#projectfulltransparency - Tools of my trade

It is kinda of a given that as we put our progress and finished works out there - people are curious to what we use, in saying that I thought it was time to share the tools of my trade. From physical products I use, quality matters and the not so expected tools that I use depend on mentally.

The basics

Arches watercolour paper (smooth) 300gsm

No lie - this is what (I feel) the entirety of my finished product normally depends on. For sometime I was using stock standard watercolour paper, until a friend recommended this Arches paper. Yes it is a jump in price, I pay about $60 for 15 sheets and am very careful with it. I immediately noticed a difference in the finish of my shading and the overall finish of my work. It is much smoother and in turn gives and overall smooth and SHARPER finish to my work. It is actually amazing what comes with paying for quality paper and I haven't found a cheaper yet better alternative yet.

Blending "sticks/stumps/pencils"

I don't know what the hell they're really called but I f*ing love them. I love smooth tonal detail and I could NEVER use my fingers or cotton bud sticks or tissues. So when I found these, the heavens truly sang. These guys are just rolls of paper wound very tightly into double ended "pencils" and can be found at most craft stores and online. There's no sharpening required and they look but ugly in photos. This has definitely been something that has helped take my detail to another level - especially skin.


I only use two different erasers generally - I mainly use my kneedable eraser - also ugly as all hell but I've found the best to shape into tiny points and lift lead up. Also helps when blending areas by lifting layers of slightly as I go. And a general rubber eraser - Although these seem super simple, some can leave marks or don't agree with your paper.

Pencils - Mechanical pencils & basic lead pencils

As I love playing with tone in my work I use a variety of different weights of lead. For all my basic linework, hair and details I always stick with mechanical pencils, purely before they always stay sharp, they are clean to use (no sharpening) and travel with. I have two I work with - One filled with 2B for normal to dark areas and HB for light areas. They are also really cheap and easy to replace unless you get attached to them like I have in the past. I also use basic lead pencils when working with darker tones - I use 4-6B leads for much darker areas (as it uses up my mechanical lead) and the lead is also much softer and easier to blend.

*NOTE* As much as I love working with lead - the end result can get metallic and hard to photograph. Work around it.

Baking paper

Definitely my cheapest tool, I use this every day mainly to keep under my hand whilst I draw to prevent the lead spreading. I also like to use it when playing around with paint and pens and sticking it into the scanner.


After realising I wanted to take my work to another level, I really just fell into a love with Wacom after testing it out and soon after decided to invest. I use my Wacom for everything from colouring my work, mood boards, posters and documents, editing photos and also placing my website together. 


My extra "Go-To's"


The more pressure I have put on myself (since taking the leap) the more I have started using meditation. I have found a few that I use regularly for different things like clarity and focus. I have gotten into a routine of listening to some meditation after my lunch to refresh me for the day and to help me get to sleep - it is super important to not only, not be too hard on yourself but also work with as clear mind as possible - I have attached the files at the end of the blog post for you to enjoy x

Books/Magazines specific to your industry/situation

It's only since reading my last few recommendations I can really vouch for how much I've gotten out of reading - I've been a longtime reader/lover of No Cure and have met some amazing people through this publication - It's also so endearing hearing other peoples accounts and struggles and knowing you're not alone. Books - I have recently read some motivation classics; "How to Win Friends and Influence people", "Think and Grow Rich" and "Overcoming Underearning" - all of the recommendations have been a huge help to me in the last year in some way. I do plan to do more a blog on these books in the near future.


Two things that come with this tool - Pinterest is AMAZING, the different ideas I have found and will to experiment since using Pinterest has been astounding - however, something very important to consider is not depending on it. Use it to excite and motivate yourself - as well as show off your product, but not to depend on for ideas.

I hope you've enjoyed not only the obivous picks but also my dark horses, something some people may not be using but would be the perfect fit for. Please feel free to add any feedback and recommendations x