New Art Supplies: Cass Art


Earlier this week I went to Cass Art and bought a few things so I thought I’d share them with you here. In case you don’t know, Cass Art is a chain of art shops in the UK and they stock a wide range of art and craft supplies. They sell online but the also have some bricks and mortar shops across the country, including 6 in London and their prices are generally very competitive. I went to the Islington shop this week, which is their flagship store. I went to buy a single pen but came home with a couple of other things too.


I went there looking for a specific fineliner pen and they didn’t have the one I had in mind so I bought this pack of Staedtler pens instead. I think they cost £8.95 for a pack of 6. They’re all black, and are fade and water-resistant which is what I always look for in black pens. I’d never used this brand before but they seem pretty good and I especially like this chisel tipped pen which gives a line width of up to 3mm.


Although I use a lot of watercolour in my work I’ve been using gouache occasionally too and I thought it would be handy to have a dedicated palette for those paints. I like to use gouache straight from the tube rather than dispense it into pans so this flower shaped palette seemed perfect and only cost £5. As you can see, I’ve already started using it and, so far so good!


And finally, I got a few Seawhite of Brighton starter sketchbooks. These come in a range of sizes and cover colours but Cass seem to focus on the black covers and these which are known as ‘Eco’. They’re just really handy basic sketchbooks with a stapled spine and 16 sheets of paper inside.


The paper is 130gsm and is really good drawing paper. It could probably take a light wash of watercolour paint OK too. I bought one in A5 and 2 in A6 size. I thought the A6 ones would be handy to keep in my bag and I’ve just finished an A5 one that I’ve been using to rough out ideas for my hand lettering project each day. The A6 size is similar to the Moleskine cahier journal but the paper’s thicker and the price is much lower. At Cass I think the A5 cost £1.60 and the A6 was £1.10. The prices are even cheaper if you buy online direct from Seawhite but the delivery charge means that you need to place a big bulk order to make that worthwile.

Unfortunately, if you’re outside the UK, Cass Art don’t deliver to you but their shops are definitely worth a visit if you’re in London, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester or Glasgow. I’ve shopped online with them quite a few times too. Now and again they offer free delivery for limited periods of time so that’s worth looking out for too.

Have you got any favourite art supplies at the moment? I’m always interested to find out about new products so let me know about your favourite sketchbooks, pens, paints and anything else for art making.


My Current Daily Art Kit


At the moment I’m working on the 365 Days to a Portfolio Project, which involves making 3 illustrations each week, and my 100 Days of Hand Lettering, which I do every single day. I usually combine the 2 when they overlap just to make life a bit easier, but it’s a lot of work. And because I didn’t have enough going on (!) I’m also taking the latest Sketchbook Skool klass as well, which lasts 5 weeks.

I’m sharing my work every day on social media so I thought I’d explain here a bit more about the process and the tools I’m using pretty muc every day. They’re not all pictured here. Most of them are but these are the main things I use each day.

An A4 sketchbook.

I’m using a Seawhite of Brighton Creative Casebound sketchbook, which has nice smooth drawing paper and is hard bound. I’m using that to draw out my hand lettering every day. Sometimes I use pencil first and then ink it but mostly I just use a pen (hence the spelling mistake I made in one of the quotations you can see here!).

Micron pens.

I have a selection of Pigma Micron pens, which I’m using for my lettering and they range from 005 to the Pigma Graphic 1 and they work nicely on the smooth paper in this big sketchbook.

Surface Pro tablet.

I’ve been digitising most of my hand lettering so far and to do that I scan the sketchbook and then clean things up and edit things together in Photoshop so the Surface Pro, together with my Bamboo stylus, comes in handy for that, as does my laptop.

A5 Watercolour Moleskine Sketchbook.

On days when I don’t digitise my hand lettering I use a page in my A5 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. These are one of my favourite all-round sketchbooks to use regularly. I like the size, the landscape format and they handle watercolour paint pretty well.

Watercolour Paint.

This is my medium-sized palette from Winsor and Newton which I use most days for non-digital hand lettering and other sketches and drawings. The bright coloured blobs of paint inside the lid are gouache paint which I just mix from the tube and clean off every so often.


I use a whole range of paintbrushes but my favourites at the moment are from Rosemary and Co. I especially like this mop brush for creating big washes of colour for backgrounds.

A5 Mixed Media Sketchbook.

This is the sketchbook I use most often. It’s a Stillman and Birn Zeta sketchbook and I really like the thick paper (although I think my favourite is their Beta sketchbook because the paper has a bit more ‘tooth’). I haven’t tried yet but it’s really smooth so I think it would handle Copic markers nicely.

These are the core of what I use to make my drawings and illustrations each day at the moment. Sometimes I also add in some coloured Uniball pens, Gelly Roll and Gelly Glaze pens, a pencil and watercolour pencils for sketching.

What are you favourite and most useful tools that you use regularly?

Urban Sketching: Magdalen College, Oxford


Last Saturday I spent a very sunny afternoon with the Oxford Urban Sketchers. I don’t get to Oxford very often – this is only the second time I’ve met with the group there – but it’s good to sketch in places that are new to me from time to time.

We met, and spent a couple of hours sketching, near the deer park at Magdalen College, which was a nice peaceful spot, considering how busy the high street was that day. I’m looking forward to my next sketching trip outside London – hopefully in the not too distant future.

Starting the 100 Day Project 2017


The 100 Day Project starts today. Last year I created a hand drawn pattern every day and this year I’m going to create some hand lettering every day. I’m leaving it quite open so that I have the option to create a hand lettered word, phrase, quotation or a single letter.

Because I have the 365 Days to a Portfolio challenge that I’m working on 3 days a week I didn’t want to create a lot of extra work for myself on those days, so my plan is to incorporate my hand lettering into those drawings. Again, that might be a word, phrase or a relevant quotation. I’ll digitise my work when I can but I can’t commit to doing that every single day.

This feels like a big challenge but I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Are you joining the 100 Day Project this year? What are you working on?