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A New Class Offering & 8 Favorite Art Supplies

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” -Mary Oliver


I LOVE trying out new art supplies. But I’m not one to spend a lot of money them.

I really use them and break them. And, if they’re brushes, I forget to wash them. I’m also pretty picky about my colors.

So I rarely buy a whole set of something.

I know I love blues, so when I try out a supply, I usually purchase just one in either a brilliant or sky blue.

If I really like the look of it and think I can use it in my regular mix of favorite art supplies, then I’ll purchase more.

Too many times have I picked the wrong color. Or bought an entire set I never use.

That’s why I try and use very basic and inexpensive supplies in my classes too (so it’s safe for you to get started and not a huge risk if you don’t like something).

Here are some of my newest favorite art supplies and colors…

From: Top to Bottom, Left to right)…

HOMEMADE CRAYONS :: I will often use Crayola crayons to create layers in my work. But I didn’t know what I was missing until the lovely Jill Hammond gifted me with this adorable heart-shaped melted down mix of crayons. To make your own crayon mix, Jill’s recipe is: take old crayons, remove wrappers, break into pieces about a half an inch to an inch long, place a mound of them in a silicone mold (Jill gets them at JoAnn’s in the cake decorating section), melt in the microwave and remove to cool. These crayon mixes make creating even more playful and fun!

PAN PASTELS/BURNT SIENNA :: I was really not sure about these. They are on the expensive side, but I have to say… I LOVE them for faces! Often I will use a chalk pastel to add soft color to my faces, but with these, the color is more intense and so much easier to just rub on (like blush). These too are watersoluble, so they work so well with all of my other mixed media supplies. It is very easy to blend out the color and looks lovely when mixed with acrylic paints. I will definitely be purchasing a few more in my favorite colors (especially a red-pink for cheeks).

SENNELIER OIL PASTEL/TURQUOISE BLUE :: I didn’t know if I would like these or if they’d be that different from less expensive oil pastels. But I love the creamy texture and they really go well over all of my mixed media layers and give a lovely extra pop of color. I wouldn’t purchase an entire set, but I will definitely get more in colors I love (the turquoise is perfect for a teal-tone).

DERWENT INKTENSE BLOCK/POPPY RED & GREEN AQUAMARNE :: So many people kept telling me how much they loved these, so I had to try. I had a set in highschool, but I never used them as water-soluble and mixed water with them. They are heavier and bolder in color and lone than a chalk pastel and when mixed with water, the line shows, so they are very fun for outlining and then bleeding out the color a bit. I wouldn’t purchase an entire set, but I will definitely get more in colors I love.

CATALYST WEDGE #6 :: This product, my friend Mindy Lacefield recommended and I couldn’t see how it would possibly be different than using my plastic palette knife (which I love because it feels like you’re applying paint like icing on a cake). But it does smear paint completely differently! I especially love the way it scrapes away paint and leaves behind lots of texture from underneath. And, with the straight edge, it’s easy to go around a character’s body and really spread paint around.

WHITE ACRYLIC PAINT :: This is another recommendation from Mindy Lacefield. I didn’t know what I was missing using medium body acrylics in a tube. This white seems extra thick (great for creating texture in a background, adding fingerprints with texture and filling large areas (then wiping some away to get texture).

GESSO :: I’ve never used gesso in my paintings before. So when so many people said their favorite supply was gesso, I had to try! Like the heavier body acrylic white, using gesso gives so much texture to characters and backgrounds.

WINSOR & NEWTON OIL BAR/Antique White :: I’ve always been a fan of shiva oil paintsticks, but many students said they couldn’t find them overseas. These oilbars are a fabulous replacement. While they seem to take longer to dry (the Shivas take 24 hours), they are much creamier.


I’m also developing my next online course… HAPPY PAINTING – A Mini Course!

This course has been on my mind for some time. I wanted to create a class that would help you develop your own unique style in a mini course.

In this online workshop, I’ll share five mixed media projects that will cover a variety of techniques and characters.

That means we’ll be painting whimsical animals, girls, and imaginary creatures. And with each demo, I’ll stick to just a few of my favorite basic and inexpensive supplies, so the class doesn’t need to be a huge investment.

We’ll also play with painting backgrounds and layering, experiment with using the same supplies in new ways, and have fun bringing our paintings to life. It’s all about giving you many places to begin, so you can easily develop your own style.

Registration opens next week. Class begins in April and there will be plenty of time to explore, connect and paint.

I’ll have more details for you closer to the date.

Sign up for my newsletter to get a little reminder when registration opens with a very special early bird sale.

What are some of your favorite art supplies and colors?

I love trying out new art supplies, and sometimes it takes getting the right color too, so if you have any favorites, I’d be delighted to hear from you. I’ll be sure to look for your recommendations in the comments of this post.

And, if you know someone who enjoys art supplies or might be interested in trying out Happy Painting – the mini course, feel free to share this post (there are links beside the Join The Conversation section above the comments).

Click here to see more of my favorite art supplies.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happy painting!

Juliette Crane

Ps. Today is the last day of my Serendipity 1 & 2 Sale. Use code STYLE at checkout and save 10%. Click here to register.

Pps. My FACES – Mixed Media Portraits online class is now available to sign up with instant-access (so all of the projects will be waiting for you as soon as you login). It’s been so incredible to see the artwork & positive community growing each week.

One Comment

  1. Hi Juliette, thank you for the review of art supplies, I really appreciate hearing from other artists what they like and don’t like before I splurge on something new. That heart crayon is the cutest thing and I think my grandkids would love playing with that!

    I have recently been trying watercolors and have a cheap pan set, then i dove into the deep end and bought some Daniel Smith watercolors and they are like no other watercolor I’ve ever seen, I am loving them, sparinginly since they are pricey. The Alizarin Crimson makes my heart beat faster.

    The only draw back with watercolors is the limited ability to layer but I am challenging myself to keep trying new things.

    Your mini class sounds great! Have a good weeked!

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