Velvet Brush – Round #12
If I could only have one watercolor brush, this would be it. Highly absorbent and responsive, Silver Brush Black Velvet brushes are made from a blend of Squirrel hair and a new type of synthetic filament called Risslon. Mine has lasted 6 years so far. (UK EU)(USA)

Escoda Travel Brushes
I like the Ultimo type. These pack away to a small size. I have the #10 and #6 sizes. (UK EU)(USA)

Handover Synthetic Rigger Brush
Very affordable, useful brush using long bristles that allow you to make very fine marks. Vegan friendly. (UK EU)

Caran D’Ache Waterbrush
Great for travel. I like the button design. I have the medium and large. (UK EU)(USA)

Escoda Ultimo Alvaro Castagnet Set
This set was gifted to me, and I absolutely love it. Especially the #18 which I use frequently for large washes. Very high quality brushes. (UK EU)

Pentel Waterbrush
I have the fine and medium size. These are smaller so perfect for travel. (UK EU)

Watercolor Paper

Arches 9×12 Cold Pressed Paper Block
100% Cotton Paper, 140# (300gsm). Incredibly sturdy paper, handles everything I throw at it! Not vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Baohong Paper Block NOT
100% Cotton Paper with a nice tooth. I love it – one of my new favorites but requires ordering through direct-from-China online retailers.

Etchr Watercolor Postcards
100% Cotton Paper, 230gsm. My favorite watercolor postcards. Vegan friendly. (UK EU)

Fabriano Artistico 7×10 CP Paper Block
I really like this paper and it’s great to know it’s Vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Watercolor Palettes

Watertight Watercolor Palette (holds 18 colors)
These are great for anyone who needs something more compact or something a little more portable. (UK EU)(USA)

John Pike 20 Well Watercolor Palette
Huge central mixing space. Comes with lid. Fits perfectly in the STRADA Tripod Tray (on a tripod). (Non affiliate link)

Portable Painter (Hands Free Painting Kit)
When you just want a super simple, portable setup, this is the best! I use it outside all the time. Genius design. So good I own three of them! (UK EU)(USA)

Watertight Travel Palette Box
Comes with it’s own water container and mixing tray (on the lid), this is a great airtight, leak-proof palette. Excellent for gouache too. (UK EU)

Portable Painter Micro
The smaller version of the Classic. Great for travel, or being ultralight, painting during hikes. (UK EU)(USA)


My Gouache Colors

I’m always experimenting with different brands and colors, so you might notice this page changes every few months. However, the one consistent thing is that I rely on Winsor & Newton Designer’s Gouache as my core brand. I’ve been using it for over 5 years and found that it is a great performer at a lower cost than many other brands.

If you want to see brands and colors I’ve used over the years, check out the many youtube videos I’ve created about my gouache palettes.

These are my core colors (All Winsor & Newton):

You might also enjoy reading: My Gouache Brand Rankings

For a long time I also used Schmincke Horadam gouache, which is probably my favorite in terms of quality. However, it’s insanely expensive to buy in the UK, so I don’t want to rely on it in my core set. In addition, they use animal biproducts which I prefer to avoid as much as possible.

I’m also playing with M Graham Gouache, Daniel Smith Gouache, Shinhan Gouache, and Holbein Gouache, all of which are really great.

Gouache Brands I Recommend

Winsor & Newton Set (5 Colors)
I frequently use W&N and love the consistency and colors. Most colors vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Schmincke Horadam Gouache
Unique color range and very high quality. Perfect creamy consistency. Not vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Holbein Primary Set (5 Colors)
Extremely high quality gouache. Slightly thicker consistency. Most colors vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Holbein Acryla Gouache
Gouache with an acrylic binder, so you won’t be able to reactive it after it dries. Good for underlayers. (UK EU)(USA)

Shinhan Designer’s Gouache
Very affordable high quality gouache. Vegan friendly. (UK EU)

Gouache Brushes

Sarah Burns Brush Set
I designed these brushes! Synthetic, combination of soft and medium, various size and shapes. All my favorite features. (Worldwide)

Silver Golden Taklon Lettering Brushes
These are soft synthetic brushes. Good for layering. (UK EU)

Pro Arte Flat Travel Brush
These are great for travel. (UK EU)

Gouache Palettes

Airtight Travel Palette Box
Keep your paints moist between sessions with this airtight palette. Comes with it’s own water dish. (UK EU)

Redgrass Studio Palette
Lots of mixing space, seals shut and keeps my gouache moist between sessions. This palette is a prototype but you can pre-order one. (Non affiliate link)

Guerrilla Painter Airtight Palette Tray
This small tray is perfect for mixing and saving paint between sessions. (USA)

Portable Painter Palette
A really great palette for painting on the go. I use this as my dried gouache palette. (UK EU)(USA)

