Emma Block Illustration


The creative life of an illustrator living in London

My Favourite Art Materials

emma block illustration

I often get asked about the art materials I use, so I thought I'd list some of my favourites here.

emma block schmincke paints

For years I have used Winsor and Newton watercolours and gouache. Gouache is essentially an opaque watercolour so I use them both together. I have recently invested in a set of watercolours from Schmincke. They are about five times the price of a Windsor and Newton Cotman range, but there is a big difference in quality. The Schmincke set a much more highly pigmented and the colours are very vibrant. The paint has a different consistency to which makes it much easier to pick up large amounts of colour with one brushstroke. They have taken a little bit of getting used to as the colours are almost too bright for my usual work. They are a beautiful set of paints to invest in, but if you're just starting out I would recommend sticking with the Winsor and Newton as they are still great quality and really good value. If you know how to mix colours a set of 12 to 20 colours should be fine. I really like the ProArte Prolene brushes, Cotman brushes from Winsor and Newton and the Aquafine Brushes from Daler Rowney , they’re great for painting and brush lettering. I also love to use sable brushes, Series 7 Kolinsky are the best, but the Pro Arte sable brushes are good too.

Schmincke Horadam Watercolour Set
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Set
Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Brushes
Pro Arte Series Sable Brushes
Daler Rowney Aquafine watercolor brushes
Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Water Colour Brush
Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens


When it comes to coloured pencils I’m mostly concerned with the colour and quality of the pencil, so I use lots of different brands. I like the softness of water soluble pencils best.

Caran Dache Prismalo Aquarelle Pencils
Staedtler Karat Aquarell Watercolour Pencils

I don’t use a sketchbook as much as I used too. I love the romance of them, but when it comes to scanning in sketches or using a Wooden Artist Lightbox
it makes more sense just to sketch onto A4 printer paper. I do like to take a sketchbook with me when I travel though. I was taught to stretch watercolour paper when I was studying art GCSE, and I've never done it since. I just really can't be bothered wetting, taping and waiting for paper to dry. I use blocks of watercolour paper that don't need stretching. My favourite band is Fluid and I use the hot and cold press paper. Hot pressed has a smooth surface and Cold Pressed has more texture.

Flexi-Sketch Book
Moleskine Cahier Sketchbook
Daler – Rowney Heavyweight Cartridge Pad
Fluid Watercolor Paper Block
Cass Art Heavy Weight Cartridge

My favourite art shops in London are London Graphic Centre and Cass Art. They both have online shops, and most of the materials mentioned can be bought on Amazon.


I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.

emma block art materials