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Q: “I don’t have time to get everything before the first class, what do I need first?!”
A: No problem! And it’s not a bad idea to talk to me in class about what materials we will need, some of the substitutions possible, and why. And it can be tough sometimes on a busy schedule to come up with everything you’ll need for the course. This is a short list that will cover the key items, must have first class materials:
♦ A thick wood pencil like a carpenter’s pencil, or a solid graphite crayon, block, or pencil, for life sketching.
♦ Three dark blue or black standard Prismacolor pencils. Good for fast expressive lines.
♦ 1 0.7mm mechanical pencil. .
♦ Some Prismacolor Col-Erase® Colored Pencils, the come in box sets and loose individuals, I recommend at last 6, a set of two blue, two orange or green, and two red.
♦ A good pencil sharpener! One that does not break your tips. Try them at the shop. Some of the best for cheep are the small metal models.
♦ Erasers; One kneadable & One white plastic. You will want both!
♦ A Pentel Presto! Pocket Correction Pen. aka a Whiteout pen. There are other brands but I don’t recommend them, they all are kind of terrible. Office depot should have them if the art stores are out.
♦3-4 18”x24” Cartridge paper pads! – you can use newsprint but only if it’s smooth, not the rough kind. Really you will get far better results from white Cartridge paper pads! Again, smooth here makes a difference.
♦ One Large [9”x12” or larger] sketchbook, or pad of SMOOTH paper. Not a “sketch” pad, something like fine marker paper is much better. And one small pocket or purse sized sketchbook for sketching while out and about. Again, Smooth paper is important!
Dynamic Drawing Materials List
Along with your existing favorite gesture drawing instruments, explore this list and try to get one or more of each of these mark making tools. For example, you should get a nice brush of some kind, I give the Pentel Pocket Brush or Art Brush by first recommendation, but a good quality felt brush pen is ok to start with too. Not nearly as good as a real bush, but the Faber Castell Pitt Pen brushes are a decent option and come as part of their nice ‘manga’ set of pens. Montreal can be a frustrating town to source some things in, but I’ve investigated a few stores locally, and included a list of shops at the end here I think I can recommend. I’ve also linked to examples of many of the items, and most can be gotten from sites like jetpens.com or amazon.ca. That’s how I often get those items I can’t find locally.
- ♦ A Pentel Pocket Brush [+refills]. You WILL love this. Other kinds of Pocket bushes are acceptable, but not even close to as good. FYI DeSerres DOES stock these, but they don’t keep them with the regular pens. Ask for them in the calligraphy section by name! A Pentel Standard Brush Pen, Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen, Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Brush Pen, and Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Brush Pen are affordable options. Learn more about this class of pens here!
- ♦ Optional: A fine Pentel Aquash™ Water Brush, or Koi water brushes with reservoirs from SAKURA. I haven’t tried this but De Sarres also has these now. These are for use in shading with ink wash and portable watercolor work. Learn more about this class of pens here!
- ♦ A thick wood pencil like a carpenters pencil, or just a jumbo, or solid graphite crayon, block, or pencil, for life sketching.
- ♦ Three dark blue or black BEROL Prismacolor pencils. For fast gesture work, gives a rich varied line.
- ♦ 1 0.7mm [or larger lead size] Mechanical Pencils! I use a Sumo-Grip pencil. Bigger is OK but for life studies and gesture, a fine lead pencil under 0.7mm tends to snap a LOT while doing fast gesture work, so I advice you opt for the larger gauge Mechanical Pencils. & 1 pack of compatible HB leads or softer for the Mechanical Pencils! color led IS an option.
- ♦ Optional: A set of water-soluble, aquarelle colour pencils including black and the primary colors. DeSerres stocks several brands in the store. These are optional but highly recommended. Another great portable wash and watercolour tool as well as dry media sketching.
- ♦ Some Prismacolor Col-Erase® Colored Pencils, Sold as singles at the DeSerres as well as in sets, so you can pick your own colours. I suggest light blue [not the non-repro blue though, TOO LIGHT], red, green, and orange! But they don’t cost much and the more the merrier. And yes, they are erasable, unlike most other coloured pencils!
- ♦ Optional: A set of coloured Gel Ink ballpoint pens.
