hello, spriggan!

art & curiosities by Leigh Ann Gagnon

Paints

  • Watercolour: Mostly Daniel Smith brand, especially their Primatek and granulating colours. I’ve tried over the years to limit my palette and mix colours from a more basic set, but it’s just not an approach that works for me. My current palette box has 48 colours in it! 

 

  • Top Five Favorite Paints: Daniel Smith Cobalt Teal Blue, Moonglow, Rose of Ultramarine, Green Gold; Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Tundra Violet

Paper

Sketchbooks

  • Canson XL Watercolor 7×10” (140 lb). I’m able to use both sides of each sheet, it holds up well to multiple washes, and it scans nicely.

 

  • Canson XL Mix Media 7×10″. The paper is lightweight (only 98 lb) so I only draw on one side and try not to use too much paint/water if I’m planning to scan it, but for doodling or notes I’ll use both sides. It has a smooth texture that scans nicely. I’ve stretched larger pieces of this paper for finished paintings and that’s worked great for me as long as I don’t work it too hard (the surface can rub off).

 

Sheets/Watercolour Paper

  • I also love Arches cold press in heavier weights (140 lb & up); I soak the paper and stretch it so that it doesn’t warp when I paint on it.
  • I’m not a huge fan of watercolour blocks (pads of multiple sheets where the edges are glued down)– the paper still warps when wet, and if you want to start another piece you need multiple blocks or will have to remove the first piece while still wet or unfinished. 

Brushes

Manglon filbert brushes from D.A.S. and Utrecht. I bought the D.A.S. brushes while studying abroad in Wellington, NZ and I love them beyond words. Here in the US I’ve found similar ones from Utrecht Art. They were long handled, but I cut them to match my others. I’ve also got a few rounds, and an assortment of other brands/shapes.

I find it helpful to have a variety of brush shapes, sizes, and materials– for my Spriggan paintings, I use bigger brushes that hold more water & pigment for backgrounds and big shapes, but my Manglon filberts & rounds for the actual Spriggans as they hold less water and are more controllable for small details.

I really like “juicy” brushes for my abstract pieces; since I’m leaning into the more spontaneous nature of the paint for this, big brushes that can give me a variety of textures and hold a lot of paint/water feel right.

One of the best pieces of painting advice I’ve seen is to paint with the biggest brush you can for a given area.

Pencils, Pens, Erasers

Much like brushes, I like having a variety of pencils on hand. Here are the ones currently in my pencil case:

 

In 2022 I started using colored pencil instead of ink for my linework. This was a nice switch for me, with some unexpected benefits (don’t need to wait for ink to dry before adding watercolour)!

  • Prismacolor Col-Erase colored pencils
  • Caran d’Ache 

Mixed Media and other cool supplies

  • Ecoline Brush Pens by Royal Talens. I love using these in my sketchbook; the colors are vivid and dry fast, very handy for late night sketching before bed.
  • Colored pencils. I have a rather boggling assortment of colored pencils of different brands– Prismacolor, Crayola (honestly, suprisingly good), Caran d’Ache. They all have strong points, the ones I use for linework mainly come down to color and feel; the others are great for adding details & texture.
  • Watercolor pencils.
  • Watercolor crayons. Neocolor II by Caran d’Ache
  • Gouache. 
  • Acrylic paints.

Favorite places to shop for supplies

  • Jerry’s Artarama
  • Blick
  • Michaels
  • JetPens
  • small local art shops & university bookstores: I don’t have any near me now, but I wish I did! Some of the coolest supplies I’ve found were in these types of shops. Being able to compare and examine materials in person can be so helpful. Prices can be higher compared to chains/big companies, but sometimes they stock the coolest, weirdest stuff. Often you can buy individual colors (like one pencil, pen, pastel stick, etc) at a time as opposed to being forced to buy a set, so it can be a great way to try new things or see if you like a material before committing to a big set.

Digital Art

Desktop:

  • XP-Pen monitor
  • Clip Studio Paint, Affinity suite (Designer, Photo, Publisher)

 

Tablet

  • iPad Air 5th Gen
  • Procreate, Affinity Designer 2

 

Printer, etc

  • Epson Sure Color P600 (large printer)
  • Epson Perfection V330 Photo (scanner)
  • Silhouette Portrait 2 (cutting machine)