Canine Companions I: Preclass

Welcome to the preclass lesson!

So glad to have you here! In this lesson we’ll discuss the supplies needed for this course; as always, I encourage using the supplies you own instead of shopping for more stuff—although you may have different results from those shown. That’s not a bad thing, of course – you might discover something amazing! If you do be sure to post over in Artventure, using #caninecompaions as the hashtag, so that other students in these courses might find your discovery helpful.

Before we start…a little housekeeping

I retain the copyright to the content you are learning in class. That means…

  1. Do not sell or give away the concepts from my classes – you may not re-teach my instruction contained or created within these lessons.
  2. Do not post a video tutorial or step by step photo tutorial of your own redraw of class content.
  3. Do not repost any handouts you receive in class.

However…I love to see students making strides and taking this teaching and personalizing it with your own skills.

  1. DO make your own designs and develop your own style! I love that!
  2. DO gift your creations made with these techniques, of course!

At the bottom of each lesson you’ll see some ways to share your homework and ask questions, so that’ll be handy for you.

Video 1: Sketching Supplies and exercise

A discussion of supplies – for this course…


Sketch Supplies:


Download the Mystery Grid and try it out with your pencils and watercolor paper below.

Watercolor Paper

The demonstrations are done on Arches hot press watercolor paper  – it can handle both the detailed pencil sketch and watercolor too. I purchased a sheet and reduced it in size by folding (see the video below), and painted 5×7 paintings on 1/8 sheets. You might also prefer to get a pad of Hot Press paper instead, but if you plan to take more of the Canine Companions courses, a sheet might be most cost effective. (FYI When buying from Blick they give a good discount to get 10 sheets. Not that you need 10 sheets, but ya know. Bulk is good.)

Pencils and erasers

Any brand of pencil in a 5B and 9B – I’m using Grafwood but other brands are just fine. You might also find it good to have a pencil extender on hand to lengthen a stub and get more use from it!


I sometimes use my Quietsharp electric (BLICK  AMZ ), but more often I go for any handheld with fresh blades inside. Treat yourself to a new one just for fun – the blades do get dull. Love me a Dahle Chubby, a Dahle Yellow Sharpener , a Prismacolor, or I’m just now trying out a Blackwing and it’s a little pricier, but comes with extra blades…kinda liking it!


You’ll also want to have some erasers on hand, whatever you prefer but I strongly recommend at least a Kneaded Eraser and at least one stick option (Monte Mart electric or Tombow Mono Zero Eraser )


The demonstrations won’t be taped down to a board in this class but you’re welcome to do so; I suggest something like Ampersand Hardbord (larger than your painting) and some White artist tape, 3/4”.

    Ruler / T Square

    Use a regular ruler to measure out lines for a grid or get this little tsquare that makes it easy!  I use it all. the. time. in my studio.

    Video 2: Watercolor Supplies and swatches


    Watercolor Supplies:

    As with all classes, use supplies you love, being prepared for different results if it’s something different than listed here. (Which is not a bad thing!)

    Watercolor Paper

    (see above)

    Watercolor & brushes

    I’ve linked to the Daniel Smith colors used in class:

    1. Transparent Red Oxide or Burnt Sienna
    2. Cobalt Blue or French Ultramarine Blue
    3. New Gamboge
    4. Jane’s Black (Blue Orange)
    5. Quinacridone Rose
    6. Yellow Ochre
    7. WHITE GOUACHE: Winsor and Newton or Daniel Smith

    Brushes can be whatever you prefer – in the demos, sables are used but here are options for those and Silver’s synthetics. The 0 brush is used primarily for whiskers and eye highlights in gouache.

    1. Sables:
      1. Winsor Newton Kolinsky Sable Series 7 Round #8 
      2. Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable Round 4 
      3. Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable Round 0 
    2. Synthetics:
      1. Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #8: BLICK –  AMZ
      2. Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #4  BLICKAMZ
      3. Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #0  BLICK


    The watercoloring in this class is “light” – meaning we’re not doing big splashy things. None of the demos are taped down but if you wish to, these can be used. (The white tape IS used in one painting.)

    1. White artist tape, 3/4” 
    2. Ampersand Hardbord (larger than your painting)

    Are you excited?

    I’m so glad you joined me for this class! Give the Mystery Grid a try in advance of starting on lesson 1, it might really help you think in terms of “shapes” as we’ll be talking about a lot throughout the course. See you there!

    Quick links to share your work wherever you like:

    Artventure Community

    Where you’ll be right in Sandy’s pocket for quick feedback and answers to questions

    Student Facebook Group

    Our closed group is a safe place to share for those in all our classes who love the ‘book!

    Social media & blogs

    Post wherever you like to share, and let your friends know which class you’re taking. They might like it too!