Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide and First Giveaway Contest sponsored by Jet Pens - My top 10 categories for basic sketching supplies

Happy Thanksgiving! Woo hoo this is my 200th post! Thank you for stopping by dear readers. This Holiday Gift Guide compiles my top 10 categories for my favorite sketching tools with links to previous review posts and online vendors where these quality tools can be found. Naturally selecting art supplies can be rather subjective, and individual mileage might vary. Yet, I believe these basic choices are a good starting point for building your own sketching kits and putting together some fine gift sets for the artists and creative types in your holiday lists.
1. Mechanical Pencil: If I had to pick just one 0.5 mm mechanical pencil for my sketching kit, it would be the Pentel Graph 1000 for Pro Mechanical Pencil for Drafting. Perfectly balanced for drawing precise strokes and quite comfortable for drawing for extended periods. Recommended refills: Pentel Ain leads.
2. Leadholders: Convenient choice for drawing with graphite leads of different diameters and grades with a holder that does not change in length after every sharpening. While they seem to be disappearing from many conventional outlets, they can thankfully still be found through several online retailers. In the 2 mm range, I believe the Uni-ball leadholders and packs of 6 Uni graphite leads are one of the best values around. For a step up and a fairly unique choice, try the Staedtler Silver Series 2 mm Lead Holder. The larger diameter 3.15 mm clutch pencils feature greater resistance to breakage, and my favorite choices in this category are the Worther Shorty and the Lamy Scribble (shown in the photo above). The Shorty is my favorite choice for when I do quick cartoon portraits and entertainment sketches at classes and events. Recommended accessory: KUM lead pointer, and do not forget to get some 3.15 mm graphite refills for they are virtually impossible to find locally at most brick-and-mortar stores.
3. Premium Wooden Pencils: For both writers (HB) and artists (2B or 3B pencils are quite suitable for sketching), a box of Japanese premium pencils would make for a pretty original and welcomed gift. The Mitsubishi Hi-Uni and the Tombow Mono 100 pencils are the top pencil offerings of two respected Japanese manufacturers, and they are considered by many to be the very best wooden pencils in the world. I suspect they must have some secret wax ingredient in their lead formulation, for they are super smooth and fairly smudge-resistant compared to similar grade pencils from other brands. Recommended accessories: KUM sharpeners and a Pilot Foam eraser.

4. Pigment Liner Pens
: For sketching with ink pens of different widths (0.1 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm), I would recommend starting with a set of Sakura Pigma Sensei pens or a set of Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens.
Also worth trying: the Staedtler Pigment Liners and Prismacolor Premier Illustration marker sets.
5. Waterbrushes: The Pentel Aquash waterbrush was my first exposure to this innovative and convenient watercoloring tool. They are the perfect match for a set of fine watercolor pans, crayons, or pencils. Good tool choice for sketchcrawls. Try the Niji waterbrush with a flat head and a set of Pentel Aquash waterbrushes to determine which ones suit your personal sketching style best.
6. Brush Pens: Convenient tools that allow you to sketch with ink (cartridges) anywhere with the performance of a high quality synthetic brush (usually made with nylon filaments) eliminating the need to carry a cumbersome ink bottle and regular brushes. While there are many brush pens available, I think most users would be pleased with either of the two following options for their value and performance: The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen or the Kuretake No. 13 Fountain Hair Brush Pen loaded with waterproof Platinum ink cartridges. For fancier gift options, check out these sable hair brush pens.
7. Watercolor Kits: I often carry a tin set with 15 Caran D'Ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons or a Derwent canvas wrap loaded with 36 Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, for they make for fairly compact and versatile watercolor kits.
8. Pencil Cases: While they are fine presents on their own right, they make even better presents if loaded with a few of the other sketching tool options listed on this post. I own several to keep different supplies organized. I like the convenience of having multiple sketching kits ready for different occasions and environments. I use the orange-grey Kokuyo NeoCritz Transformer Pencil Case to store an assortment of premium pencils (this model is particularly useful for its ability to stand upright like a pencil cup anywhere). This khaki Nomadic PE-10 Tri-Fold Pencil Case functions as my studio organizer for a variety of mechanical pencils, leadholders, and pens.
9. Sketchbooks: Always a good gift choice to encourage the recipients to continue to explore their creativity and develop their artistic skills throughout the following year. While there are many choices and styles available, perhaps a French fine art paper sketchbook might make for a pleasant surprise. In the past few months I was able to try a variety of Rhodia and Clairefontaine papers, and I was quite pleased with their quality and performance. I would recommend trying out a blank Rhodia pad for brainstorming and random doodling and the Exacompta Sketch Book for experimenting with a variety of media.
10. Gel Pens: Fun for smooth sketching on most papers and available in many bright colors. A favorite choice in my daily sketching kit remains the black Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Gel Ink Pen with a 0.38 mm nib, for it works well for sketching waterproof outlines that can be colored with watercolors without smearing. The new Pentel Slicci metallic gel pens would make some nice stocking stuffers or a neat little present as a set for the teenage girls in your holiday gift list.

