View Full Version : Favorite Tools & Materials?

08-06-2012, 05:09 PM
Because, c'mon, how else are we supposed to make art?

I know (or think??) there's a thread about your artistic process and favorite art books and all that, but I thought it might be fun to see and share what everyone uses in terms of pencils, pens, tablets, markers, etc. Pros and cons people have for stuff they've used and suggestions for newbies to give a try.

This isn't a OMG THIS BRAND IS SOOOOOO SUPERIOR TO THAT OTHER SUB-PAR BRAND kind of thread - everyone has their own preferences. However, I think we can all agree that Rose Art is crap. :D


I buy A LOT of art supplies to try out - especially cheap stuff because, well, I'm cheap. I have Prismacolor markers and pencils - both of which I really love. I also love Prismacolor's Scholar line, which is cheaper than their normal colored pencils and the leads are a bit sturdier. For anyone who hasn't used Prisma's colored pencils, the leads are very, very soft and can break easily, depending on how gentle you are with your coloring.

I think Promarkers are comparable to Prismacolors and they're a bit cheaper (usually a buck and some change less).

I've also used Copics, though I can't bring myself to buy them because they're SO expensive ($6/each!). i do really like them, however, as they're exceptionally smooth and seem to come in more colors than the Prismas or Promarkers.

I've been picking up Stabilo's point 88 brand pen/markers and they're really nice. They're, essentially, fine point markers in a variety of colors. They're nice for simple inking, as well, and little details.

My favorite purchases lately have been Spica's (one of Copic's brands) glitter pens. They're similar to gel pens, but a touch more transparent and in a wider variety of colors.

I also tend to try out a lot of different papers. I love ACEO cards, Bristol board, and cardstock to draw and color on - the heavier the paper, the better, in my opinion. My sketchbook right now is a Canson Mix Media sketcbook and it takes inks and markers really well.

I also have a tablet - an old Wacom Graphire 2 that's at least ten years old at this point. I use Sai to sketch/ink/color digitally and I use Photoshop to add textures/fine tune things~

08-06-2012, 10:09 PM
Waccom tablet.

I used to use colored pencils a lot when I was young and poor and my PC could barely run Office without chugging.

08-06-2012, 10:18 PM
Wacom tablet Intuos3. Ever since my girlfriend won a cintiq I got pretty spoiled on it. :P

Software: Photoshop CS5--I actually like the Pencil tool, after seeing it on pixiv. Sure it takes away the realism, but that's half the fun!
Photoshop Sumi-e. Can't really find any good calligraphy brushes, but it's fun to do it on the comp.
Traditionally, I like using the Zebra Z-Grip mechanical pencils and Pilot G-Pens. Actually those 6.95$ blank books you get from the discount aisle at Barnes and Noble have some of the nicest smooth paper I've seen, so I recommend it to anyone. Moleskines are fun to draw in, but the price makes it kind of painful as well.

Also giving those "Nepalese tree-less paper" a try from B&N, those look rather fun.

Pony King
08-06-2012, 10:23 PM
I could never get into markers, I even went out and bought a bunch of prismacolors when I was a kid and I found out I hated it very quickly. So that was money wasted. XD

Most if not all my work is done digitally so my primary tools are my Wacom Intuos 4 tablet with Photoshop CS5.5. If I'm doing lineart I use Paint-Tool Sai and on rare occassions I need a vector graphic I use Illustrator.

Most my work is done digitally so my primary tools are:


Wacom Intuos 4
Photoshop cs5.5: Used for everything from sketching to painting.
Paint-Tool Sai: ONLY used for when I'm doing linework, which is far and few between.
Illustrator cs5.5: Used when I need a vector graphic.

If you count front-end development then I also use Dreamweaver cs5.5.

When it comes to traditional work I only paint or sketch.


Master's Touch Fine Art Studio sketchbook (love this thing)
Papermate protouch II 0.5 mechanical pencil (absolute favorite pencil, had this thing forever.. I should find another before this one breaks, I'll be sad when that happens specially since they i'm 99.9% sure they don't make this anymore.)

Too lazy to go look in the other room at the brands, but when I paint traditionally I prefer oil, but will use acrylic if I have to.

*edit* Apparently my pencil is super expensive, lol http://www.discountofficeitems.com/office-supplies/writing-correction/pens-pencils/mechanical-pencils/paper-mate-protouch-mechanical-pencil/p10148.html

08-06-2012, 10:29 PM
Back when I was more into traditional stuff, Copic, Blick brand, and Sharpies + Cold-press watercolor paper were my favorite damned things ever. I still have STACKS of that paper sitting around (got a few $75 packs for like $9 each at a Blick sale a few years ago). I should try more traditional stuff.

