Jennifer is frequently asked about her favorite supplies – what works best for creating specific effects. She mentions certain supplies in her YouTube videos and live tutorials. She has begun the process of compiling a list of materials that are to her THE BEST! More products will be added in time. Here are her thoughts...
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This book is filled with the art of 70 artists. 130 coloring pages for under $7. It's an honor to have TWO images in it! The book serves as directory of sorts, so you get to know the work of your favorite coloring book artists, like me ;)
53 single-sided coloring pages filled with animals, mandalas, Op Art, abstract designs, 1950's & 1960's inspired items, plus room to experiment and professional tips and tricks for coloring.
Designed to appeal to both men and women, plus kids with sophisticated taste!
Fashion, beauty, dazzling gems and animal jewels, elegant updos and flowing tresses, plus fun accessories! Twenty-five original, hand-drawn and digitally recreated, single-sided pages feature stylish illustrations for you to color. Included: A bonus page and free DUPLICATE SET of the entire collection of images.
Photos: J.Zimmermann, E. Siegel, T. Norton
I love discovering new things...PanPastels are a unique tool that allows you to "paint" without a liquid medium--FAST! They are low dust chalk-like pastel cakes that have great vibrancy. Easy to mix and layer with other mediums like colored pencil! I've purchased these both in a set and sold individually. Realistically, it will cost >$50 to have enough variety for skin tones and a couple of background options. My advice is to get a basic set and add a couple of extras at a time, but first see how often you are using them. Or if you are looking to seriously reward yourself, there is an 80-piece set with almost everything you could need. **Several sets come with at least one applicator knife and some additional sponges.
The Portrait Set pictured is a nice kit with tools, but I still feel that you will need a few more. I've added some individual colors I would recommend for darker skintones and subtle shifts in skin tone temperature when trying to achieve realistic results. Below, from the top down, I have listed Burnt Sienna Tint, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Sienna Extra Dark and a Colorless Blender. Optional, Violet Tint. You can also purchase additional tools, as seen below. Use these with a VersaMark watermark stamp pad for special effects!
Photos: Amazon.com & J.Zimmermann
These Gelly Roll white, clear glitter, and variety pack glitter gel pens are great! The white ink is semi-opaque and covers up minor mess-ups. You can never have too many at this price. The glittery pens flow smoothly and provide a seriously sparkling coat! For a thicker, VERY opaque white, try a slightly-more-expensive-but-worth-it, Uniball Signo.
Click the image for price
Click the images for price
I am a longtime fan of Prismacolor colored pencils and products, and will recommend their Premier line to those asking what to buy. They have a buttery, soft core which is A LOT easier on your hands. If you struggle with arthritis, don't skimp on your pencils. This will save you what you will more than make up in doctors' bills!!!!
The Verithin line is great as well, but are a much harder pencil, so I would only recommend them for small, detailed coloring work or freehand sketching. Here are links to a mid-sized set and larger set. I wouldn't recommend starting with anything smaller than a 24-pack, otherwise your colors will be severely limited and you will have difficulty achieving the depth that can be created using several colors in the same family. Generally speaking, if you were to buy from open stock, you'd pay around $2.00 (U.S.) a pencil. Buying a set at first, then filling in with extra colors or duplicates of what you use most makes the most sense from a financial standpoint. I can't order enough Indigo Blues!
I always have an eraser handy. It's not just for erasing out a mistake! It can help blend and lighten, or even reverse out a drawing from a pastel or charcoal "ground" applied to paper – a more advanced technique.
I can't live without kneaded erasers. They last a really long time and can be broken into small pieces.
I like to use a colorless blender for super-smooth transitions. Use sparingly.
