8 tips about art supplies


Hi there! How was your week guys? I hope you read this while enjoying a cup of coffee next to your notebook. Take notes!

What sucks about this is that many times something looks spectacular but maybe it isn’t, and probably there is some other more economical and flexible option for your budget.

Even today this happens to me and I try to think in more economic solutions with the art supplies I already had before buying a new product. So, I’ll share with you 8 tips hoping this helps you in your life as an illustrator. I tried or did all these hacks myself and I hope you enjoy them.

1. Your own ecolines: These are a watercolors ready to go. You can buy them in many colors and there are ready to paint any time you need to. This products cost 10$ per bottle. Before I bought them I took a tiny bottle, of any color in tube and mix with water (Dilute well). I tried this mix some days and it was pretty fun, and I tried as many colors as I wanted before buying. This mix dries a little faster in the bottle and you have to shake the bottle before using it.

2. Your own ink shades: This comes in line with hack number one. Many times we want an specific ink shade for our work (typography or outlines in watercolors), but it is difficult to get the perfect one. If you have in mind which one you need, I recommend you make your own tone, take a small container and mix colors until you achieve what you need and feel free to test it as many times as you need to. If you already have in mind which tone is better for your work, buy that tone in a very light version and one in a dark version, or If you already have red, yellow and blue ink you have the chance to mix and test endless times.

3. From water-brushes to markers: Buying any tone of markers was really hard to me, they are expensive and I didn’t know what to choose. So, I have this brushes with water tank, one day I just filled the water brush one with one of my DYS ecolines. This mix is not for any type of paper, but this technique gave me the chance to try a few colors in the details of my illustrations without spending in new markers. The brushes I use are Sakura’s water brushes set and it costs 8$.

4. Your old and dry marker could be a blender: Never throw away an empty marker, If the shade is very light you can use it as a blender in your illustrations once it’s dry and the brush nib will give a cool effect. This won’t always work that well because the markers leave a little ink at their nibs, but sometimes you can get interesting tones because of the wear and texture of the marker. I suggest you use it and try in many different ways, I even tried with colors and the result was very cool.

5. Refill your disposable multiliner: I used to do this in college. At the beginning a refillable or disposable multiliner could be expensive, but with some luck you can find some multiliners with good nibs but they run out of ink really fast, to recharge that type of markers you only have to remove the top lid (you can use your teeth, like I did) and to recharge using a syringe full of chinese ink. This way you give a longer life and better use to a disposable marker, but this doesn’t always works with all the brands.

6. Trace your watercolors with color pencils before painting: This is more of a tip, but read it anyway. When you trace a sketch in your watercolor paper try to use a colored pencil instead of a graphite one. Graphite often messes with the ink or watercolor and fuck the illustration. The light colors are the best for this, try red or blue, even works with violet and this avoids mixing ink and graphite.

7. Scanning without a scanner: I don’t have a scanner but I have a nice camera. If you have a nice camera or a simple one try taking photos of your work with day light and then editing them in Photoshop, play around with the contrast and brightness and then clean the details. It’s not perfect but it could help you. This works really great with illustrations in black and white.

8. Mechanical pencils with color pencil leads: The mechanical pencils with color pencil leads were the boom in the 90’s but now is the erasable color pencils. The erasable colors are super helpful and not too expensive, but if you want to try another option before buying I suggest you go for the colored pencil leads. You can find them in any art supplies store, but not all of them are nice quality so ask before.

I hope you find all this hacks useful and that you try some of them. Do you have any special hack? Tell me more in the comments!

If you liked this post share it with your friends and don’t forget to follow me in the social media, I’m @esvaleriadiaz everywhere. Also, I opened an online store, if you want to see some specific illustration let me know in the comments.