Now, it's mostly my trusty Wacom Bamboo and Paint Tool SAI for me. :U

08-07-2012, 01:12 AM
When I do traditional art, I use whatever I can find. Preferences though are mechanical pencils because they've always been easier for me to use. I ink with micron pens between the widths of .01 and .08, nothing lower or higher. Sometimes I use a brush pen, but it's mostly for making really thick borders/outlines. I'm not the best at traditional art so I need to get back into the groove of it.
To color I use colored pencils or markers, but lately I avoid coloring traditionally because it turns out like crap in my eyes.

Digital art... A wacom tablet. I've used a wacom intuos4 medium for 3 or 4 years now and I love it so much. It's finally beginning to show signs of age, though, so I'm saving up for an intuos5.
As for the program, I am a SAI worshipper. Photoshop just never worked out for me, ever. When I discovered SAI my life was complete.

08-07-2012, 01:35 AM
My favorite is a tablet.

This might sound stupid but I hate how the pencil makes my hand sweaty and then pools black on the underside. It feels gross. I'm a little compulsive about having my hands clean and it was really nice to have to deal with less pencil dust and shavings. When I draw/doodle on paper out of boredom now (usually in church), I do it with a pen because I dislike the grossness.

08-07-2012, 03:35 AM
I mainly use 0.9 mechanical pencil, the built in eraser and multitude of sketchbooks/A4 arks

For pc I have Wacom Bamboo pen & touch

08-07-2012, 09:56 AM
For sketching I use light blue pencils, the lines can be removed fairly easily on the computer if needed.
I also like sketching with ballpoint pens, used to reach for the eraser all the time and never get anything done so pens helped me get around that working with or around mistakes. I have not owned an eraser for a very long time.. years even.

08-07-2012, 11:25 AM
I fully support Prismacolor! Great quality colored pencils; really the only ones I use.

I do a lot of pointillism and use a lot of pen and in general, so I use both Micron pens and Faber-Castell. Faber-Castell pens are awesome for pointillism. I have a fine tip pen of theirs that lasted trough three pointillism pictures (lots of dots means lots of ink).

As far as paper goes, I really like Bristol. My dad used to be in construction and once brought home many stacks of this kind of rough paper, but it's excellent for pencil drawings and sketching. And I'll throw this in here; I use a lightbox, too.

And for digital, I use a Wacom 6x8 Intuos3 tablet, but really want an Intuos5. :c

08-07-2012, 12:04 PM
I use SAI now but before that, Artweaver was a great program. I personally can't stand Photoshop or anything made by Adobe. I always find that cheaper or free software works a lot better than their products. Inkscape and Paint.NET being the big examples.

08-07-2012, 02:23 PM
Wacom Graphire 4, Sai and Opencanvas 1.1. Only things I really use.

Haven't done traditional art in years, was never any good at it and didn't do it right in the first place. Also had to stop because I couldn't afford anything beyond mechanical pencils and printer paper after a while. And the way I hold my pen/pencil just makes me smear my work all over the paper haha.

08-07-2012, 06:26 PM
Digital: Wacom Graphire4, Wacom Bamboo pen (less preferable of the two), OpenCanvas 1.1, GIMP 2.4.1. I use the GIMP primarily, and OC for softer, more painterly projects. Occasionally, I like to use TegakiE.com.

Traditional: Simple printer paper, unlined index cards, calligraphy paper, eggshells, aniline dyes, beeswax, metal nibs, bamboo pens, mechanical pencils (.5mm HB lead), Royal Taklon brushes, school-grade dry watercolor pans, Speedball gesso, Micron sakura pens (005, 01, 02), recycled wood, exacto-knives, Testors paints, pocket knife (Maxam Steel LB440), plaster of paris, dried paper pulp, Sculpey (super, II), and anything else I can get my mitts on.

08-08-2012, 04:00 AM

Wacom Cintiq 21UX, the best thing in the world in my opinion!
Photoshop CS5, mainly for animating, and BG certain effects
Paint Tool Sai, everything that is in color (Mostly, sometimes I use a little of PS as well)
Manga Studio Debut 4, I'm still kinda new to it, but I like using this for BW/Monochrome stuff.


Crayola 50 count Colored pencils (they're cheap and get the job done for me personally)
Prisma Markers, I just wish I knew what kinda paper was best for markers..
Kimberly Watercolor Pencils
Very fine, real-hair paint brushes (they were given to me, dunno a brand name)
Canvas is awesome! but expensive, i haven't used it since I was in highschool...

