Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Which are my favorite sketching tools right now?

Hands on hips, this was the question I asked myself the other day as I took stock of the many types of pencils, paints, markers, etc. that I saw lined up before me. For outdoor sketching adventures, I’ve created several small kits that I rotate through depending on what I’m feeling like that day. My three favorite sketch kits are 1. a small pen & ink and watercolor kit, 2. a small fast-sketch kit with various stumps and graphite pencils, and 3. a watercolor pencil/Neocolor II kit (my most recent favorite.)

I thought I might further refine my sketch kits further based on what tools I’m having fun using right now. But how best to check on the fun level for each tool? I decided to create a test of sorts for myself. I started by drawing a new coloring book page that I would then color with different tools. That would show me which tools would best fit my current needs. This also would also help me organize a new palette of colors for the kinds of outdoor places where I tend to sketch (horse farms, local NW scenes.)

It was a fun exercise.

Here is the line drawing I used. I photocopied the image several times onto heavy, white cover stock pages for my test.
A new pen & ink image to color.
Coloring page #1 - Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Pitt Design Pens (magic markers). I liked the look of this colored image. I thought it was very cute. I think that markers might give my sketching scenes something of an illustrative quality.
This image was colored with Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Pitt Design Pens.
Coloring page #2 - Neocolor II watersoluble crayons. I liked the look of this page too but there’s a problem with using crayons in the Summer…they melt in hot cars! Frequently, my sketch kit sits in the trunk of the car for hours until I get a moment to sketch.
This image was colored with Neocolor II crayons.
Coloring page #3 - Inktense watersoluble pencils. Inktense pencils are really cool for several reasons. The first is that their pencil leads are made of watersoluble ink. After the ink has been wet once it will never be watersoluble again. So you can build up your image without moving or changing the underlying layers. I find that the transparency of the Inktense colors also works especially well with pen & ink drawings. As another fun feature, the colors are extra bright.
This image was colored with Inktense watersoluble pencils.
Coloring page #4 - watercolor pencils (Cretacolor and Supracolor). These are the pencils that I have been using in one of current sketch kits. They are very user friendly, travel well, and lay down good color either dry or when wet with a waterbrush. Although the look isn’t as bright as with the Inktense pencils they are more versatile for many subjects.
This image was colored with Cretacolor and Supracolor watercolor pencils.
So which ones where the most FUN to use?

The results were an essential tie! I have to give the nod to both the Tombow/Pitt markers and the Cretacolor/Supracolor watercolor pencils. I think both will serve my needs very well and are very fun to use.
Evening update!

I have since created two new sketch kits – one with the markers and one with the colored pencils and I’ve bundled them together into the same little carry bag. Now I feel ready for all sorts of new adventures! Tally ho!

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