You need a main painter’s toolbox plus a series of smaller boxes for all your tools to be able to find them quickly. Also, it’s important to know if any of them are missing so you can find them before they’re needed for a specific paint job later on.
We have said that the above watercolors require constant attention and if an instant reaction is needed to achieve success, having to search for a missing tool will jeopardize the quality of the final work.
For your main toolbox, use a worker’s toolbox which is now usually made of black and garishly colored plastic. These tool boxes are cheap but will last a long time for a painter because the weight they will carry won’t be much.
These tool boxes have one large main compartment and many smaller ones in a tray under the lid and another series of smaller compartments in the lid. The main part of the toolbox is clear for larger items.
These tool boxes are lightweight yet strong enough for your needs and come in various sizes. The one I have is 9 inches square in section and about 1 foot 3 inches long. Also buy smaller ones for related tool sub-collections.
Many boxes for specific use are also needed. A flat box is best for Rotring type technical pens and stencils. A backup box is needed for the pigment tubes. A box of matches tied with plastic tape is best for old razor blades. Another separate box is needed for thumb pins (drawing pins) and pins only. Boxes for crayons, calligraphy pen holders and lettering brushes are also needed. Keep erasers, putty ink, and pencil erasers of all kinds in their own box. Keep wide, flat tins for pencils and crayons.
Other tools are a collection of odd objects useful for painting watercolors. Normal painting implements are well known from childhood, but some are not so obvious. Others are unknown and some are used in unknown ways.
For example, branches: they are ideal for painting tree branches. Larger twigs cut to a point and with sharp, flat edges are used to paint fallen branches or tree trunks. For larger twigs and logs, use a bamboo end cut as needed. Keep a stock of hard, dry twigs: use them individually dipped in pigment. The technique for using them cannot be described here, but branches are very effective tools.
Toothbrushes are useful for indicating surface textures and reliefs. They were often used in architectural drawings and in models for simulated lawn areas. A little watercolor on the toothbrush is shaken off with the index finger.
Also, a two-part articulated tube liquid atomizer is cheap, fast, and useful for spot spraying. This is used by blowing through the open center hinged part with one end directed towards the paper and the other submerged in a small bottle reservoir. The ultimate atomizer is the graphic artist’s fantastic airbrush. This is now often overtaken by computer program software.
Gauzes and nets used for geometric textures, grids, and patterns like those on checkered breakfast tablecloths seem to offer some advantages, but I haven’t found them successful.
Sponges are especially good for the novice painter to get cloud effects. The best sponges are the ones that look like cheese with holes in them, not loofah sponges or foam pads.
Use kitchen towels or harder paper towels to clean and dry. Use them for cleaning only, never on the paint surface.
Use large rolls of kitchen paper for inexpensive drawing paper. These are slightly transparent, usually biscuit in color, and act as a quick and inexpensive substitute for tracing.
Use templates circles squares triangles french curves. Get Le Corbusier cardboard box metal alphabet templates. Also railway curves are a fantastic aid for almost any type of drawing. Keep this to yourself, don’t finish. A plastic ruler that stays where it bends for irregular curves is worth its weight in gold.
Compasses – 6 and 12 inch scales – metric – 50 m topographic tape. Large and small adjustable plastic sets are a must. A square t-shirt of the right size is a must. Buy precise 360 degree split carrier with lift knob. maps Two inexpensive compasses from North Point are very useful. It is useful to have a good magnifying glass. Nylon fishing line is strong and invisible for hanging pictures in exhibitions. Keep a small hair dryer – talcum powder. A Stanley knife, compasses and dividers, a beam compass, a surgeon’s knife, chrome clipboards, a watch, a calculator and a journal. Purchase, obtain, or collect each of these as needed to reflect your own work.
For this variety of tools it is prudent to keep them properly stored. When it’s necessary to work outdoors, take everything with you. You never know what you’ll need to solve a problem on the spot. This way, time and effort won’t be wasted and the partially finished job won’t be spoiled for lack of a little more paint.
Please note that the tools above are a general list of items that can be added to the basic list of materials mentioned in previous articles.