I use modern fountain pens refillable with my favorite inks. My favorite starter art pen is a TWSBI Eco. It is a durable demonstrator that allows me to see how much ink I have left. It comes in a variety of nib sizes from Extra-Fine up to a 1.1mm stub and I use them all. I have a few prettier pens and I have some pens that offer a more refined writing experience, but the Ecos get the most use.
Despite the much smaller ink capacity of the Sailor Compass, I just love to write with it. Watch a full review here.
Another perk to using fountain pens is that you don't have to use any pressure to get them to write. You are merely guiding the ink across the page which reduces fatigue.
My favorite place for fountain pen education, community, and shopping is The Goulet Pen Company. Their YouTube channel has over 1,800 videos!
My favorite line of inks for use with watercolor are the De Atramentis Document Inks. I've been using the black for a while and it is the core of my sketching kit, but there are at least 25 different colors.
Noodler's Ink makes a few inks I feel are acceptable for use with watercolors as well: 54th Massachusetts (dark blue), Kung te Cheng (dark blue purple), General of the Armies (green), and Rome Burning (gold)
My favorite inks for fun and journalling are made by Diamine. They behave well on a variety of papers and many have fun properties like shading, sheening, and shimmer. Sometimes they even put out an Inkvent Calendar which is super fun!
I also love to paint with fountain pen ink. The color is so saturated I imagine it is similar to using liquid watercolors.
Watercolors are fun, portable, inexpensive, and good quality ones will do magical things.
I use 28 Daniel Smith watercolors in half and full pans that I filled myself and let dry. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all of them so sometimes I just use a more limited palette.
This is a larger tin, but I also have a smaller one that holds 6 full pans and a cute round one my sister made out of a candy tin. The smaller sets I take with me when I go out and about sketching.
Some other fun art supplies to use with watercolors include water soluble oil pastels, watercolor pencils, and fountain pen ink.
I've been very happy with my sable blend Rosemary & Co. brushes. They hold up well and are a great value. Personally I don't notice a difference when I use the one pure sable brush I have.6iy
8, 6, 2, 0 Round Sable Blend
1/4, 3/8, 1/2" Dagger Sable Blend
1/4" Flat Pure Sable, 1/2" Flat Sable Blend
Pentel Water Brush
The water brush is clearly of inferior quality, but I use them when out and about so that I don't need to have cups of water.
The daggers were awkward at first, but they do a great job of fine lines, fun shapes, and wide washes.
I exclusively use Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. They come in a variety of sizes, cover types, and papers. I find their system easy to navigate and I can quickly shop for what I want.
I prefer the softcover books for at home. They are easier to use with the scanner. I prefer the hardcover styles when out sketching with my StablO. They are so much more secure with the portable easel.
The heavyweight paper handles most watercolor well, but occasionally there will be bleed through and there will be rippling when I throw down a bunch of water. The extra heavyweight paper will take everything I throw at it, but I get fewer pages in a book. Sometimes that means it feels to precious to just use willy nilly.
So far I've used Alpha, Beta, and Zeta series. I like them all.
I use Lochby's Tool Roll to organize my "to go" sketching supplies. I love being able to see at a glance what I have in it right before I head out the door. It somehow holds it all securely.
Across the top we've got: large binder clips, watercolor tin, and extra water.
From left to right: mechanical pencil, light brown watercolor pencil in a protective aluminum pencil holder, water brush, stick eraser, no. 8 round travel brush, water brush, and TWSBI Eco EF with de atramentis document black ink.
I've got a bandana I use for cleaning my brushes and otherwise keeping me from being messy.
StablO Portable Easel
I did a full demonstration video that you can find here.
This lightweight wooden frame securely holds your sketchbook, metal watercolor tin, brush, and more while you are out sketching. There are magnets between the two layers of wood that keep your metal watercolor tins in place.
I can hold my sketchbook with one hand which holds up the whole thing and it allows me to sketch standing up.
Most of the time I bring a camp chair along so that I'm more comfortable.
It comes with a water cup holder. I bought an extra one and the collapsible cups that fit perfectly in it. However, I was still spilling the water because I have kids and I'm clumsy. So I just use the water brush now when I am sketching on the go.
I have my "work desk" and my "art desk". I really do spend too much time at desks. The art desk is tall and always tilted and I enjoy using a saddle stool for a change of position.
My art desk has a glass top that I've covered partially with a masonite drawing board. I use a couple silicone pot holders to keep things from sliding down the desk or breaking the glass.
My big watercolor tin and a ceramic paint palette live on my art desk as well as brushes and water cups. I love having a dedicated space and I only clean up when I'm ready.
I have an extra floor stand light and a clamp on phone holder that I use for recording videos.
My work desk is as wide as a door, but a little shorter and has electric powered adjustable height legs. My art time is split pretty evenly between the two desks.
It is really challenging to share art with the wider world without technology. Most of my designs for shirts etc. start with a fountain pen drawing on paper.
Then I scan it using a flatbed photo scanner onto my iMac. I pop the PNG into a website that converts it to an SVG.
Then it drag it into a program called Sketch. It does most of what Adobe Illustrator does, but at half the price.
I'll also use a program called Procreate on my iPad with an Apple Pencil.
Websites that help me do what I do include Threadless, Weebly, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
I use my cameras and the Rode Vlogger Kit it improve the quality to record my YouTube videos. My editing is done on my iMac using iMovie. I've started storing my completed iMovie files on an external hard drive because they take up so much space!
I think what's fun about my cameras is that I haven't bought anything special just for my creative work. Actually, I've just stolen cameras from my husband.
He bought the Canon DSLR Rebel XS before we were married (2009-2010). It still takes great photographs and the battery lasts FOREVER.
After recording this YouTube video with my iPhone SE, I was strategizing ways to stabilize my video as I'm walking along. Then I realized my husband was gifted a GoPro Hero 8 Black for Christmas a few years back (that he hardly used at all). We already had what I needed! I tried it out on a little trip to Bremerton that you can see here. I've also enjoyed the time lapse and night lapse settings, but the battery life leaves something to be desired.
I now have a collection of tripods.
I have a cheap plastic tripod. It is a bit short, lightweight, and flimsy. It is great for leaving out in the weather or taking to the beach to get ruined by the sand.
The aluminum Manfrotto Compact Advanced tripod is a significant upgrade. It isn't too heavy and feels like a quality piece of equipment. Walking around with this tripod will make people think you know how to take pictures. The quick release head is amazing!
The short little tripod that came with the Rode Vlogger Kit is amazing. The ball head is great and it separates from the tripod legs so that I can add my Insta360 selfie stick in between. This is an extremely lightweight and portable set up.