Prompted by Lily from Jet Pens that is generously supplying a $10 gift certificate as a prize, we are going to have the very first contest giveaway at the Lung Sketching Scrolls. Inspired by the mechanics of the efficient and frequent giveaways by Brad at The Pen Addict, the rules are quite simple:

1. Leave at least one comment on this post anytime between now and December 12th Saturday night at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. At this time I will not limit the amount of entries, but I will moderate all comments to weed out spam. Feel free to link this giveaway on your blog, or share it with anyone interested in art supplies and fine stationery. If you have a blog, I would love a link back, but it is certainly not required for entry into the contest.

2. For this contest, I will pick one winner at random from the comments section of this post. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.

3. The contest winner will be posted on Monday, December 14th. The winner will have until Friday 18th to email me (listed in my profile contact information) his or her name and e-mail address.

4. The winner will receive the $10 gift certificate by email.

Comment Responses:

Wow, so many entries already. Yup, contest is open to everybody with a name and a e-mail address, for the prize will be sent by e-mail and Jet Pens ships internationally.
The grip on the Pentel Graph 1000 feels quite solid and comfortable on the original matte black version, for I do not like it as much in my limited edition silver and blue color mechanical pencils. I do love my leadholders for field sketching, and I prefer the 2 mm and 3.15 mm versions. Guess I should work on tutorial demos for both blogs, for I tend to post them mainly for the benefit of my elementary and middle school students in my cartoon sketching blog http://cartoonsketching.blogspot.com/
Hmm, 49 entries already and still another week left to enter the contest. Got to remember to add the DUX 3-way sharpener to my list, thanks for the suggestion che Pablo. I wasn't familiar with the Pilot H32, but after finding it in the Cult Pens website I realized that it is the ISO colour coded opaque plastic version of the Pilot S3 which is indeed a fine economy drafting pencil.

60 comments:

bengkia said...

Congrats on the big 200th! Great post with lotsa new tools that i want to try after reading this entry.

The Pentel Graph 1000 looks interesting. I might want to try that next. How's the grip on it?

I'm also mightily tempted to pick up a leadholder or two, and some of the Japanese pencils. I usually just use Staedtler Mars Lumographs when it comes to woodcase pencils, but that's more out of convenience than merit.

Have a great Thanksgiving! :)

Heather said...

I am still fairly new to sketching and art supplies so I really like your list of tools. I'll keep it in mind on my next art supply shopping trip.

I would love to win the gift certificate - I love shopping at Jetpens but it is not often that I can afford to do do.

Also, congratulations on your 200th post!

TJ Lubrano said...

Really awesome info again!

Oh how cool!! A contest! So is this also for people abroad? I would love to join ^_^!

I do have a blog. I believe you can click on my name and you will be magically transported to my blog ^_^

take care!

Gentian said...

Congratulations on your 200th post! I always appreciate your in depth and informative reviews. :)

An excellent and comprehensive holiday guide. Any artist would love those items.

A wonderful giveaway too!

Julie (Okami) said...

I love JetPens and I loved your blog post.

colewardell said...

I love giveaways-- they're like the sign that you're a truly established blog, right? Anyways, thanks for assembling the list of favorites! Very helpful.

I'll make sure to make a post pointing your way!

K.T. said...

The pencil cases look really useful!

Marcus A. said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. Lung! Keep up the great work on your blog(s). Here's to 200 more helpful and informative posts. Speaking of which, any chance you'd do some tutorial-type posts regarding making art, tool usage or maybe some how-tos? Anyways, happy holidays, be well.

Sara said...

congrats on your 200th!

Thank you for the chance :)
Take care.

JoniB said...

Please count me in on the contest! I love Jet Pens!

range said...

I wouldn't mind winning, and congrats on your 200th post!

bea said...

Congrats on your 200th post and I hope you keep posting more. :)

I hope I win but even if I don't, this is a great post and I hope to pick up some of your recommended art supplies when I get the chance to visit an art supply shop here.

W V C a ROL said...

i printed off a your list of holiday gifts and placed it where Santa could find it (along with JETPENS url). Hopefully, he will get the hint.

Carol

orangeinsanity said...

Yay for your 200th post! That really is a great guide, I'll be sure to keep it in mind. ^-^

Ruby said...

Wow, thanks for the generosity!

Li said...

That'd be awesome! Jetpens is my heaven. :)

Zazen said...

congrats on your 200th!

Thank you for the chance

Bye Bye

Serif said...

Oh, Jetpens = <3

Glad I found your blog! :)

William. said...

Wow, a real give away. I'm in!!

Alexia said...

excellent post - good list of supplies. And it's always good to see another JetPens addict ;)

an artist. who likes to draw, paint, and design... said...

i want in.
great blog btw

Zuzu said...

I love Jet Pens and would love to win!

B said...

Love the blog. It's very cool to see reviews of the tools of an artist by the artist.

