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What Art Tools Would You Be Lost Without?

September 21, 2009

This weekend I went on a mission to find what had to be a whole missing box of my favorite tools and other art stuff. There were just too many items missing for them to have been inadvertently tossed out.

Persistence paid off and I found all of them in a big plastic storage bin that I had assumed contained only some family photographs. It turns out that we had utilized that bin to pack these remaining art tools, things that didn’t fall into an easy category. This included some oversized brushes, three brayers, cheap plastic putty knives, and a big zipper bag of my best palette peelings.

So I got to thinking about what my favorite tools are, or the things I really need to get my work done.

I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours . . .

Various sizes of brayers, paint rollers, squeegees, putty knives, etc.

Tools of the Trade

In the back of the bin is a big squeegee used for silk screen art. I don’t use it as much as I use these . . .


Squeegees made of mat board. I keep these with the color built up on them for inspiration.

Liquitex No. 18 large palette knife — my favorite painting implement of all. It spreads a smooth layer of thick texture or paint like butter over a large area.

OK. What about you?

22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2009 3:17 pm

    my big thing is good oil paint – i would be lost without Old Holland Oil Paint- great brushes i just found-Isabey Kolinsky Sable Fat Filberts-This was my own discovery-Glad Wrap Press’nSeal- stretch over a 10×14 canvas board- it sticks to the back-makes a great paint palette for oil paint- turpentine does not affect it [you can even wipe it off with turpentine] and it won’t soak up oil- i’m on twitter at almajohn

    • September 22, 2009 8:40 am

      Sybil, I love that! For acrylics, you could even peel the paint off the wrap and save it for textural additives and such.

  2. Annette permalink
    September 21, 2009 5:57 pm

    Lost my6 big palette knife (which I later found in the edge of my big suitcase!!) but found a cake decorating one which I substituted for a while. Either way, it’s a cool tool!

    • September 22, 2009 6:15 pm

      Annette, a cake decorating one would work just as well. I look for art supplies everywhere, and wherever they are the cheapest is the best place!

  3. September 21, 2009 7:01 pm

    I don’t have any pictures to share, but I love my Mod-Podge and my embossing powders, my acryiic paints and my stock paper. Jo-Ann Fabrics sometimes sell those at 6 for 96 cents, and boy do I stock up. Love all those patterns and colors.

  4. September 22, 2009 6:03 am

    I draw more than paint. I love using vine charcoal and pastels…so my favorite tool to keep them sharp and pointy is drywall screen that I wrapped around the bottom of a pastel box. When I’m using it I keep the top of the box under the bottom to hold the screen tight. When I’m not using it I close the box to keep the shavings from getting everywhere. I use the yellow putty (usually used to hang posters on the wall) to hold my drywall screen box to my drawing board and make it handy to use!

    • September 22, 2009 6:17 pm

      Melinda, what a great system! I love it.

      I love vine charcoal too, and use it a lot in my paintings.

      Nice drawings!!

  5. September 22, 2009 8:16 am

    I work a lot with very fine synthetic brushes and razor blades. The good old big ones. I still have a 20 year old stash. I used them for smoothening the paint ground — white acrylic wallpaint. And to grind layers to remove mistakes or create effects.

    • September 22, 2009 6:19 pm

      Eva, the old things are sometimes the most treasured. Those would be hard to replace!

  6. September 22, 2009 9:00 am

    great post!
    i have that liquitex no. 18 palette knife also. what would i be lost without? palette knives and cotton rags. i’ve been using some of the same palette knives for 15+ years.

    • September 22, 2009 6:20 pm

      Stephanie, it’s wonderful to paint with knives. It eliminates washing brushes which presents an environmental problem. I have moved away from brushes more and more.

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