Recommended equipment and materials

with affiliate links to - this means I get a small commission

from the manufacturer for recommending their products.


A Compass

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)

Jakar Giant Bow Pencil Compass  (as used in current workshops)

Helix Precision Plus Compass Drawing Set A33002  (as used in previous workshops)

Mid Range (£13 to £20)

Linex 100411013 Quick Action Compass Professional Compass

Jakar Giant bow, quick release, with lengthening bar

Staedtler- Compass Mars Comfort 552

Staedtler 55201 Mars 552 Comfort Spring Bow Compass



Staedtler Mars Professional 555 Compass Set

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:

30cm Rulers

1. 30cm Precision Ruler with Metal Edge Inlay - Docrafts

2. 30cm Acrylic Rule/Ruler with Steel Cutting Edge - Jakar

or 30cm Clear Acrylic Cutting Ruler with Steel Edge Stripe Jakar 

3. 30cm Acrylic Cutting Ruler with Steel Edge

60cm Rulers

1. 60cm Acrylic Rule/Ruler with Steel Cutting Edge - Jakar

2. 60cm Clear Acrylic Transparent Cutting Ruler With Steel Edge Strip

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.

Imikas Electic Pencil Sharpener  An Electric sharpener with mains and battery operated options, three settings, but i only use sharpest option, so far so excellent!

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:

Pentel 0.3mm P200 Series Mechanical Pencil Lead with Brown Barrel

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:

Kohinoor Hardtmuth Clutch Pencil

Kohinoor Hardtmuth 3H 2mm Leads

Staedtler Mars Lead Pointer Tub - Sharpener For 2mm Pencil Leads

Faber Castell Lead Sharpener


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:

Staedtler Propelling Graphite Eraser

Tombow Mono Eraser Set Includes Zero Round Tip Eraser

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
Masking tape

Coloured pencils

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):

Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens

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.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Series 222 Brushes

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.

KOH-I-NOOR Mondeluz Aquarell Coloured Pencils

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.

Derwent Inktense Watercolour Pencils

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.

Cass Art Jumbo Watercolour Gummed Paper Pad 300GSM

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!

Koh-i-noor Watercolour Pan Set Assorted Colours

A cleverly packaged and very portable set of vibrant watercolours, reasonably priced too!

Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth Brilliant Paint

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.


Royal Talens Goauche, 20ml Tube, Deep gold

Royal Talens Goauche, 20ml Tube, Bronze

Royal Talens Goauche, 20ml Tube, Copper

Royal Talens Goauche, 20ml Tube, Silver

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.

Edding 55 Fineliners (tin of 16)

These 0.3mm fineliners in bright colours are good quality and smooth to work with. Available individually and also in a tin of 10.

Edding 1200 Metallic (tin of 6)

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.

Edding Colour Happy Box (20 piece set)

Edding Colour Happy Box (69 piece set)

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!

Staedtler Metallic Markers - 5 Assorted Colours

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.

UNI-BALL Metallic Paint Marker - Fine tip

If you'd like more sheen and shine, these are great, be warned if not used carefully, it may splodge on your page.


Magnetip Fineliners

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,

Artifolk - Based in Newark and available though Amazon too.

Atlantis Art- Based in East London


Cass Art - Stores all around the UK, with six in London


Cowling and Wilcox - Based in Camberwell, South London


Cult Pens- online only and heavenly, so many unusual products with full ranges of colours and size

Curtis Ward - Online only

Hobbycraft - stores all around the UK

Jackson's Art Supplies - Based in Dalston, North London

Ken Bromley Art Supplies - based in Bolton

L. Cornelissen & Son- off Tottenham Court Road in London

Paperchase - stores all around the UK

Pullingers Graphic and Art Supplies- based in Kingston Upon Thames

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! 

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