Friday, August 2, 2013
Restocking art supplies quick notes: Faber Castell Pitt Metallic pens, Tombow Mono Professional Drawing Pencils, Picadilly Sketchbook, and Bone Folder
Picked up a 5.5" X 8.5" wirebound Picadilly sketchbook at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, for I really like its Hokusai Wave design and portable size. Any way you dice it, getting 100 sheets/200 pages of white 120 gsm sketching paper for 5 bucks is a pretty good deal. Throughout the years, I have found the B&N bargain section to be a convenient source of value priced sketchbooks when running out of drawing paper while near a mall.
Found the Faber Castell Pitt Metallic Artist pens at Askew Taylor (they still have free parking in the lot across the street while the store is open). They do not require shaking to get the ink flowing and do have a metallic sheen depending on the lighting and viewing angle. They feature rigid 1.5 mm plastic bullet-tip nibs.
Sample doodles. The #252 Copper has the strongest contrast on the white paper, and #251 silver looks the lightest. They might come in handy when decorating custom greeting cards or creating special effects on ATCs and illustrations.
Our supplies coordinator got us some new pencils and bone folders for our camps at the Cary Arts Center. The cardboard box for distribution in the USA of the Tombow Mono professional drawing pencils has obviously gone through a redesign. As striking as an orange and black box might look on a shelf, I think I like the old box design better. These Japanese pencils became an instant personal favorite after I discovered them at a university bookstore a few years back, so we use them in my intermediate and advance drawing classes. Being left handed, I really appreciate a pencil that can smoothly lay down rich dark lines that do not smudge when my drawing hand brushes against them.
The pencils come unsharpened, so I used my Mitsubishi Uni KH-20 crank sharpener to get them ready for class. You can get fairly long points on these soft leads without any tips crumbling.
The whole dozen of 4B pencils sharpened easily without any breakage. They offer superior performance and a great value compared to the imported Mono 100. Many can't feel the difference between the two (see this post at Journaling Arts by Cynthia and this review by Ben Chamberlain from A*)
2B & 4B pencils are ideal for creating dark and bold sketches quickly. The strong pencil points glide smoothly on the paper and lay down smear resistant lines for clean drawings. Sure you could get a whole dozen of generic No. 2 yellow pencils for the price of a single professional drawing pencil, but the latter is certainly worth it if you value your time. You can naturally use either one for doodling and writing, but I find that I can draw and shade much faster when sketching with a Tombow Mono or Hi-Uni pencil. Plus I hate the scratchy feel and narrow leads of some generic pencils. Now if you are the type that likes to smudge your graphite drawings for tone and shadow, you might want to go with an even softer grade or check out some other drawing pencil like the Staedtler Lumograph, Faber Castell 9000, or Cretacolor that in my experience tend to be less smudge resistant than comparable grades of the Japanese premium pencil brands.
Both sample swatches erased pretty easily with the Sakura SJ-100 block eraser, but left some ghost graphite reside behind since they are so soft. Jet Pens actually carries an eraser specifically designed to erase 2B and 4B marks, so I might have to try one of them in the future.
Bone folders are pretty useful for origami and card-making when folding thicker papers and card stock. This Martha Stewart model has a slightly curved handle with a sharper edge for precision scoring. We got a handful for our classroom supplies. They are typically made of polished cow bones, so they are pretty strong and light weight. By running the folder perpendicular across each paper fold, you can get crisper edges and more stable origami models.