10 Indispensable Art Tools-You Won’t Find at the Art Supply store

Artist tip-10 indispensible art tools, you won't find at the art supply store

Here is a list of art tools I find essential and none of them come from the art supply store. I love visiting an art store, however, much like Target, I spend way more money than I anticipated and buy way more than I need! This list will save you money and make life a little simpler.

Glass Cutting Board

Visit your local overstock type store such as TJMaxx or Home Goods and pick up a glass cutting board. It will be a fraction of the cost than the glass palette sold at the art store. Glass palettes are durable and easy to clean with a razor blade scraper.

Value Viewer

Great for laying in your major shapes and values at the beginning of a painting. ValueViewer is an easy-to-use tool for artists who paint from life. Whether “en plein air” or in the studio, ValueViewer will allow the user to take a photo of their subject, view it in grayscale, or posterize it into two or three values. You may also select an existing image directly from a photo album on your iPhone or iPad.  View the NOTAN patterns in photo references. I love this art tool!
Value Viewer iphone app example: photo to not an image to finished painting. Learn more at www.artrepreneuroutliner.com

Simplify using Notan

Accuview App 

An indispensable gridding tool for your iPhone or tablet. This is the best app to add grids to photos. This art tool allows you can get exactly the type of grid you want, positioned where you want, using standard canvas sizes. Use the grid to test various compositions. take a photo of your subject, save it to projects. Open the saved project,  Using 2 finger method, enlarge, shrink, rotate and move your photo for desired compositional effect. Double check your drawing accuracy by comparing the negative and positive space within the grid.

Squeegee Scraper 

Better known in my studio as “as the magic tool” You can read more about it here. What is the magic art tool? Simply a squeegee inserted into a paint scraper tool handle. Here are the two components, I ordered on Amazon.
My indispensible magic painting tool.


Flip your painting upside down, you’ll see all kinds of things that aren’t quite right. Look at your painting or drawing through a mirror, the improvements needed will practically jump out at you.look at your art through a mirror if possible, learn about more great tools for your art at www.artrepreneuroutliner.com

Viva Paper Towels

Ask most any painter, VIVA is the bomb! Most noteworthy is the texture, thick and cloth-like its the best paper towel for cleaning your brushes, hand and the last paint remnants from your palette after scraping with a razor blade.
Helpful tip: lay a Viva paper towel over areas you’d like to change and press, rub gently, this will pick up excess paint=overworking appearance + less mud.

Bed Sheets

Now, what on earth can you do wth a bed sheet? Pick up used bedsheets at the goodwill or garage sales – cut into 18×18 inch squares and you have a huge pile of rags handy, for next to nothing. Use the rags for everything from a rub-out technique, oil in your painting, surface, applying glazes and texture, to simply wiping up. A 40/60 percale blend is best.

Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil

I love using coconut oil to clean oil paint from my hands and arms oh and my face, sometimes my toes, usually on my ears.I must ponder the next steps in a painting by touching my ear! Rub coconut oil into skin, wipe off with a viva you’re clean in a jiffy.

Instant Pot

A girl’s gotta eat! If you are at all like me you can become so involved in a painting that you lose all track of time and suddenly someone says are we gonna eat tonight? Love that I can set the instant pot before I go into the studio and forget it. In addition to its programming feature, it also comes in handy when I forget the “before I go into the studio”  step and can make a heart-healthy dinner in under 30 minutes.


By now I’m sure you’re familiar with my love of Evernote for Artists. Keep track of workshops, shows and exhibitions. Store art piece information all in one place. Maintain an artist’ library. Divi up art processes and art biz tasks into bite size chunks.Be more productive with to-do lists and checklists. The list goes on and on.


Not every item in the artist toolkit comes from the “art store” I would love to hear about your out of the ordinary  tools. Share your creative uses of non-art supplies in your art process in the comments section of this post.

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