Whenever I think of ‘media’ in reference to art tools, I remember the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Becomes a Sculpturess” [Season 2, Episode 15] in which Leon Belasaco’s character eloquently asks, “Which of the media do you employ?” I’m just as clueless as Lucy, but I can safely say, I’ve yet to make a bust of myself.
I love making art, but it’s easy to look at what others are doing and think your own skills and tools inadequate. My spouse and I are by no means rich, so I sometimes struggle with a fear that my art isn’t legit because I didn’t do it a specific way that someone with better, more expensive resources might can. One day, I started doodling and fell back in love with it. When friends saw what I was up to, they gave me a lot of positive feedback [thanks guys!!] and well… here we are. Long story short, I had to give myself some positive feedback, too. I tell myself how cool it looks with just a #2 pencil — and it really does. There are times I almost fear it’ll look worse inked or colored in. Point is… don’t let that stuff get you down. If you want to art, go do it!! I bet you actually already have some of what I use, or something similar.
Let’s start with the basic tools. [If I know the price, or where I got it cheap, I’ll let you know.]–
- Mars Lumograph pencil sharpener by Staedtler. I don’t remember where I found it, exactly, but I think it was about $5.
- Hi-polymer eraser by Pentel; I’ve found these for about a dollar at Wal*Mart.
- Sketchbook, XL Series by Canson. This is the Mix Media sketchbook for acrylic, watercolor and pen or pencil and it’s acid free. I don’t understand what the bulk of that means to say — painters — because I don’t paint [yet?] but there you have it. I got this one at Walmart for around $10-12, but…
- …lately I’ve preferred to draw on blank index cards by Pen + Gear. Those pictured are 4×6; I’ve been using 3×5’s. I get 100 in a pack for less than $1, also at Wal*Mart. I rarely ever see bleed-through, etc.
- I got this Flexi Ruler at WalMart so long ago, I no longer remember the price. It’s survived years of mildly abusive art, being rolled into backpacks, or smushed / bent by heavy books. Still works great. The ticks on the ruler haven’t faded a bit. Definitely a long-lasting purchase.
Bic Grip Rollers: I got this one from a bank and am delighted to report that such a simple pen [read: inexpensive, not super fancy] is so great with my art. I use it for Zentangles, and heavier lines. It does bleed through some papers if used too heavily, but this is the only drawback I’ve found.
Uni-Ball Signo (Micro 207): This is a ‘sometimes’ pen for me. I hardly ever use it for drawing, but it’s within reach when I draw, so, we’ll include it. I’ve found that there are times when these pens skip a little… but then I’ll find the one signo in the pack that’s completely okay with writing…
Pilot G-2 (0.5): This is probably one of my favorite pens to write or create lettering with [I usually sketch things out before inking them]. These pens write very clearly and I’ve never had any problem with them whatsoever [until they run out of ink, obviously]. Great control, because of the grip at the end. Just all-around awesome ball point pen, in my book. They’re excellent writers, too.
Dixon Ticonderoga (HB2): This is my pencil of choice. I’m on the hunt for a mechanical pencil, but am perfectly happy with these in the meantime. The erasers on these are fantastic and will usually get up most if not all the marks if mistakes are made. They’re reasonably priced at Wal*Mart and similar stores as well.
Marvy 1122 Le Plume II [No. 50, ultramarine | No. 55 iris purple | No. 83 butterscotch | No. 58 peacock green]: I usually use these for stamping [most of my stamping is done on letters to decorate the envelope, hence why it’s rarely seen in my art]. These are the 4 I chose when I realized I didn’t need as many as I had. Excuse any messy marking in the image — they’re quite old and some are starting to dry.
Staedtler FineLiners (0.3 mm): These are excellent for bold coloring. I love the smooth drawing and coloring abilities, as well as their lengthy life-span. I’ve had this pack since 2013, none of the pens have dried up. There is minimal damage to a few of the tips from overuse, but that’s about it. I could easily replace one or two pens at a time as needed and never have to purchase a full pack again. I’ll hold for the collective “oooh… ahhh”. Oh, and regarding the lifespan, it actually says “dry safe” right there on the packaging. This pack cost me about $20 at Target — but I think I got the holiday discount…
Crayola Colored Pencils: I love my Crayola. I doubt it’s really necessary to explain these. But what I will share is that about a year ago, I had a ton of colored pencils by another, cheaper brand. They were wooden and the wood around the lead kept breaking, making it nearly impossible to color with them at all. I finally decided to give them up in exchange for a more expensive box of 24 Crayolas and I’ve been so happy with them ever since.
Do you have a favorite media tool? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Thank you for reading!