The essential art supplies that I use for my illustrations

Gouache and watercolors For watercolors and gouache illustrations, I like using Winsor and Newton gouache and watercolors. They are rich, easy to use and reliable. I have a small travel set of Winsor and Newton watercolors and several tubes of gouache for opaque work. I use these interchangably in projects depending on what I need. I also use acrylics from time to time. I’m currently experimenting with the brand Amsterdam. For watercolor experiments I like to use the affordable Royal Talens watercolors that come in tubes.


I never have enough of and I like to use both ultra cheap ones from Flying Tiger or ones like these to pricier ones, such as Rembrandt by Royal Talens. I also have brushes for acrylics from van Gogh.

Paper and sketchbooks I love love love Strathmore Mixed Media paper. I use it for almost everything art-related. I also like to mess around with cheap watercolor paper that I keep getting as birthday gifts from fam+friends, and some A5 sized ones that I get from the Flying Tiger. I always carry a dummy sketchbook with me from Flying Tiger that is really cheap, but perfect for quick pencil sketches. It is not suitable to paint in. For that, I always use the large Strathmore ones linked above.

Pencils and markers I have a lot of black graphite pencils from Bruynzeel. Additionally I have a big set of Faber Castell soft pencils that I love to use over my paintings to add texture and life to my work. I like experimenting with Prismacolor Premier pencils as well.

Digital devices I have a Lenovo Yoga laptop that I use to draw on too, because it can fold into a tablet. I am over the moon about this laptop. I have a small and a big wacom that I inherited from my product design education and work experience, and the smaller one I take with me when I travel. I have an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil to draw on using Procreate app.

I also have an Epson scanner which is very compact and perfect for my needs as an illustrator with limited studio space.

Other tips For cheap and cute paint blending, I recommend going to the thrift store and getting porcelain cups and plates. Porcelain is perfect for this purpose and it works just as well as buying a palette that is going to end up costing you much more. Bigger plates are also cool for bigger projects. I like to store my art supplies in mugs that I don’t use and like to hunt for cans and tin boxes in thriftstores to put my paints in. Occasionally I will buy a pot or vase, paint it and put it on my desk.

Fun stuff I have some canvases and an easel that I all got off Marktplaats (a dutch second hand stuff platform). Painting on larger canvases is a hobby I’m playing around with and I didn’t want to break the bank, and now I was all ready to go for a mere ten euros. Good budgeting is always smart!

Old food jars

I like to use to put markers and pencils in after I cleaned them. I have one jar that I use as a prompts jar, filled with pieces of paper with drawing prompts.

On my desk, I also always have a stack of sticky notes around to write down any ideas I might have. I also have a clipboard that I use for illustration at events and that keeps scraps of paper organized.

That’s pretty much it! I have way more stuff than this lying around, but these are my go-to things. Hope this was useful for you! Quick note: I added affiliate links to this post, so if you end up purchasing one of my favourite supplies I get a small fee for referring you. In that way I get something in return for keeping this list neat and curated. I promise I will add things to this post if I end up forgetting things or if I make cool new discoveries!

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