design faqs and favorites

Some of the most common questions I receive have to do with what I use to create. I have shared a list of my favorite supplies but I think it must be said that the tools don't make the artist. Pens I like, you may hate and that's ok, in fact, that's the way it should be. Try all the pencils, try all the pens, test out different paints, try as many mediums as you can to tell your story in your voice. The more you try, the more you'll realize what works best for your style and what doesn't. And soon enough, you'll have your own list of favorites and they may look nothing like this.

That said, these are my favorite tools, in no particular order...


Pencils. There are plain ol' number 2 pencils all over my house but strangely, I can never find one when I need it! As for pens, I have a collection of different ones I use on a regular basis and they include: a variety of sharpie pens, the black one pictured above is one of my favorite because it clicks and doesn't bleed. I love it for daily list making, doodling, etc. I also like Pitt Artist Pens - Wallet Set of All 4 Pen Styles in Black and Microns because they are waterproof. A new favorite is my Pilot G-Tec gel pen for fine line work.

So for you list people, here are my favorites:
  • #2 pencil - Ticonderoga is nice but any pencil will do
  • Faber-Castell Pitt - for drawing
  • Micron - for drawing
  • LePen - day-to-day writing
  • Pilot G-Tec-C - fine line sketching
  • Tombow calligraphy pen - in between a regular pen and brush pen
  • calligraphy pen (I got a kit from
  • erasers - I prefer Pentel Hi-Polymer erasers and can't have enough
  • chalk - I am a snob when it comes to chalk, Prang all the way
  • watercolors - In the past I used my girls Prang watercolor set but have recently been using this Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers Pocket Box set and love it.
  • Pentel Aquash pen - great watercolor pen!


All the paper. I have multiple sketchbooks going on at once, small to large, countless notebooks, most of which are lined or have grids and you'll find everything from ideas, doodles, notes from church, list of goals and groceries inside. I buy a notebook with the intent of it being used only for *insert specific purpose here* but somehow each book ends up having all the things mixed in. I guess that's just a picture of my life - all the little things intertwined.

Here are some paper types I have in my office:
  • sketchbooks of various sizes - great for thumbnails and getting ideas out
  • watercolor paper - because you can't do watercolors on copy paper
  • Boris layout pad - calligraphy paper - I really like to draw on this type of paper with my drawing pens and not as much for calligraphy
  • Northbooks Notebook / Journal (3 Pack), 96 College Ruled Pages, Acid Free Sheets, 5x8 | Made In The USA | Lay Flat Binding - I like dot grids for doodling and these are great
  • hardback notebook - I have to have a hardback notebook with elastic band for my go-to notebook, soft covers just end up getting bent around here
  • planner - I use my Bando planner - something with boxes for each day to write meals down, schedule, highlights, etc.


I graduated Oklahoma State University with a BFA in graphic design. Most of my design, illustration and layout skills were learned in college and my first design job out of college (probably actually learned more in the first job in a year than the 4 years of college). But I don't think you can ever learn too much so here's where I turn to for inspiration or continued education:


Basically all the technology things that help me get my work done.
  • iMac - I would really like a laptop but it's just not a thing I can swing financially at this time so for now, my trusted desktop will do, and do just fine
  • Epson scanner/printer combo - I scan a lot of my sketches in and print my own shipping labels so it's good to have a machine that can do it all for me. I use a local printer for my prints, cards, etc. so I don't have a fancy schmancy printer to print from home.
  • Artograph 12 inch by 9 inch Light Pad Light Box - once I have a design drawn out in pencil, I trace over it in ink on a new sheet of paper - my LightPad makes me not have to tape paper to windows to see through. I like it.
  • Wacom Pen Tablet - I don't use thing much to write but more to work on detail work in Photoshop and Illustrator. It's easier and more natural than a mouse. Maybe one day I'll be snazzy like the talented Emily McDowell and be able to afford the Cintiq!
  • iPhone - keep it in the apple family 
  • ONA Prince Street bag - it's a beauty and allows me to carry all my favorites in one place
  • Adobe Creative Suite - mine came with Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat Pro. It also came with other apps but I don't use those.

So that's that. I hope I answered some questions you might have. And if you have a favorite supply, pen, paper, book, I'd love to hear what you're loving!

Have an awesome day!

1 comment:

I know it can be a little scary but go on, I'd love to hear from you!