10 of my favourite non-medium art supplies

There are lots of ways and means to create art. Mediums are nearly endless it seems and there are so many different tools and gadgets that just really help when it comes to making art. That leads me to a list of 10 of my favourite art supplies that isn't actually a medium or a support.

The following items are not in any particular order, they're just the order in which I happened to snap the picture! I've also linked to Amazon and/or Ikea (where applicable), just so you can get a sense of prices, admittedly in Canadian dollars. They're not affiliate links, up to you if you want to purchase through the links.

1. The Artograph Pad Pucks are a really useful tool for lifting artwork off a surface, tilting a support to an angle, and more. They're stackable, rubber, non-slip, and come in a handly little mesh bag for transport and storage. I bought these about a year ago and I use them a fair bit, especially when drawing on my iPad or when I want to tilt a watercolour block.

Anyways, for $20, they're definitely a worthwhile investment.

2. The DaVinci draft/dusting brush is very useful for removing pencil dust, eraser dust, and any other debris that may fall on your drawing as you work.

There are a few different options, but the bristles are very soft and designed so that a light sweep will not smudge or damage your work. Now, bear in mind that this is for dry media like coloured pencil or graphite, so don't use with wet paint!



3. The Derwent super point helical pencil sharpener puts an absolutely wicked point on the end of a pencil and does it with a lot less waste than I would have expected.

I reviewed this device a while ago and everything I said about it then remains true and the tip you get is second to none. I would highly recommend it to anyone working with pencil mediums when you need a really fine point for detail.

If nothing else, it's a lot less time consuming than a sanding block!


4. The Derwent electric eraser is a really quick and easy way to remove pencil markings and often has sufficient horse power to also remove a lot of coloured pencils as well.

This is battery operated and takes a low-dust cylindrical eraser head designed for the device. These are easily found at any art store I've ever been to.

As Derwent notes in their literature, these erasers, once you get used to them, are quite handy for also picking out highlights in drawings.

5. Having large bulldog clips around is very handy when comes to managing your supports, especially sketchbooks and other loose page type surfaces.

It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but this variety is few inches long, quite deep, and with a flat clamping area. That's deliberate, it will help minimize page denting from the pressure applied by the clip on the surface.

I didn't link these, but you can pretty much find them anywhere art and office supplies are sold.

6. Crafters Companion marker storage trays are a really great way to store your Copic markers and make them readily visible and accessible to you when drawing.

These stack either straight or angled (I use angled) and so it's really easy to see your colours and to retrieve a marker from its position.

They are, admittedly, a bit on the pricier side of things, but the utility is really very good and so I recommend them if you can afford to spend the money.

7. The Ikea Råskog utility cart seems to show up in the art studio of every YouTube artist on the planet and why not? The cart is extremely handy, with deep storage wells, and it moves about your workspace quite readily.

Sadly, Ikea no longer offers this particular colour, which also seems to be a favourite amongst YouTubers, but they have a few other colours to choose from. I've also seen this sold at Michaels under a different name, so clearly the manufacturer has seen the value of the art market.

I've also seen a configuration where the upper basket has been turned upside down, making it a more level tray. I thought about that, but I think I like it as designed.

8. Also popular amongst artists is the Ikea Alex drawers in various configurations. I've pictured the tall, 9 drawer, version that I store a bunch of supplies in, but they also offer other variants that are quite handy.

In particular, there is a low, large, six drawer unit on caster that is really great for storing large prints and other paintings nice and flat. I found this way more reasonably priced than the extremely expensive flat drawers designed for art and architecture. Mind you, these are smaller, but they're large enough for my needs.

Similar to the cart, I'm always amazed at how much Ikea furniture shows up in art studios. Makes you wonder what we did before Ikea arrived!

9. The Lamicall adjustable tablet stand has a lot of benefits on your desk, not the least of which it's a great way to hold something like an iPad Mini or Air for reference photos.

It's not just for tablets, in my view, it's also usable for holding other flat items such as an actual photo and, in a pinch, I think it would make a reasonably decent support for a small canvas.

In case you're wondering, it's made of aluminum, quite sturdy but very light, and adjustable for the viewing angle. For $25? Well worth adding to your desk if you use a tablet for reference photos.

10. Indispensible, in my view, is to have daylight-temperature LED lightbulbs in your lamps, hopefully to supplement an abundance of natural light.

When it comes to home lights, they're not equal in the colour temperature they provide. Tungsten is usually yellowish-orange and flourescent is greenish-blue and these will change over time, as the bulbs age, and they will alter the look of various colours. This is not something you readily notice with your eyes, the brain is incredibly good at compensating for the temperature of the light, but that also has a drawback when it comes to selecting your colours when drawing or painting.

What happens, in that situation, is you may choose a red that you think is natural for, say, a cherry, and start colouring away. Then, at some point, you bring it from a warm tungsten lit environment into sunlight only to discover it's now garishly orange and looks nothing like a cherry. This is where daylight bulbs (look for 5600 kelvin) help as they ensure a consistent daylight view of the colour that your eyes will still recognize in other lighting situations.

So, there you have it, my first top ten list and I did it without a slide show! There are obviously a ton of other useful gadgets, tools, and so forth out there for the artist, these are just a sample of some of them that I own. I have to admit, I really think Ikea has changed the game for a lot of artists when it comes to outfitting a studio. The highly affordable and extremely modular nature of their furniture and utility items is really remarkable. Everytime I visit I see new things that would be so handy to add to the studio environment.

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