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Audible is my main source for books *- nothing beats audio books for all those hours when I just paint and paint and paint...
I use BoardBooster for some of my Pinterest pinning, but do about 80% of it manually still.
You can sign up for a free 100 pins trial here! *
Art Materials I Use and Recommend
I own a Winsor and Newton metal watercolor case, a gift from my grandmother since she didn't use it anymore. (Thanks grandma! You enabled my young, optimistic self to take her hobby seriously!) Since this case is over twenty years old, I can't find the exact equivalent, but it's similar to this one: Winsor & Newton Water Color Half Pan 24 Metal Box Set * - but if you're someone who likes to carry their watercolors around (for travel sketches or just to stay flexible in general), if you're just getting started with watercolors or if you're looking for a less pricey option, their travel boxes are sturdy, too: Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher Pocket Box Watercolor Set *
MAKE YOUR OWN TRAVEL SET: I've been known to just stash my most-used colors in an empty match box (those large slide-out ones!)... with a bit of removable tape and careful arranging, this is the cheapest possible watercolor case you could wish for, and light as a feather, too. :)
Over the years, I've added to the colors that were in the set initially with a variety of new purchases, combining 'professional' and 'normal' watercolors (they all have their strengths and weaknesses - I'll do a color overview soon!) and different brands. My new favorites are actually by the Korean brand 'Shinhan' (available internationally) that offers really bright, vibrant and smooth colors in tubes: Shinhan Watercolors Artist Paint Tubes *. Mixing it up and finding colors that work uniquely for you is the fun part! You don't need to buy exclusively 'professional' or 'artist grade' colors.
Brushes I mostly get for cheap at local Korean art shops - I'll try to find out which of the best ones are available internationally!
My favorite paper for watercolors is hands-down the Fabriano Artistico Hot Press in Extra White *. Since the texture is so incredibly smooth and the white color pure, this paper is perfect for illustrations that need to be scanned and used digitally. There are barely any digital adjustments to be made if you want to get rid of paper texture, white-balancing is easy and the colors look vibrant and even, if that's what you're going for.
For small formats, I have this cute postcard format watercolor pad by Fabriano. *
For quicker pieces where visible paper texture doesn't matter (or actually adds to the watercolor aesthetic) I use Canson Montval Watercolor * paper.
I like to combine different art materials, and especially use colored pencils to add details or contrast when finishing watercolor pieces.
After over ten years of trying different pencils, my favorites are the Faber-Castell Polychromos *. The color selection is beautiful, they don't break easily, can be sharpened to a delicate point (which can be hard if a pencil is too soft, for example) while still being soft enough to work well with watercolors. After over ten years of buying single pencils of various brands, I finally bought myself a full 72 colors box of these. But start out with a smaller set, there are still all the colors you might need in there. I'd thought shortly about getting the 120 color set *, but wasn't sure if I really needed 10 shades of green and dozens of browns - mixing is the best part about colored pencils after all!
(But hey, if you've got the money, indulge! I wouldn't say no to these if they were a bit cheaper. ;)
I've tried the Caran d'Ache Luminance * artist grade pencils, too, and while there are some colors I can't seem to find an equally beautiful version of in the Polychromo range, they are a bit too soft and feel more suited to larger drawings than my usual tiny fare.
What I do love from the Caran d'Ache brand are its watercolor pencils, the Prismacolor Aquarelle color pencils *. These are great if you're getting started with painting or drawing and want a bit of both worlds: The watercolor effects you can get from these by adding water on top, and the high-quality colored pencils you get out of the same set. They don't apply as smoothly as the Polychromos, but I actually find layering these much easier.
But if you really like watercolors and colored pencils and love to mix them up, I can recommend the Albrecht Durer Water Color Artist Pencils * - these are so much fun to work with! Mixing them with water transforms the colored pencils into incredibly saturated, bright watercolors. I like to use them whenever I feel like a watercolor illustration looks too dull or soft. You can quickly add strong colors to an image with these without needing much water (sometimes layering lots of normal watercolors to get the same bright result might be too much water for the paper to 'swallow') and since you can apply them with the pencil's sharpened tip, these are very precise.
Scanner: I use and love the Epson Perfection V330 Photo scanner. I've tried and owned a variety of scanners since before my art school days, and while this one doesn't allow for A3 scans (but has a large surface that goes beyond A4 for comfortable use) it is the most accurate when it comes to picking up colors, soft hues and transitions - perfect for anyone working in watercolor, colored pencils and generally light colors. It's also really affordable compared to some similar quality models I've tried.
I do own two graphic tablets (the luxury!). Both are from the brand Wacom.
One is now going on 10 years old! It's a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet that isn't even in production anymore, but from the same line as the one here. I got it before starting to work for a publishing company while simultaneously going to art school, and it was perfect for those two main purposes! Very pressure sensitive, lots of customization and surprisingly durable since it's still working fine despite me using it for hours and hours, lugging it around stuffed into my laptop's pouch - it survived one laptop and one desktop PC!
The other one is a simple Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Small Tablet - this won't do it if you're into elaborate coloring, require perfectly calibrated pressure sensitivity and the like. But I use it all the time just for adjusting images, painting simple surfaces, drawing line arts, correcting scans... I initially thought of this more as an occasional alternative to my large tablet, but found that I switched over completely to this one since it's so small, light and portable while still giving good results. It's like a better mouse!