Marco Bona said...

Congratulations!! Good luck for all!!

M&M said...

Ooh, I was just browsing Jetpens, drooling over the new stuff. I loved your list as well!

Nhu said...

I love your blogs and hope I win too ^^

paperskater said...

Yayyyy! JetPens! Congratulations on your 200th post!

Shelly Z. said...

JetPens is such an amazing site to get great quality pens! Cept, I can't buy any because I dont have a credit/debit card. I would love to win the gift card!

dwagon said...

Yay! I love Jetpens! (way too much)

David said...

I must say, this list is quite helpful. most lists like this are quite restricted in their purpose (ten things every person who draws like this needs), however this is a nice, general guide.

Larry Marshall said...

I sure wouldn't mind winning. Loved this post, though it cost me money (grin).

Cheers --- Larry

MikeWas said...

Cool! Though I'd include some dip pens & bottles of ink.

Naumaan said...

Congrats!

jphu said...

Please count me in!
Uniball Signo DX pens should be a staple in anyone's arsenal. Great range of colours and waterproof!
In for the win Jetpens!

SirCram said...

My dad never lets me order anything from JetPens... Now I'll get what I've been wanting to get for a long time!!

A. E. Walters said...

I'm an online "art supply window shopper" so I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your recommendations. Quite a few of those are being added to my holiday & birthday wish list; thanks!

George said...

Outstanding Post, love the details and congrats on 200.

Alyssa said...

Congratulations! I love your blog, and Jetpens too of course!
Thanks to you both for the giveaway!

I Love Art Supplies said...

Hey Alberto, thanks for doing this giveaway contest! I'm the one who requested the white colored pencil comparison test which you so kindly did! Thanks again for everything! Hope to win the jetpens contest! :) Have a great Christmas holiday!

stev0themarried said...

yay!

Tom L. said...

I absolutely LOVE your blog. There is a tremendous amount of information to sift through. I do so gladly:0)

Please, keep them posts coming. I'll be reading as you post.

Kurt Häusler said...

Nice contest! I would love to take part.

Anonymous said...

Two Hundred posts. I haven't read them all, but am working my way through them. I love your blog. Good advise on tools, supplied ideas, guidance, and even templates for kid friendly projects. Between you, Exaclair and JetPens what more could a sketcher want?

Thanks for all the good tips and information.

Happy Holidays.

Renee G said...

Congrats on your 200th post.
I'm a big pentel fan as well.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(Dot)com

mnb.nguyen said...

I agree with your gel pen pick. the Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 is heaven :3

Aaron said...

I would love to get some stuff from jetpens!!

Ryan said...

WAH! I totally want to win!

testing24742 said...

Congrats! I hope to win so I can finally fill out my JetPens wish list...

The Dragon Beard Candy Store said...

I love this site ^_^

ginigin said...

Happy 200!!!

Jetpens is my favorite and most tempting pen place. I'm new to blogging, but will add your link to my site if I haven't already. Thanks for your great reviews ... you have inspired many a purchase.

>^..^< Ginigin

Paul said...

The combination of extensive art supply reviews with my addiction to JetPens is impossible to resist. In return, let me suggest a sharpener to try. It is, IMO, one of the most overengineered items I have every encountered but one that is actually useful at times. It's the DUX 3-way sharpener that may be found here (http://www.pencilthings.com/dux-3-way-adjustable-brass-pencil-sharpener-with-genuine-leather-case.html)

Congratulations on your 200th post.
-che pablo

Jocelyn said...

Very exciting giveaway :) I'll definitely be linking to it on my blog.

Erin C. said...

Your list is very thorough. It is what my list would look like, except I'd substitute fountain pens and ink for mechanical pencils and lead holders. :)
Congratulations on the success of your blog. I really like it.

Ryan said...

I want to win!

Ital said...

I hereby enter the roster.

Kendrak said...

Mmm, brushpens.

Terri said...

Wow! Great gift list and explainations! This will be a big help all year long. Thanks!

Emmi said...

Congratulations on the 200th! I love Jetpens! Thanks for putting this up (:

drawldfg said...

I really like your blog. My personal fav is Pilots h32/s-line for drafting, among others. If I won I would probably use the money to try a Graph 1000 which I have been longing for for a while now - just making conversation here as I know the winners comment is selected randomly :)
But it seems like a nice take on a rubber grip, and looks really nice as well. I like grooved grips or just smooth ones aided by ergonomics. Metalknurlings can be abrasive and just scare me and seem like a bad idea - anyone who has worked with nail files and are of a more sensitive nature will understand what I mean, and rubber nor looks good or right (think it has to do with durability partly) or has a tight feel when its a big chunk of it as I often hold pens near the tip end. This is not black and white having said that, as I love Pilots Dr.Grip. My e-mail adress will start with "pe" if I would happen to win.

Ontheroad said...

A most worthy list. I use quite a few of the same products, and it is always great to read and see what others use.

Thanks for directing me here. (Zoe from Pentamento)