My Current Favorite Art Supplies- August 2018

My Current Favorite Supplies

MEA’s August 2018 Look in the Artsy Tool Box

I get bored easily, so I’m always looking for different ways to keep myself entertained in the studio. A lot of you know of my work because of my phase with fluid painting, but you’ll notice while looking at my recent work that I never bust out the air compressor anymore.

Instead, I’ve picked up another new tool:

This tool led me down a whole new artsy path. I’ve been doing a terrible job at recording my new process as it’s a lot of short bursts of applying a quick layer and then waiting for it to dry. At the very least, I can tell you about the supplies I use.

Links for My Current Favorite Supplies

Most of these are affiliate links through Dick Blick and Amazon. If you make a purchase within 24 hours of clicking I earn a commission.


Heavy Body Paints: I like using Liquitex Heavy Body and Brea Reese Acrylic Paint most often. Brea Reese has a great selection of affordable and highly pigmented professional paints.

I also use Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic paint. It’s seriously the most buttery smooth paint I have ever used.

Fluid Acrylics: I finally caved and started investing in Golden Fluid Acrylics. These paints are great for the wedge technique. I use Golden when applying finishing layers as the look is much more polished than the heavy body formulas. It’s just my preference, though.


Blick Studio Traditional Profile Canvas: I have always loved Blick’s canvases. I usually order in bulk to get the discounts and always watch for back to school sales for the best deals.

Michaels Canvases: I used to use the bulk packs a lot a few months ago, but when switching from fluid painting to my new techniques, I didn’t like the beveled edge of the canvas. I still occasionally buy their Level 1 through 3 canvases, but ONLY if they are at a sale price of 60% or higher. Michaels fine art supplies are way overpriced without sales.


Liquitex High Gloss Varnish is still my favorite! Read more about it here. Always apply it with a foam brush.


Catalyst Wedge W-06 

I love this wedge! I use this to put down semi-transparent layers of color. I use heavy body, soft body, fluid acrylics, and my own fluid mixture depending on what effect I am going for.

You can use a spray bottle with water to help smooth out heavy body layers more easily. Always let each layer dry completely before applying the next.

Precision Fineline Applicator (Blick or Amazon)

I will never part with this applicator. It’s my favorite favorite thing. Read more about my fine liners here.

Big Cheap Brush

I don’t get fancy with my brushes. I usually end up forgetting them in a jar of water so I don’t splurge on the good stuff often. I needed a big 2 inch brush for blending base layers on large canvases and packs like this are my favorite. As long as you get a synthetic brush meant for acrylic, you’re good to go.

Or, you can get this Liquitex Paddle brush.

I also use these big brushes with a mix of my white fluid acrylic and heavy body paints to get really soft and smooth sections of blended color (see below).


Thanks for taking a look inside my tool box! Let me know if you have any questions about the materials I use. And hopefully some day I will put up longer videos of this process.

Now go get messy!


Further Reading:

Liquitex Gloss Varnish Comparison

Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

Free Product Samples

Free Product Samples

Hey there!

Sometimes art supply companies are super awesome and provide free samples of their products for you to try out. I’ll update this list as I come across new opportunities. It’s a little sparse at the moment…

Winsor & Newton Professional 140lb. Cold Press Water Colour Paper

(Only available to Canada and US residents.)

If you would like to try Winsor & Newton’s Professional 140lb cold press water colour paper, just follow the link below and fill out the form!



Winsor & Newton Water Colour After Effects Gift Collection Review

Winsor & Newton Water Colour After Effects Gift Collection Review

Recently, I have been practicing watercolors quite a bit. Watercolors are almost magical in their possibilities. They are a challenge to master, but are so fun to play with! I was introduced to the Winsor & Newton Water Colour After Effects Gift Collection a couple of months ago, and it has opened up the creative possibilities even more! 

I am obsessed with creating intricate fine lines and the using shimmery metallic supplies in my art, and this collection is perfect! If you work with watercolors and want to give your pieces an extra bit of sparkle power, this is the collection for you. It would also be a perfect gift for the art lovers in your life!

What’s Included:

You can buy all of these items separately through the links above, or purchase the complete gift collection from Amazon!

*Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon and Dick Blick, so if you make a qualified purchase within 24 hours of clicking the links in this post, I earn a commission. (Yay!) This is of course at no additional cost to you, and it in no way alters my opinions of the products I recommend.

