Friday, November 22, 2013

20 "Gotta Have It" Art Studio Tools

Got tabby? Always.
Happy Friday everyone! Recently AHA featured a podcast about "favorite artists products”—(I don’t know about you but I really love these “checklist”shows.) This show inspired me to look around the studio and share my own “must have” studio stuff.

These are “tried and true” tools (rather than brushes, knives, and paint) I keep near my easel and use almost every day. Most are fairly inexpensive and low tech. With a few exceptions...

My iPad is a splurge but honestly, it’s changed my art life. So here are 20 items that I at least for me make my creative life a little easier and more enjoyable--hope they help make your art life a breeze too!
  1. iPad—holds my reference photos, paint from it, crop, watch art demos...
  2. Joby iPad holder (Note this one is for original iPad)
  3. Crank easels (old, new—Don’t get me started on the ratchet or sliding kind.)
  4. Gray palette paper (like the mid tone and don’t care for glass)
  5. Mini plastic spring clamps (assorted sizes)
  6. Green Frog tape (varies widths—it’s a ruler on a roll!)
  7. Large and small T-Square and rulers (great for quick canvas or paper gridding)
  8. Saral transfer paper—especially the white/yellow—Just comes in handy
  9. Big Sharpie and Post it Note Pad (good for supply notes, title ideas, etc.)
  10. Rolling red taboret cart from Harbor Freight (see my post on taborets)
  11. Red plastic value sheets (red acetate from art store)
  12. Foam plates and foam brushes
  13. Good old Kemper Wipe Out Tool (or similar)
  14. Round grippy rubber jar opener (from dollar store, hardware, etc.)
  15. Adjustable height rolling drafting chair (no arms)
  16. Paper towels: Bounty (watermedia) and Viva (oil media)
  17. Hand creams (Aveda, Skin Safer, and my new fav: Desert Essence Vanilla Chai--yummy!)
  18. Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner (non toxic but powerful)
  19. Old mats/frames for checking composition
  20. And most importantly...A studio manager/muse. Mine are always striped and furry. 
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out the paintings from my YUPO workshop--Plan to post more YUPO paintings soon but this week I'm working on a large 3 panel oil painting commission. So I better grab some of these tools and get back to work!


  1. I have been unable to lock the screen on my Ipad 2 (for more than a few minutes) in order to paint from it. Please tell me how you set it to freeze the image for more time.

  2. Hi Kathleen--I have an iPad 1 but it should be the same. Under settings (button with gears) you'll find a menu. Go to General Settings. Here Auto Lock this will give you different time options. Hope that helps! Happy painting!

  3. Some interesting suggestions and would love to find that yummy sounding hand cream .The one thing I cannot do without is a mirror behind my easel. I have a mirrored closet door on rollers. Very handy.
    Hope the info for Kathleen helps her with her iPad.

  4. Thanks Julie--A mirror is a terrific tip! I keep a small one (it's one of my tools on my Peggi Kroll Robers MVP tool) right by my easel but for some reason never think to check it. How cool you have a rolling one! P.S. Just watched your awesome fracturing tutorial last night (you can find this this link on Julie's blog on on DPW all), Can't wait to try on a landscape soon!