More Art Supply Love -- Kuretake Watercolors and Some Pens

A few weeks ago I wrote about how much I was enjoying playing with acrylic craft paint and mentioned there were other art supplies I wanted to share. I find it so hard to resist the pull of new art supplies. It’s probably a good thing that there isn’t an art supply store nearby! The internet does make it easy to order whatever I’m looking for (and then some), but I try to restrain myself. I don’t want to be an art supply hoarder, I want to actually use what I have. (Ahem… time to go play with some supplies that have been sitting untouched in my studio).

New supplies can be energizing. The desire to try them out can be an inspiration in and of itself.

When I wrote about acrylic craft paint I said I hadn’t considered using it because it was inexpensive. Calling something “cheap” isn’t usually a compliment. And somewhere along the line I guess I became a bit of an art supply snob.

I felt the same way about the Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors I’d seen around the internet. Were they too cheap to be good?

I gave in to the lure of all those beautiful and colors bought a set of of 36 on Amazon for less than $30.*

Kuretake Watercolors Are Inexpensive and Come in Sets with Many Beautiful Colors

And then, after I swatching, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them!

Swatching the Kuretake Watercolors in My Sketchbook is a  Good Way to Get to Know the Paints

I was nervous about using them in a “real” painting, so I used them to play.

Playing Around with Kuretake Watercolors in My Sketchbook

The colors are rich and deep. The only downside I see is that when it’s very saturated the paint tends to sit on top the paper and looks a little shiny.

Loose, Messy Iris Flowers Painted with Kuretake Watercolors in My Sketchbook

I guess it’s just a matter of getting used to them. They seem softer than my other paints, making it easy to pick up a lot of paint with my brush.

I used them in my recent collaboration with Dana Barbieri (I’ve shared some pages from this second batch of sketchbooks, but not all of it like we did with the first project).

Vegetables on My Page (on the Right) of My Second Collaborative Sketchbook with Dana Barbieri (her fruits are on the left)

For some reason this spread makes me so happy! I painted vegetables in answer to Dana’s fruit and it was such a playful exercise.

Collaborating with Dana (both times!) was so inspiring for me. I love the way artists inspire each other, whether in collaborations or not**. Inspiration from another artist can be as simple as following their excitement with a certain medium or even a subject. The other day when I saw Dana painting rainbows I was inspired to paint some of my own.

Watercolor Rainbows in My Sketchbook were a Joy to Paint

Oh and by the way, if you haven’t hopped over to Dana’s new website, go take a look. On her blog she’s having a giveaway for a sweet butterfly painting.

But back to the paint… I’ve enjoyed using them so far but I still haven’t used them in a real painting (I’m having too much fun playing!).

If you’re looking for an inexpensive set of watercolors with LOTS of colors, the Kuretake sets would be a great choice.

Using Kuretake Watercolors in My Sketchbook

One of the cheapest ways to indulge in new art supplies is with pens.

Some of My New Favorite Pens

I love drawing with pens, but I’ve also been enjoying playing with Krylon Leafing Pens.

Gold Krylon Leafing Pen in My Sketchbook

I’ve tried metallic pens in the past and none have been as shiny and metallic as these.

Krylon Silver Leafing Pen on Black Paint in My Sketchbook

It’s hard to quite capture the shininess in photos, but you can see it a bit better at an angle.

Silver Krylon Leafing Pen in My Sketchbook

I probably need more practice to get a smoother application with less visible lines, or maybe that just adds to their charm. I guess when you’re using gold leaf it isn’t completely smooth, either.

I have the Silver and the 18 KT Gold, but there’s also Copper. They do smell a bit and I wouldn’t recommend using them if you already have a headache, but other than that they’ve great.

Black pens are one of my favorite art supplies. I use them in my sketchbooks a lot. I usually use Micron Pens and have a bunch in different sizes. At some point last year I started using Tombow Calligraphy Pens and I really enjoyed the versatility.

A Spread from the Second Sketchbook Collaboration Between Dana Barbieri and Anne Butera

I drew my beetles (the painted bugs are Dana’s) with them and was able to achieve a variety of line sizes without changing pens.

I used them for my page of chickens, too.

Playing With Pens in My Sketchbook Tombow Calligraphy Pens on the Left and Pentel Brush Pen on the Right

For even more versatility and a bit of an uncontrolled, even messy, look I absolutely love the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. It’s refillable, though I haven’t had to use my refill ink yet. It works well on top of paint, even acrylic.

Sketching with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on top of Acrylic Paint

When I’m sketching with pens I’m usually fairly precise and careful. This brush pen lets me be looser. A fun change of pace.

Tulips Sketched with the Pentel Brush Pen in My Sketchbook

I don’t use a lot of text in my art, mainly because I’m not very confident with it, but this brush pen makes it fun. And it doesn’t matter if it’s messy. Actually, the messier the better.

I hope you’re inspired to try some new things, or maybe pick up some supplies you’ve haven’t used much. One of the joys of a sketchbook is that it can be whatever you want it to be, but mostly, I hope it will be fun.

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Artist Pep Talk in My Sketchbook

Tell me, what new things have you tried lately and loved? It doesn’t have to be art-related. I enjoy hearing about inspiration in whatever form it may take.

*What is expensive and what is cheap is relative, I guess. I saw one review on Amazon say that the Kuretake watercolors are pricey. As a comparison, my set of Sennelier half-pans which has 14 colors costs more than twice that (even with a nearly 50% discount at Dick Blick).

**If you’re looking for inspiration like that, an online challenge could be fun to try, too. I see them all over the place on Instagram.