Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Materials and Techniques, Part 1

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It's been over a year since the last time I did a post about my materials and techniques, and a lot has changed in that time.  I thought it'd be useful to share what I've learned since then, and hopefully next year, I'll have even more to share.  I'm going to break this post into several parts, beginning with traditional materials.



Strathmore 300 Series Sketch

Image via, which is coincidentally where I order most of my art supplies.
I prefer the top spiral bound sketchbooks to side spiral  bound as I've found it gives me more working space.  If it's side spiral bound, I'm liable to short myself a couple inches so I don't draw into the wire binding.  I find that this pricepoint and quality work well for what I use the sketchbooks for.  There are never any finished pieces, so it doesn't matter if the paper quality isn't the best.  I have shelves full of these, and fill one up every two months or so.

I also keep, depending on the time of year and what purse I'm carrying, a small 5x8 sketchbook in my purse, but I've found that it's become impractical, and just haul my 9x11" sketchbook around with me instead.  I find moleskins to be completely useless (for me), and don't like how structured they feel.  I'm too intimidated to use one.


I use two types of Bristol- the vellum and the plate finish.  Vellum finish is great for pencils, plate finish is great for inking and marker work (although it's not the BEST marker paper I've ever used).  For these, I've found quality matters, both types of Bristol come from Strathmore's 500 sequential art series.

Sequential Art Board is just 11x17" Bristol.

I prefer the untaped sheets.  With the taped pads, you'll lose your first sheet because it refuses to tear evenly.


I still use mechanical pencils for most of my drawing, which is probably detrimental, as mechanical pencils don't have enough bend to allow for really gestural line.  If I'm doing gesture drawings, I'll switch to a 6B wooden pencil.

These days, I use two drafting pencils- one that holds blue lead exclusively, and one that holds normal lead exclusively.  For my normal lead, I use a Pentel GraphGear 1000, and it holds 3B lead.

Images from this point on are from, which is where I purchased these products.

And for the blue lead, I use a Zebra Tect 2 Way

Except mine is white.

When it comes to normal graphite, I'm not picky, I got a 10 pack of Lyra lead on sale, so I'm still working my way through that.  I AM picky about my blue lead, and my current brand of choice is Uni COLOR

In .7, because I am heavyhanded.  In an ideal world with an ideal scanner, the light blue would drop when I scan, but this isn't an ideal world, and I get to fiddle with Photoshop to try and drop the blue.

NEXT POST:  Erasers, markers, pens.  Excitement!