Gouache Extras

Watercolor Ground
Painting on a smooth surface? Prime any surface with this to help the paint stick better. (UK EU)(USA)

Dorland’s Wax Medium
Protect your gouache paintings with a waterproof seal. Dries matte. Watch my video. (UK EU)(USA)

Blending Medium
If you find that your paint is drying out too quickly, add a few drops of this to your mixes. (UK EU)(USA)

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic Paints & Stuff I Recommend

Liquitex Basics Heavy Body Acrylics
Great paint for beginners, or when you need a lot of coverage. (UK EU)(USA)

Golden High Flow Acrylics
Really great for flowy, drippy application. Also perfect for glazes. (UK EU)(USA)

Golden Heavy Body Acrylics
Luxurious paints, great coverage. (UK EU)(USA)

Satin Varnish
Protect your artwork and bring out the richness of the colors. (UK EU)(USA)

Sta-Wet Sealable Palette
Allows you to seal your wet paint and keep it “moist” between sessions. I recommend buying a glass insert (I use a glass kitchen cutting board) to mix paint on. (UK EU)(USA)

Liquitex Large Brushes
These large stiff-bristle brushes are excellent for large work. I love using them for backgrounds and big expressive marks. (UK EU)(USA)

Water Mixable Oils

Due to my allergies, I can only use oil paint outside or in very well-ventilated spaces. I cannot use a majority of the products on the market that have heavy fumes. Therefore water-mixable oils are my best option, and I absolutely love them!

Water Mixable Oil Paints I Recommend

Winsor & Newton Water Mixable Oil Paint Set
Includes 10 Colors + Modified Linseed Oil which you can use to thin your paint and extend the color. This is my most used brand! (UK EU)(USA)

Holbein Duo Aqua Set
Feels creamy and has good flow. Very highly pigmented. (UK EU)(USA)

Jackson’s Aqua Oils Set (8 Colors)
I really like this brand, I have a few colors and it has a nice creamy consistency that’s easy to use. (UK EU)


Ampersand Gessobord Panels
I really love the surface of these for oil paint. This brand also makes coordinating floater frames. (UK EU)(USA)

Arches Huile Paper for Oil
One of my new favorite ways to paint with oil! Especially with the water mixable oils. I can use them almost like watercolor then build up the thickness. (UK EU)(USA)

Jackson’s Art Board Canvas Panel
A really great option while you are learning because they are affordable, easy to store, travel with, and very easy to frame! (UK EU)


Princeton Catalyst Polytip Brushes
These are stiff and robust, good for scumbling and layering impasto marks. Vegan friendly. (UK EU)(USA)

Princeton Catalyst Blade
These silicone palette knives are great for applying large amounts of paint. The soft surface allows you to blend directly on the canvas. (UK EU)(USA)

Jackson’s Akoya Synthetic Set for Oil
These are a little more stiff which I find useful for certain techniques. Vegan Friendly. (UK EU)

Liquitex Large Brushes
These large stiff-bristle brushes are excellent for large work. I love using them for backgrounds and big expressive marks. (UK EU)(USA)

Jackson’s Mottler Brush
I really like this for laying in big areas of color. If you can, get a couple so you don’t have to clean them when you want to switch colors. (UK EU)

Palette Knife Set
A good set of starter knives. (UK EU)(USA)


Gloss Varnish
Protect your artwork and bring out the richness of the colors. (UK EU)(USA)

Retouching Varnish Spray
For temporarily protecting an oil painting before final varnish. Also great for evening out the finish and bringing the colors to life between layers. (UK EU)(USA)

Master’s Brush Cleaner and Preserver
A necessary part of clean-up to make sure the bristles are free of oil and last a long time. (UK EU)(USA)

Sta-Wet Sealable Palette
Allows you to seal your wet paint and keep it “moist” between sessions. I recommend buying a glass insert (I use a glass kitchen cutting board) to mix paint on. (UK EU)(USA)

Metal Brush Cleaner Jar
The sediment accumulated from washing brushes sinks through the holes to the bottom of the washer pot, and helps keep your water or solvent cleaner for longer. (UK EU)(USA)

Pochade Boxes / Travel Easels

Easels and Pochade Boxes (for painting outside)

Sarah Painting outside with the Etchr Slate Mini on a tripod
Sarah Painting outside with the Etchr Slate Mini on a tripod

Etchr Slate Mini
A “soft” pochade box – it is basically a shoulder bag that unfolds and can be worn around your body, allowing you to work hands-free while sitting or standing. It also attaches to a tripod. Jump to my post with details about my setup. (UK EU)(USA)

Guerrilla Painter ThumBox
A small very lightweight box that fits in my backpack. It holds supplies inside as well as two wet oil paintings within the lid, protecting them when it’s closed. (USA)

