Tools of the Trade I

It was my birthday recently and I decided to splurge a little to revamp my drawing arsenal. It’s been a while since I’ve done more than scribbled thumbnails and jotted To Do lists and part of it was that whenever I left the house I didn’t carry many fun drawing implements. I got all these off JetPens.com which is kind of a perfect site for any pen/pencil lover. I learned about them through their sponsorship of Molly Crabapple and they have an amazing array of anything from $1 pens to $60 lead holders and calligraphy pens.

The first two are red and blue lead mechanical pencils. I like using blue when I’m just doing flat work that is going to be inked eventually, as it’s the easiest to delete out of photoshop in post, a happy habit I picked up from cartoonists and animators. I prefer red when I’m going to colour the image using traditional materials, as most of my drawings are of people or creatures and the red blends nicer with colours for skin tones. Using blue or grey tends to show through and muddy down my rich colours. The purple pencil is a regular mechanical pencil that I’ll get to later.

The following two are simple calligraphy pens – one I loaded up with a blue-black ink, the other with a brown ink.

The following two pens are a .25 gel pen and a .18 gel pen. They make the TINIEST lines! It’s almost difficult to coax the ink through their tips, but it creates some fantastic cross hatching.

After which we have a nice lead holder that I loaded blue sticks into. The end plunger is supposed to also double as a graphite sharpener, but it doesn’t get as fine of a point or grind down as fast as my external grinder. Might have to practice, but it seems a bit useless.

The last is a simple pen with blue black ink. Blue black is my signature ink, it’s just delicious.

These were all the accoutrements I purchased. Blue-black, black and brown ink. The brown is really light and reddish, almost a raw sienna colour. They fit well inside the calligraphy pens.

The olive green cartridges unfortunately did not fit in my pens, so I haven’t had a chance to play with drawing with them. Which is unfortunate, because the few drops I managed to get out of it while attempting to force it in were beautiful! Will likely wander to a local art store and attempt to find something that fits. The little tin case highly appeals to my love of good, old timey package design.

The blue graphite sticks are fantastic. They’re deeper than non-photo blue, so they have a deeper colour value. The blue mechanical lead is the same way, though Staedtler leads tend to be softer and easier to break than regular lead if you’re used to that. Use a soft hand when drawing with them.

Which brings us to the UNI 4Bs! I love soft graphite – my favourite pencil to bring around is a 9B. I used 9B when I made the April Silkscreen since I knew I could get a fantastic colour range. Most standard pencil leads are either HB or 2B, so this also gets some deeper greys than your standard pencils without utilizing as much pressure. But these ones are also high density! So when I push it down very hard, they still aren’t snapping. Do note that I draw with a rather light hand, so your mileage may vary, but I think these would be good for most folks.

Today I get to test them out at my Dr. Sketchy’s NYC session!

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