Fineliners and Sketching

So my mentor in Bombay suggested that I try drawing without studying too much, so that I learn to commit shapes and movement and values to memory. The better my visual memory muscle, the faster I’ll improve. Elsewhere, on a handy YouTube video, the instructor recommended drawing in ink as it forces you to be bold with your strokes and makes you more confident. I’ve been trying to apply both those learning techniques, and it’s really enjoyable.

Sketched with the newest addition to my arsenal, the Rotring Rapid Pro 0.5. Like the name suggests, it’s a very high quality mechanical pencil, finely balanced in the hand, that lends itself well to rapid handling.

There are days like this, where I just feel so in love with sketching that I feel like drawing in every notebook I have using every pen and marker I can find. One of the main things that gets me out of creative ruts is switching up my materials, but even when I’m productive and happily in flow, using different tools and papers and techniques is something I absolutely love. I normally am not a fan of rough toothy sketchbook paper because it wears down tips and nibs but it’s nice to work in a format larger than A4 once in a while. I’ve recently starting using Copic Ciao markers and they’re incredible for thumbnails and storyboards. Madly expensive of course but I reckon they’re worth it for the kind of beautiful tones they lay down.

I also got myself a couple of Steadtler fineliners- again a great buy, since having a uniform black waterproof and Copic proof line has been awesome. I normally hate the thought of having to throw away my tools and replace them, so I prefer to invest in long lasting tools whenever I can. My Pentel Graphgear 1000 I’ve had since 2013, and most of my pens and pencils are at least a few years old with the exception of my Rotring Rapid Pro. My pens are Platinum fountain pens, refillable so that I never have to throw them away, and I even have a walnut pencil extender for when my wooden pencils get too short, though I use my clutch pencils and mechanical pencils more these days. However, as hard as I tried to look for a refillable, durable pen that would give me years of service, I had to admit that there just isn’t anything that’s quite there yet. Platinum Carbon ink is one of the tiny selection of inks that is water and Copic proof, but I wouldn’t dare risk pigment ink in my ₹3000 Platinum Cool fountain pen, and my cheaper Preppy is filled with sepia ink for under sketches and light washes.

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Thumbnail studies. Can you guess which TV show this is? Yes? 10 points to Hufflepuff.

Plus, a metal fountain pen nib just doesn’t have the same tactile feel as a fibre or plastic tipped fineliner. The steel nibs of fountain pens can catch on rougher drawing paper, and they have to be held down for the ink to flow properly. There are times when I like to be a lazy bum and recline on my sofa to sketch, and then fountain pens don’t work because they need gravity. I did my research on fineliners though, to find the most environmentally friendly and economic option. Copic Multiliner SP pens are refillable and have replaceable tips, so I ordered a couple of those but the Steadtlers are going very well for me. I won’t enjoy tossing them away when the tips wear out or the ink finishes. I did the thumbnail studies using the Steadtler 0.7, 0.5, and 0.3 size pens- the perfect set for sketching- without a pencil underdrawing, and as fast as I could, spending no more than a couple of minutes max for each panel. This was done on a big A3 sketchbook, which I enjoyed for a change although my go to is usually a blank A4 notebook by myPaperclip, a local Indian brand that does pretty great quality smooth ivory paper. Their covers unfortunately are thin card so it bends in my backpack and the binding has started to unravel on my older, filled notebook but that’s a topic for another day.

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