Hi Tracey, there is no special sponge that I use as long as it has smooth surface and can absorb water and paint it should work. As far as paid videos I pretty much just go over the colors, tools, and my thought process. I do not go into details about the type of brush or spatulas that I use. I can pretty much paint with any given brush, sponge or spatula without compromising the end result. In other words it should not effect your painting to be able to achieve similar results. What is important is the type of paint you utilize. If you using cheap acrylic paint you will not get same results because the cheap paint does not have as many color pigments as in some other more expensive brands. To keep things on budget I strongly recommend to paint with "Basics" acrylic paint which is fairly cheap comparing to other acrylic paint brands and it still has a pretty good quality. I hope I answered most of your questions. Keep up the creativity!