My Favorite Art Supplies

My favorite art supplies in 2021. Everything from drawing to painting and all the fun stuff in between.

I am a recovering art-supply-aholic and I’m here to help you.

Over the years I’ve wasted so much money on supplies I either didn’t need, that don’t perform well, or just plain suck. I’ve discovered some gems along the way, which I’ll share here.

Also please feel free to tell me what your favorite gear is!

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 Jacksonsart customers will receive a 10% discount on their first order if it is made through any of these links.

Drawing Supply Menu

Pentel Mechanical Pencil
A deliciously thin .5 mm and practically indestructible. Small lead is great for details but I can also fill in large areas with hatching.

Pilot G-Tec-C4 Pen
Smooth, reliable lines, no clogs, no fuss. Not waterproof. Great as an everyday pen.

Uniball Eye Micro
Smooth, reliable lines and waterproof ink. Does it get much better than that?

Uniball Signo White
The best white “gel” pen I’ve ever used. Can be used on top of watercolor or dark lines. Very opaque.

STAEDTLER Mars Micro Blue Lead
I put this in my Pentel mechanical pencil (see above).

Leuchtturm1917 Blank Sketchbook
A luxuriously thick, smooth paper that feels so good under my pencil and pens. I also really love their bright, sturdy covers. Handles heavy ink very well.

Grid Sketchbook
Something about a grid sketchbook that I love. This one has nice cream colored paper with a very faint grid, not too distracting but still useful.

Watercolor Menu

Watercolor Paint Sets

Cotman Watercolor Travel Set (12 Colors)
Great for your first set of colors. Student grade, but still bright, reactivates easily, and easy to carry. This was my first set of watercolors.

Sennelier Watercolor Travel Set (8 Colors)
When you’re ready to upgrade, this is an amazing brand. I absolutely LOVE Sennelier’s quality, plus tubes give you more bang for your buck!

Schmincke Watercolor Set (12 Colors)
Schmincke is my new favorite brand. Their quality and color range perfectly matches what I look for in a watercolor set.

Watercolor Brushes

#12 Round Silver Black Velvet Brush
If I could only have one 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.

Synthetic Rigger Brush
Very useful brush using long bristles that allow you to make very fine marks. Vegan friendly.

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

Watercolor Paper

Arches 9×12 Cold Pressed Paper Block
100% Cotton Paper, 140# (300gsm). Incredibly sturdy paper, handles everything I throw at it!

Saunders Waterford 9×12 Rough Paper Block
100% Cotton Paper, 140# (300gsm). I love an extra bit of texture, and this is my favorite rough paper that I’ve tried.

Etchr Watercolor Postcards
100% Cotton Paper, 230gsm. My new favorite watercolor postcards.

Fabriano Artistico 9×12 Hot Pressed Paper Block
I’m not a huge fan of hot pressed (smooth) paper, but out of all the ones I’ve tried, this is my favorite. I mainly use it for gouache and for that, it’s really nice.

Watercolor Sketchbooks

Seawhite of Brighton A5 Watercolor Sketchbook
If you just want a cheap, good quality sketchbook for wet media, this one is great. I use it for both watercolor and gouache. These replaced my Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks (which I no longer approve of).

Strathmore Watercolor Travel Journal 7×10
One of my favorite 100% cotton travel sketchbooks in portrait orientation. It has a soft cover.

Etchr Cold Pressed A5 “Perfect” Sketchbook
100% Cotton (Fabriano?) paper. Made with heavier 300 gsm paper, this will handle all wet media.

Hahnemuele Beige Watercolor A5 Sketchbook
I love this one for gouache especially! It also looks great with ink and wash. I also have their grey version which is fun.

Saunders Waterford Rough Fat Pad
I already mentioned I love the rough paper, so having it in sketchbook form is even better!

Etchr Cold Pressed A5 Sketchbook
A slightly different experience (more rough feeling) than their “perfect” sketchbook.

Watercolor Palettes

18 Well Watercolor Palette
I have used a version of this palette for 4 years and still love it. Mine is a generic brand, but it’s the same design.

Portable Painter (Hands Free Painting Kit)
When you just want a super simple, portable setup, this is the best!

Portable Painter Micro
An even smaller version! I also like this one for gouache.

My watercolor palette contains:

Gouache Menu

Gouache Paint

Winsor & Newton Set (5 Colors)
A very affordable entry set! I use W&N and love the consistency and colors.

Holbein Primary Set (5 Colors)
A great starter set if you want to try this high quality brand.

<<< these are the only two brands I use.

Gouache Paper / Sketchbooks

Seawhite of Brighton A5 Watercolor Sketchbook
If you just want a cheap, good quality sketchbook for wet media, this one is great. I use it for both watercolor and gouache. These replaced my Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks (which I no longer approve of).

Fabriano Artistico 9×12 Hot Pressed Paper Block
I don’t like painting on really textured paper with gouache, so I always use hot pressed watercolor paper.

Etchr Hot Pressed A5 Sketchbook
I love how bright, smooth, and absorbent this paper is. Perfect!

Gouache Brushes

Daler Rowney Brush Set
A great intro set, especially when paired with an A5 sketchbook.

W&N Flat Wash Brush
One of my most used brushes. I use the 1/2 inch and 1 inch.

Etchr Brush Set (10)
These brushes are great for detail work. I also use them for watercolor.

Gouache Palettes

Sealable Palette Box
Keep your paints moist between sessions with this airtight palette..

Masterson Sta-Wet Painters Pal Sponge
Use this sponge underneath palette paper to keep gouache moist for longer (as I show in my videos).

Portable Painter Micro
A really great tiny palette for painting on the go.

Gouache Desserts

Watercolor Ground
Painting on a smooth surface? Prime any surface with this to help the paint stick better.

Sealer – Dorland’s Wax Medium
Protect your gouache paintings with a waterproof seal. Dries matte. Watch my video.

My Gouache palette contains these colors (All Winsor & Newton):

Water Mixable Oil Paint Menu

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!

If you are curious about them, watch this video.

Oil Paint Main Dish

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!

Holbein Duo Aqua Set (4 Colors)
If you want to try this brand (which I love) this is a good test set.

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.


Ampersand Gessobord Cradled Panel
I really love the surface of these for oil paint. They are cradled which makes them easy to mount, frame, or hang.

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!

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

Served With

Jackson’s Black Hog Brush Set for Oil
These are very robust and handle lots of abuse. Since I’m constantly scrubbing my canvas and they have handled it really well over the last couple years.

Jackson’s Akoya Synthetic Set for Oil
These are a little more stiff which I find useful for certain techniques.

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.


Palette Knife
I frequently use a palette knife to apply thick paint, get interesting marks, and scrape lines into the wet paint. Also useful for mixing color.

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.

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.

Gloss Varnish
Protect your artwork and bring out the richness of the colors.

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.

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.

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

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