Needless to say I don't do much traditional work now that I have my Cintiq, and I don't remember a lot of the stuff i used, I do know i used water proof pens that are usually used for manga, and mechanical pencils with .5 lead. I might get back into this stuff when I move to AK since i won't have my PC for a while.

08-13-2012, 12:02 AM
Oh man I use pretty much everything.

I have a Wacom Intuos4 XL tablet that I adore even if it's utterly massive. Nice and smooth, lots of pressure levels, etc. I use SAI and Artrage 3, sometimes CS5.

Basic sketch paper is great for any dry media, like ballpoint pen, pencil, or colored pencil. If I'm using marker and micron pen, I'll use Copic A4 paper. It doesn't bleed, suck all the ink out of my tools, or make the ink dry too quickly, so I can blend it easily. If I'm making a watercolor painting, I'll use any kind of high-tooth paper meant for it. Would like to try cold-press sometime. For acrylic painting, I'll use any kind of wooden plank; I don't like painting on canvas that much.

I'm not picky about pencils, but actual artist's pencils are really nice. I don't get to use them often outside of very basic sketching but they're great when I do. Also, gum erasers. Vinyl and rubber are bleh.

For markers, I like the Copic Multiliner micron pens. They have a nice variety of sizes for anything I might be working on that involves markers. Just have to be careful to not color over the lines because the ink smears.

Prismacolor markers are my choice of markers. I really like Copic Sketch but they're really expensive. Prisma is somewhat cheaper and offers a lot of nice colors and nice greytone sets (warm, cool, and french greys) for value. They're nice and smooth and blending is a cinch.

Watercolor is a tossup between Grumbacher and Reeves. Reeves has good quality, comes in both tubes and pans, and is fairly cheap. Grumbacher is more hoity-toity but holy crap they have great color choices and even have their own shade of red. Really liked working with them.
Reeves also makes nice acrylic paint. I like it more than typical crafter's acrylic.

For colored pencil I use a combination of both Prismacolor Verithin and Crayola. Crayola has nice soft leads which go well with the hard leads of Prisma Verithin. Would like to try other Prismacolor pencils when I get the chance.

I'll also use things like charcoal, dry pastel, oil pastel, and whatever else I can get my hands on, but I don't use them often enough to have an opinion about brands or anything. I don't know about clay brands but so far I like just basic stoneware when throwing or sculpting.

10-01-2012, 04:12 AM
I'll use anything I can get my hands on that works.
I've always loved markers. Sharpies, Copics, prismacolors, promarkers, it doesn;t matter as long as it's a permanent marker.
Colored pencils, I prefer crayolas because they work really well and aren't that much.
I love pens and use sharpie pens, microns, ballpoints, jell pens or prismacolor pens (which I have currently only because they were on clearance)

for my tablet, I have a bamboo pen and touch. I use a mixture of Sai and mypaint, and occasionally firealpaca, open canvas or mspaint.

10-01-2012, 04:50 AM
Whenever I work digitally i can't live without Sai Paint. Really helps me with smooth strokes. I switch between a Wacom Bamboo and Intuos 4 often, but i think i prefer the Bamboo more. Really want to get better at Photoshop though.

10-01-2012, 10:36 AM
I'll use anything I can get my hands on that works.
I've always loved markers. Sharpies, Copics, prismacolors, promarkers, it doesn;t matter as long as it's a permanent marker.
Colored pencils, I prefer crayolas because they work really well and aren't that much.
I love pens and use sharpie pens, microns, ballpoints, jell pens or prismacolor pens (which I have currently only because they were on clearance)

for my tablet, I have a bamboo pen and touch. I use a mixture of Sai and mypaint, and occasionally firealpaca, open canvas or mspaint.

Glad to know I'm not the only person who enjoys Crayola pencils.

10-07-2012, 01:29 PM
I primarily use this sucker:


10-09-2012, 06:10 AM
Being a traditional artist, I like the markers. Prismacolors are cheaper than copics, but in the long run copics have refills which make the mmore ideal.
paperwise, I use sketchbook paper for most stuff, but Bristol is NICE. It doesnt bleed and it blends well.
other than that, the standard mechanical pencil, white gel pen, and inking pen are my tools.

