La rentrée, and a ton of great tools to use.

Because it is my first couple weeks of class and I also want to share as much as possible with my graphic design and illustration students, I have decided to introduce you to some of the tools I have been using, along with some comments so you can decide for yourself if you would like to add them to your set for the new school year.

Traditional tools

As far as I can remember, I have always appreciated pens and pencils. Shopping with my mother for my school supplies was always exciting for me. These days, I love to look for new tools I can share with my students and friends. 

Our local art stores have a lot to satisfy us in that regard. You can go there and spend minutes trying their demo pens to finally find one or many that feel good for you. In Edmonton, I like to go to Colours and DeSerres. They carry different brands so you have a lot to choose from. 

I also like online shopping, as the sent parcel feels just like a surprise bag and I am always excited to see if my purchase was great. 

Jetpens is definitely my favourite. They have so much, so much stuff! Often you can read the reviews so your purchases are in most cases, good ones. With our dollar value right now, it might not be the best deal you can find, but they definitely have some special gems you won't be able to access easily elsewhere. 

My day-to-day pen is a simple Pilot Rasor black pen. I find I can either write or draw with the same tool which is quite convenient. I often bring this one with me at meetings as well as at working sessions. 

Source: Jetpens

Source: Jetpens

Now, when it comes to a specific illustration style, I've discovered a ton of great tools over the years. For my '5 Minute Face' illustration booth, I use the Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo in black. Since it is a hard one to find, when I get my hands on it I usually buy a box of 12. I currently buy them from Colours

Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo

Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo

'5 Minute Face' illustration created with the Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo

'5 Minute Face' illustration created with the Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo

Since the Marsgraphic 3000 Duo creates thick lines, I like to pair it with my very old 00.30 KOH-I-NOOR Rapidograph. The advantage of those technical pens is that you can refill them at any time. They are quite durable and you can keep them for years if you take good care of them. Unfortunately, they require some serious maintenance. You can't leave the ink in the pen, otherwise it will dry and clog it. 

KOH-I-NOOR Rapidograph Set

KOH-I-NOOR Rapidograph Set

If you are buying any rapidograph, you should also think about getting an Ultrasonic Cleaner. Mine is doing an excellent job and it was fairly cheap.  

Magnasonic Ultrasonic Cleaner

Magnasonic Ultrasonic Cleaner

With my Marsgraphic 3000 Duo brush pen, I got quite excited about brush pens and ordered a bunch of different ones to see if I could experiment with different brush thicknesses and lengths. I bought the Double-Sided Brush Pen Sampler (set of 5 brush pens) from Jetpens and was absolutely delighted by the range of styles. I would definitely recommend anyone to buy it. Some of them are super soft and others are quite hard. Also, one was similar to the Staedtler Marsgraphic 3000 Duo I own. This set simply gives you an opportunity to try brush pens and see if it suits your illustrative technique or not. 

Double-Sided Brush Pen Sampler (set of 5 brush pens) from Jetpens

Double-Sided Brush Pen Sampler (set of 5 brush pens) from Jetpens

Finally, always under the brush pen topic, I wanted to share with you the Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen as well as the Pentel Colour brush. Those types of brush pens are truly made just like a real paintbrush. They have bristles and the line can split if you push too hard while drawing. I like them because they offer a wider range of stroke widths from super thin to really thick. They are a little harder to get used to but once you are comfortable with them, you will certainly adopt them forever. The Pentel Colour brush is refillable. You can either buy refills or attempt to refill them by looking up how others do it on Youtube. 

Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen Set

Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen Set

Pentel Colour Brush

Pentel Colour Brush

I was planning on getting into the digital tools but I think I will keep this for another post. I found other great posts about tools other illustrators and letterers are using and it is my pleasure to share them with you. I hope you enjoyed this post.

Tools I use and Love by Lisa Congdon

Lettering Gear Guide 2015 by Ryan Hamrick