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As the New Year begins, it’s time to refresh things in my studio. When inspiration strikes, one must be prepared!

Click each link below to view in-depth shop-able guides to some of my favorite supplies! 

(Also checkout my guide to supplies for the beginning watercolorist!)

Gouache Paint

Travel Watercolor Sets


Paint Brushes

Art Palettes (Glass, wood, porcelain)

Guide to Gold Paint


Watercolor Paper

Artist Cleanup

See more tutorials and guides:

Artist Box / Gift Wrap / Best Sketchbooks / Traveling Artist Supply Favorites


Art supply shopping is one of my favorite pastimes, but it can be quite daunting if you’re not sure what you’re looking for!

I’ve put together a personal guide to some of my favorite tools and supplies; things I use almost every single day. Although, every once in a while I like to pick up something I’ve never tried before. Often times, new materials will inspire new work. Try it sometime…



Let’s begin with paper. I’m a huge fan of Aquarelle Arches Grain Satiné Hot Pressed watercolor paper – I rarely buy anything else. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but the quality makes it more than worth it. Many cheap papers will warp or flake away with too much brush and water action. My suggestion, buy a cheap paper to practice on, and use Arches for your final piece. It’s often on sale at Blick.

The reason I go with Grain Satiné Hot Pressed, is simply because I love the smooth white finish – much of my work ends up being scanned to use digitally, and the smooth finish eliminates the rough background texture you often get with watercolor paper (which is nice as well!). It’s a personal preference.


I prefer buying Arches paper in watercolor block form, but I occasionally buy the bound pads for quick access. When I’m using the watercolor block, I leave it attached until the painting is finished. That way the paper is held down to prevent warping. Once the painting is dry, I’ll remove it with a dull palette knife (like the one below) – it’s the easiest and safest (for the paper) tool to separate your block.



I fluctuate between watercolor and gouache paint, so my palettes can get a bit messy. I usually keep the two paints separate – using a well palette for watercolor (has a thumb hole to hold while painting), and using porcelain trays for gouache (round or rectangular). Occasionally, I’ll buy vintage plates at thrift shops to use as my palette! You can usually get them cheaper than most art palettes.

For gouache, I also like to use a wooden painter’s palette if it’s a larger piece. That way I have more space to mix, and can easily hold the palette in my hand while painting.

I also like to store my paints in wooden artists’ boxes.



Now, let’s talk paint. Like I said above, I mainly use watercolor and gouache paint. They are similar, but gouache has more of thickness to it- but can still be worked similarly to watercolor… think of it as being in-between watercolor and acrylic paint.

When it comes to gouache, I love Winsor & Newton Designer gouache and Holbein Acryla gouache. Both nice quality, but keep in mind that the acryla gouache can’t be reused once it dries since it’s acrylic based. The Winsor & Newton gouache can be rewetted because it’s water based.


As you know, I love using metallic paints! Below are some of my favorites. The interference colors are a sheer iridescent paint – which can create a beautiful effect on top of other colors, or on their own. The Golden brand is wonderful. I also LOVE this gold metallic arcylic



Now, watercolor! The below set is one of my favorites. Mission Mijello Gold watercolors have really incredible and vibrant pigmentation, although they are on the pricier side.

If you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly, Winsor & Newton are great quality. One step below (a student quality) are Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolors, which are great for learning watercolor. I used this travel set for many, many years – which I still love (Cotman version here).

Having the most expensive watercolors isn’t going to make painting any easier- it will just make the colors more pigmented and you will have a nicer consistency to work with…



Now for brushes. I’ve found brushes to be a very personal preference. Try different types out, and see what works best for you. I prefer short handle brushes, because I usually paint quite small- so I like to work with my hand close to the paper.

I also love angular brushes. They are a multi-purpose brush in a way, as they have a flat wide surface as well as an angled tip to create smaller lines. I usually use the 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 sizes.

Natural hair brushes hold much more water with their natural ridges and scales, and often maintain their shape much longer than synthetics hairs. However, natural hair brushes are much more expensive. Many synthetic brushes will shed hairs as you use them, and could disrupt your painting process. For watercolor, I highly recommend natural hair brushes (typically from the tails of siberian weasels (kolinsky sable), foxes, squirrels, red sables, etc).

