I thought I'd share with you the art supplies I use on a regular basis. I have absolutely no affiliation with any supplier - I'm showing you these materials because they are what I enjoy using. I buy a lot of my art supplies online at Blick supplies because they are so cheap and, even with postage, it's cheaper than here in Australia.
Not all gesso is created equal but for the most part, most gesso's will give you what you're looking for. I like my gesso to have a nice flow. As you can see, I use white, black and clear gesso - depending on my needs. I use white much more often than the others. Whether I gesso my pages depends on the paper quality. I definitely use it on canvasses before use.
Mediums I use vary but I buy the best I can afford - this is usually Golden or Liquitex. There are so many different mediums but I most commonly use soft gel medium as an adhesive or matte medium. I also really like using light molding paste with stencils. Golden have a little set of 6 mediums which you can play with and test out for about $21.00USD - I would recommend new users invest in that to get a feel for the different mediums before spending money on bigger jars.
Acrylic paint. I love this stuff. I have more acrylic paints than I have had hot dinners and I am determined to use them as much as possible before purchasing more. My favourite paint used to be Golden - of course it is almost the most expensive which means I can't repurchase it as often as I like. I do love the little bottles (which you can see in the Pantone tin) which are good value. I buy larger bottles only in colours I use regularly. I tend to use Golden mainly on larger canvasses now.
Liquitex also make beautiful paints. I use their soft acrylics in my journals and I have come to consider them favourites. I also have a lot of craft paints and student grade paints which, for art journalling, are fine. Black Matte Acrylics are terrific as an affordable option. Acrylic paints are what you make of them and what you prefer - try a few different ones and see which suits you best.
Acrylic paint markers
Acrylic markers are the art journalist's new best friend. The Molotow are my clear favourite - they flow beautifully and they make black and white fine markers which are perfect to journal with. The Sharpie fluro markers are also great. The Liquitex markers are a chisel tip which isn't bad if you'd like a fine line but I think they're a little transparent (not unlike regular highlighters) and the wider chisel tip is a little limiting. I also have Montana markers which are good for covering larger surfaces but I'm not as keen on them for detail work. If you can afford the Molotow's, get them. The metallics especially are all kinds of fabulous.
I adore watercolour pans but I have come to learn how to use tube watercolours effectively too. The top ones are the Koi Watercolours by Sakura and these are great for travel and the pigment is vibrant and bright. The larger set are from Blick - they cost about $18 and I love them (my friend Alisa Burke uses these too). These are not quite as vibrant without a second colouring but this is actually an advantage. You'd never regret buying either set.
For tubes, price almost always indicates quality. At the moment I am collecting a few of Golden's new range QoR and they are spectacular (and colours match their acrylic range). I am told Daniel Smith are also pretty special.
Dylusions spray inks hit the market in 2011 and are just one of the options now available. Colours are vibrant and they are adding more colours all the time. I have Tim Holtz distress stains too which are fine but more muted . The down side is most are not waterproof after drying - so if they get re-wetted the colour moves which isn't ideal. One way I have learned to use these is with a watercolour brush - brushing it on. Less messy.
Sakura Gelly Roll pens - regular, glaze and souffle, are brilliant and I use them on almost every page. They are fantastic for detail. I am also a big fan of Micron pens and the grey Copic fineliners. Uniball Signo White Gelly Roll are, in my opinion, the best white gelly pen you can buy and I buy several at a time. They also come in different widths.
I love coloured pencils. If you buy only one set ever, I would direct you to the Derwent Inktense pencils - you can use them dry or, when wet, they give a delicious ink look and come in 71 colours. I swear by them and once dry (after being wet) they don't shift.
If you want other recommendations, I also own and like using Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolour pencils, Derwent ColourSoft and Prismacolor Pencils.
Neo-colour II Crayons
These watersoluble wax crayons are from Caran D'ache and Teesha Moore got me onto them. When wetted they give a painterly consistency. Pens and markers don't go over them well so beware of that, but you can paint with acrylic over them pretty well. I have many of these and like them but I probably won't rush to replenish them.
I was first introduced to Gouache at art school but these are relatively new to the market - in fact I haven't located them in Australia yet but I got a bunch at Blick when I was in the USA. These gouache don't require water to use but have a flatter consistency than regular acrylic paint. Jenny Doh introduced them to me recently and I know many mixed media artists are playing with them and liking the results. I'm using them for small scale projects and details, rather than large coverings. Love the colour vibrancy.
Obsession. Addiction. LOVE Washi tape. These papery waxy tapes are Japanese and easily available and I cannot get enough. These need little introduction and once you start you will never, ever have enough. You've been warned.
I never have enough journals and love trying new ones out. Pictured here are a number of different ones - I love the paper quality of the spiral ones (Strathmore Visual Journals) but not the spiral binding. Moleskine soft cover journals are precious to sketch in, maybe some pen work, but the paper is too thin to accept wet media without gluing pages together. I love Moleskine watercolour journals but they are expensive and in landscape - I prefer portrait. Dylusions journals are great - love the inner pocket - and there are two types of paper inside. I like the thicker, manila paper but the thinner paper is also good and takes the ink without bleeding unless you put too much wetness on. My absolute favourite is the Strathmore Hardcover Mixed Media journal (brown cover on top) - I've been using this since just recently and it just takes wet layer after wet layer without budging.
I'll add more photos and commentary as I find new, must-have supplies.