Recommended equipment and materials
with affiliate links to Amazon.com - this means I get a small commission
from the manufacturer for recommending their products.
Although there are excellent compasses and geometry sets available by Helix, Staedtler, Rotring and other manufacturers, some compasses and geometry sets do not have all the features that I find particularly useful for constructing patterns: A pen attachment, to switch from the lead provided to any pen or pencil of your own; A thumb wheel for minor adjustments; A quick release mechanism for major adjustments ( although I think it can impede on the accuarcy over time if it doesnt have excellent build quality). Buying new is fine, but I would also say some of the best sets can be found on Ebay or second hand. For example the build quality of a vintage HAFF, Rotring compass is superb and can be found at a decent price. Pergelistan on Instagram sells a wide range brilliant geometry sets.
The following (all linked via Amazon) are my recommendations depending on your budget:
Budget (upto £13)
Mid Range (£13 to £20)
DROP BOW COMPASS: Drawing small circles is useful for drawing channels, a drop bow compass is perfect for this, however buying them individually, at a reasonable price, isn't so easy. There is the Rotring 233410 Centro Universal Geometry set, an eight piece geometry set which comes with a simple compass, dividers, a small bow compass, the drow bow compass, drawing pen and drawing pen holder, spare needles and leads and an extension bar.
A Straight Edge
Gridded rulers are particularly useful, but fairly rare in the UK stationery departments. Venture into the Haberdashery or crafting departments and you will find cutting or quilting/patchwork rulers make for a good alternative but can be pricey. In addition to the recommended 30cm ruler, you will find it useful to have a shorter 15cm ruler as well as a longer 45/50/60cm ruler:
2H or 3H pencils & 2B pencils and Sharpeners:
The 2H/3H pencils are for construction and the 2B pencil for tracing the pattern onto tracing paper. These can be traditional pencils or mechanical pencil with leads 0.5mm or smaller.
If a traditional pencil, then a good sharpener is necessary, I use:
KUM Long Point Pencil & Lead Sharpener a sharpener with a two stage sharpening process, first the pencil and then the lead.
Sand paper or emery board is useful for compass leads. If mechanical, I recommend the following, I own several and dont really have problems with the lead getting stuck or broken. It's a affordable and reliable:
Clutch pencils are brilliant, if you buy the 2mm leads in 2H or 3H and also a lead sharpener, it makes for a great kit. Here's what I've been using:
Erasers of any sort are useful, but the ones that are "pen" shaped, are excellent, there are two that I always have by my side when drawing:
The remaining materials are widely available with no specific recommendation necessary:
A3 Smooth sketch pad/book OR Good quality smooth printer paper - both 100 gsm or better.
A3 Tracing paper
Fine liner coloured pens
Art Resources & Materials
At my workshops and courses, I often bring with me a number of resources to add colour, here are some of my
favourites (click on the name to open a window to the linked retailer):
This set of three Water Brushes is great for adding colour with either watercolour pencils or paints. Three different sized synthetic tip brushes ( fine, medium and broad) with refillable water chambers that you squeeze gently to blend.
This series of brushes, in size 0, 1 and 3 are my typical brishes, I uses 1 and 0 for the fine work and size 3 to mix the colours.
I use this pack of 48 watercolour pencils which comes in cardboard packaging with sharpener and brush. I've enjoyed using them on watercolour paper with the Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens.
A great set of intense Inktense 24 watercolour pencils which comes in a metal tin. Again, enjoyable on watercolour paper with the Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens.
I really enjoy using this great quality and good value paper, its cold pressed, so has a slightly rough texture. 50 sheets, either A4 or A3, lasts a long time!
A cleverly packaged and very portable set of vibrant watercolours, reasonably priced too!
An extremely cheap ( under £5) dye based behaves like ink more thank watercolours paint set. Give such intense colours so needs to be watered down, mixed in the lid palette.
These were recommended to a friend of mine, by an artist, as an excellent alternative to real gold leaf and metallics. I was hooked immediately, they give such a sold opaque metallic shine, a delight to work with.
These 0.3mm fineliners in bright colours are good quality and smooth to work with. Available individually and also in a tin of 10.
These fibrepens with lightfast waterbased ink and a bullet tip are really quite vibrant on both light and dark paper. The colours are Gold, Silver, Metallic Red, Metallic Blue, Metallic Green and Metallic Violet.
The Color Happy big box contains 69 of edding's best selling coloring products. The brush pen color mixer is an innocent looking plastic gadget that enables you to creates up to 190 shades with only 20 brush pens. The pastel pen is a semi-transparent white pen which creates pastel shades and special bright white highlights, these two special pieces along with brush pens, fineliners, felt pens and gel pens, contained in an innovative and super handy cardboard box definitely does get one colour happy!
These have been really lovely to finish off a painting with (gold, silver, blue, green and pink metallic outline, They give a fairly thick outline varying from 1mm to 2mm depending on how firmly you use the fibre tip pen.
If you'd like more sheen and shine, these are great, be warned if not used carefully, it may splodge on your page.
These pens are refillable and gorgeous. Playing with them is a must, as is using them for contructions... I also got the magnetic balls, so end up making tetrahedra every time!
A3 Bristol Board paper pads
Super smooth and bright white paper that is wonderful to construct on with hard, sharp and fine pencils or fineliners: Daler and Rowney, but there is also Winsor and Newton and Frisk and finally... Canson.
More fave products to follow...
UK based Art Suppliers & Stationers
Sign up any news letters to keep a look out for sales and discounts as well as product reviews & tutorials. All are UK based and most offer discounts on delivery when orderinng over a given amount. I always compare prices at several retailers before making a purchase. Besides these suppliers, I also use Amazon and Ebay and for many basics, www.wilko.com.
If you ever get a chance to visit their stores, please do, it's a whole world of joy to be surrounted bt beautiful art supplies!