General supply & Packing information

San Antonio 2019

(art supply information first, scroll down for personal supply information)

Improve your coloring, adding artistry and realism to your Copic Marker and colored pencil projects at the Over the Top Artist’s Retreat in San Antonio, Texas. | | #adultcoloring #howtocolor #realisticcoloring

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 supplies listed. All supplies are your responsibility to transport and carry, so packing smart and light is highly encouraged.


Your kit will include three projects with the line drawings printed on high quality artist grade paper. The price of the kit has been factored into your retreat price, no extra stamp or paper purchase is necessary.

Table & chairs are provided. This is a conference room, so it will not be the comfy chair you may have at home. Please bring whatever cushion or support you may need to keep you comfortable over four days of coloring.

NOTE: You will leave the retreat with more materials than you arrive with. Safe bubble mailers will be provided and we will arrange to mail your projects home if necessary.


Art Supplies:

Please bring the following products to your Over the Top retreat.

Links are Amazon Associates links, Amy uses the proceeds to cover the costs associated with the free Taste of Vanilla program.

Copic Markers:

Copic Markers are not supplied; you MUST bring your own markers.

The goal of this retreat is to give you the confidence to create your own blending combinations. We will practice how to use photo references to guide your color selections. To maximize your learning, please bring your entire Copic Marker collection.

We understand. Many people do not own 300+ markers. Many people do not want to travel with a large collection. Please note, the retreat projects will not have detailed recipe lists. You will be choosing markers based upon what you see in photo references. Limiting your markers will limit your potential. Please bring your entire Copic Marker collection.

Once the retreat projects are finalized, Amy will email and post a list of demonstration markers. Those with very small Copic collections can think of this as a bare-minimum list of markers to bring. Do not limit yourself to just this list, please bring your entire Copic Marker collection.

Sketch? Ciao? Wide? Classic? Does it matter? Yes! Amy’s projects require a brush nib. Copic’s Super Brush Nib is preferred. Amy demonstrates with Sketch style but Ciao markers are also acceptable (as is a mixed collection).

Do not bring Wide markers to the retreat; we will not use them.

Classic (or Original) Copics with the square barrels are a problem. You will face great difficulty coloring retreat projects with a bullet nib! If you have Classics in your collection, we recommend swapping the chisel nib with this brush nib. The replacement brush nibs are smaller and definitely not as good as a Super Brush Nib. But even a small brush nib is better than no brush nib.

Substitutions? This is a Copic Marker retreat. While it is okay to supplement a few Copic colors with similar brands, you will not receive instruction on how to use substitutes. You are responsible for matching all substitute colors to the Copic color palette. We recommend marking substitute colors to indicate what Copic they are being subbed for (do this BEFORE coming to the retreat). All substitute markers must have brush nibs. No waterbased or watercolor markers may be used.

A Copic Marker refilling station will be available for several hours each day. $2.50 per marker. Markers will be filled by weight for accuracy. We have no plans at this time to offer new markers for sale.

Have Copic duplicates? Bring your gently used, full , and clean extras for possible trade with other students. All trades are personal exchanges and Vanilla Arts Company can not guarantee the condition or quality of trade markers.

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils:

Please bring a set of at least 72. This will allow maximum flexibility in color palette options AND mistake correction*. Amy uses the set of 150 pencils and some of her most used pencils are only found in the 150 set.

Please be sure your set includes:

There are a few versions of the set of 72 pencils. These pencils may or may not be in your smaller set. All are available open-stock.

  • PC122 Permanent Red

  • PC936 Slate Grey

  • PC1005 Limepeel

  • PC1026 Greyed Lavender

  • PC1088 Muted Turquoise

Absolutely essential colors:

Amy has asked to be buried with the following pencils. A project which doesn’t use one or more of these colors is rarer than a vegetarian shark. Please ensure you have these colors.

  • PC109 Prussian Green

  • PC901 Indigo Blue

  • PC931 Dark Purple

  • 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 of colored pencil and should be part of everyone's collection

This retreat utilizes Prismacolor Premier Soft Core colored pencils. All colors will be referred to by their Prismacolor name and/or number. If you bring a substitute brand, you will be responsible for translating your pencil colors to Prismacolor. We recommend marking your pencils with their Prismacolor equivalent name and number BEFORE coming to the retreat.

