It’s a tough choice, but here, I think, are the things I rely on most:
- A good pen. I’ve got lots of these. I’m a little bit fickle about my favorites, and I’m always looking for one that’s sharp, very black, doesn’t bleed through paper, and doesn’t break the bank. The one I keep reaching for these days is this one, perfect for everything from the grocery list to a pen and ink sketch:
- My watercolors. I’ve got several kinds, in both cake and tube form, in large and small sets, but the one I keep turning back to is my ancient set, the one pictured (at least until I change it on June 1) in my blog header above.
- Staedtler Mastercarve art carving blocks. LOTS of Staedtler Mastercarve art carving blocks. I use other things for carving stamps and illustrations, too, but this is my favorite material so far. I wish it were easier to find in my area, but there’s always the internet.
- Speeball carving tools. I have other sets, but I reach for my basic set–2 handleswith interchangeable blades–more than any of the other.
- My self-healing cutting board and my cork-backed steel ruler–these count as one to me, since I’m always using them together.
- My Japanese screw punch, a gift from the Better Half. This one is so useful and so amazing that it should probably be higher on the list. Every time I use it, I find myself exclaiming out loud about how brilliant it is. Makes perfect holes of just the right size; essential for book-binding projects and all kinds of other useful tasks.
- An assortment of wonderful papers. Sorry, this counts as one thing, too.
- My scanner.
- My jar of colored pencils.
- My camera.
And just because Katherine Marie gave us two lists of 10, here are 10 little doodads that I suppose I could live without, but working with art materials wouldn’t be nearly as easy without them.
- My pinkie-sized spray water bottle for keeping the watercolors wet. Also works on my wrists and the back of my neck during hot flashes.
- Single-edge razor blades. I buy them in boxes of 100 at Lee Valley.
- My Gorillapod tripod.
- My tiny little spring shears, again from Lee Valley, who will sell you a dozen pairs for only $4.95, which gives you enough that you can share with a few friends and still not melt down in tears when the TSA confiscates the pair you accidentally leave in your knitting bag in your carry-on luggage. Yeah.
- Cat whiskers, which Nemo kindly provides for me on a regular basis. Nice for manipulating the pattern of the ink when you’re doing suminagashi.
- My little froggie incense bowl (which doesn’t actually have any incense in it in the photo below) and a steady supply of Viva pine/sandalwood incense sticks. I like to start each art session with a short dedication and this frog bowl pleases me very much.
- A little hand fan–good for moving inks on water (and again for the hot flashes). Can also be used carefully to hasten the drying of an over-wet watercolor mark.
- Knox unflavored gelatin for gelatin monoprinting.
- Sheets of baking parchment to put under the area where I’m working with paints, glues, and inks. My studio is my kitchen table, and this makes clean-up easier. I keep several sheets just for this purpose and use them over and over again.
- A family who (mostly) doesn’t mind when dinner is late (or sandwiches) again because I just want to pull one more print or because the table is covered with little crumbs of Mastercarve and half-finished stamps.
Actually, that last one should probably be way at the very top of this post. I Excuse me while I go now and make supper.