Everybody’s creative space looks a little bit different. For some, that space is as small as a roll-up pencil case and a sketch pad.

Brian McCray is an artist and graphic designer keenly aware of the benefits of working whenever and wherever inspiration or necessity happens.  He’s also a good friend of The Spare Room Project, and he granted us an interview to talk about what he keeps with him so he can sketch and practice on the go.

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Surprisingly, a lot of the items in this kit were low-cost everyday things.  “A couple things, like the [antique] pen, [were lying around the house],” Brian told us.  “The kneadable erasers – I mostly just keep those from art classes, because usually they’ll give you one. …Most of the things, like the felt tips pens, are only $2-3 – they’re pretty inexpensive.”

Brian told us that it’s mostly a matter of keeping track of what he likes or what works for him at the moment.  “It’s really just something you have to experiment with.  I try to remember to just take with me things that I remember wanting to have.  Like, ‘Oh, I wish I was able to do this,’ you know?  I guess everything in here, I wanna say, fills a certain need, and when I start doing something else, obviously I’ll have to carry other things around.”

Check out the video above, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch more interviews and videos like this in the near future!

Art Supplies like Brian’s Kit

Art pencils: You don’t have to spend a fortune on supplies to get quality.  Faber-Castell, for example, is one of the most respected manufacturer’s in its field, and yet you can get quality pencil sets from them for well under $20.

Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Set

Faber-Castell Graphite Sketch Set*

Prismacolor markers: These markers are the standard for most artists that we know.  They are very much premium art products, and are well worth their price.

Prismacolor Premier Manga Illustration Marker Set

Prismacolor Premier Manga Illustration Marker Set*

BIC or Sharpie markers:  These are really versatile, common pens that you might even have lying around your house.  Experiment and see which brand’s ink you like best.

Ultra-Fine-Point Sharpies

Sharpie Ultra-Fine-Point Permanent Markers, 24-Pack Colored Markers*

Ink Pens:  These are some fantastic, relatively versatile little pens.  While often used for inking outlines of sketches and comics, you can find a number of uses for them.  Jenn has had some of this specific brand for years, and they last for a long time.

Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set

Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set*

Pencil sharpener:  If you’re going to have pencils, you’re obviously going to need a pencil sharpener in your art supplies too!  We found the specific one Brian uses, but if that’s not your style, just find one that works for you (and doesn’t leave shavings everywhere you go, of course).

Prismacolor Oval Pencil Sharpener

Prismacolor Oval Pencil Sharpener*

Graphite pencil:  This was one of the items in Brian’s kit that we hadn’t seen before.  We just might get one ourselves for fun!

3 Lyre Graphite Sticks

3 Lyre Graphite Sticks*

Mechnical pencils:  Jenn prefers chunkier mechanical pencils like Brian does – it really can make a big difference, whether you’re writing or drawing art.  Think about experimenting with cheaper, more disposable mechanical pencils, to determine what size lead(s) you want to work with before you invest in a more durable pencil like the one below.

Pilot Uni Alpha-Gel Shaker Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm Hard Grip

Pilot Uni Alpha-Gel Shaker Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm Hard Grip*

Brush Pens:  Last but not least, probably our favorite item in Brian’s art set was his brush pen.  Surprisingly affordable, at under $15 (and that comes with two refills, even), this is something TSRP might be experimenting with soon ourselves.

Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen

Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen*

Don’t forget to look around your house before buying anything: Brian discovered hidden treasures like his antique pen, and you probably have some good permanent markers lying around somewhere!

16-essential-art-supplies

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The Spare Room Project is a community of artists dedicated to helping people realize their creative potential with the resources and space they already have. Some have found their voice again as we collaborate on music and audio production. Many have benefited from honest and practical articles about how to live a more creative life. All it takes to pursue your passions is to carve out a physical space for them – a bedroom, a corner, even a card table.

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