General supply & Packing information
(art supply information first, scroll down for personal supply information)
An artist's travel kit is much lighter than a home studio kit!
Because most students fly to Over the Top retreats, you are encouraged to bring only the basic supplies listed.
Your kit will include four projects with the line drawings printed for you on high quality hot press watercolor paper. The price of the kit has been factored into your retreat price, no extra digital stamp or paper purchase is necessary.
Drawing boards are provided. No need to try squeezing an oversized board into your luggage!
See below for specific art supplies that you are responsible to bring.
NOTE: You will leave the retreat with more supplies and materials than you arrive with. For those flying, we may need to ship your projects home. Safe bubble mailers will be provided and Amy will gladly make the post office run to send your projects home.
Please bring the following products to your Over the Top retreat.
NOTE: Please check your specific retreat information page to see if any changes to the general supply list have been made.
There are a lot of options; you may already own something that will work!
Amy uses a mixture of tube watercolor paints from M.Graham, Daniel Smith, Old Holland, QoR, Holbein, and Winsor Newton. Be ready for sticker shock! A brand new, artist quality watercolor kit is an investment (but one you will get good use out of!)
True watercolors come in two forms: dry pans and concentrated paint in tubes. Which kind you use is entirely your choice. Amy prefers the slick feel of fresh tube paint and feels that dray pan paint causes friction which can shorten the life of your expensive paint brushes BUT both paint equally well and look very similar.
Both forms have similar learning curves. Neither is easier than the other.
Other products which will work in lieu of true watercolor paints:
- Cretacolor AquaMonolith Pencils
- Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water-soluable wax pastels
- Derwent Inktense Blocks (color selection is problematic)
- Ranger Distress Ink Pads (color selection is problematic and the ink is not permanent)
Please do not use watercolors from: Crayola, Prang, Artist's Loft, Reeves, Kuretaki Gansai Tambi, or Prima Watercolor Confections. These are terrible paints and their gritty texture (or plastic texture for Gansai Tambi) will complicate your colored pencil process.
Have a watermedia product not listed here? Email me to see if it'll work at email@example.com
Colors: match the swatches the best you can, you don't have to be precise!
top row: Magenta (a true hot pink), Cadmium Red or Scarlet (a warm red), Gamboge (golden yellow), Medium Yellow (Hansa or Cadmium), Sap or Hooker's Green
bottom row: Cobalt Teal or Aqua, Cerulean or Cobalt Blue, Indigo or Prussian Blue, Violet, Purple (purple has more red in it than violet)
Not shown above: also bring Daniel Smith's Buff Titanium as well as Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna (several brands will work)
Please bring your colored pencil collection or at least a full set* of one major brand.
Do not bring:
- STUDENT GRADE PENCILS such as Crayola, Prismacolor Scholar, Crafter's Loft, Prima, or other low-pigment pencils.
- INKTENSE OR WATERCOLOR PENCILS unless you intend to use them in lieu of watercolor paint. I don't recommend them because we're working large scale (14" square) but if you must, you must.
- 800 sets of pencils, unless you enjoy carrying them all.
* The problem with colored pencil art is that you won't know what colors you need until you need them. Additionally, because we're focusing on coloring what you see, your pencil requirements will not be the same as anyone else's. This is why I recommend bringing a full set, so that you are prepared for any situation.
Amy will bring several complete sets of colored pencils and will use her colors to fill any gaps you might encounter BUT you won't have Amy's pencils when you leave and that may compromise your ability to finish the project at home.
LUMINANCE USERS: You already realize how small a full set is and you are likely already supplementing your set with other pencils. Please bring more than just the Luminance set.
PRISMACOLOR USERS: Please insure they are "Prismacolor Premier Soft Core" rather than the other styles made by Prismacolor. Avoid Verithin, Col-Erase, Scholar, and Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils.
POLYCHROMOS USERS: Now is your time to shine! Amy usually does not recommend this brand for marker projects due to it's incompatibility with X-Press It Blending Card. We did not use Polys in Colored Pencil Plus because it's easier to teach a course with everyone using the same colors. Now is your chance to use and learn about your Polychromos pencils!
