On My Desk


January 25, 2017

Artist Confession

Here is the first of a three part series, (which might turn into four parts). Today, I will share what is on my desk. The things that I use frequently, if not daily. Later, in the other posts, I will share what is in my desk and what is over my desk. In my desk are a lot of art supplies. The reality is that there are even more art supplies in the hall closet, so those who warrant space in my desk are still pretty valuable to me. And the embarrassing part of that is the fact that there are more expensive versions that are tucked away, while I plow through the cheap alternatives as I work out a design.

Over my desk is inspiration, some beautiful artwork that feeds my creative spirit. Some of the art is mine, and some is the work of other artists. In fact, those yellow roses currently on my desk, is my birthday card my mom painted for me and is just waiting for me to get a frame so it can join the other art on the wall above my desk.

But, today is just about what is on my desk. Inspired by those ‘in my bag’ posts that reveal the things that people use regularly. Admittedly, I am starting to do more lettering on my new iPad Pro, but my pencil and pen are still getting a workout. So, until the iPad lettering is a regular part of my arsenal of art, it is not part of ‘on my desk.’

sketching and lettering supplies

A mechanical pencil, an eraser, black waterproof pen, and tons of tracing paper. The mechanical pencil can also be substituted with a good old number two pencil. I like the white erasers, but I don’t go hating on pinkie if that is more your thing. I have a lot of black pens, and will do a comparison one of these days. Until then, I will just share that the Bic Intensity is my favorite because it does not bleed when it gets wet. Since I watercolor on most of my Bible pages, a black pen that does not bleed is paramount in my selection process. I can’t tell you how many times I have messed up a page or card because the ink barfed all over the paper.

A mug or two. The create mug actually holds my business cards, but also makes me smile. Most other times, you will also find a mug with a latte because I have a few each day. While other time, I embrace my English roots and have tea in a cup and saucer. My love even brings me tea from London when he goes there for work – I really like the Breakfast Tea from Bill’s.

Books. Even though not all of my art is faith based, I still have my Journaling Bible and a devotional by my side. Shown here is my ESV single column that I work in most of the time. I also have a NIV Bible with leather cover and Interleaved page which is made with every other page completely blank, and a King James Version with truly blank margins on white paper. As far as my devotion, this year I have Savor by Shauna Niequist (yeah, it is not her newest book, but that made the price point of this one better, and it is timeless content). It has dates at the top, and that should not stop you from jumping into a devotional midyear. I also have another dated devotional by Joyce Meyer and just take what I need when I need it, ignoring the dates at the top.

Artist Loft Watercolors

Watercolors. This is where I admit that while I have some really expensive watercolor paints, I usually just use the Artist Loft watercolor paint, which I bought with a coupon at Michaels Crafts, when working in my Journaling Bible. It is lazy because it does not involve mixing colors and it is small enough that I can keep it out. When creating art pieces for sale, display or gifts, I use my ‘real’ watercolors because the one drawback of the Artist Loft watercolor is that it can tend to be chalky. I suppose this is where I am brutally honest with myself and ask why I don’t use the good paints for the most important book – the one that I hope my kids and grandkids will look at when I am gone and see what my faith journey was like, in hopes that they too can have a relationship with Him. My only excuse is that I know that He is just happy that I am spending time in the word – exactly what I tell others who are afraid of making mistakes in their Bible. It is not about perfection. It is about time spent. 

I tend to buy mid-range brushes, which I keep in a painted mason jar on my desk for easy access. Cheap paintbrushes cause problems because they lose their bristles on your work. Since I take care of the middle of the road brushes by washing and conditioning them regularly, I don’t have any problems.

Bible Mat

Bible Mat. Sitting right behind the watercolor set in a vintage Bauer Pottery vase is a Bible Mat to protect the pages I am not working on when I work in my Journaling Bible. I actually have two. One is the Illustrated Faith Bible Matt, which has a built in ruler and a nice slick surface so that lettering over it goes well. The other is really a 10×14 flexible cutting mat that I bought in the kitchen section at Diaso (a Japanese dollar store) and then cut in half to make two. There is also a sketchbook behind that and a bunch of paper towels to use when painting at the bottom of the vase – out of sight but within arms reach.
washi tape

An obscene assortment of washi tape. I use washi tape for all sorts of things. I make low key tabs by just folding it over a page, I use it to stick things down while I work since the tape removes pretty easily with no (or low) residue. I add a little strip on the back of envelopes when I mail something to a friend. My iPad Pro is picky about the charging cable, so I added some washi to the cable it likes and use the other for my phone.

planner tabs

A bowl of tabs. The bowl itself is art, made by a Potter on the Central Coast of California and donated to Empty Bowls. A charity event for the Food Bank, the ticket gets you a simple meal of soup served in a bowl that you get to keep. It serves as a reminder of how lucky I am to have food to eat, and also the tradition that I have of attending this event with my mom. The tabs are used to mark pages in my Bible and other books that need marking. Some are made specifically for the purpose of being a tab, while others are punched out of scraps of paper. They sit there until I need one, at which point I pick the color that goes and use double stick tape to adhere it. A piece of that washi tape mentioned above also gets put on some to add some pazazz. If you need some tabs, check out my shop… the month tabs are a free download printable.

Yes, there are other things on my desk, but other than the lamp and the water cup I use when I paint, I have detailed all of my daily tools above. What do you use all the time?


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