Metallic Markers

The markers have tips on both ends to offer both medium and fine lines. They are super smooth and opaque when layered over dry watercolors and the pigment based ink ensures long lasting, lightfast creations. (As opposed to dye based inks that fade more easily when exposed to UV light.)

I loved the application of the markers, but I must admit that I wasn’t as excited about the metallic finish. It has much more of a subtle glow than a dramatic shimmer. If you are looking for something with more shine, you will love the next products.

Gold and Silver Drawing Inks

Formulated with soluble dyes in a superior shellac solution, these inks can be applied with a brush, calligraphy pen, or even an air brush. I use a brush and my Speedball Calligraphy pen to apply the ink and I was so pleased with the end results. 

Always make sure to stir the ink before using to get the best metallic finish. The application is smooth, and the ink dries quickly without losing any shimmer.

Iridescent Medium

This iridescent medium gives a perfectly pearlescent finish to watercolors.  On this piece, you can see the subtle shimmer of the medium along side the silver drawing ink.

You can mix the medium into your wet colors, or apply as a wash over the dry colors. You can also use it with the metallic markers to get the glittery finish I was originally hoping for! The iridescent medium, like the rest of the products in this collection has a really smooth finish.

Art Masking Fluid

Art masking fluid is a rubber latex liquid that is used to protect areas of your paper from color while you paint. I was least certain about how I would like this product, but I just loved the magic it worked by keeping areas of my paper completely free of color.

I applied the fluid with a brush, but I have also seen people use a Fineline Precision Applicator to get a more precise application. You can see from the video that it peels off easily and leaves no residue behind. If you were one of those kids that put Elmer’s glue on your hands in school just to peel it off, you’re going to love this product. (*cough* weirdo *cough*)


I love the Winsor & Newton Water Colour After Effects Gift Collection. I’ve always been the type of artist that likes to buy kits of supplies to test out before making a decision on the products I like, so this was perfect!

As the name states, this really is a great gift for artists! Which brings me to my next point!


With the help of Winsor & Newton, until 4/17/2018, I am hosting an Instagram giveaway and you can enter for a chance to win this gift collection to try out for yourself! I want you to have as much fun as I’ve been having!

Update: The giveaway has ended, but make sure to follow @messyeverafter on Instagram to stay updated on future giveaways! 


Thanks for checking out this review! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Stay messy, my friends!


Further Reading:

Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

Recording Art Videos with a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920


Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

If you have followed my work at all in the last few months, you already know I am obsessed with these products. If you are used to working with tiny brushes or paint markers on canvas to get crisp fine lines, but get tired of uneven applications and paint running out too quickly then this is the solution for you!

Update 4/8/18: I have now included product links from Amazon and Dick Blick. I am an affiliate with both companies and I will earn commission on items purchased within 24 hours of clicking the links.

I could create line work for hours! I actually do. My fingers sometimes go numb when I lose track of time. I use three different bottles, and they are by far the most commonly asked about product I use (next to my air compressor, and fluid paint recipe).

I have included links as well as my paint recipe for filling the bottles below.

Fine Line Bottle Options:

(NEW!) Precision Fineline Applicator (Slim 1 oz. bottle)

This option is my ultimate favorite fine lining bottle. The new slim design is easier to handle, and the plastic is softer and easier to squeeze. I prefer the 20 gauge bottles.

Dick Blick (Cheaper Option)



Precision Fineline Applicators (1.25 oz bottle)

I use the 20 gauge bottles. The tip is a little bit smaller, so I am able to get thinner lines with the right control. I absolutely love these bottles and use them almost daily.

Dick Blick (Cheaper Option)


30ml Needle Tip Quilling Glue Bottles

These bottles have a wider opening, but can still perform really well for fine lining. I also use them when making my fluid flower paintings.


Paint Recipe:

When filling these bottles with acrylic paint, you are going to need to dilute your paints a little bit for optimal flow. I use a soft bodied paint like Liquitex Basics mixed with a small amount of water.

For my metallic silvers and golds, I currently use cheap craft paint. They are already quite thin so they don’t need any water mixed in.

I do not fill the bottles all the way, as a full bottle is often harder to squeeze. If paint doesn’t come out easily, add a little more water. If paint pours out of the bottle, you need more paint.

Care and Tips:

These bottles can clog! It is important to always cap your bottles right when you are finished using them. Especially with the Precision Applicators. Letting paint dry in the tip can ruin the bottle.

