If you’re a creative person, there are few better feelings than trying new art supplies. It’s always fun to get a fresh tube of acrylic paint or a set of drawing pencils, but did you know that there are tools and materials that fly under the radar? They are innovative and sure to help in your art and design, but they tend to have a cult following.
We’ve picked some of the best art supplies you’ve never heard of. There’s often something unconventional about them, and the tools can help solve issues you come across in your practice. For instance, do you love watercolors but wish you could draw with them? You can do so with watercolor crayons. Does your hand get tired from meticulous paper cutting? The index finger knife might help. And if you’ve noticed that you need to scale down (or up) your hand drawing, there’s an analog tool that will figure it out for you—no math required.
Check out our selection, below.
Want to try some new tools? Here are 7 cool art supplies you didn’t know existed.
Watercolor crayons are a paint pigment compressed into a drawing stick, giving you the best of both worlds. To use them, draw on your paper like you would a colored pencil or pastel. Then with a brush, add water to activate the paint and blend the color.
Try this set of Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Crayons.
Pebeo paints are unlike any pigment you’ve used before. Their unique oil-based formulas change color and texture before your eyes! The Discovery kit features a variety of their paints, but Fantasy Prisme and Moon are two of our favorites. When poured and combined with two or more colors, the effects are honeycomb and marbling. This makes them great for decorative or abstract painting.
Experiment with 12 different Pebeo paints when you buy this set.
Whether you’re a scrapbooking enthusiast or enjoy creating collage art, hand punches will quickly produce uniform shapes of paper. These tools range from simple to complex shapes and can be used in the same way as a conventional hole punch.
The brand Punch Bunch has a great selection of easy to use punches.
Uni-posca Paint Marker Pen
Like watercolor crayons, Uni-posca paint markers allow you to achieve paint-like effects without the mess. The opaque markers can work on a variety of surfaces (like glass, plastic, metal, and wood) and won’t bleed through the page when you draw on paper.
Get your set of 12 Uni-posca markers on Amazon.
Have you ever been drawing and find yourself needing to scale your work up or scale it down? It’s more challenging than it might seem. The Acruit Proportioner is an analog tool that allows you to measure off your original drawing and then transfer it, in the correct proportion, to your new drawing—no math necessary!
The Acurit Proportioner is available from Jerry’s Artarama.
Special Effects Palette Knives
If you like to paint with a palette knife or use one to carve clay, here’s a twist on convention. This set of nine special effects palette knives come in different shapes that allow you to manipulate your medium to create patterns and exciting textures.
Available in a set of nine from Amazon.
Index Finger Knife
Traditional X-Acto knives can be hard on your grip; tightly holding them for too long can fatigue your entire hand. This updated design has an oval-like hole in the handle that “hugs” your index finger when in use. It’s comfortable but also gives you control when slicing your paper collage.
Get a snazzy teal-colored handle from Excel Blades.