1.8.16

Art Studio Tools

Painting tools are more than just collecting brushes. Every artist finds their favorite tools that help them out in the studio. 

Some of my artist favorite tools are FREE from the garbage, while some are worthy enough to purchase. I also have a few favorite studio tools that are helpful and sentimental because they have been custom made by my family and friends. 




Recently, I had a FREE pastel demonstration at THE OLD SCHOOL and table space was very limited. I taped out various sizes & types of pastel paper onto a scrap cardboard box which acted as a painting support for my light portable easel. The natural folds of the box where utilized to make for a handy stand up folding table display. The triangle shaped box when folded was also a great way for smudge free transportation of my finished pastels. I used the green painters tape because its not overly sticky and can be lifted on and off the cardboard for easy opening and closing of the display. It was not FANCY but great in a pinch and FREE.



VIEW CATCHER is a handy view finder:  This is a well made plastic tool that is durable, multi purpose & easy to use. For under $10.00 the cost of this tool, SAYS don't waste your time making one. 



CHECK IT OUT on Youtube as other artists have demonstrated how they use the View Catcher to help in their art making.

I LOVE the View Catcher and use it ALL the time when painting and drawing as it helps with judging the color temperatures and the values as the plastic tool is grey colored in mid 5 value range. It also helps to narrow down the perfect composition that will fit the paper/canvas or can do it in reverse order and find the VIEW first then make the paper/ canvas to fit the size of the VIEW to paint. 

I will hold the View Catcher out in front of my eye, sliding the inside movable tab to the proportion of the paper/canvas I am working.  OR find the BEST view first and make the paper/canvas size to fit. Its a great tool for still life set-ups, life drawing and outside landscape painting as it helps to remove the over whelming distractions of all the visual stimulus coming from every direction as it narrows down a composition that works. 

I also use the View Catcher throughout my painting & drawing process as it helps me check out when stepping back from the painting to check for any issues in color temperatures and values that might be out of place. 

Drafting Tools: I have some old drafting tools and the 16 inch triangle clear plastic tool is used for every drawing and painting I create as it helps me set up my angles in design and to draw straight horizontal and vertical lines quickly. I also have a smaller triangle that works out well for smaller sketch books.

Carpenters Level: After I finish a painting, its off to the photo room and use the level to keep my paintings aligned with my camera. When it comes to hanging art, its a quick way to make sure its straight as nothing worse then looking at a crooked paintings on the wall!


Paper towels and painting palettes are an expense that could be diminished by using the FREE phone book for wiping and even mixing paint. It also cuts way down on rags and brush cleaner during painting process. The phone books paper is smooth and has a durable sealed surface so the painting and mediums doesn't soak in too far into the paper. Works great for the palette knife too. Once the phone book paper is filled up, just roll the page towards the spine of the phone book and rip from the top edge for easy disposal and instantly there is a new clean sheet ready to use. 


Plastic, metal, wood and glass throw away containers have multi-uses in my studio. I used to eat a lot of sushi when I lived in Vancouver and collected the chopsticks over the years and always find use for the wood chopsticks like spreading glue on large areas and tucking glue into tight areas, mixing paint, etc. 

Scraps of wood that came with shipping goods comes in handy often for when I am painting a flat surface and want to lift it off the table top and always use it under my canvas and panels when I apply gesso so it doesn't stick to the newspaper and leave a bad lumpy drip edge stuck with newsprint. 

The plastic food containers comes in handy for holding STUFF and great for mixing paint, varnishes etc. and when they are finished, into the recycling bin the go. 

I use the tin cans of various sizes for varnishes and brush cleaners as well as they work great for pencil and brush holders.



Its always a problem to find places in the house and studio to store art supplies such as large sheets of drawing & pastel paper so it doesn't get damaged. My sister Colleen and her ex-mate Larry, designed and hand crafted for me a portable paper holder that I could also take with me as a portable table top if I needed to use it in a pinch. The inside has an elastic strap that can hold the paper flat when in transportation. The portable paper holder works well for long term storage for 18" x 24" paper sizes. This can be slid under a bed, tucked into a closet as its slim design allows it to be stored in a variety of places.



I got the idea of the arm rest from a friend of mine who loves to paint ICON style paintings and she bought her arm rest from her Russian Icon painting teacher, as it helps to keep your arms and hands OFF the painting surface. When I seen this handy tool, I wanted one too! I did an exchange with a carpenter neighbor and had him make me 2 sizes for different width of papers and he made the arm rests out of scraps of wood, sanding the edges nice and smooth. I use the arm rests all the time for detail work and also love the straight edge of the wood that makes for drawing and painting straight edges without using a pre-drawn line.

May some of my ideas for studio tools help you out in your art pursuits!

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

I love the armrest idea. Would help to also minimize carpel tunnel I would think

Artist Minaz Jantz said...

The arm rest tool does allow for longer sessions of drawing/painting and think it would minimize carpel tunnel issues. It also allows fine detail work to be done without the arm wrist shaking then tiring...easel painters use what is called a Maulstick for up right painting...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulstick

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