Every artist has their own preferred tools, but what if I told you there were tools out there to help you save money, time and supplies? Brushes, pens, paper, brand of paint etc. are all vital to an artist’s work. As an artist myself, I can get pretty picky about brand, style and feel of a product. I want my work to look as amazing as the tools it’s made with! Usually, artists already have all the basics covered when it comes to what we make our art with but there are always ways to improve our process, clean up, or production cost.
This list goes beyond the basic tools needed in the studio, but once you add them to your repertoire, you may find them as essential as a paint brush!
1. Staedtler - Mars Lumograph of Pencils
This might seem pretty basic, but these can be an upgrade especially if you usually use mechanical pencils to sketch. I’ve used these pencils for years and I have to say, Staedtler is my favorite brand. They are perfect for technical drawings, writing, or just basic sketching. A premium quality pencil, they sharpen easily, offer variety in graphite hardness, and they last a LONG time. Not to mention, they’re made with break resistant lead so you’re never stuck sharpening for that perfect tip. If your looking for a good set of pencils, these are definitely worth it!
1. Masterson Sta-Wet Palettes/Seal
These palette seals are THE BOMB! Basically you set your palette in the box when you’re done painting for the day and seal up the lid. It keeps your colors wet so when you come back to painting, you won’t have mix up more paint! There are a few different types. I use the basic seal since oil paints stay wet for a long time by themselves. Other seals come with a sponge to keep your paints moist longer or a pad of acrylic paper for easy cleanup. They save money, time and maybe your sanity too!
1. Palette Scraper
I had no idea these even existed until I took a painting class in college! This simple tool allows one to clean up your palette in minutes. The handle holds an ex-acto blade that peels the paint right off your pallete. The blade is replaceable too so this is a tool you'll only have to buy once! Also, I only use this on metal or glass surfaces. I mix my paint on a pane of glass inside the Palette Seal so when I’m done with a painting I can simply scrape the excess paint off and clean my slate for a new painting!
1. Metal Tube Wringer
This one is important for the money conscious artist. Tube wringers literally wring every last drop of paint out of your tubes saving some money in the long run. They claim you can get up 35% more paint out of your tubes! It also saves space too. As you wring your tubes, you can roll the tail up and store your tubes more compactly. It's simple, but it's benefits are so important! Plus, it's kinda fun too!
1. ‘The Masters’ Brush Cleaner & Preserver
Finally, the most essential tool of this list is The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. Cleaning your brushes is so important since it keeps them performing at their best! When I started with Oils we cleaned our brushes with Odorless Mineral Spirits and Turpenoid (medium). It thoroughly cleaned the brushes but it took FOREVER to get all the paint completely out. So, I started using ‘The Masters’ brush cleaner which comes in cake form like a bar of soap in 2.5 oz. and 24 oz. tubs. It cleans faster, preserves your brushes' shape and is less expensive. Even if you work in a different medium, this cleaner is suitable for oil, acrylic, watercolor, and stains too!
So there you have it. My 5 most essential tools beyond brushes and paint! Let me know what tools you can’t live without in the studio. I’m always looking to make my work more efficient and am curious to know what works for other people!