Ep.189: Favorite Art Supplies – Interview Highlights

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Nov 22, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! This episode is about highlights from the previous Art Side of Life interviews. Alisa Vysochina, Tomasz Mro, Chantal Horeis, Marco Bucci, Djamila Knopf, and Carrosurreal share their favorite art supplies and art tools.

Watch full interviews here

Click here to check all mentioned art supplies and resources

Featured artwork by Wouter Tulp, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hi, guys, and welcome to another episode of Art Side of Life. I’m Iva for those of you who might not know me yet, and I created another compilation video from various interviews from different artists. And today’s episode is all about our tools. So if you are wondering maybe what you should buy, or what do you want to check out? This is maybe episode you will really like. And of course, you should know first, the skills, the fundamentals, and everything is more important than the art tools. By the way, cool art tools is just more fun. So now let’s just get to the interview part. 

Iva Mikles  

And now you also draw a lot with the watercolors. Right. And so how did you get to watercolors? Or why did you choose this medium

Alisa Vysochina  

with  watercolors? I originally drew a lot with watercolors when I was a kid because it was I guess affordable medium to me. I had not very expensive watercolors out and it was always using it and I guess it’s kind of like, eventually so yeah, I had a break. I had a break from traditional orange for quite a long time. Like at least five years I didn’t touch traditional media I was working digital mostly I was doing vector art and I was very interested so I love vector. But then I and I didn’t had you know you kind of get boring sometimes worried sometimes I’m doing the same stuff. So I just ditched it and started doing digital and when I felt like coming back to it, I picked it up and of course I needed to rebuild my confidence in working with watercolors but I feel like I’m pretty decent right now with the use of them like I’m comfortable at the point that I can control water color. I know how it works and that’s an I enjoy working with it. That’s what’s important part I

Iva Mikles  

think, do you have a favorite brand of the watercolors? No.

Alisa Vysochina  

So I don’t use very expensive watercolors. I feel like it doesn’t really matter in our days when most people just come work and personal line and if you want to sell original like you know people expect with better water colors and wetter mediums that painting will hold for like many years 100 years, but to be honest, nobody keeps stuff for that long. Nobody keeps prints for 100 years come on. I will say just like I hate you and for a while then change with others like I don’t keep stuff especially with watercolors when I buy somebody’s original I keep it in drawer I don’t like you to expose to light. Yeah, so I use Windsor Newton cotton series it’s a student quality but they still pretty good and very affordable and I don’t think you need to make better or to have better quality supplies. You can do go to art was basically in your splice. It doesn’t matter really. So once our neutron is my, I guess favorite. I work with it all the time. Most of my paintings sat down with Windsor Newton Cottman series not even professional series. They’re expensive. And it’s not that I don’t have money to spend on it. I just don’t feel like the need. Yeah. And recently I got into Holbein watercolors. They are expensive and they are professional, but I use it. You know, like some spots and some colors. I don’t do full drawing with Holbein yet but I got the set and I’m looking forward to start using but there’s still like taking my time. I don’t want to open it yet.

Iva Mikles  

S o So what colors did you get from Holbein?

Alisa Vysochina  

I got a 6060 tube set is just

Iva Mikles  

like a full set. 

Alisa Vysochina  

Yeah, I asked it for my birthday. My husband got it to me. So I’m looking at it for two months already. Like should I open it? Yeah. Also, I wait until I get the palette to transfer it into palette because it’s it’s gonna be pretty huge palette. Yeah. That’s it So the reason why I like Windsor Newton because I use travel sets, and they’re very small, so you can take it anywhere. That’s very nice.

Iva Mikles  

So when you’re creating stuff, do you also adjust this later on in like Photoshop or other digital tools, or it’s like purely like traditional art?