Love these synthetic brushes. Great options for natural hair brushes here. Also love this set.

There’s a great article here if you’d like to get more info on choosing brushes.


Brush care. It’s important to care for your brushes, especially when you are investing in expensive natural hair brushes. Leaving natural hair brushes face down to soak in water for periods of time (I’ve been guilty of this), will ruin them. It bends the point and ruins the entire shape forever.

I don’t do an intense cleaning everyday (although I should), but every now and then I’ll use the brush cleaner below to keep them nice and fresh.



As for drawing pencils, I prefer to use woodless graphite (allows you to use the sides of the point as well) and Faber Castell pencils. I usually go for softer leads as they lend well to my style, allowing me to sketch softly and still get wonderful line weight differences. A softer lead allows a much more fluid line with ease. 9H is the hardest, whereas 9B is the softest. I typically stick with 6B and 8B.

More info on pencil grades here.

I use this Mobius and Ruppert brass double hole pencil sharpener.


I prefer this eraser.


Now, let’s talk about embellishments!



I’m sure you are aware that I’m an avid crystal and sequin user (and glitter every now and then). There are really no rules to this… it’s something I’ve been experimenting with for a while, and have developed my own personal method. Always be opening to exploring… never feel the need to do exactly as someone has told you it should be done!

I purchase my sequins per color/size from here. Most of the containers I use for supplies, I find at the Container Store. Browse the cosmetic storage section- it’s a gold mine for art supply storage!



I love Martha Stewart glitters. She has just about every color under the sun, and they also come in various textures.



To adhere the sequins and glitter to my artwork, I’ve found gold leaf adhesive size to work wonderfully. There are a million different types of glue that work for this, but I like that I can apply a thin layer of this and let it dry a bit so that it gets tacky, and it gives me a good amount of time to apply the sequins before it sets. Super glues work as well, but you need to be careful you aren’t drenching the sequin in glue – if the glue puddles over the sequin, it will be left with a dull finish. (this glue pen is wonderful for glitter)

To apply the sequins, I apply a tiny bit of the adhesive size to the tip of a needle or mechanical pencil, let it get tacky… and then use that to pick up and apply each sequin.



I strongly prefer Swarovski crystals flatbacks over any other option- they are the sparkliest, and come in a wonderful amount of colors, cuts, and sizes. I purchase them individually here. These are my favorites.

To apply the crystals, the Crystal Katana works wonders!



For crystal adhesive, I typically use GemTac, or super glue (I prefer this one, even though I have the thick version shown below). As with the sequins, be careful to only use a bit of glue so that it doesn’t come up over the top of the crystal and make it dull once it dries.

Read more on crystals and adhesives (a complete guide!) here.


So there you have it. A brief intro to some of my favorite tools and supplies!

For more info and video tutorials on illustrating, check out my online classes:

Illustrating Your Favorite Runway Looks & Basics of Watercolor Painting


Remember way back when, I told you I was teaching an online class? Well I’m certainly overdue to tell you all about it!

I was blown away by the talent that emerged from day one. I set out to create an online class with a vague idea of who might be interested in taking it… but little did I know artists of all ages and skill levels would participate in such a collaboration of creativity.

Below are a small sampling of my favorite illustrations that came from students in the class… talented bunch, eh?


Illustrations above (clockwise from top): Tim Pham, Lisanne Gagnon, and Janice Chuang. 

What I loved most about the class is that while I led students through my process via video tutorials, there was an enormous amount of peer to peer feedback. It was inspiring to see such sincere feedback left on each project… in the end I was just a small piece of the puzzle. The online ‘classroom’ became an instant community, a never ending discussion on the art of fashion illustration and inspiration.

Check out the class instagrams!


Illustrations above (clockwise from top): Merissa Revestir, Tiffany Mitchell, Marjorie Limbonhai, and Rebekah Melchert.

We began with inspiration, went through the process of sketching, applying watercolor, and finishing your piece with embellishments (as you know I love!).

Don’t worry if you think you’ve missed out on this class… because you haven’t! Since it’s an online class, we created video tutorials that can live on forever. Projects are still popping up every day! Sign up to take the class here.


