Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wednesday 17th July 2013 - Sketching Materials.

After Yesterday's post: http://www.jhillustrations.com/2013/07/tuesday-16th-july-2012-sketchbook-pages.html

I thought it prudent to show what I actually sketch with, as my last post on it: http://www.jhillustrations.com/2011/03/whats-in-my-bag.html

Is now over 2 years old, and therefore massively out of date.


If we just compare this to the old image:


Yeah, a lot is similar, scarily similar. 2 years and my gear hasn't rearranged or changed case or anything, probably speaks to my OCD.

But yeah, let's go through it (the top image ofc) to see what's what.

1) Pencils!
1a) Wooden Pencils - I keep these mostly for posterity's sake, I barely use them now - sharpening them causes too much mess.
1b) Mechanical Pencils - Similar to above, I barely use them, the leads are too thin, and snap if I use anything more than the bare minimum of pressure.
1c) My now 'go-to' pencil - Clutch Pencils! These basically are lead holders - the lead is about 2mm thick, and can be sharpened to a needle point, as well as dulled and sketched roughly with using the edge of the lead, imagine a wooden pencil with no mess. Yep.

2) These are redundant I think? The ink's probably dried up, and the 'black' lightfastness is more of a dull grey. I just don't know what to replace them with, so for the moment they're just sat there.

3) My inking pens. I always get asked what materials I use, just in case there's some secret formula of such and such tool + such and such paper = a decade of practicing illustration. People are, of course, saddened when I show them what I use, these are Uni Ball's bog standard, black, rollerball pens. I have a few of each size because I'm overly worried that they'll run out in the middle of a job and i'll be stuck.

The rollerball on the far left with the black ring around its end has nearly ran out, thus, I can get a thinner line with it, that's what the ring is there for, to let me know which it is. The blue pen on the far right with the masking tape is an old fineliner I found worked rather well on Bristol Board, so got a slot as a regular inker.

4) Brush Pens. For when I'm out and about, or too lazy to break out a sable brush and my pot of ink.

5) Poscas. These are the 'super fine' ones, meaning they're about 3 times fatter than my pens, but it doesn't matter, I use them basically as a tippex pen - whiting out areas where there's too much detail or I made a mistake, and then I can draw over it again*

** Visible around the lower left mermaid as I was sketching out arm variations, and on the tail on the upper right mermaid.

Right now people may well be shouting at the screen - Jack, you're an idiot, you have pencils! Use a pencil and rubber you daft git. Well, I don't like sketching in pencil. It doesn't get the contrast with the page I want. I might use it on large areas where the lines don't get confused, but I use pencils for the first stage of my digital painting process, not for sketching. For sketching I use:

6) Biros! People start crying when I show them this is what I sketch with. I'm not even sure when I started using them, but they crept in, and I realized they work well with my heavy handed technique, where I try to sketch things with 1000 lines, I then go over 998 of them with my white posca, and weight the remaining 2 by simply using more pressure.

The good thing about using Biros? They're everywhere, they're "normal" pens, they don't need sharpening, and can get some pretty nice tones when used with varying pressures.

7) Sharpie. Used for either bordering a sketch to test the composition, colouring in large areas of shadow or very heavy line weights.

8) Miscellaneous stuff. Highlighters, sharpeners, putty eraser, rubber eraser, and a water brush. They may come in handy, so I haven't yet got rid of them.

And what do I sketch in?



Moleskine A4 sketchbooks. These Things! they're meant to retail for about £20, but with some tactical lurking around the internet *cough*eBay*cough* you can get them for as low as £9.99. This is, apart from a clutch pencil, the only really specialist thing I use for sketching.

They're crap for watercolours - the paper has been treated, so doesn't mix at all with watery media - but have a nice quality reminiscent of Bristol Board for pencils, and works just how I want it to with inks and biros. An excellent tome of messy scribbles which sometimes turn into paintings!


Here is basically all I need to spend hours sketching -
Sketchbook (duh)
1) 2H Clutch Pencil
2) 2 Biros (one ALWAYS runs out)
3) White Poscas (they're temperamental bastards and having two solves any problems)
4) A sharpie

So yeah! You don't need a bank balance the size of a small principality to get down to arting, even the most basic of materials can work it.

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