Tomasz Mrozkiewicz  

Ah, yeah, I often actually adjust my even more traditional work. Like, for example, the yellow series, when I painted with, I do like a pencil sketch, don’t go with pen. And then acrylic over the top, sometimes do acrylic, the layers kind of don’t turn out as, as vibrant as I would like. So you know, I scanned the piece, put it into Photoshop, I just like the lines and the colors. And, you know, for Instagram, for example, my phone is so bad, I still use like a Samsung Galaxy S four. Which is literally like six years old. So every time like I, you know, take pictures very dark. So I have to like put it into Photoshop and edit the lighting and everything. So even with pictures, not even with my pieces, even with the pictures, I still have to edit them digitally. And I’m very much inspired by concept art. Even though I don’t do concept art myself, and like, it’s very inspiring for me. I think concept artists are insanely skilled. They put so much time into, you know, knowing so much of the like fundamentals and the theory. So I think you can learn a lot of concept artists. So maybe, I don’t know, maybe in the next few years, I will try to go back more to digital work. Because I you know, I was always inspired by Lord of the Rings and other movies like similar to that. So, you know, maybe sometime I go back to days, you know, fantasy creatures, and

Iva Mikles  

yeah, I would love to see that actually work The Lord of the Rings for a villain Lego as well. So I really love the movie too. Oh, that’s really cool. And do you have like a favorite brand of pencil or paint or something like okay, this is my pen, my paper.

Tomasz Mrozkiewicz  

I think this with the watercolors because I do a lot of watercolor, I think it’s important to have a very good watercolor paper, it can save so much of your time. Because if you have a cheap quality watercolor paper, you know, the water doesn’t flow that well, the pigment doesn’t spread that well. And you might think that you’re “beep” at watercolor, but actually, it’s sometimes the paper the materials that you use. So use Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, which I’ve been using for I think three years, it’s quite expensive. It’s similar to the Arches watercolor paper, but it’s very good quality. I think it’s shipped from Italy. So I think I purchased it for about 30 pounds for like 23 sheets. So that’s my, like, favorite material. But even just like with pencil, I think with pencil sometimes you can use like a regular pencil and you can create amazing work. So it’s not always the materials that can be like 14 I think most Skyn drawing notebook is amazing for graphite, but I’m very much against the watercolor one, because they changed the paper about two years ago. And so many people are complaining like why they changed it because like I used it recently and it’s just Oh, it’s terrible. I even posted like Instagram. how frustrated I am about the paper. But the graphite one, the wonderful graphite is really good. And then the brushes I just use as you know, like regular brushes, watercolor I don’t buy anything like fancy. And then I think having a big workspace especially if you’re a messy is awesome because you can like stack up everything and then you know, I’m a very messy person. So like I always need like a big workspace. I think that can save loads of your time because then you’re not like you know squashed like a little desk. So yeah, having a big workspace and then more Skyn Fabriano Artistico. Farber, Castile pencils are awesome. And poly black poly camo is awesome for drawing.

Iva Mikles  

So you always take your sketchbook with you when you go so it’s not that you take a picture.

Chantal Horeis  

Sometimes I take a picture, if I don’t have the time to get my sketchbook out and tried to bring it everywhere I go.

Iva Mikles  

Said so you have like a small one or what do you carry? This size? Okay. That’s like that’s moleskin ri ght? Yeah,

Chantal Horeis  

yeah, that’s moleskin right. Yeah, I like it the best. I tried a few but this is I like the paper and the size and It fits in every bag.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So what would you kind of recommend people to try? Like first maybe like, favorite sketchbook or a pencil, which you like some maybe brand if they want to try one pencil?

Chantal Horeis  

You mean if they already decided they want to go with pencils first on paper? Yeah, for

Iva Mikles  

example, what are your favorite tools,

Chantal Horeis  

I usually use those pencils from fabric I still can use. And I use different softness. Yeah, the softness of them are different, I have very hard ones and very soft ones. And in between different stages, because I usually start my drawings by taking the hardest pencil which will be the lightest on on my paper. So I can draw the basic composition first and the basic elements that I want my drawing to have without, without having to be very certain about every line that I make, because it’s so so, so light on the paper that I can either erase it, or even if I go, if I leave it there, as soon as I take my four B pencil on my AP pencil, the other one won’t be visible anymore, because the contrast is so high with the other ones. And yeah, then I go up and get more and more certain with my drawing and find out where my darkest parts are. And then I go really in with the soft pencils and make it as dark as I can because I like to have a very large value range in the drawing.

