One of the biggest questions I received over and over again on Instagram while I was doing my 100 Days of Food Illustration was, “what art supplies are you using for this?”. So I thought it might be useful to write a post about it so that all of you could see my tools and how I used them and decide if they’re things you might like to try. This post does include affiliate links for most of the product listed below but, they’re all products I use almost daily in my artwork and that I really love. (full disclosure at the bottom of the post)
My Food Illustration Art Supplies
I used the same set of supplies for every one of my 26 food illustrations for the project. Not a big list by any means and lot of these are tools that I use regularly in my other artwork as well.
Strathmore Artist Tiles
I’ve been using the Strathmore Artist Tiles for ages! I used the Strathmore 6×6 300 Series Bristol Tiles for my food illustrations. All my Miss Doodle illustrations were done on the same tiles but in the smaller 4×4 size. I like them because you end up with a very nice finished piece that can also frame well if you choose. And they scan nicely.
I found these particular bristol tiles from Strathmore worked really well with alcohol based markers – the colours stayed true, there was minimal bleed and blending was easy and didn’t ruin the paper. They have a good weight to them.
Copic Sketch Markers In Assorted Colours
Copics are expensive markers but they’re refillable and can last for years – and you can buy them individually. The refills are very inexpensive and can give you up to 20 refills per marker making them overall a much better value than many other alcohol based markers. They have superior blending capabilities and the nibs are so dreamy to work with (they can also be removed from the marker and revived if they dry out).
They come in a huge range of colours – over 350 I think. I had 8 when I started the project and 71 when I finished, including a colourless blender and a good selection of greys for creating shades I didn’t have and a couple of grey refill ink bottles (I actually did use up one of my grey shades 3x during the project!).
Copic Money Saving Tip:
You can get some good starter sets on Amazon – I’d recommend this colour one and a small set of greys if you do. But, I honestly prefer buying them in singles and I look out for sales on my favourite on-line art stores like Opus, Above Ground or Blix. Just be careful if you’re Canadian. Blix has awesome prices but by the time you factor in the exchange and the shipping, the price climbs right back up. You can also use the weekly 40% off coupons in Michael’s flyers and buy them one at a time!
Artist’s Loft Alcohol Based Markers
Artist’s Loft is Michael’s private label brand and while I’ve had some good and bad experiences with the overall brand, the Artist’s Loft alcohol based markers are pretty good quality and reasonably priced. They’re not refillable which means you have to buy a new one when one dries out or runs out of ink.
I quite liked the brush nib but found on a few of the colours I bought that they didn’t hold their shape. But, they were a great stand in when I needed a colour badly and couldn’t get a Copic version easily. I think I wound up buying about 6 or 7 of them.
Staedtler Pigment Liners
I used my Staedtler Pingment Liners in 0.1 and 0.3 for inking my sketches before adding the colour. They’re great. They don’t bleed, they dry fast and don’t smudge when you erase your pencil markings and they hold their vibrancy after erasing. I used these for all my Miss Doodle sketches too. I suggest buying a set like I linked to above so you can try all the different sized nibs and then buy singles from your favourite art store when you need to replace your most used ones!
Faber Castell Pitt Markers (brush tips)
All my Miss Doodles were coloured in with Faber Castell Pitt Brush Markers but these are ink markers rather than alcohol based markers so while they do layer well, they do not blend well. They’re still one of my favourite colour tools but they do a different job from the Copics. I used them to add some fine finishing details to some of the illustrations.
You can buy these in sets on-line but you can also buy them in singles from most good art stores. I really like them for fine colour work and zen doodling.
Sakura Gelly Roll in White
I used the Sakura White Gelly Roll on the early sketches to add in some highlight details. I was never a huge fan of it but I didn’t now of any better options. But then…
Uni-Ball Signo Pen in White
I used the Uni-Ball Signo Pen in White in the later illustrations after Alisa Burke recommended it on her IG feed as her favourite white pen and I can see why. It’s much smoother and has better coverage than the Sakuras. I love this pen!
Bic Mechanical #2 Pencil
Yep – those Bic Mechanical Pencils – the kind you buy for your kids for back to school. I love them – they’re not fancy but I love them and they do the job. I buy in them in pack of 5 or 12.
Staedtler Art Eraser Karat 5427
I cannot tell you how much I love this Staedtler cleaning eraser – it removes pencil and smudges like a dream without being destructive to your paper. It’s also malleable so you can smoosh it around, which helps clean it and you can roll bits of it into a very fine point to get into really tricky little areas on a sketch. I couldn’t live without this little guy (and they last for-EVER.)
And that’s it. That’s what I used for my food illustration. If you’re interested in seeing more marker type food illustraton check out the #sketchmarkersclub hashtag on Instagram – it’s a very popular art form in Russia and a few other part of Eastern Europe. You can can take classes on it and everything!
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