art & design

My Must Have Art and Design Supplies

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Today I thought I would share a few of my must-have art and design supplies. As a graphic designer, there are a few items which I use in every project I work on. Some are things I which help me with my creative process, like watercolour paints. Others are items required by my course, such as the sketchbooks which show my thought process.



Sketchbooks are probably one of the most important art and design supplies which I use. In the last year, I’ve bought at least 15 sketchbooks. The type and size depend on the project I’m working on. If it is a college project or a personal one. For personal projects, I have a little more freedom when it comes to sketchbooks. I prefer smaller sketchbooks with thicker paper. The Handbook Journal Co being a particular favourite.

For college projects, I need a larger sketchbook. In the past, I’ve used A3 sketchbooks because it was required for the course. More recently I’ve started using A4 sketchbooks, they are easier to work in and also easier to carry around. This can become a huge issue when I have 2 or 3 sketchbooks for a single project.

When it comes to a particular brand for sketchbooks I’m not so picky. Spiral bound sketchbooks are easier to work with. The Pink Pig ones are pretty good with nice paper. I’ve started buying the eco-friendly Pink Pig sketchbooks which I get from the London Graphics Centre. I go through so many I should at least try to do something for the environment.


For some projects, I need to create a piece of artwork to be included. Other times, using paint is an easy way to add colour to my sketchbook. For this, I have a set of Winsor & Newton watercolour paints. I have the 24 half pan set. I really like the half pans because when you run out of a colour you can just buy another or a tube of paint to refill the pan.

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I’ve also recently started using Posca Pens. I really love these acrylic markers, they have a good solid line and come in lots of different colors. Again these could be used as part of the final project. But I have also started using the marker like a highlighter in my sketchbook. They are a really good way of highlighting important details. Especially when using the neon Posca pens.


Because all of my coursework had to be presented on A2 sheets I needed somewhere to keep everything safe. Portfolio cases are big and bulky but they make it easy to carry work around and prevent it from getting bent or broken.

I was given my portfolio case on a previous course. I have an A2 Mapac Quartz which costs around £30 online. But as far as I can tell portfolio cases are all the same. There is no point in paying a huge amount of money for something which is almost never going to move.

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I also have an A3 portfolio case but it was the A2 version which I took to interviews with me. It’s better getting something which looks nicer because it looks better to the person who is interviewing you. But they are all the same when it comes to storing work.

I also have plastic sleeves to store the work inside the portfolio case. I’ve used sleeves from Hobbycraft and The Range but they aren’t good quality and can stick to the work which isn’t ideal. I was able to buy plastic sleeves through my college which were a better quality though quite expensive at £1 per sleeve.

But these are literally just to store the artwork in. When it came time to go to interviews I didn’t use the plastic sleeves to display my work. The plastic can make it difficult to get a good view of the artwork and how the artwork is displayed is everything when it comes to these sorts of interviews.


I hope that gave you a little insight into some of the art and design supplies I use while on my course. These particular items are the ones I’ve found work best for me. Especially when it comes to things like paint and sketchbooks it has taken me a while to find brands I really like and don’t mind spending money on. Which can be a lot when it comes to art courses.

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