I keep a spool of 26 gauge wire in my studio to run through the tips if they do clog. For stubborn clogs, disassemble the tip and soak in hot soapy water. Try running the wire through the tip every couple of hours until the clog breaks loose.

Give your hands a break and be patient!

If you are like me and get distracted for hours with detail work, your hand is going to get crazy sore. Stretch them out a couple of times an hour.

Also, since the bottles are a little awkward, your lines won’t be precise and controlled right away. Give yourself time to practice!


Thanks for reading! Check out my Product Details and Reviews for more info on what I use in my studio!


My Fluid Paint Recipe

Air Compressor for Manipulating Fluid Paint

Liquitex Gloss Varnish Comparison

Liquitex Gloss Varnish Comparison

High Gloss Varnish vs. Gloss Medium and Varnish

*Disclosure: I earn commission on purchases made through the Blick Art Materials links when the purchase is made within 24 hours of clicking. 

It’s important to varnish your finished artwork for a variety of reasons. Varnish protects your art from dust and dirt, some varnishes protect your work from UV damage, and gloss varnishes can bring deep colors to life when applied.

Varnishing is one of my favorite steps in creating new work, because it’s that final moment of creation. It’s done. It’s finished. It’s glorious!!

I use two main varnishes at the moment:

Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish Pros and Cons

This was my primary varnish until I tried the High Gloss product. Now I never use this as a final varnish. Overall, I think this product is okay, but the finished gloss isn’t as glossy as I’d like. It gets too streaky, and if my finished canvases were touching each other, the surfaces stick together and bad things happen. Moments of panic have occurred when setting up for shows because of this…

  • It can also be used as an extender, glazing medium, or fixative.
  • It can be diluted with water.
  • I use it now in a spray bottle mixed with 3 parts water as a fixative for my fine lines before applying final varnish. This prevents any of my lines from smearing or streaking while varnishing.
  • You can apply it with a foam or synthetic brush.
  • This varnish streaks very easily if you add too much varnish at a time. Apply very thin layers.
  • Consistency is much thicker than the High Gloss Varnish so it needs to be worked into the canvas more if not diluted with water.
  • I found I needed to add 3 to 5 coats, to get the finish I wanted.
  • If you overwork the varnish, it can dry with a milky/cloudy appearance.
  • It’s a lower gloss finish.
  • Finished surface feels tacky and sticks to other canvases when touching.


Liquitex High Gloss Varnish Pros and Cons

I love this product. It has a much thinner consistency that the Gloss Medium and Varnish so it’s easier to apply and it dries to a much glossier finish.

  • It’s truly high gloss.
  • The thinner consistency makes it easier to apply.
  • Streaks less than the Gloss Medium and Varnish, and not at all if applied well.
  • Only needs 2 coats for an even finish. (You can apply more if you prefer.)
  • If you apply too thick or too thin for the first coat, it can have noticeable streaks, so you have to find the right amount to use and keep checking your strokes in the light to make sure it’s applied evenly as you go.
  • This varnish can still dry with a cloudy appearance if it is overworked when applying, but with the thinner consistency it’s harder to overwork.
  • It dries pretty quickly, so make sure to rework the areas you need to right away to avoid overworking.
  • You have to wait 3 hours between coats.
  • Bubbles often form while applying.

Tips and Tricks for High Gloss Varnish

  • Always apply with a foam brush! This varnish can get streaky if applied with the wrong brush.
  • Load the brush with varnish and apply with light pressure. Do one or two slow and even passes for each strip of varnish applied.
  • Always apply at least two thin coats and let each layer dry for at least 3 hours before adding the next.
  • Again, do not overwork the varnish! If you notice a streak and and try to rework the are, but find the brush encounters sticky resistance, leave it to dry and fix it on the next coat.
  • Do not thin with water.
  • If bubbles form you can slowly pass over the area with your brush again or blow on them to pop them.


If you are in the market for a new gloss varnish, I definitely recommend Liquitex High Gloss Varnish. I absolutely love the even coverage and how it brings depth to my deeper colors.

I recommend skipping the Gloss Medium and Varnish if you don’t have other uses for it. Or go ahead and test them both and see what you think!

Thanks so much checking out this review. If you have any questions or product opinions, let me know below!


Product Links:


More Product Reviews:

Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

Recording Art Videos with a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920