Sienna Plein Air Pochade Box
A beautiful, very sturdy pochade box which is excellent for larger works. A bit heavy so I don’t use it for hiking. But I love the huge glass mixing space. Also good to use in the studio. (UK EU)

My Favorite Sketchbooks (all mediums)

Drawing Sketchbooks

Stillman & Birn Nova Beige Sketchbook
The beige paper is smooth with a tiny tooth, great for all drawing types. When you see me using toned paper in my videos, this is the one. (UK EU)(USA)

Stillman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook
White paper with a bit of tooth. I use ink, graphite, watercolor, and gouache in it, on both sides of the paper. (USA)

Grid Sketchbook
I’ve always enjoyed grid sketchbooks for objects, architecture, and doodling. These are affordable and come in many sizes. (UK EU)(USA)

Watercolor & Gouache Sketchbooks

Strathmore Watercolor Travel Journal 7×10
Sadly this one has been discontinued. But I have it here since lot of people ask about it. Here is a link to info about. If you find them anywhere, just buy! You won’t regret it.

Stillman & Birn Nova Beige Sketchbook
My favorite toned paper sketchbook. (UK EU)(USA)

Hahnemuele Watercolour Book 100% Cotton
I like the 19×19 square. All mediums handle well on this paper and it’s nice that the whole thing feels lightweight. Not as good as the other 100% cotton sketchbooks but still good value. (Non affiliate link)

Etchr Cold Pressed A5 “Perfect” Sketchbook
100% cotton paper. Made with heavier 300 gsm paper, this will handle all wet media and watercolor behaves beautifully. (UK EU)(USA)

Etchr Cold Pressed A5 Sketchbook
100% cotton paper. A slightly different experience (more rough feeling) than their “perfect” sketchbook. (UK EU)(USA)

Stillman & Birn Beta 3.5 x 5 Travel Sketchbook
These are tiny sketchbooks, great for quick studies or field notes while traveling. (UK EU)(USA)

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Browse my blog posts to find out how I use my supplies!

29 thoughts on “My Favorite Art Supplies

  1. Hi Sarah! I l have a question about white in gouache painting, how come you only use titanium white? As I’ve understood it the zinc-white is a “mixing”-white? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Thank you so much!

  2. Is it best to use different brushes for watercolor and gouache if that option is available to you?

  3. Hi Sarah,
    I was wondering if you have an opinion or recommendations on printers and scanners to use for printing out reference photos or prints of your own artwork. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Thank you.

    1. I use a Canon Pixma Pro 100S (5 years) and love it. Fave paper is Olmec. I use a Canon LiDe 400 scanner and love it. I also take photos of my larger art with my Fuji Xt4 with various lenses.

  4. Sarah, what is the brand of easel you use in your studio? looks like what I’ve been trying to find. i don like a table easel

  5. Sarah, someone used Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook some time ago. Was it you? I’m getting ready to take a fill-a-sketchbook class, and am thinking about this one. If I’m going to actually fill it 🤞🏻 I don’t want one too big or too small, just a Goldilocks. And it needs to be WC friendly. I have large and small sketchbooks, expensive and thick sketchbooks. I just want a basic good one that I won’t panic about filling.

    1. Hey there. Yes I’ve used those. They are very cheap, and you get what you pay for. I don’t like them for watercolor. Drawing is fine, and any kind of opaque paint (gouache or something) would be fine. Ink with a splash of watercolor is the most “wet” I would go

  6. What kind of colored pencils do you use? I am in the market for new ones. I have used prismacolor and the premium Crayola ones. Do you ever use watercolor pencil? Would love to know what kind you use.

  7. Hi Sarah,
    I enjoyed watching one of your videos on using reference material from your own photos. I’ve been thinking for a long time of how to print out photos I’ve taken for reference material for future painting projects. It occured to me after watching you and another artist’s youtube videos to think about getting an ipad instead. Can you tell me anything in regards to this? I’m guessing that it would be used exclusively for art and so wouldn’t need anything too complicated or even expensive. Wonder if you’d care to lend me your thoughts on this?

    1. An iPad would be an extremely expensive reference photo display. iPads are computers and capable of amazing things. If you get one, use it for all it’s worth! Painting, typing, admin, research, etc.

  8. Sarah – Can you tell me what the board is called which you used on the back of your Arches Journal? And where you bought it?

      1. I have to agree with this. I didn’t realise how bad Moleskine was for watercolour and ink painting until I tried a 100% cotton sketchbook instead. I still use them for pencil/pen/marker sketching but stopped using them for watercolour and ink. <3

  9. I have been using W&N Pro Acrylic, and I do find the colour shift is less with it than with Golden, liquitex, etc… I was having a bad time with grisaille painting, when I would work hard on values then come back and find it looking way off how I left it. I gather good users can predict the shifts, but that does not seem like a challenge one should embrace if one does not have to.

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