Sometimes I need something finer to make a correction. A corner of a rectangular, rubber eraser is too big and clumsy to eliminate a tiny smudge, and it can sometimes make things look worse, so I will oftentimes grab my Tombow Mono Zero. It's a pen-style eraser that I can store with my pens, so it is super convenient. The optional refills last a really long time too. I highly recommend. Below is a two-pack with 4 extra erasers!! This is a great deal. At home or on-the-go! Keep one in your bag and one where you color at home :)
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Brightech LightView Flex SuperBright LED Magnifier Lamp with Clamp Daylight Bright LED's
I use this lamp which provides a great bright light...perfect for coloring up close. Sometimes I use it as a magnifier and sometimes just for a direct light. Great if you have trouble seeing up close and prefer not to wear reader glasses. It's got Energy-Saver capabilities with 1.75X Magnification - White
This is one of the exact manual sharpeners that I use. It's called a T'Gaal. It has a point control knob that allows the colorist to customize the length of the point. Those of you that know how I color know that a super-sharp point is essential in "my book". ;)
Maped is a company I discovered this past year. They make some very affordable supplies that work surprisingly well. Although colored pencils are my usual weapon of choice, there are times that I like to use other tools, like felt-tip pens, gel pens and markers. I've been experimenting with these lately! If you are looking for something to color small details that is thin and provides vibrant, solid color... and is fairly INEXPENSIVE, these Maped Graph'Peps water-based (.4mm) fineliners and brush pens are great.
The triangular design makes the fineliners comfortable to hold and great for sketching too. The full set has 20 pens, but if you're looking for an easy-toting option, there is a super-compact, cleverly designed, 10-pen set too, called Maped Graph'Peps Duo.
GREAT DEAL! The brush markers listed here are comparable to some much more expensive brands, so they are a great choice for someone just starting out using markers and testing new mediums. Last I looked, they were $4.99 for a set of 10! They are water based. If you use swift movements, you can greatly diminish streaking...which is a lot easier to do with a brush marker than a water-based chisel or broad marker. These are called Maped Color'Peps Brush Felt Markers.
Click the images for price
Photo: J. Zimmermann
Color'Peps Colored Pencils
This is a great deal for those on a budget! 48 count -very inexpensive, colored pencils in a great variety of colors.
Krylon Workable Fixative
When I draw, I use workable fix to seal my art, as opposed to a permanent one, in case I decide to alter my work afterwards. If you use marker, chalk, charcoal or PanPastel in your background, this is an absolute must if you don't use a piece of acetate or plastic sleeve. It is not entirely necessary for wax based colored pencil. If you do use a fix spray, I would suggest doing a few tests first because it is important to see how it reacts with your medium. Plus, the last thing you want is a "sputter" in the middle of your page, which is more likely at the beginning or end of a can or with a clogged nozzle. Use swift motions with the can at least a foot above, in a well-ventilated area.
Roylco Rubbing Texture Plates
As seen in my tutorials and Color Alongs. Rubbing plates for amazing texture. This set suits Coloring Zen very well with optical illusion textures. Pretty inexpensive too! You can also use these with the VersaMark stamp pad and PanPastels to create stamped on texture!
Bic Marking Permanent Markers
36 count -inexpensive, fine tip, permanent markers in a variety of colors.
Photo: J. Zimmermann
Luminance, 40 Pencil Set
Caran D'Ache Luminance Pencils
Yes, they are a little pricier than some other brands, but these are super buttery and the colors are just gorgeous. They "stick" to the paper really well, without crumbles of wax residue and the white pencil is so luminous, it covers up some black outlines on coloring pages. Fantastic for skin tones! There are several sets. For the skin tones you will need the largest set of 76. Or you may be able to find them locally and buy them as open stock.
Luminance, 76 Pencil Set
Let them choose! Keep it simple for your favorite colorists! It's fast, and it eliminates the worry of getting a gift there on time!
Strathmore Toned Paper
This is the tan colored paper that is similar to the paper I've created in The Secrets of Coloring. Strathmore is one of my go-to brands for practically 30 years. This paper works well with colored pencils and with markers and is perforated! Use a blotter sheet to protect. You may have to cut it down before you print on it as it is 9" wide. Fantastic for use with Caran D'Ache Luminance pencils. See the work of the fabulously talented Maria Pain for examples of using these tools to perfection. Follow her!