- ♦ A good pencil sharpener! I’m a fan of the Palomino-KUM Long Point Pencil Sharpener. There are many kinds, advise trying it out in the store before buying, look for smooth feeling as it cuts the wood. Smooth = sharp, less likely to break your leds. Cheap sharpeners feel rough, they grind the wood and lead more.
- ♦ Optional: A smaller utility knife [example] or xacto style knife. Handy tool generally and good for custom sharpening your pencils.
Corrections! making changes and fixing stuff tools!
- ♦ Erasers; One kneadable & One white plastic. You will want both!
- ♦ A Pentel Presto! Pocket Correction Pen. They can be had at many art stores and most office supply shops. I’ve picked up Prestos at De Serres and Staples. And saw bins full of them at Librairie Jasmin co-op UQAM! Bic makes something like them, and there are other correction pens but none as good. Ask for those before going with the Bics. And this is NOT correction Tape! Do not get Correction Tape.
- ♦ White Gel Ink pens! Personally use Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153, there are others. I have not exhaustively tested them so try out a few? These are more for drawing white liner details than corrections but when sketching they can be handy for small touch ups and highlights.
- ♦ Optional: Daler Rowney, Luma Bleed Proof White or Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White-Opaque paint for watercolour. I’ve been doing some comparison testing and there are other options out there, but as white graphic artists correctional paint goes, those two brands I find to be the best.
- ♦ Very Optional: Dr. Ph. Martin’s, or Liquitex, white india ink. Harder to find in montreal, De Sarres sometimes has the Liquitex but was sold out when I visited. Both are interesting drawing options if it can be had. I’m testing out the Dr. Ph. Martin’s now. Not for corrections as much as drawing in white with a brush or nib.
Papers: We will use a lot, you’ll want to make sure you stock up. The paper you use for dynamic studies can be cheep, but it needs to be decent, and most importantly smooth paper! At least as smooth as what you make photocopies on. That’s Cartridge paper. Here’s my recommended list.
- ♦ A Large [9”x12” or larger] sketchbook, or pad of smooth paper. And a small pocket or purse sized sketchbook for sketching while out and about. Again, Smooth paper is important! I’ve recently fallen in love with the RHODIA line of drawing pads with smooth ivory paper. Affordable “Ivory” smooth paper perfect for fast sketching. Whatever you get though, SMOOTH is important! Smooth smooth smooth…
- ♦3-4 18”x24” Cartridge paper pads! – you can use newsprint but only if it’s smooth, not the rough kind. We get far better results from white Cartridge paper pads! Again, smooth here makes a big difference.
- ♦ Optional: A pad of Bristol, smooth [hot press] paper for refined Ink work. 9×12 is fine, but you might want to get 11×14 if you want to ever do anything larger. I find the Strathmore 300 series to be ideal, and their windpower line is also workable. Don’t buy the 200 series Bristol though, it bleeds too much. It’s also possible to buy this in loose sheets and have it cut to your preferences as well.
- ♦ Optional: A pad of mixed media paper or watercolour paper, for wet media work. You can buy them in large loose sheets like i’ve linked to, or in a pad. We don’t use a lot in the class, but get at least three big sheets to start if you buy loose paper. That will cut down to 16 pieces typically for use in class to start. Bring it to class uncut and i’ll show you have to prepare it.
Syn Studio has a student offer for purchases from British Blue Print so try to find as much as you can there to exploit that! Just print out the first email message the school sent you to show them to get 20% off your purchase.
Other options include DeSerres all over town, maybe call them before heading out, to see who has what where?; La Boutique des ARTS de la Coop UQAM where with a membership their prices are a tad cheaper than DeSerres generally. And around the corner from it in the same building, is Librairie Jasmin co-op UQAM! Great for things like the Gell Pens and Presto Correction Pens.
Brush pens and nice sketchbooks can also be found at Au Papier Japonais, and Nota Bene Papeterie has some very nice sketchbooks and a great selection of pens!
There’s La Cohop Saint-Laurent des Arts, another spot were membership has its benefits. And I quite like Encadrements Des Cèdres.
I hear Avenue Des Arts in Westmount can be good, Kama Pigment for pencils and paints and a small drawing supply section, and if you’re a student at concordia they have a decent Art Supply Store worth checking out too.
I suggest calling ahead for all of these to see who has the things you need before visiting them, saves time. Also several of the items, like gel pens, mechanical pencils and correction pens, can be sourced at places like Staples!
This, is a photo of my own tools with most of the things listed.