Laurin McCracken’s Must-Have Tool

watercolor still life painting
“Canning Jars on Black” (22×40)

The tool I can’t do without is my #11 X-Acto blade with the lightweight aluminum handle. I started using it in basic design classes in architectural school and still use it constantly. I use it for so many things: cutting my watercolor paper, cutting the drafting tape that I use to mask around items in my paintings, opening boxes of art supplies, lifting small highlights in my paintings — the list goes on forever. Keeping a ready supply of sharp, new blades is essential.

Using an X-Acto knife to cut drafting tape

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  1. Thanks for the newsletter.
    I enjoyed the article about the “One Tool I Can’t Do Without.”
    Makes me think I should write about the “one tool I couldn’t live without!” It made me wonder what other artists can’t do without. Hummmm?


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