Links in this post may be affiliate links which incur no personal costs to you but helps support my art business – thank you for clicking any that interest you!

Chances are you like making art and as you have found your way here, I bet also you love to know what other little nuggets of pigment rich joy artists have in their carry cases. Let’s start by taking a peek into mine, just in case you were curious and/or have some money to burn on new art supplies!

In this post, we’ll focus on everything but the paper I use. Paper is a whole other topic in itself so we’ll focus on pens, pencils, paints, brushes and associated paraphernalia here.

This stripy little number holds my core art kit. I made it myself following a sewing pattern by Sew Sweetness (click here to get the pattern). This is the larger of the two sizes the pattern has. I have to say, it was a labour of love to construct and whilst I really enjoyed the challenge, it was frustrating without an industrial sewing machine to get through all its layers. I mostly loved using up odds and ends of fabric from my stash to make this totally unique art organiser/art caddy/art bag (call it what you will). If anyone finds a sew on blueberry badge, let me know!

Photo of a fabric case with faded red, white and blue stripes surrounded by sketchbooks, a glue stick and a rag to wipe paint brushes on

Inside its three zipped compartments are 6 pages/leaves filled with with pockets, elastic loops and zips galore to store plenty of art supplies. I made quite a few custom changes to the inside leaves of the organiser to make sure I had room to store my two favourite paint palettes safely, enough pen loops for all my pen-or-pencil-related needs and high on my requirement list was having a case tall enough to accommodate my paint brushes without the bristles getting damaged.

Striped case from first photo opened showing pens, pencils, brushes and various paint palettes.

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Odds & Sods

Inside the main cover, I have a simple pocket to put things like scrap paper in. I have some adorable little paper clips who have faces on them which came with the fountain pens I bought from Cult Pens which I keep here because they make me smile! They also hold a small tube of white gouache – I like having a range of white media with me as I often vary the paper I am working on and some things work better on certain surfaces. This tube is by Royal Talens but I am not fussy on the brand.

First leaf of my fabric art kit carry case opened to show a large and deep pocket with a tube of white gouache paint clipped to it, a scrap of paper and cute small paper clips with smiley faces

The page/leaf carries my favourite and most used paint brushes and the graphite pencils. These cover all my needs really, and extra brushes stored in the drawers of my shedio* only come out for specific purposes.

*= you’ll become familiar with the term “shedio” here – it is the studio my dad made for me by converting the double garage (or “shed”) in our back garden.




Paint Brushes and Graphite Pencils

Below the photo you will find links to all the items numbered so you can have a good look at their specs.

Second leaf of my art kit shows a row of paintbrushes and pencils numbered 1 to 13 left to right to match links below image


      1. 2/0 red dot pointed round vegan brush by Rosemary & Co – perfect for hand lettering in my journal with watercolour

      1. Size 6 synthetic watercolour brush I got in a subscription to Artful Box one month – surprisingly good quality and has lasted years of daily, all purpose use

      1. Eradicator brush in medium by Rosemary & Co – designed to scrub out and lift colour, it’s wonderfully sturdy but silky smooth synthetic bristles are fabulous to paint in gouache with too

      1. 1/2” synthetic dagger by Rosemary & Co – I wish I had gotten one size smaller for I usually paint on approx A5 sized paper on a daily basis so this is a tad large for my needs; but the point is exceptional and it’s a truly multifunctional brush

      1. Size 4 Silver Black Velvet brush – oh these brushes are just spectacular for detailed watercolour painting (like my animal portraits) BUT I have had them for many years before I turned vegan and they are a synthetic blend with real squirrel hair so I would not replace them like for like any more. Nothing comes close to their handling though, I do keep on looking.