Iva Mikles  

And from traditional tools, do you have some favorite one?

Marco Bucci  

Well, I so when I paint outside in a small sketchbook, I use I really like the most the most Skyn or moleskin, whatever you call it a watercolor book. Those are that’s very nice paper it takes it takes a beating with water. without buckling, that’s very good. But when I paint, and I use just any old brush, I can because the sketches are so small that the brushes don’t need to be that high quality. So just a bunch of rounds or flats really, I use my old brushes for my studio when I travel. But when I travel with a larger watercolor setup, like the videos I’m filming now are my easel watercolor setup. With the, that’s 12 by 16 inch, so it’s a little larger, I need higher quality for that. So I use I like Saunders 140 pound cold pressed paper. And I like brushes from a company called a Skoda. For me they just make Yeah, they’re, they’re based in Spain. So in Europe, we can get them pretty easily actually just ordered a batch from from their warehouse just yesterday. So because I like with watercolor I find for me, I really need a sharp point. So I get round brushes, because with the round brush, they have a sharp tip, but it’s also a tapers wider at the base. Yeah. So you could get a thick stroke or a or a very thin stroke with just one brush. And I keep my quote my materials very high quality when it comes to watercolor. And I just use Windsor Newton paint,

Iva Mikles  

okay, because I need to still try so this or I need to pick your brain.

Marco Bucci  

What should I try? Yeah. Yeah, so if you’re, my recommendation is if you’re painting in a small sketchbook, just get get a very small palette of like, you can even use dry color, I don’t use dry color I use, I use a small palette that I squeezed wet watercolor onto and I let that wet watercolor dry on the palate. And then the cool thing with watercolor is you just take a spray bottle and spray those watercolors and they come back to life on the palette. So you can do that too. And then I also recommend when you’re outdoors sketching is bring along some white gloss paint, because often times this the watercolor watercolor is not the best for really small studies, you sometimes need a bit of opacity, and GWAS really, really helps that so whenever you see a sketchbook study of mine, there’s always some guasha in it too, but and I achieve squashed by like I said, whitewash mixed with watercolor will get you basically quash. Okay, yeah, it’s really cool. Anyway, I could go on for days about painting.

Iva Mikles  

In New York, you’re creating these artworks digitally or inking or acrylics. Or what is your favorite

Djamila Knopf  

well all over the place right now, I still love digital. I do all my sketches digitally. If you look at my Instagram account or whatever, I sometimes share the preliminary sketches for my ink work. I just do them on Photoshop because it’s so convenient. You can flip it you can cut it out and paste it and everything And then I print it out. And then I transfer it onto paper and I go with ink and Copic markers on top. So that’s one thing. That’s the little ink series I’ve been doing. And

Iva Mikles  

how do you transfer it to the paper to explain, then someone who’s never done that is like, Oh, just transfer it. So

Djamila Knopf  

yeah, it’s, it’s really bad. I’ve kind of

Djamila Knopf  

just print it out and tape it to my window and take a pencil and transfer it I if I was, if I had more money, I’d buy a light box. That would be nice. But other than that, I started doing those in winter drawings and the sun goes down at five. I always had a deadline to to finish my drawing before five every day, because other than that, I wouldn’t have the light to chance.

Iva Mikles  

But that’s perfect. I mean, because then people always have excuses. You know, I cannot do this because I cannot have the light books or whatever. So we know.

