My Top 10 List of Art Materials


Andrew Tischler deluxe set from Rosemary & Co

Since 2006 I’ve used a variety of materials for art and illustration. From watercolour paints, a Wacom for children’s book illustration to charcoal and pencil for portraits and pets. From January of this year, I focused on creating British wildlife using acrylic paint on canvas which I thoroughly enjoyed. But deep down I always had the urge to want to try the ultimate of them all, the king of materials within the art world……oil paints. In May this year during lockdown, I purchased and downloaded an online video training course by Florent Farges. I found his methods very useful along with many YouTube video tutorials. I have put together a list of 10 materials that I’m currently using, some of which are fairly new but I can tell you that these materials will be a part of my creative adventure for many years to come. I’ll also outline how I use each one, so let’s go!

Using the catalyst wedge with acrylic paint to create depth and layers

1.Rosemary Brushes: I’ve only ever had a few decent brushes and a lot of cheap ones and I thought it was about time that I upgraded my collection. I still use cheap brushes for many effects. I paint wildlife and pets, so the cheap old nasty bristles work great for fur! I ended up purchasing the Andrew Tischler deluxe set from Rosemary & Co. The pack contains 20 assorted sizes and so far, so good! The brushes hold the paint very well and blending seems smooth and effortless. I could feel the difference straight away from my cheaper brushes. I use between 8-12 brushes for each painting session and afterwards I clean each one thoroughly and they retain their shape and softness. I highly recommend these brushes for any artist who wants to take their art to the next level.

2.Winsor & Newton Artists’ Oil Colour: I’ve been a huge fan of Winsor & Newton for many years, from watercolour sets to sketchbooks, they’ve always stood the test of time and they provide the highest quality products. These oil pain
ts are vibrant and come in a huge variety of colours and they are quite affordable.

3.Catalyst wedge: I love this tool! It’s made from silicon and fits comfortably in my hand. There are a few different shapes available, I use a no.6 and it’s my main go-to for creating my abstract backgrounds. I especially like working with this when using acrylics because of the speed the paints dries allows me to layer over quickly with thick and thin paint and create many amazing textures and effects. Other alternatives to a catalyst wedge are; an old credit card or even a spatchula!

4.Palette knife: I have a set of cheap palette knives in my studio, but I mainly use 2 or 3. I sometimes use them to mix the colours because you can just wipe them clean with a paper towel. I use this more in my final stages of the background with thick paint – great for adding texture in your painting! I love the grunge effects it creates as the paint glides across the painting.

5.Roller: Rollers have been very useful in creating broad marks in the background of my paintings.
I primarily use this in the early stages of the background, like an underlay of thin paint. It’s best to water this paint down slightly using an odorless mineral spirit or a bit of medium which we’ll talk about next.

6.Liquin: For the last few months I’ve been using this popular product by Winsor & Newton, a quick-drying alkyd medium which is available in several consistencies. I use a little bit of one (or sometimes I’ll mix them) throughout the entire painting but it’s important not to use too much as your painting could ‘yellow’ in the future. Winsor & Newton claims that by using Liquin as a fat agent, it increases flexibility of your painting.


Liquin, the fast drying mediums

Here’s how I use Liquin:

Liquin Original

This is what I call the bread and butter of medium that I use to create my work. A light gel consistency where I tip a little bit into a small jar then I dip my brush, wipe off the excess and mix up the colours.

Liquin Fine Detail

 Exactly as it states, I use Fine Detail for final details because of its watery fluid nature. It allows me to hone in with a small brush to pick out tiny elements within my painting. Fine Detail is also good if you want to oil out a painting. To do this you can add a small bit to the brush and apply where needed (usually in sunken in, darker areas of the painting) then use an old cotton t-shirt to wipe off the excess.

Liquin Impasto

 Perfect for adding thick paint to create texture on a painting. I usually use this in the final stages of a painting with light colours for a 3D effect. A little bit of this mixed with colour whilst using a palette knife goes along way.

7.Mineral Spirit: I use a mineral spirit to tone the canvas or panel. I mix in a generous amount of spirit, a small amount of burnt siena (or umber) and a touch of Liquin Original and wash down the entire surface. I take off the excess paint with paper towels and wait for it to dry. The main reason that mineral spirits are on this list is for cleaning my brushes. Let me give you a quick guide on how I clean my brushes:

  • Paper towel to remove any excess paint
  • Brush into 1st jar, pressing down on the surface
  • Paper towel to remove any excess paint
  • Brush into 2nd jar, pressing down on the surface
  • Paper towel to remove any excess paint
  • Brush into 3rd jar, pressing down on the surface
  • Paper towel to remove any excess paint
  • Soap and warm water until the water runs clear
  • Leave to dry flat on an old towel

It’s a rigorous and arduous process but it’s worth doing between paint sessions! Look after your brushes, and they will look after you 😀

Clean hands on this little cutie

8.Maulstick: Well, it’s not really a Maulstick, it’s a homemade walking stick that I acquired from a family member on a Greek island. I had previously made one for my adjustable desk out of a broom handle and tied a sock around the end, but this is more practical with the handle acting as a hook. This device allows me to get right into small details in my painting without my hand touching the wet surface.

9.Baby wipes: When I’ve finished a painting session, nothing gets rid of a mucky palette better than these! I use just 1 baby wipe over the glass where I’ve been mixing the paints and it works wonders. After this, I wipe down the surface with a paper towel to eliminate any oil residues left over from the baby wipe.

10.Paper towels: Last but not least, paper towels! I have two rolls in my drawer next to me for cleaning up the mess I make!





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