Hey there!

I was remembering back to when I first started with illustration and pattern making, and among a myriad of other hurdles I had one weird major one – I didn’t know what materials to get started with!

I could see some people painting, others doing digital illustration on iPads, and some using Photoshop and Illustrator!

What should I use!?

Well, after a lot of experimentation with much trial and error, I finally have an answer, which is practically everything!

To explain a bit more, here’s a rundown of what I use and how I use it:

1. Watercolor & Gouache: 

I love working and exploring both these mediums. They’re a lot of fun to work with and you get some wonderful results by mixing both mediums as they really compliment one another.

I use the Japanese Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor set because there is a lovely variety of colors in the large set, and the extra three metallic pans they give you is such a lovely addition. I also own the Winsor and Newton tube sets which have a lovely consistency and vibrancy. 

Not as if I didn’t have enough already – I splurged on a Holbein Watercolor set, which I still haven’t tried. Sigh.

I’m also using old Winsor and Newton gouache tubes that I purchased a million years ago (side story:before I gave myself the chance to explore art, I used to go to art stores and buy materials, which I took home and left them lying around… just because).

A lot of the watercolor and gouache work I do gets fed into my scanner (more on that in a second)

2. Adobe Creative Suite- Illustrator & Photoshop:

I enjoy working in photoshop because I often have painterly work as fodder for my pattern making and illustration work.  

But, recently I’ve been working in Illustrator a lot more and find it quite useful for its vector properties. Also, I’m using Adobe Fresco app together with Illustrator which makes the process really handy and much faster to work in Adobe Illustrator.

Photoshop and Illustrator are where I compile work from a lot of other places (iPad, painting etc) into patterns or final illustrations.

3. My iPad & all the wonderful creative apps available

I bought my iPad at the beginning of 2019 and it was really one of the best buys I’ve ever made. You can really get lost with the number of apps available and the things you can do on an iPad. But, what I found useful is it’s portability- it goes everywhere with me!

The app I’ve used the most has to be hands down the Procreate app. It’s such an awesome, user-friendly app and with it’s lovely new functional additions there is so much more creative possibility. It’s really a game changer!!

I transfer whatever I draw on Procreate over to Photoshop to finish the work there.

4. Learning from others! Classes, classes and more classes.

I love learning and experimenting. Learning from others really expands my creativity. And gives me another perspective on how to look at things. I’ve learnt from watching youtube classes, skillshare and one or two local in person classes.

The downside to all this learning is that sometimes you can get stuck in just this learning phase. 

To compensate for this I’ve given myself an afternoon during the week to watch 1-2 classes from which I have to present to myself something I have learnt and a physical piece of art.

5. My Wacom Tablet & Scanner

Life without a wacom would be challenging for me as It’s grown into an extension of my arm. 

It’s such a handy piece of equipment and definitely so much easier to draw with than a mouse. This is the tablet I use.

The scanner is one of my first purchases. She can be a tad bit temperamental but does the job beautifully. I use her once a month to scan and process all my art work for that month. 

I hope this has been of some use to you if you’re just starting out. How about you? Do you have your own set of creative tools that you use daily?