As I create art for fabric collections, I reach for the same collection of art supplies.
If you’re a surface design artist looking for art supplies online, I’ve got you covered! My favorite go-to supplies (including art software) are paper, India ink, and Adobe Illustrator. I start by creating a piece of artwork on paper, then scan it into my computer to digitize it in Illustrator and turn it into surface designs or repeat patterns. If you’re curious about my creative process for making pattern collections, be sure to read the detailed post I wrote about it here!
Shopping for art supplies online has never been more convenient! It is no surprise that you’ll find a huge selection on Amazon. It’s also worth checking out small businesses or shops like Etsy when you need something specific.
Top of the list of surface design art supplies: because although I do a lot of digital design work, nearly everything starts out as a design or marks on paper. My favorites are:
Canson Oil and Acrylic Paper – my favorite for the texture
Standard Printer Paper – I use a lot of standard printer paper, it’s inexpensive so it doesn’t feel as precious as my textured papers so ideas just seem to flow better when I make marks on this.
Trace Paper – sometimes I need to work in layers, and although I could use my iPad, I love working with my hands, so trace paper it is! I also developed a deep love for trace paper when working at my former interior design job.
Light Box – this isn’t paper, but I use this lightbox often with trace paper when I need to copy details. (My kids love it too!)
Paint and Ink
India Ink – my top favorite art supply for everyday use. I buy it in a large bottle because I use it so much!
Watercolor paints – really any will do, as long as they have a deep, rich pigment. These deeper colors scan so much better for transferring to Illustrator.
Other Art Mediums
Drawing Pastels – these are so messy, but I love them for the texture they add to my linework, especially on the oil & acrylic paper mentioned above.
Tailors Chalk – I recently added this and it’s just so much fun to use! This is what I reach for when I need to pull myself out of a creative block!
Paint Brushes, Pens, Etc.
Fine Line Sharpie pens – really, who doesn’t love sharpies!?
Papermate pens – my favorite for writing, sketching, and just about everything else!
Eye Dropper – I keep this on my work table and use it all the time for painting and creating interesting textures.
Good old Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils – In black, of course, because aesthetics are important in an art studio!
Plate for watercolor mixing – I found this one at a thrift store! Really anything will work, I just want it to have plenty of room for mixing and matching the look of my workspace!
Some of the links mentioned are affiliate links, but these are all products I use for surface design (or the closest brands to the ones I use)!