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Art Journal Every Day: What Are Your Must Have Supplies?

ArtJournalEveryDayLogo-150 So, how's it going?  Have you art journaled every day this week?  (If you're new, check out this link for lots of info on what Art Journal Every Day is!) 

And to answer my own question: I am going to confess that while I did take my art journal and some supplies with me to L.A. I didn't actually manage to do anything in my art journal the entire time I was away.  And you know, that's okay.  But looking at the little pencil case of supplies I brought with me got me thinking.  What are other people's must-have supplies?

I asked a smattering of folks who are participating in February's Art Journal Every Day to share their favorite, must-have supplies.  They were limited to just five.

Nelly Eisenhower of Nelly's Junk Drawer

My 5 must haves are:

  1. Golden Soft Gel Medium (Gloss or Matte)
  2. Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Crayons
  3. Stabilo Marks All pencils
  4. Water Brush
  5. Heidi Swapp Sparkle Lip-Gloss

The gel medium is just the smothest and the best.  Caran d'Ache Neocolor Crayons and Stabilo Marks All pencils are both water soluble and can create wonderful washes when wet but can also add great detail when used without water. The water brush has a reservoir for water so you can use it when you are on the run.  And finally, every girl needs to feel sparkly.  I used my Heidi Swapp Lip Sparkle when I am at my art table to feel embellished!


Bonita Rose (Bonnie Rose) Kempenich of A Life Unrehearsed, The Creative Blog of Bonnie Rose

My list:

  1. Acrylic paints! Love playing with bright bold colors, so many possibilities!
  2. My brushes. I use them every day, in whatever I am creating, whether it be paper, canvas, fabric, acrylics, or watercolors!
  3. Lyra water-soluble/watercolor crayons. I have the 24 pack and I just love them. They make creating watercolor backgrounds so so easy!
  4. Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pens in black. I use these every day. Every day. They write and draw oh so smooth, and work so well over painted surfaces.
  5. My artist and inspirational books. I love to read. I learn the most from going through the pages and trying new things. In my studio, I am surrounded by inspiring books. So much to discover in the pages.


Melissa Sabin of Red Tape

I art journal in a wide range of media, but find that these five things are the most indispensable to me, no matter what style I am using.  Because I am  traveling a good bit, it is critical that I have the very smallest, lightweight options, with the most ability to produce the art I want.

  1. Fave-items Sharpie Pen: Produces a fine, dark, waterproof line.  I can paint over it, journal with it, or sketch.  I find it writes over acrylics.  Now comes in colors also.
  2. Portable Watercolor Set: I prefer the rich tones of Schminke paints.  These give me flexibility to add color to any page, and because they are dry and contained, they travel well.
  3. Niji Waterbrush: Different size brush tips, water source inside pen, and easy to change colors make this a gem.  This little “miracle brush” has never disappointed, in ease of use, on the go.  (Note: I keep exclusive nijis for walnut ink and another for bleach)
  4. Pencil Case: This is $1 at Staples and packs an amazing amount of essentials (drawing items, glue, scissors, ruler, etc) in a very compact space. Great for airline travel. (Note: I clip the sides of the snap end, so it lies flat…easier to load up)
  5. POGO Printer and Digital Camera: Perfect way to add "in the moment" elements to your journal pages, wherever you are. Prints directly from your digital camera and backs are peel and stick!   I ♥ my printer! Each print is about 25 cents if you shop for refill packs.  Photos can be manipulated for interest (they are Polaroids).



Lynne Forsythe of The Next Best Thing by Lynne

Top 5 Must Have Journaling Supplies:

  1. Claudine Hellmuth's Multi Medium: I couldn't even create without this AMAZING gel medium. The best by far!!
  2. Claudine Hellmuth's Acrylic Paint: Creamy goodness that when watered down holds its color!!
  3. Stickles (Regular or Distress): A great way to add another dimension to my work....'cause it's all about the texture!!
  4. My Tim Holtz Scissors: They CUT ANYTHING!! 'nuff said!
  5. Distress Inks: The color palette is perfect and can be used in so many different forms....the possibilities are endless!!

OK, so do I sound like a Ranger commercial....it's ok cause I just LOVE THEIR PRODUCTS!! The product lines have such unbelievable depth and width as to the endless uses!

My favorite journal page is my latest creation.....Broken Hearts Heal! It's right where I am in life, raw and real!! It was very therapeutic and healing!!


Luise Smith of Blue Bazaar


  1. Golden Light Molding Paste: I like this product because it adds texture and depth to my projects. It is very flexible, light and soft, almost like marshmallows. You can apply it straight from the jar or mix your paint with it.
  2. Glimmer Mist Chalkboard: It adds instant colour to your projects. What I love about the chalkboard range is that is has a beautiful matte finish to it. It also dries very quickly compared to paint so it is an easy way to cover your project area with colour quickly.
  3. Palette Knife: I find the palette knife an excellent multi-purpose tool. You can use it to mix your paints, stir your mediums, apply paint to your surface area, use the end as a writing tool in wet paint and create different patterns and textures by using it as a substitute paint brush.
  4. Derwent Watersoluble Graphtone: I like to add black outlines around images as a way of defining shapes and creating edges. Because it is watersoluble you can use water to make the pigment smooth and create various shades.
  5. Dot stamps: I have had these foam stamps by Heidi Swapp for years and constantly use them in my projects. They are reversible so you get 2 patterns for 1.  I prefer foam stamps when working with paint.

I used the foam stamps on the roof pattern and Derwent Watersoluble Graphtone for the black outlining in this page.


It's interesting to note that there are a few common threads in people's must-have supplies.  Almost everyone has a colorant and a black line maker on their list.  Also water soluble products are much lauded for their versatility and ease of portability!

One of the barriers to creating can be having too many options.  If you're up for a challenge, why not try limiting yourself to creating with just five items this week? I tried it:

I used:

  1. Alphabet Stamps from Studio Calico (love this set because of the open letters)
  2. Watercolor Paints from Sakura
  3. Archival Ink from Ranger (love that it's waterproof)
  4. Masking Tape (I like the really wide stuff from ProArt)
  5. Gesso (I prep all my pages with masking tape down the center seam and a bit of gesso over the masking taped area.)

See how creative you can be with just five supplies from your stash!  I think you'll be amazed at what you can do!


P.S. Sign up to participate in Art Journal Every Day for February right here.