Illustrations above (left to right):  Andrea Perkov and Erisha  R. 

I fell so in love with these pieces below by Megan Hughes. How incredible is her cut paper work? I love that she was creative and experimented with a different medium in such an elegant way…


Illustration above and below by Megan Hughes.


For all those who took my class, thank you for inspiring me! I can honestly say that I spent hours and hours pouring through your projects and I feel like I’m about to get a run for my money!

Sign up to take the class here.

Many thanks to Laurence King Publishing & Artifact Uprising for sponsoring my class.




I’m super excited to finally announce my first ever online class, Illustrating Your Favorite Runway Looks.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with Skillshare to create easy to follow video tutorials that will give you an inside look into how I create my fashion illustrations start to finish (and add the likes of glitter, crystals, and sequins!).

Here’s a little video we made to give you an idea of what you’ll see in the class…

Check out the full description and sign up here. I’ll be directly involved in the class, and helping you as we go along beginning March 11-23. However, since this is an online class, you can get tickets at anytime… I just won’t be guiding you through it on a personal level after these dates- all the more reason to sign up now!

I’ll also be hosting 2 giveaways for the class members who participate:

1/ One student at random will receive a beautifully printed book of my illustrations and process photos from Artifact Uprising. (remember the book I made with them a while back?)

2/ The top two finished illustrations will each receive a set of three of my favorite illustration books from Laurence King Publishing:

 Can’t wait to see what you guys do with your new skills! 


My tutorial posts have been few and far between lately, but I’m going to make it up to you today by explaining something you’ve all been asking for… You’re about to become pros at mixing the perfect skin colors.

Mixing skin tones with watercolor can be difficult at first, but trust me, it’s easy breezy!

First, it’s important to remember that color is your friend. If you really look at someone’s skin, you can see that there’s more to their skin tone than just a solid skin color (i.e. peach). Instead, there’s color behind the skin tone, giving someone that olive, red, tan or any other undertone. Look at someone’s skin and you will see blues, greens, reds, etc. that blend together with their base color. Under eyes tend to have a bit more blues, and greens, and cheeks have more reds in them. Everyone’s different. No one has a solid color face, and watercolor can represent that beautifully.

I almost always start with the three colors on the above left, for any skin tone. It’s a great peachy base that you can adjust to the color of skin you want to achieve. They are cadmium red, cadmium yellow, and either cerulean blue or manganese blue (either blue will work just fine). I use Winsor & Newton watercolors. I tend to mix the red and yellow first, and add a touch of blue afterwards. The blue helps neutralize the red and yellow.

The trick to mixing skin color is to use lots of water. You don’t want any of the color to be too concentrated. Instead, it should be very small amounts of color with lots of water… that way you get a nice light pigment that you can layer. Layering is your friend when it comes to skin tones. Layering different shades of a skin color gives the face more depth… like I did here. You can see the result I got by mixing those colors together on the right side above, each slightly different. Add a little more red to get a rosy peach, or a little more yellow to appear more sun kissed. You can experiment adding other colors too, like purples, greens, or indigos.

To get a darker skin tone, you can simply mix the same three colors with a brown (I used burnt amber above). Remember to mix small amounts of color. You can always add more color slowly to bring the color to a deeper brown. Even if you apply a color that seems to be too light at first, just keep layering and you’ll gradually get what you want with a nice depth to it. Again, use lots of water… and add more red, yellow, or blue to get varying tones. Use a little more red near the cheeks to give a rose colored glow. Adding more blue is great for showing shadows, such as under the nose and around the eyes. Make sure you play around with adding more or less of each base color to achieve different shades like I did above.

You can also add a little yellow ochre (bottom left color) to give a tan glow to the skin color. You can add this color to any skin tone.

Keep adding more layers, or more browns and blues to achieve darker skin tones, or more yellow ochre to get an exotic tan shade. It’s amazing that you you can create any skin color with just a few colors, isn’t it?

I hope this helps! Let me know what you think in the comments, and would love to see you guys put these tips to paper (send pics!). Happy skin toning!

See more tutorials here.