1. Micron Pens
These pens might be on the expensive side, but I just love letting my students use them. The students really get into the different sizes and develop strong preferences. The one drawback to using Microns is that some students are hard on materials and these pens don't take a beating well. To combat this, I usually save them for my advanced drawing students who tend to be a bit more gentler on the supplies.
2. Color Pencils
Last year this would not have been on my top 5 list. But, one of the perks of being an art teacher is that I can take studio classes for professional development and I had the fortunate experience of signing up for a color pencil workshop. It was AWESOME! I learned so much about color pencils, the various types, and how to blend them that I now love using this material in the classroom. I devote the first half of Drawing 2 to using color pencils.
3. Gel Medium
I really enjoy introducing students to the magic of image transfers. It is a technique that I use in my personal work regularly and students always enjoy learning about the process. Gel medium is a key material in most image transfer processes. It is also a great material for collage work.
4. Etching Inks
I am very fortunate to have a large printing press sitting right in the middle of my room. I devote half of my Drawing 3 course to printmaking. The students are able to experience all kinds of printmaking: mono printing, screen printing, linoleum block reduction prints, and even intaglio. When I introduce the etching inks, I feel like I am giving students a real taste, and smell, of college print making classes. The smell of the inks and the burnt plate oil takes me right back to the printing studio at Mt. Mercy University. The biggest drawback to etching inks? They are so messy! We go through box after box of rubber gloves, but it is totally worth it.
Yes, odorless turpentine is on my top five list. It has to be, from clean up to blending oil pastels and color pencils, we use it all the time. It is a key material and if you aren't using it in your art room, you should be!