10-11-2012, 12:13 PM
for traditional i like ink acrylics and watercolors

and for digital photoshop or sai i like them bout the same

Jupiter Fox
10-30-2012, 01:16 PM
I just use a wacom bamboo, it seems to do the job quite well....w/ sai, cause its awesome....for traditional I use chartpak markers, gelpens, and fineliners :P

11-04-2012, 01:30 AM
Digital: old bamboo fun tablet, MyPaint and GIMP. Sometimes SAI if I feel like going into windows :I

Traditional: Colored pencillllllsss <3 my favorites are the Faber-Castell Polychromos. Expensive, but they're oil-based so you can use turpenoid to 'paint' with them. I'm also trying to work with watercolors more... I like Staedler ink pens and lead holders, and Faber-Castell dust-free erasers. Nothing better!

02-20-2013, 11:20 AM
Hmm, let's see... favorite art tools?
I've tried too many traditional media and also working with tablet. But I've always returned to graphite pencils, watercolors and colored pencils. My most favorite are Schmincke Horadam, followed by White Nights, I use the pan versions (never got used to a paint in tubes, they're like gouache or tempera and I don't like that). I really love how versatile watercolors are and how you can play with incredible amount of effects (salt, alcohol, ox gall, granulation mediums etc.).
Faber Castell Polychromos and Lyra Rembrandt are my most favorite brands of colored pencils, especially because they're soft and oil based. I also like Prismacolors (I bought a 120 set years ago on Ebay) but since not all the colors are lightfast (and many of them have broken lead inside), I usually use them for smaller works with Copic markers. :)
I also have a set of Talens Ecoline watersoluble inks, which are wonderfully brilliant, I love to work with them.

02-20-2013, 12:21 PM
My trusty Wacom tablet/Corel Painter 11 combination.

02-20-2013, 01:01 PM
My favorite tools are my tablets (Wacom Intuos3 and Bamboo Pen)

02-20-2013, 03:53 PM
For a sketchbook, I use 9x12" Canson Universal-Sketch. I don't know what they do to the paper but ink lines don't bleed at all, which I really like. You can't put down too much ink or it'll ripple, but for line art it's perfect. It has a little tooth, too, which is nice for drawing.

When I'm doing anything nice... comic pages, or more finished looking drawings... I use Canson Artists Series Bristol. It's a nice compromise between quality and cost.

I draw with a Staedtler Mars technico 780... Plus the lead pointer, it has all the advantages of wooden and mechanical pencils. When sketching, I use HB or 2B. For comic art, I draw lightly with an H2 lead.

For inking, I mainly use dip pens and india ink. I prefer Higgins brand ink, because the bottles come with an eyedropper cap (some Winsor-Newton bottles also come with them, but they're too fat and round at the tip to load my nibs.

For nibs, I use a Hunt-107 Hawkquill for the bulk of my lineart. For varying line weight and very fine hatchin, I'll use a Hunt-102 crowquill. I've also got a Hunt-104 mapping nib for extremely fine hatching and I recently picked up a Hunt-22B for heavier lines. I've been practicing lettering for a while, with a Hunt-512EF Globe Point nib, but I'm not very good at it.

Lately, I've been using charcoal, or 5.6mm nero/negro lead, to add shading and rendering to an ink drawing. I have no clue what I'm doing, but I like how things are going so far.

Digitally, I use Photoshop CS4 and an intuos4 (medium) waccom tablet for cleaning up and colouring lineart.

I picked up the airbrush stylus, which replaces one of the pen buttons with a scroll wheel. The interesting thing is that it doesn't work like a mouse wheel or a scroll strip... those require a pair of plus/minus keystrokes: zoom in/out, increase/decrease brush size, etc. The wheel on the airbrush stylus is actually more like a slider that goes from min to max, and you can attach anything to it that you can control with pen pressure. I usually have opacity or flow on the wheel, and brush size on pressure. It's really convenient, and I love using it, but I'm not sure it's was worth the 120$ price tag.

I have an A3-size Mustek flatbed scanner, it's gargantuan. The software is clumsy and the hardware feels cheap in general, but an 11x16.5 inch working area is luxurious. I don't mind the software, since I usually crop and adjust in Photoshop. Only complaint: if the paper is even remotely off the tray, the scan will be out of focus. Not usually a problem, except when my sketchbook paper ripples from too much ink.

As a portable set of gear, I have my Compaq CQ10-Mini, an old 4x5 inch graphire2 tablet, and a copy of GIMP. I spend a lot of time in fast-food joints, sitting and drawing, and I use my netbook to carry around my library of ref. images and comic scripts. Sometimes, I need to mock up a comic page to figure out how much space the dialog will take. I've used it to do a fair number of redlines, too.