A Fashion Designer's Art Supplies

Following the success of A Fashion Designer's Library (you nosy lot!), and as I am currently in the full swing of simultaneously designing three upcoming collections like it's no big deal; I thought I would invite you to take stock of all the stationary and creative tit bits I use to get my journey of design underway. 


Notepads, Sketchbooks and Paper

The first bundle you see are my range of sketchbooks and notepads. All used for allocated projects or tasks ranging from a personal book to creatively explore whichever observational subject I desire through to simply jotting down notes from my online courses and further learning. My favourites are from the Paperblanks range. For sketchbook development of collections however, I always use the A3 Windsor and Newton Heavyweight Gummed Pads which allow me to experiment in any media and rearrange pages as I so choose to achieve a flow of work. 

Next I have my trusty A3 MiniSun LightPad used to trace through onto croquis figures or replicate a pattern from an inspirational image, anything really! It saves me from awkwardly manoeuvring the traditional window technique and speeds up the design process when drafting outfit boards or line ups. This is where the two Daler Rowney pads also come in useful, the A3 Layout Paper and the A3 Trace Pad. All items are also available in A4 sizes. 


Pens, Pens, Pens

Using pens for a multitude of things, my overly-organised brain loves to colour code everything I do. From grading patterns (trust me, this is so much easier in colour) using my Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens - which have lasted me an eternity through to the ever trusted Sharpies my sister bought me for Christmas (thanks Sniff!). Though for fashion illustrations my hefty case of choice comes down to the Letraset Tria Markers for Fashion Design - I have had them a lifetime and they still have plenty of ink and colour quality to offer with three nibs ranging from ultra finepoint, brush and a marker tip.

Another product from Letraset which I find myself reaching for time and time again are the Promarkers in which I have a range of neutral greys for tonal effects, I often love layering these under charcoal studies using my Coates Willow Charcoal. Coming to the end of my perhaps excessive pen collection you will find my classic Stabilo Pen 68 Felt Tips used for an array of useful tasks and my one and only Copic Ciao Marker. I bought this particular colour for a project in university that never materialised and the ink quality is still as good as new to this day. They are a pricier marker, but I plan on slowly growing my collection of them and ensuring they're put to good use. 

Finally I would like to end on my favourite of the group which is my Pentel Brush Pocket Pen which provides the nicest quality line to any artwork. I'm a little obsessed with finishing pieces off with this, and what's more is it's refillable unlike any of my markers so ticks a nice box in terms of my sustainability needs. Definitely check it out for a staple addition to your art drawer alongside the Washi Tape I nab every time I see it on sale. 


Pencils and Pastels

It's important to explore multiple mediums when enjoying your creative process. Not only will your skillset naturally evolve, but in respects to fashion illustration, you will expand your ability to visually communicate the vast varieties of materials, and as we know, visual communication is an integral part of design. So my go-to dry materials include the Fantasia Premium Dry Art Set, which as a set goes, is a great starter kit given it includes almost everything you need to kick you off:

3 charcoal pencils (soft, medium, and hard), 1 soft carbon pencil, 1 soft white sketching pencil, 3 pastel pencils (sepia, sanguine, and blue grey), 5 sketching pencils (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B), 1 pure graphite stick 9B, 3 compressed charcoals (soft, medium, and hard), 6 pastel chalks (sepia dark, sepia light, sanguine, dark grey, mid grey, and light grey), 1 broad graphite stick 6B, 1 broad carbon dry stick, 1 blending stomp, 1 knead-able eraser, a sharpener all in an attractive metal storage tin. 

- I mean, that's a lot of stuff for a reasonable price! Accompanying this is my Derwent Charcoal Pencil Set which have been purchased due to the replenishing stock of my Willow Charcoal, and I also wanted to experiment with the different level of control a pencil can offer. 

Another favourite from Derwent are the 12 Artist Colouring Pencils Tin which I often alternate alongside the Faber Castell Art Grips depending on the paper type I am using, both are a very good quality purchase. Technically not a 'dry' material (but I'm listing it in this category anyway as it looks nice in the photo) are my Brunel Franklin Watercolour Pencils. The thick quality of oil pastels are often great to render fabrics such as suede and leathers within fashion illustration, my choice here are Farrel and Gold Set of 30 followed by my Inscribe Soft Pastel Set of 64  which is very competitively priced and again, I rate the quality. 


 Random Bits,

Paints and Inks

Firstly, and a little random, is my old but trusty Label Maker. Used in annotations amongst my sketchbook work the font compliments my Xandra Jane aesthetic, though I can't say it's a favourite as the little plastic labels aren't the most eco-friendly. That being said, I never throw out my sketchbook work, so does that balance things slightly? 

My Daler Rowney Inks are another slow growing collection in the craft box, often bought in relation to which colour story I am working on at the time, but the quality remains and really heightens any artwork I produce. Another brand used includes Windsor and Newton, one of which is an iridescent ink that was gifted to me and is absolutely beautiful. You will notice tucked behind this bundle is my Windsor and Newton Masking Fluid, used to protect areas of work when applying said inks or colour. 

To the right I have a box of craft knives inherited from my Mum and the staple stanley knife used with a cutting mat for any fiddly collaging or paperwork. 

You may notice rather clean looking Daler Rowney Gold Taklon Brushes, which have admittedly been bought recently as the state of my old set was too embarrassing to share with the internet. Not-so-new however are the paint sets, including Reeves 12 Colour Acrylic Set which is at the lower end of the market and therefore quality but certainly get the job done to the extent I need, given I'm not a fine artist, and the slightly higher quality Daler Rowney 12 Tube Watercolour the mixing pallette I think was picked up from Hobbycraft for £1, I had previously used scraps of cardboard for such tasks and the water jar was again only a pound from a quick browse round TK Maxx. 

So there we have it, another tour complete of my expansive art supplies. I used to love buying new stationary for school each year and this feeling of excitement in the craft aisle hasn't gone away. Using art to immerse myself away from daily stresses can be so useful, and beyond that the ability to visually communicate my designs is an integral part of my job. I'm a lot stronger with dry materials than paints, but that is something I will work towards improving.

What's your favourite medium to work in? Are there any you haven't tried?