New Art Supplies from London Graphic Centre

LondonGraphicCentre_Art Supplies

A few weeks ago the London Graphic Centre very kindly sent me some new art supplies to try and I thought you might like to see what I received. I haven’t had the time to try them out properly yet but these are my first impressions.


Fluid Watercolor Block

As you probably know, I use watercolour paints a lot in my work so I was excited to received this hot press watercolor block from the brand Fluid. I’ve never actually used a block of paper before but the idea is that the sheets are glued together *almost* all the way around, meaning that the paper should stay nice and flat while you work on it. When you’re finished working, you find the tiny gap in the glue and run a sharp knife around the edge to remove the top sheet.

Watercolor Block

This paper is 300gsm, acid-free and feels lovely and smooth. I’m a big fan of smooth, thick watercolour paper so I’m sure I’ll enjoy using this.

Winsor and Newton Watercolour Pad

I also received this Winsor and Newton watercolour pad. This one is cold press paper, which means it has some texture to it and again, is 300gsm.

Winsor and Newton Cold Press Watercolour Paper

I was convinced I hadn’t tried the Winsor and Newton watercolour paper but I actually have a tiny spiral bound sketchbook which I’ve used for one or two urban sketches and the paper is really nice to use and takes watercolour washes very well.


Tombow Pen

Tombow pens are really handy and they have 2 different nibs – a brush nib at one end and a finer bullet nib at the other. They’re not something I use every day but I find them quite useful for quick sketches.

When I did the One Week 100 People challenge I found this was the best pen for loose, fast sketches, especially the finer nib. It doesn’t drag and because it’s a bit thicker than a standard fine liner, it forces you to be less precious about the outcome.

All Kinds of Pencils

Derwent Pencils

During my current 100 Day Project I’ve started using coloured pencils combined with watercolour paints so I was really excited to receive this selection of pencils by Derwent. I love their watercolour pencils and lately I’ve loved playing with the Inktense range, so I know that I’ve got some really high quality pencils here.

I haven’t tried Derwent’s Procolour or Coloursoft before but I really like the look and feel of both of them. As the name suggests, the Coloursoft makes a nice soft, almost grainy texture, while the Procolour is slightly more waxy so it will be interesting to compare them in a bit more detail soon.

Derwent Pencils
Derwent pencils from top to bottom: Procolour, Graphic 2B, Inktense, Watercolour, Pastel, Coloursoft

I didn’t know that Derwent made a pastel pencil. It feels almost chalky to use and I’m already trying to think of ways to incorporate it into my work.


Derwent 2B Pencil

Very occasionally I make pencils drawings but usually the only time I usually use graphite pencils is for sketching outlines or making rough sketches before I start a final piece of work, but this Derwent  Graphic pencil may convert me. For a 2B it has quite a light coverage and doesn’t smudge easily so I think I’ll get along with this one very nicely.

Derwent Mechanical Pencil

One thing I had been thinking about buying is a good quality mechanical pencil, partly for the convenience when out and about, and partly for achieving a consistent pencil line without having to sharpen it. This Precision pencil, also from Derwent, looks really nice. It has a 0.5mm lead and a full metal body which suggests to me that it should be sturdy and long lasting.

Watercolour Stick

Winsor and Newton watercolour stick

Something else I haven’t tried before is this watercolour stick from Winsor and Newton. It feels almost like a wax crayon and goes on to the paper in that sort of way too. But then when you add water over the top it transforms into a lovely watercolour wash. I’m wondering if I could use it in my 100 Day Project and I think they’d be really handy for urban sketching too. A few of these and a water brush could be a very practical part of a sketching kit.


Caran D'Ache Gouache

I also have 2 colours of gouache from Caran D’Ache. I love the watercolour pencils I have from Caran D’Ache but I didn’t realise they also made gouache so I’ll be interested to see how this pan and tube compare to other brands I’ve used.

Watercolour Pencils

Winsor and Newton Watercolour Pencils

Finally, I have this set of 12 watercolour pencils from Winsor and Newton. The label states that they are ‘premium artist quality’ and highly pigmented. They go onto the paper very smoothly and certainly seem to produce a vibrant wash when water’s added so I’m very keen to start using these regularly alongside my Winsor and Newton paints (and paper!).

A big thank you to London Graphic Centre for adding to my stash of art supplies. If you’ve used any of the things I’ve mentioned here I’d love to here your thoughts about them and if you’d like to see a more detailed review of any of them, please let me know!


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.


New Art Supplies: Fred Aldous

Art supplies

I first discovered Fred Aldous when I was using Copic markers on my daily people drawings, because they sold the colours I wanted at really good prices. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a ‘real life’ Fred Aldous shop in London (if there is, let me know!) but that just means that I spend a lot of time browsing their website.

I stocked up on a few new things recently and thought I’d let you know what I bought. Incidentally, more “New Art Supplies: Fred Aldous”