Best tools are the best!

These are the fine art and design tools I love to use and you would enjoy using them too. They are not affiliate links. I recommend them because I've tried so many and these work the best. I'd love to hear what you favorite tools are for painting, design and creativepreneurialship so leave me a message under the blog here.


Squarespace

Designing with Squarespace is easy and you don't have to have a design or a coding background. It is what I use to build my website. Squarespace is great for creatives and those who want a professional presence online and don't want a busy looking website. 

 

Asana

Asana is a great way to track your projects, manage them and see results. It makes staying on task easier for solo and small business owners and assigning tasks amongst organization members. I love the task updates and marking them done!

 

Moo

Moo is the coolest and easiest way to print quality business cards, stationery and other types of marketing material. I've made mini bookmarks to give away at art openings and exhibitions that were very popular.

 

Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements

Photos are so important and Photoshop is simply the best photo editing software around (including Adobe Lightroom) and can make it easier for you to organize all of your photos. I use Photoshop for my photos. If you are a student or a teacher there is a nice educational discount. Of course you can use other and free software to work with that works very well such as Gimp for photo editing but Photoshop is the best. There is a free trial of Photoshop that people use all the time but get your photos ready for editing first.

 

Adobe Illustrator

I use Adobe Illustrator to make logos (check out my blog post on making logos) and web graphics like favicons because it makes it easier with vector based images that can be scaled. Make sure to turn your logos into a transparent .png (which means the background will be transparent and not the logo itself allowing the web page to be whatever color you need).

 

Canva

Canva is easy, amazingly intuitive and mostly free to use. The phone app and online make it easy to create quick social media graphics designed for specific platforms (Pinterest, FB, Instagram, etc.) and they are saved for your return so you can quickly make similar looking graphics. Although if you can make standard sized images in Illustrator and are paying for it then you can quickly make images in it that you use again and again.

 

Gamblin Oil Paint

Gamblin oil paint is a thicker, slightly stiffer butter consistency, with consistent color saturation and not crazy expensive. It is ideal for Alla Prima work. Can easily add a medium to it without it loosing its bind. It is my go to paint.

 

Williamsburg Oil Paint

Beautiful high chroma paint, handmade oil paint and smooth buttery consistency. Love this paint brand as well and can easily buy it online or in most fine art shops. Use it especially for floral paintings. There are so many quality paints out there that are great such as Old Holland I also use regularly for specific colors on my palette.

 

Gamsol Odorless Mineral spirits

Gamsol is used for thinning oil paint or thinning varnish and is odorless so you can use it inside or in a classroom with less worry of odors bothering anyone. You don't need to use a lot of it at a time (6-8 oz. is plenty) and it can get very dirty and still work nicely. You can let it sit for 24 hours and allow the paint to settle to the bottom and pour off the clear turp into a new jar and clean out the crud paint particles that settled with a strong workshop paper towel (the blue kind that won't leave too many threads behind in the jar). I use a garbage can with a top that contains odors and a window fan when necessary for things like varnishing.

 

Carolina H-frame easel

I love it so much that I bought two. I have compared them to many other brands. It is sturdy, doesn't wobble, is a great price and can work up to 28 in. x 36in. easily.

 

Cowboy Studio light kit with a boom

Perfect when you need quality daylight inside a studio for any reason. They have helpful and quick customer service. I also use Blue Max lights and they are also fantastic with dimming.

 

Utretch brushes

Round white sable 233 series and Finest interlocked ultra 300-f series. Love them for finer detail. They work perfectly for alla prima- direct or indirect painting and are less expensive. 

 

Isabey Acryl brushes

These are great brushes and are a bit more expensive but have a nice strength to them. I love the long flats.

 

Rosemary long, flat brushes

Wonderful, more expensive, but worth having several in your arsenal. I use the long, flats and a varnishing brush that I love.

 

Conservator's Products Varnish

This is the best varnish with great leveling properties. I use both the UVS Matte and the UVS Finishing Varnish. I use a mixture of 50% Matte and 50% Finishing to make not too glossy finish. Use it as a retouch varnish too. Can use wedge style cosmetic sponges to apply it or a brush that doesn't leave hairs behind.

 

 New Traditions L600 and Claussens 13C double primed linen

I can cut the gatorfoam boards to any desired size before or after I've started painting and they're lightweight and easy to travel with. 

 

Munsell Color System

I use the Munsell system to understand color, have a vocabulary and color code to exact matches when needed. The second or third edition of the student book you can easily find for less and it teaches most of what a painter needs to know.

 

New Wave Palettes

I use the Grand View palette and I'd also love to use the rectangular version. I clip it onto my tripod holder system by Sun Eden so I holding it becomes an option. It doesn't need oiling/ seasoning. I also have a tabouret with a glass top for mixing paint and keeping things organized.

 

Sun Eden Traveling Adaptor

I love the light weight Traveling Adapter to work outside to hold canvas-panels using a tripod or to work inside, I described above how I use it to clip a palette upright like I do most days in the studio so I don't have to hold it and can quickly judge color by propping it up near my canvas and still life.

 

Sight-sized and Comparative Drawing Methods

I use both (and any method) that helps me draw accurately. Here is a video that helps explain classical drawing. Every artist has something they regularly draw less accurately such as making a neck too long. Remembering what you tend to do wrong is helpful and knowing how to fix it with drawing methods is even better. Learning how to see accurately is what it is all about.

What are you favorite tools for painting, web design and creativepreneurialship? I'd love to hear and share so leave me a message under the blog here.

Thank you for reading and I hope you find this helpful.