Djamila Knopf  

Winter creates your deadlines for you. Yeah, but um, that’s one thing. And I also work digitally just in Photoshop coloring that that’s nice for trying out different color palettes. You can always change it around. I can miss that when I’m doing traditional work. But I really want to have an original in the end that I can hold in my hand and sell and all those kinds of things. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

definitely. Yeah, that’s really nice. And then from traditional paints, do you have like a favorite brand or something? You know, like you really love?

Djamila Knopf  

No, man. Um, yeah, as I said, I’m working. Or did I say that? I don’t know. I’m exploring acrylic paint right now. And I use it like watercolor. I just water it down a lot. I use Schmincke acrylic paints. They’re nice, I think. And I like that kind of technique because when you use regular watercolor, you you paint something and then you go over it with water again, and kind of some of the pigment that’s on the page gets lifted up again, and it does things that you maybe you’re not expecting and I I like planning stuff a lot. I mean, watercolors probably not the best medium for planning, but I kind of like the random effects you get. But once I have those effects, I want them to stay there. And when I use acrylic, I can just go on top again and again and again. And it doesn’t destroy my previous layer that I have. And there’s one artist that I really really like I always butchering her name Tron yen I don’t know if she’s Yeah, she’s a Vietnamese and her name is My name is Chan I think on most things so you can find her there without trying to pronounce

Iva Mikles  

all right let’s put it in the show notes afterwards so people can check it out also within the Yeah.

Djamila Knopf  

Yeah, she’s awesome. She does those surreal dream like paintings with large women and small houses and landscapes and it’s kind of like yeah, do you know how to oversee a bad yeah, and she’s also using watered down acrylics and colored pencils. So that’s, that’s been an inspiration for me. I want to try that up.

Iva Mikles  

And then like the paper do you have like a specific paper you also use all you just do them sketchbook or something? Maybe people can try out if

Djamila Knopf  

I’ve just used this once, but I still I like it a lot. I bought this hot pressed watercolor paper. It’s called Kenson Mulan to ROI or something like that. Yeah, and it’s really really smooth and it also takes water kind of well. I read on Amazon that it’s not very good if you’re using watercolor because it lifts up so much when you put down a layer and you go above it again, everything gets destroyed that you’ve done before but since I’m using it really paints that’s no issue because it’s waterproof, it stays there. So I can recommend it for acrylic and ink work. And for the ink drawings I’m doing I’m just using Hana moolah. No style e paper it’s kind of off white and it’s slick and it it works well. It doesn’t wrinkle that much.

Iva Mikles  

That’s when I haven’t tried I tried cancer but the other one I haven’t tried it yet. So you’ve write your stories first and the ideas and then you go to create characters or does it also sometimes happen the other way that you feel like oh, this character can tell the story

Carolina Parada  

actually is most of the time is is that I made the drawing and then I, I create the story.

Iva Mikles  

Okay. Yeah, really nice. Yeah, definitely. And when you are also working with watercolors or the traditional media, do you have like some favorite tools like oh, this is my favorite brand or doesn’t matter

Carolina Parada  

for you? Yeah, actually, I recently discovered liquid water water colors. And so can I say the brand? Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

of course of course. Okay.

Carolina Parada  

The brand is called Baby Bo PVOH. And, and yeah, it’s really cool. I really love it. It’s so smooth and soft and the borders are so well defined is really cool. I really love it.

Iva Mikles  

And do you also have like a favorite paper or you’re trying different types?

Carolina Parada  

I have been trying different types. Well, Molly skinny books are not books are really good. But actually, I have now a notebook from Muji is a Japanese brand. So this got this combination of paper watercolors with MUJI papers really good. I really liked it.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, definitely. That sounds good. I need to try. 

Iva Mikles  

So that was it, guys, thank you so much for listening and sticking around until the end. And if you’re interested in some of the things we talked about, I will put these links in the description so you can check it out. And if you want to watch some of the YouTube videos, you can just head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube or just go directly to YouTube. And you can just let me know what you think in the comments. And if you would spare five minutes, I would really love if you can drive review on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen or get the your podcast. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much again for being here and talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

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Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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