Please be sure to include:
There are a few colors that I use all the time on every project. Bring these colors or the closest equivalent-
- PC901 Indigo Blue
- PC931 Dark Purple
- PC936 Slate Grey
- PC1005 Limepeel
- PC1026 Greyed Lavender
- PC1088 Muted Turquoise
MUST BRING: PC938 White. Even if you're not working with Prismacolor, this pencil is essential. No other white works as well. Prismacolor White works with every brand and should be a part of everyone's collection
- artist’s watercolor paintbrush- round #6 or #8 (Amy recommends Black Velvet from Silver Brush Company, a nice pointy round)
- paint palette, large white tile, or large flat white plate for watercolor mixing
- water bucket or jug that holds at least 6 cups of water. Believe it or not, Amy prefers this practically free container.
- soft dusting brush (example: the Mod Podge brush, hake brushes, previously unused make up brushes)
- white polymer erasers- Amy uses two types, a brick style eraser (Pentel Hi-Polymer or Staedtler Mars Plastic) and a micro sized pen style eraser (Tombow Mono Zero Eraser, #2.3 round)
- black polymer eraser- brick style (Pentel Hi-Polymer or Factis), DO NOT use Papermate Black Pearl
- white Sticky Tack or Poster Putty (Scotch or Duck Brand, avoid dollar store or generic, no colored putty)
- Mr. Clean or similar Magic Eraser (all white, no scrubby side)
- 3/4" to 1" wide Drafting Tape (looks similar to masking tape but has less tack)
- eyeglasses or magnifying devices
- personal project lights (battery powered only)
- battery powered pencil sharpener or small hand sharpener
- drinking bottle or cup with no-spill lid
- personal seat cushion (folding chairs provided but let's make them comfortable!)
Digital Devices: (for art)
We will be working primarily from photo references, NOT project samples.
Amy will provide printed copies of each photo reference in the class kit but digital photos are always more accurate. Digital devices allow you to zoom in on small areas and the colors are truer than a print-out.
Tablets or iPads are preferable but a phone will work too.
Amy works from a 12.9" iPad Pro but has used a 10.5" iPad, and an iPad Mini in the past.
Amy will post a series of photographs to the OTT Facebook board about 1 week before the event. Please download them to your device before leaving home, for use at the retreat.
Be sure to bring a charger and charging cord for your device. Mark both with your name to prevent confusion.
Supplies to finish your projects at home:
(Do not bring to retreat)
- matte fixative/sealant (Amy uses Grumbacher but Krylon is fine for beginners)
- microfiber cleaning cloth either dusting or eye glass type (if using wax based colored pencils)
Dress is comfort-casual.
For most retreats, you likely will not leave the retreat house. Do not worry about dress-up clothing.
Most students enjoy spending 6-12 hours per day coloring. Dress to be comfortable sitting down.
Comfortable shoes or house slippers are fine but bring walking shoes for break-time strolls or beach shoes if you decide to explore the retreat property.
See your specific retreat page for suggestions based upon retreat house, climate, and time of year.
Food & beverages:
Meals, snacks, and basic beverages (water, coffee, tea, milk, juices) will be provided.
If you have special tastes or dietary needs, feel free to bring your own items to supplement or replace what you can not eat.
NOTE: we are limited to one standard residential refrigerator and you are one of up to 12 attendees. Most of the refrigerator space will be taken up by the provided meals. Please do not bring large amounts of perishable food.
Please let Amy know about vegetarian wishes. Sorry, vegan meals not available. For gluten-free meals or allergy info, please contact Amy@vanillaarts.com.
Evening sunset drinks- wine and snacks provided but feel free to bring your favorite beer, wine, liquor, and mixers to share.
Bottled water will be supplied, feel free to bring your favorite soda or carbonated/flavored water.
- cell phone charger (cord and converter plug)
bring all of your personal soaps, lotions, toiletries, and medicines
sunscreen is recommended if you intend to work on the deck or beach
There are a limited number of washcloths available. Bring your own if you typically use many.
Bed linen, a blanket, and pillow are provided (you may bring your own if desired).
An extra blanket is encouraged if you frequently get chilled at night.
- Beach towel and swimsuit if you intend to wade or swim
- Cell phone coverage can be spotty. The in-house phone is local service only and requires a calling card for long-distance calls.
paper products (toilet paper, tissues)
Questions? Email Amy@VanillaArts.com for more info.