My Pens & Pencils

January 21, 2012 § 3 Comments

The Problem:
I could never find the right pen or pencil…

Not a complete mess but half a mess.

The solution…. Pen folders:


Rolled out.

Sorted and organized.

(Click for larger view)


Pentel Stylo JM10

January 10, 2011 § 4 Comments

If I were to make a list of my favourite pens, this one would be number one. It’s very flexible. It has a plastic nib which you can use to make fine, thin lines or broader lines.

Example 1:

This was drawn on plain print/copy paper. The paper is quite smooth, so it’s easy to make long, smooth lines.

Example 2:

This was drawn on Daler-Rowney heavy-weight paper. The paper is fine-grain but there’s more friction than the paper in the example above. It’s easier to make short, angular lines. I think it’s easier to make more “sculpted” drawings if the paper is heavier.

Related posts

All my posts about pens & pencils

Multi-colour Ballpoint Pens

December 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

Two Bic 4-colour ballpoint pens
(containing the colours black, red, blue and green).

I never use ballpoint pens for drawings, only for writing. I don’t see why I shouldn’t try them out for drawing, because I do think that multi-colour pens are fun. I know that when I was younger I had a lot of pens like these and I did use them when drawing.

I think they might work well for repetitious drawings with a lot of lines and patterns.

Mechanical pencils

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mechanical pencils are great in many ways. I, for one, like them because they can be used to create lines of constant thickness. I particularly like to use them when drawing small details, when the drawing calls for thin lines of great precision. And you don’t have to sharpen the pencil constantly, the line will consistently be of the same width. And because there’s no need to sharpen the pencil, the pencil will always be the same length, unlike a wood pencil which you eventually have to dispose of because it’s too short to draw with.

Some of my mechanical pencils:

pictured from top to bottom:
Pilot 0.9 H-329
■ Pilot Knock Pencil 0.5
Faber-Castell TK-Fine Vario L 0.3/0.35

The top pencil, the Pilot H-329 has a quite thick lead, 0.9. I have used even thicker mechanical pencils (4 mm), mostly for croquis drawing and sketching. I bought this 0.9 one because I had found colour leads of that thickness, but didn’t have a mechanical pencil that could fit those leads. I liked the idea of drawing in colour with a mechanical pencil, but I still haven’t used it much. I love the look and feel of the pencil though, it’s a favourite pencil (even though I rarely draw with it). I need to find a reason to make a colour drawing so I can try it out more.

The black Pilot pencil have been with me for more than fifteen years! I used to have a red one as well, but I’ve misplaced that one, much to my annoyance. The last pencil, the Faber-Castell, is my newest mechanical pencil. It’s also my thinnest one – 0.3 mm.

Mechanical pencils have many advantages. But in my experience, the drawings I make using only this type of pencil aren’t as dynamic or expressive like the ones you can make using a regular wood pencil (because the darkness and the width of the line pretty much will stay the same with a mechanical pencil).

This is a detail from of one of my drawings that was made with a mechanical pencil:

Mechanical pencils go by other names as well, such as lead pencil, propelling pencil, automatic pencil, drafting pencil, technical pencil... While searching the net for some more info on this type of pencil, I came across this guide to mechanical pencils. Pretty exhaustive on the subject. I’ll definitely bookmark that one.

Graphite Pencils, F – 8H

December 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Staedtler, Derwent, Kooh-I-Noor

From top to bottom:
Staedtler, Mars Lumograph: H
Staedtler, Mars Lumograph: 3H
■ Rexel Cumberland, Derwent Graphic: F
■ Rexel Cumberland, Derwent Graphic: 4H
Kooh-I-Noor, Hardmouth: 8H

Drawing with hard graphite pencils

I often use hard graphite pencils when I’m drawing. I prefer them, because 1) the drawing isn’t smudged as easily as with soft pencils, and 2) it’s easier to draw details – the point of the pencil will stay sharp and make a clear line. If you want to make sharp lines with softer pencils you’d have to sharpen them constantly and use up the pencil faster. The downside with hard pencils is that the lines won’t be as dark/visible as with softer pencils.

Hard pencils are marked with H, and the harder the pencil is, the higher the number is. Soft pencils are marked “B”, and HB is in the middle. “F” is supposed to be somewhere between H and HB. Harder pencils create light, thin, sharp lines and soft pencils dark, softer, broader lines. The darkness of the pencil seems to vary between different brands. For instance, the Rexel Cumberland 3H is darker than the Staedtler 3H in my experience.

Pencils and different papers

The darkness or lightness of the drawing also varies depending on what paper you’re drawing on.

Schoeller Durex

The darkest part are drawn with an HB and an F, the lightest parts are done with 4H and 5H. The surface of the paper is smooth and almost cream coloured. You don’t have to press the pencil hard against the paper, it’s easy to draw details and I think the lines look quite dark for being hard pencils. I love drawing with these papers.

Fabriano 160 g/m2

This is a drawing on Fabriano paper (The quality on this scan is unfortunately not as good as the picture of the Schoeller paper.):

The darkest parts were made with a HB and 2H, the lighter parts with 3H and 4H. This paper is whiter than the Schoeller paper. It has a fine grain. The grain makes the paper a bit rougher, and this paper is quite hard, so you’ll have to press the pencil harder against the paper if you want to make darker lines; the drawing process will be slower. It’s not so easy to make “dark” drawings with graphite pencil on this paper. A good thing about this paper, is that you can work a lot with the greyscale, going from dark to light, with pencils of different hardness. Another good thing is that it’s easy to erase lines (that is, if you make light lines and don’t press the pencil too hard against the paper).

This is a better scan of another drawing on this Fabriano paper. Because of the grain, even though it’s fine grain, it’s harder to make clear thin lines than with smooth papers –  the look of the drawing will be quite different depending on what type of paper that is being used. For the darker parts in this drawing, I used a B (Rexel Cumberland, Derwent Graphic).

Daler-Rowney Heavy Weight 220 g/m2

I’ve written about this paper before (here). I wrote that I prefer to use it for ink drawings and not graphite pencil drawings. The surface of the paper is smooth but also somewhat soft. It’s hard to make really thin lines even if you’re using a sharp, hard pencil. It’s almost as if the graphite won’t stick to the paper when you make thin lines so you have to “fill in” the lines again which of course ruins them. It was easier to draw the parts that required short, angular lines (like the grass) and the light shades (like the hand and arm). But larger dark areas (large shadows) and longer lines required more effort. For this drawing I think I used B, F and 2H.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with favourite pens and pencils at meaxylon.

%d bloggers like this: