For the longest time I’ve been getting loads of questions about which tool I use to ink, colour etc.
SO; to save myself AND YOU some time I’m dedicating a blog post to my most used materials. I’ll be touching up on my fave paper, pens etc. Hope you guys will find this informative as it took me a butt-load of work to make this…
ALSO: You don’t need to use these exact materials to draw. All these are MY opinions and personal preference. It could be that you like to use other materials and get the same result, or maybe you try these and you hate them or they don’t work for you.
Drawing is all about experience and practice, not about what materials you use.
For sketching I always use mechanical pencils, as the lead won’t change size and I love that.
I prefer to use colored leads, as they are not prominent and the sketch lines are super easy to get rid of in Photoshop if you ink on top of it.
I use the Pilot Color Eno with 0.7 mm leads in pink. The hardness of the leads I use is B which is quite soft.
I also use a Pentel eraser which I swear by as it’s awesome for Pentel leads but also works amazing on the colored leads by Pilot.
For inking I use only one pen. I’ve tried a BUNCH of inking pens over the years, but I always come back to this one as it works really well for my style.
This is the Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush The tip is made up from super thin individual hairs (way thinner than the Pentel Color brush) and the tip is pretty small (smaller than the Pentel Pocket Brush).
Handeling it might take some practice. Just make sure you’re not afraid to use it’s brush capabilities, as they have such good payoff!
The only thing this pen lacks is that you can not refill it. And as I also use them to ink my comics I use up a lot of these.
If you want to use these for making marker drawings here is what I found out: do not use black. I REPEAT, DO NOT USE BLACK.
Black seems to smudge unfortunately, so if I use alcohol based markers I use the colour “Natural Gray” or “Dark Gray” as they work fine.
Also; if you use alcohol based markers and you ink first and add color later use a water based ink pen. And to avoid any surprises TEST YOUR PEN WITH A MARKER FIRST.
For coloring I use alcohol based markers. And I use different brands mixed together. I started using them a few years ago as a friend told me I needed to give Copics a try, but as I was kind of squeamish to pay €100 for a good set of markers I didn’t know I would use, ( I do most of my coloring digitally) or even like I opted out.
On a trip to Japan a few weeks later I found a set of cheap alcohol markers and I thought : “why not?”. They were super great for practice and to find out what they actually are like to work with.
After that, I started adding more brands to my collection and found out which ones work the best for me.
The markers above are the Twinmarker by DecoTime and the Le Plume Permanent marker.
Both are quite cheap but both are very different.
Twinmarker I bought a few of these in sets of 3 for about €0.95 at dutch discount store in the Netherlands. They are by far the cheapest ones I own.
I use them very little, as they are not that great for coloring huge surfaces (you do have a bigger Chisel tip but I never use them as they let the ink flow thicker and thinner in certain places which gives a smudgy look )
I do use them for shading as the little tip works fine for that.
These markers a a little hit and miss per marker, I have a few that work fine, but I also have a few that leak ink when you take the cap off (Drama time if you do this and splatter ink all over your drawing) and some don’t have to colour they promise on the cap… like, NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Do you see the resemblance? CAUSE I DON’T.
Conclusion: These are cheap, they mostly work okay and are an okay addition to a bigger collection for shading or smaller drawings. Would I recommend that you buy a full set? …Njehhh? If you are on a budget; get these, they are great to test out if you like using markers. They are a bit wonky sometimes but with some practice you can manage just fine. And maybe add on some of the other brands later on when you’re totally committed.
Le Plume Permanent Markers These are the markers I bought in Japan. They came in a set of 9 and that was the smallest set they had in that store.
They have a SUPER flexible brush tip and the colors are bright and intense. They are not refillable but keep going for a long time. The colors are great but get streaky after a while.
Conclusion: If you’re ever in Japan, want to try markers, but don’t have a lot of money to spent; BUY THESE. I love them, the super wobbly tip takes a little getting used to but once you do they work fine.
Also; Japanese art stores have a place where you can test the markers before you buy them, please use that! You might find something else that works even better.
I just had 9 colors to start with which was fine. But soon I found out I really REALLY like working with these and I had to venture out and buy me some more. I came to the conclusion that I wanted brush tips, loads of colors and good quality stuff that is available in my local art store.
2 brands which are in my opinion the most used came to mind.
The Copic Ciao and the Winsor and Newton Brushmarker
Both are good, but still a bit different form each other.
Both have: 1 Chisel tip, 1 brush tip.
Winsor and Newton
The brush is super flexible, has great ink flow and the colors are amazing. Unfortunately you are not able to refill these and they run out of ink quite fast. They do blend amazingly though, which is a big plus for me. They have 72 colors to choose from.
In my local art store they are WAY cheaper than copic, that’s why they span more than half of my collection. They have this deal that you can get 4 for €10. I think you can find them for that price online too.
Conclusion: They are great, I love them. And they come in sets too if you want to try some out.
The brush tip on this one is firmer (Which I personally prefer) the ink flow is great, they are nice to hold as they are quite thin and they are refillable. They come in 180 colors.
The downside of these is the price. In my local store they are about €7 a piece. They do come cheaper. especially online, so if you’re going for these check online for a good deal!
€7 is an LOT if you only use them for fun. But I do prefer them especially because you can refill them, which in the long run might make them cheaper. I love how many colors they have and I think I will slowly replace all my Winsor and Newton ones when I get the chance.
Staple pens for highlighting things are white gel pens.
I use the Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip in 2 thicknesses. I used to use the ones from Uniball but they just din’t work for me, they didn’t have enough opacity and these ones do.
Paper The paper you use to draw on is really important when using markers. You do have special marker paper, it’s shiny and smooth but for me it feels like it sucks all the ink out of my marker at top speed. I don’t like it…I don’t like it at ALL. But you might?
Right now I use 2 types of paper, both are not meant for markers but I’m a bloody rebel and I make my own rules.
Holbein Croquis Book
My favorite paper comes in these super pretty notebooks. Unfortunately they are mostly only available in Japan… I tried getting them from somewhere else once but my only option was Rakuten. Which is an option but also a hassle.
The notebooks come out every season/half a year(?) and have different designs every time, they cost around €4,50 per piece
I tried the loose paper in my local art store and even searched for it online but I couldn’t find it. (might give that another try though and update this)
It’s 60gr paper, it’s thin, super smooth and off white. The colors blend super well on it, and because it’s thin it takes almost nothing for them to come out bright.
I made this drawing with all the stuff mentioned above, the smooth surface helps a lot with blending.
But it’s important to mention that the markers bleed A LOT trough this paper. I ALWAYS use thick smooth paper to place under the paper when I draw to prevent it from bleeding to the other page.
Talens Art Creations Sketchbook
I picked this one up recently, as a friend recommend it to me. The paper is super thick and textured. I love how this book is quite small which is great for making less complex drawings in little time.
It has 140gr paper and the sketchbooks come in different sizes.
The paper is nice but because it’s thick and textured my drawings come out a little grainy, which is okay, but I don’t prefer. And the colors are duller than on the Holbein paper as well. You can get them brighter but you’ll need more layers.
TIP! When you start using new paper and/or materials always make swatches. I have little crumpled up lists of swatches of my markers on different papers with their names and numbers on it, just to be really sure what colour you get on what paper.
Also; do blending tests, to see how well certain colors react with each other and in which order.
Well, that was it. The materials I use and why.
I hope this helps.
If you are interested in me doing a time laps on making a drawing using these materials, let me know and I might give that a try.
Bye Bye! And have fun drawing.