Please note: pencils are selected for more than just color. Opacity is often more important than color! While we understand that there are many colored pencil substitution charts, we have yet to find one that measures opacity properly. Substitute at your own risk.

Do not bring:

  • OTHER PRISMACOLOR VARIETIES - such as Verithin, Col-Erase, Scholar, or Watercolor. The colors may be similar but the hardness and pigment loads are entirely different.

  • STUDENT GRADE PENCILS - such as Crayola, Crafter's Loft, Prima, or other low-pigment pencils.

  • INKTENSE OR WATERCOLOR PENCILS - we will not be using watercolor paper

  • 800 SETS OF OTHER BRAND 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 we recommend bringing a full set, so that you are prepared for any situation.

LUMINANCE USERS: Luminance pencils are the closest to Prismacolor but you already know how small the full color palette is and how it lacks adequate reds, pinks, and violets. Please bring more than just your Luminance set.

POLYCHROMOS USERS: Amy does not use Polychromos and does not recommend them. If you intend to use Polys, you must understand that there are several key Prismacolors with no match in the Polychromos palette (including Amy’s favorite “Magic” Dark Purple 931). Polychromos have hard pigment cores which means they behave differently than soft pencils. Use Polychromos at your own risk.

Colorless Blender Brush:

Amy creates unique effects with a non-standard tool.

Please bring a brand new Tim Holtz/Ranger Waterbrush with a “Detailer Tip”. The brand is important and will be explained at the retreat. It MUST be a new brush that has never been used with water before.

Bring one #0 Various Ink refill (Colorless Blender solution). The smaller bottle (Various size) is fine but if you already own the 7oz. bottle, that’s okay.

If you’ve already used this tool in one of Amy’s classes, please bring your brush and a refill.

White Pens:

Amy uses a variety of white pens, both gel and paint varieties. Each excels in different applications. Her favorites include-

Fine Line / Technical Pens:

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 in the set of 20.

These are a more economical substitute for Copic Colored Multiliners and come in a greater range of colors. Triplus pens do not have names or numbers imprinted on the pen barrel.

Misc. Supplies:

Please do not bring electric tools. Use battery powered tools or charge tools in your hotel room.

  • hard, smooth, non absorbent coloring surface, large enough for an 11x14 project. Clipboards, drawing boards, or sheets of acrylic are ideal. Do not bring a glass mats or glass cutting boards. You are responsible for protecting the hotel conference table from marker ink staining.

  • small fine mist spritzing bottle filled with Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

  • battery powered pencil sharpener or small hand sharpener. Do not bring plug-in sharpeners.

  • 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)

  • drinking bottle or cup with no-spill lid

  • personal seat cushion and/or back support wedge (chairs are straight backed with minimal padding)

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 email a series of photographs about 1 week before the event. Please download them to your device BEFORE coming to the retreat.

Be sure to bring a charger and charging cord for your device. Mark both with your name to prevent confusion. Plug space may be scarce, so ensure that you fully charge your device before coming to class each day.


Personal items:

Dress is comfort-casual.

The hotel is nice and the area is upscale. Bunny slippers or holey yoga pants may not be the wisest choice.

Light layers are wise, including a warm sweater. We will not have control of the conference room thermostat, so be prepared for air conditioning that is possibly set low to accommodate a room with 30 active bodies.

Most students enjoy spending 6-12 hours per day coloring. Dress to be comfortable sitting down.

Bring comfortable walking shoes and a medium weight jacket for evening excursions on the Riverwalk.


Food & Beverages:

Meals and basic beverages will be provided. Breakfast and dinner by the hotel and lunches from a caterer.

The hotel includes 3 alcoholic drinks in your hotel price, served evenings in the mezzanine bar area.

Hotel rooms include a small refrigerator and microwave.

Please make sure beverages are in spill-proof containers and that snacks are not messy or smelly.

The hotel has a soda & popcorn station open daily from 3 to 9pm.

Special dietary needs: The hotel provides breakfast and dinner through continental or buffet style self-serve counters. We assume there will be options for special diets but we may not have the exact menu ahead of time. Lunches are boxed by the catering company and we have the option to order either a vegetarian or gluten free option for you. You will be asked during enrollment about special lunches.


Questions? Email for more info.