An art therapist's favorite art supplies

I am often asked by clients, colleagues, and friends which art supplies are my favorites. I've not met an art supply I don't like, but I do have some standouts that are in heavy rotation in my studio. I believe in presenting my clients (and myself) with quality materials that foster positive, satisfying experiences. I display them in an attractive way, much like setting a buffet table for a most important dinner guest. I prefer natural light, beeswax candles cleanly burning, sometimes diffusing essential oils into the air, and in some cases, playing appropriate music. Creating a safe, pleasing sanctuary is part of the ritual of making art in my healing studio. This is not an exhaustive list of art supplies, by any means. It's just a sampling of a few staples in my personal studio stash. You can click the orange links in the body of this post to find these supplies on Amazon (affiliate links) or on other non-affiliated sites.

Paper:

First, it's important to me to offer yummy paper. For basic drawing, I use this white sulphite drawing paper.  When watercoloring, I like 140lb cold press watercolor paper. I make a 12-15 sheet pack of watercolor paper last by cutting or tearing it in half or into fun, small sizes.  (I actually prefer tearing the paper against a metal ruler because it leaves a pretty, raw edge.)

Making marks:

Sharpies are a go-to art supply for me - I like to Zentangle and make zendalas with Sharpies. I also draw with them and then apply watercolors because these permanent markers will not run.

When it comes to colored pencils, I have two favs. For a standard, fine point, you cannot beat good ol' Prismacolors. Sure, they're more spendy than Crayola, but quality over quantity counts so much in art supplies in setting yourself up for a successful, easeful, richly expressive experience. I also love the luscious softness of Ferby Lyra colored pencils. I recently found these woodless colored pencils, and I'm hooked on them.

I always love creamy oil pastels and materials like them. I offer these oil pastels in my studio, as well as these thicker, creamier color sticks, which have a lipstick-like consistency but allow for satisfying broad strokes when working large. (I love the metallic set, too!)

Watercolors:

Wet-on-wet watercoloring with liquid watercolors is one the most soothing activities for me personally, and for many of my clients. Mmmmmm! These are my favorite (and inexpensive!) liquid watercolors. I present them ceremoniously in these wonderful jars with these great wooden boards in my studio, and super-soft brushes aplenty.

Cake watercolors are old standbys for me, too. I prefer the palettes, vibrancy, and smooth application of these by Loew Cornell.

For 3-Dimensional Creations:

Because I don't have a kiln in my studio (yet? hmm..someday!), I rely on air-dry clay. I'm partial to the terra-cotta colored self-hardening clay. I also like white and gray tones, depending on the project. It's surprisingly strong when it dries, and can be easily painted with acrylics or inks.

I'm a fan of washi tapes of all colors and patterns. I stock baskets of yarns, ribbons, silks, cloth scraps... I offer wool roving, beeswax, buttons, and collage materials. I also love to keep natural wooden objects in my studio, such as wooden peg people, eggs, and Matryoshka nesting dolls. I get many of them at Casey Wood, but the basics can often be found on Amazon.

Most of all, I love art materials that are freely acquired from our abundant momma earth -- natural materials. I have stashes of sticks, driftwood, shells, stones, acorns, pinecones, feathers, leaves, garlic peels, twigs, moss, etc. that lend themselves to all sorts of art projects. They're free, gorgeous, and allow for such open-ended creating -- easily my favorite part of my studio.

You can check out some of my favorite supplies by clicking on the links to them in the text above and in the Amazon box below (scroll thru 5 pages in box) where you'll find extra goodies.

Happy creating! You can shop the list of my favorite supplies in my studio here.