Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tools Of Tragedy

In one of my recent posts I explained how I generate an idea for the 'tragedy series' and what sort of reference I like to have as I'm drawing. Some of my readers have asked what artistic implements I use so here is an exhaustively detailed breakdown of my day to day drawing arsenal.

Here you can see my drawing tools in their travel case and a few other things that I use on a regular basis for almost all my jobs.

I stole this diagram idea from my studio-mate Dustin Weaver

A. Four of my Staedtler lead holders and a Pentel detail pencil.
All of them contain regular H leads. I don't get too fancy when it comes to pencils because I like to be able to get my materials easily.

B. My corrective tools.
I use Uniball 'Signo' white gel pens (they seem to be waterproof?) for little white-out lines and some highlights and Papermate 'tuff Stuff' Eraser Sticks for fine line erasing. It is super helpful to be able to get in with the erasing equivalent of a scalpel

C. Microns and the remainder of a Staedtler eraser.
I use a size 8 for Tragedy Series lines because I didn't want to get too detail heavy. Most of the time I use four sizes: 01, 03, 05 and 08. It can be very easy to get fussy about line weight and buy a bunch of pens but I don't find a need for much beyond those so I feel comfortable limiting my tools out of pragmatism.

The eraser is good for big areas and broad strokes when tidying up originals. You can see me erasing in the video at the bottom of this post before I do my large black areas and/or toning.

D. One Pentel detail pencil, 2 Pentel pocket brushes and 1 Pentel FRH water brush.

The pencil is just redundancy. The brush pens are really fantastic tools. I use them every day. I refill them with Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Ultradraw Waterproof Ink. You can fill them with the little refill cartriges that Pentel makes, which are great too, but I prefer to use ultradraw because I like the black it makes while being both cheaper and more environmentally conscionable than buying a bunch of little plastic capsules that require international shipping.

Disassembled to show the capsule filled with Ultradraw

The Gray-tone 'Lightsaber' brush pen. It is awesome. Another studio-mate and friend, Ron Chan, gave it to me a long time ago and for a long time it was filled with pure ultradraw. One day I heard fellow Periscoper Jonathan Case say to some interns that 'you need to keep your waterbrushes wet or you'll ruin them.' This prompted me to fill my waterbrush with some water instead of ink because I hadn't been able to get to the art store. Kablamo. I had stumbled upon a fantastic tool that has been in constant use ever since. I only have the one and it is perfectly broken in. If I lost it or didn't have it, Tragedy Series would be in big trouble.

It looks like a lightsaber to me so I nicknamed it as such.

E. 2 Pentel Stylo pens, A Backup Waterbrush and a Utrecht sable hair Paintbrush.
I don't use the Stylos for my T.S. but they are a great bridge between a micron and a brush line. It has a flexible tip that can vary the line width. The backup brush is being broken in because I need it to be an alternative to the old gray lightsaber.The sable gets used for little gouache paintings, watercolor and occasional touch-ups

F.G.H. Grey Prismacolor markers and a Prismacolor white color pencil.
I used to use these all the time and feel guilty about environmental impact (not to mention how short lived or expensive they are.) Inow use them on rare occasions for sketch cards, con sketches and the occasional catch-all drawing project. I use the white prismacolor color pencil for highlights and corrections on semi rough surfaces like gouache paintings or you soften the edges of greys in more deatil oriented drawings. It is a great little option to have.

I. One of my 3 Beloved 'C-Thru' Rulers.

If you draw and you don't yet have one of these then you need to stop reading this and go buy one right now. It is the most useful item I own. There are countless uses for this thing. You will be really glad you got it. The name on it comes from Bern helmets. I just cut out the 'R' and add them to the front end of each ruler so they don't get accidentally absorbed by any of my studio friends.

J. Masking tape.

I use this stuff all the time to hold drawings and reference materials in place.

K. Yellow Crayola crayon.

I use this to fill in the number of the tragedy I'm doing for the day, on a chart I made, so I don't repeat the numbers or Sadness Reprieve letters.

L. Canson 300 series bristol board.

Studio-mate-mentor-pal Steve Lieber buys this stuff in bulk and the rest of us buy from him. A page costs 50 cents or so and it is well worth it. I used to work on typing paper because I was poor and ridiculous.

Next time will be shorter and filled with drawings. Hooray!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the breakdown of your tools. That "light saber" waterbrush is awesome. That was the thing I was most interested in. I did some searching and found out pentel makes one. I ordered one and am looking forward to trying it out. In the process I came across a really great site: www.stutler.cc. He does really cool ink and watercolor sketches and has lots of good info on different waterbrushes.

    So do you actually fill your waterbrush with a mix of water and ink to get that grey tone?