Around this time of year, it’s natural to be thinking about what to add to your holiday list. While I’m not a big shopper, there are a few special art tools I use for every pet portrait and just can’t live without.

My favorite tools (and I bet they’ll be yours soon too) are listed below and include:

  • the gallery wrapped canvas I’ve used for 20 years
  • the paint tube I use the most when painting pets, and
  • my favorite brush

To make painting more fun from start to finish, the supplies you use are key, I hope you enjoy and take the time to share your own favorites in the comments at the bottom of this post.

This gallery wrapped canvas I’ve used for 20+ years

Invest in 1,5 inch deep Gallery Wrapped Canvases (this is my favorite style and you can find a similar one at Michael’s too) because the texture and quality is worth it if you want to gift or sell your paintings. I like a medium texture when I paint so if you do too, then this may be your new favorite.

My pet portraits become heirlooms so I take quality and conservational aspects seriously. Every aspect is intentional with my art, from my practice to the tools and communication.

Investing in a quality canvas will also lengthen the life of your brushes, and the deeper canvas looks great on the wall as is so you’ll save on any framing cost. It’s a win-win.

My top paint color for blending

Finding the acrylic paint consistency that you like will increase the joy factor when you paint, and get you into the creative flow faster, my friend. You’re going to start longing for how blending the paint feels with your brush.

The paint tube I use the most can can’t live without is the Unbleached Titanium in soft body. It’s a go-to blender for me as it brings out the yellowish brown tones that we so often see in a pet’s fur. I like the fluidity of it and I can easily blend it with a heavy body without it getting too ‘cakey’ or full of resistance.

The brush I can’t live without

It’s important to enjoy the brushes we use. Even with my favorite brush I can tell right away when it stops performing at its best and I switch it out for a new one. The handle needs to feel good in our hands, the brush shape and fibers need to be enjoyable to use when we blend and apply the paint on the canvas. Then they also need to hold color… just to name a few.

My favorite brush is the chisel blender, size 6, in Princeton Select Artiste or Artist’s Loft. This is a game changer and the students I’ve recommended it to agree. I use all the sizes but this is the size I can’t live without because I use it throughout every phase of my pet portrait process.

I list all my most commonly used colors for my pet portraits and dive deeper into the difference between basics, heavy duty and soft body paints in my Top Secret List of Acrylic Art Supplies. So if you want to add even more tools that will help you paint pet portraits to your holiday list, you know where to find them.