      1. Size 8 Silver Black Velvet brush – a larger version of number 5 and this is the one I reach for the bulk of my portraits; I use the 4 for tiny, fine detail only

      1. Size 12 Silver Black Velvet brush – this one I use for washes and loose gestural strokes

      1. Princeton Neptune 1/2” oval wash brush – I love this brush; it is a synthetic squirrel hair brush (so vegan) and it really does handle like animal hair. It’s like the Rosemary Dagger in that it is very multifunctional, capable of washes, gestural strokes and that tip is capable of surprisingly tiny detail

      1. Size 9 red dot round Rosemary & Co – this is from the same range as number 1 and I use it as an all purpose brush for a lot of my daily art practice as it is large enough to do reasonable washes of paint whilst having a very fine tip when wet for detail

      1. Art Graf by Viarco Water Soluble 6B Graphite Pencil – oh this is just wonderful; the lead is so thick and juicy and it just melts into the darkest charcoal gray when you add water. Wonderful for underpaintings and for adding dark details over still damp paint.

      1. Art Graf by Viarco Water Soluble 2B Graphite Pencil – this is the paler version of number 10 and useful for marking out landmarks before painting as it dissolves once paint is applied and you can’t tell any pencil was there in the first place

      1. Blackwing Palomino Matte Pencil – let’s be honest, I bought this under the influence of many a big name Instagram art maker I follow but the use it for good reason – you get a full range of darkness from this one graphite pencil which is soft and blendable but will hold a point when sharpened for a decent while. The eraser on the end is really decent too if you haven’t got room for a separate one

      1. Uni Kurutoga mechanical pencil with generic HB lead – this is perfect for fine detail, scribble sketches, creating grids or guidelines. The lead rotates as you use it so it never gets dull which is a huge selling point but it’s weaker area is there is less of a value scale possible with a hard lead like a HB.


    Drawing Pens and more Pencil Paraphernalia

    Third page or leaf in my hand made art supplies carry case showing a variety of drawing pens, erasers, blending stumps and mechanical pencil leads

    The pens I prefer by a wide country mile are fountain pens with waterproof, fountain pen safe ink. From left to right are:


        1. Gullor fude fountain pen – the “bent” nib is like having a full set of technical pens with you as depending on how you hold it, you can get everything from the finest of lines to a broad, chunky one. The ink I use is Platinum Carbon Ink because it is very black and very matte however it does smudge as the dry time is longer than my other inks.

        1. The next two pens are exactly the same but with different colour inks – they are the TWSBI Eco T fountain pens. These pens are just beautiful to write and draw with. They compare to a 0.1 fine liner but can give you a variety of line weights still. I use my favourite drawing ink of all in these pens in different colours – currently I have De Atramentis Document Ink in Brown and Urban Grey. Again, these are waterproof ink safe for fountain pens, come in a huge array of gorgeous colours and dry fast so never seem to smudge like the Carbon Ink does.

        1. The next two fountain pens are also extra fine nibs but made by the company Wing Sun – cheap and cheerful, these are the last two I have remaining from two separate sets I bought years ago. Great if you are just dabbling in pen and ink sketching or have a limited budget but they don’t last as well and I have found the nibs more variable in the line weight they produce. Again, they carry De Atramentis Document ink, this time in Black Red and Urban Sienna.

        1. A black Bic biro – yep, the most ubiquitous ballpoint pen that ever there was is brilliant for sketching with. The ink is accidentally waterproof when dry so you can wash right over it with watercolour if you like.

        1. A white Acrylograph pen by Archer and Olive. This is a white acrylic paint pen and is very opaque and quick to dry. It layers well and have a lovely fine nib for adding tiny catchlights in eyes or correcting small errors on white paper.

        1. Another ever present art supply – the White Gelly Roll by Sakura. Surely this needs no introduction?! They are less opaque than the Acrylograph which may or may not be what you are looking for.

        1. Tombow Mono Eraser – useful only for fine, precise erasing, it’s useless for larger areas.

        1. Blending stumps in large and small sizes – graphite pencil was my first love in art and I love scribbling away with a pencil in one hand and a blending stump in the other so I can smoothen out the pencil lines and get a more polished, softer look to my pencil sketches.

