2017 has been a crazy fun year all round in terms of art and lettering. Lots of new Instagram challenges were created, new trends arose and many new faces joined the art and lettering community. While I didn’t venture on many projects, I did get to try out lots of new (to me) art and lettering supplies thanks to endlessly browsing Instagram and Pinterest. Some of my favourite purchases in 2017 have been around for a while will definitely stick around for many years to come. Here’s a short list of my favourite purchases of 2017 and why I love them so much!
1. Artline Stix Brush Pens
You may have noticed that these Lego-looking, squid tentacle like pens popping up on Instagram like crazy over the past few months. That’s because these pens are as amazing as everyone makes them out to be! Other than their fun exterior, we get a nice juicy brush nib that responds to pressure extremely well. These pens also create the ombre look when you use them right. Moreover, they’re extremely affordable for a pack of 20 colours if you live in Australia (where they’re most commonly found) so they are one of the best brush pens to learn with. If you want to see more Stix goodness, you have to go to Emma from Black Chalk Co. She’s the unofficial Queen of Artline Stix pens!
Why I love them:
- Comes in a variety of bright, vibrant ink colourS
2. EnglishPenCrafts Resin Oblique Holder
I seriously couldn’t get over how gorgeous this nib holder was when I first laid eye on it. The craftsmanship, love and care put into making this holder made it just that more special. The beautiful swirls of green reminded me of all the colours of nature so I had to get it. Not only is is a dream to look at, this holder is extremely comfortable to use. Mel from EnglishPenCrafts on Etsy adjusts the flange to fit whatever nib size you want. That, plus the weight and girth of the holder makes it a joy to use. I started out with a Speedball oblique like most people do, but I found that to be too lightweight and far to thing to use for long periods of time. This was like the baby bear porridge; just right.
Why I love it:
- Beautiful craftsmanship!
- Feels great to hold in my hand
- Excellent customer service from Mel
3. Crayola Washable Markers 40pk
Alright. I’m this is a no brainer, as most people have tried out the Crayola Washable Marker for “brush” lettering at some stage. This is because they’re very affordable and you don’t feel bad for ruining them when you’re learning how to apply pressure for that brush lettering effect. I previously owned the Crayola Supertips which were the thinner version of these Crayola Washable markers and I found them great to use, however, I enjoyed the larger tip size just that much more. It allowed me to get a larger line variation between the thick and thin strokes. The 40pk just meant I had a wider variety of colours to choose from if I ever embarked on a colourful art project. (These are also great for those adult colouring books – are those still a thing?)
Why I love them:
- Wide range of colours
- Great as a starter pen
4. The Kew Book of Botanical Illustration
Throughout 2017, I embarked on a journey to learn to paint with watercolours. While I haven’t gotten far, I did find The Kew Book of Botanical Illustrations to be extremely useful for painting flowers and leaves. I graduated University with a PGDipSci in Biology and focused a lot of my time on botany and plant science, so I really wanted to portray flowers as accurately as possible and personally didn’t want the loose floral look. This book was exactly what I needed, as it cover everything from choosing the right materials, scaling your images from a real life subject, paint colour combinations for petals and leaves and also how to create textures such as furry leaves. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is also has very well respected botanical and mycological collections, so their knowledge on plants in terms of the scientific area is more than amazing.
Why I love it:
- Scientifically accurate portrayal of flowers
- Super in depth – materials and techniques
- Handy tips on colour combinations
5. MEEDEN empty 12 half pan tin + half pans
If you know me, you know I am into miniature stationery. Pocket pens, pocket notebooks and travel paint brushes are among my favourite things to buy. So, when it came to paints, I really wanted a compact system to carry all my tube paints around. I searched around and found the Meeden empty tins and half pans from AliExpress. Technically this was made to fit only 12 pans, but slotting in 5 half pans sideways in the gap in the middle stuck with Blu-tac let it fit 17 half pans in a tiny tin! The tin is extremely sturdy and there is ample mixing space with the fold open mixing area and the underside of the lid.
Why I love it:
- Super portable!
- Cheaper than brand name empty tins
- Well made for the price
There we have it, a round up of my favourite purchases in 2017. Hopefully 2018 allows me to try more new and exciting art and lettering supplies!