        1. A pencil eraser – yes, this is a wooden pencil whose “lead” is actually an eraser! I far prefer this to the Tombow Mono one, and once the Tombow one is finished I shall recycle it and stick to these Koh-i-Noor ones.

        1. A pack of replacement HB leads for my Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil on the previous page.


      Collage Kit

      Large pocket inside an art caddy case with it's contents on doisplay - spare fabric, paper scissors, a Pritt stick, wsahi tape and 4 clamp grips

      This large pocket can accommodate a whole lot of stuff but I do try and constrain myself as much as I can (I think by now we know my heart may be minimalist but my eyes are maximalist in nature!).

      It contains some scissors to cut paper scraps when I am collaging on the go, a Pritt stick, four little pieces of cork fabric which I use to prevent the spring clamps I bring along to hold my sketchbook open from damaging the pages with. Oh and a roll of washi tape is very handy for attaching things you aren’t sure where to place in your sketchbook and for taping off edges when you want a clean frame to a painting.


      Watercolour Paint Palettes

      Two paint palettes and swatch cards to match

      Ah, we have reached my favourite part – my beloved ArtToolKit paint palettes filled with various watercolours.

      The smaller of the two is a limited edition set of Greenleaf Blueberry watercolour paints curated by the incredible and inspiring Samantha Dion Baker. It is no longer available to buy as a ready made set but you can buy the paints individually from Greenleaf Blue and buy an empty “pocket palette” from ArtToolKit to make your own with if you like. And talking of Greenleaf Blueberry, the owner Jess is the most exquisite author and writes stunning Instagram posts and newsletters so if you love art and writing, I can’t recommend joining her mailing list highly enough. Her paints are rich and unctuous and hand made in small batches with a great deal of skill and love.

      The larger of the palettes is one I curated myself. It is the “folio palette” by ArtToolKit and I have decorated it with vinyl stickers I bought from Samantha Dion Baker.

      Shot of two open watercolour paint palettes and a pot of Dr Ph Martins Bulletproof White paint.

      The colours in my folio palette are mostly Daniel Smith ones which I purchased one tube at a time, except the Potters Pink which is by Winsor and Newton and the Tundra Violet by Schmincke. Both of these two are non-negotiables I love to use and repurchase when necessary. Like paper, paints deserve their own discussion so we’ll leave that there for the paints.

      Except for the little pot you may see on the top right of the last photo. This is a new addition to my kit but after discovering Jackson’s sell it here in the UK, it will be another item I repurchase as needed. This is Dr Ph Martin’s BleedProof White. It is a water soluble but very opaque white paint. It plays beautifully well with watercolour paint but works best as a final highlight or mistake correction fluid; it doesn’t mix well with other paint if you were thinking of trying your hand at making your own set of pastel paints don’t!


      Eraser and Pencil Sharpeners

      Final leaf of art carry case showing two small zip pockets with their contents on display - a well used eraser, a brass bullet pencil sharpener and a two hole sharpener

      The final things I have in my kit are my eraser and two pencil sharpeners. I bought a ten pack of Tombow Mono Plastic Erasers which will last me for years. They are great for erasing larger areas without damaging the tooth of the paper. The smaller pencil sharpener is the Jakar Brass Bullet and it is wonderful for making a long tapered point to any standard pencil. It is my go to sharpener. I have an off brand two hole sharpener too which is useful for when I bring chubby pencils out with me.

      It’s a Wrap

      That completes this lengthy tour of my art kit. I can zip it up with an 8x9inch sized sketchbook in one of the compartments and I am pretty much ready to go for drawing and painting out in the world (by that I mean a comfortable coffee shop I’m afraid – I am not a wilderness explorer!).

      Apart from adding in a coloured pencil or two on occasion, this kit comes everywhere with me. What do you think of my choices? What would be in your kit? Are you a true minimalist or do you like to the comfort of several familiar items to hand should you need them?

      Let me know what you think and well done if you read right to the end of this mammoth first blog post.


      Links in this post may be affiliate links which incur no personal costs to you but helps support my art business – thank you for clicking any that interest you!