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Now let's focus on the...
January 30, 2016
Verified Purchase
Now let's focus on the felt marker pen portion of my monthly review: Deleter Neopiko Line 3 black pen with 2.0 nib. Also made in Japan for those of you that like to keep track of the origin of your tools. Deleter was one of the first manga art supplies I got to sample long ago, and I have always been pleased by their performance and reliability. Drew a coloring outline of BB-8, a popular request these days. Pen handled smoothly and yielded a waterproof outline quite effortlessly. The 2 mm bullet tip lends itself well for quick strokes, and the ink flow kept up with my natural fast sketching speed without skipping. Added some color with watercolor pencils. The black outlines were not affected by the waterbrush when dissolving the dry watercolor pencil marks. Thus the Deleter ink was waterproof when dry. I really want to add the rest of the Neopiko Line 3 pens to my collection based on the performance of this sample pen. It would be nice to have some of the smaller nib sizes for detailing and cross-hatching to add some texture to your pen and ink drawings. The broad 2.0 mm nib is ideal for heavy-handed users, drawing bold cartoon outlines, and performing quick sketching demonstrations that are easily visible from across the classroom. You can press harder on the substantial nib without bending the tip. I tend to destroy smaller fine tip pens when trying to draw quickly.

I took the Palomino Blackwing...
January 30, 2016
Verified Purchase
I took the Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencil along in my hike of Hemlock Bluffs. While a darling of writing enthusiasts, I wanted to test its potential as a sketching tool since I enjoy doodling with the smooth dark leads typical of premium Japanese pencils.The flat eraser gives it a unique look and works ok, but I prefer a dedicated eraser anyway. Its main advantage is as a conversation starter, and it helps in keeping it from rolling away. This pencil is certainly quite smooth and gets dark with little pressure. Leads are perfectly centered, so it sharpens easily to a nice workable point. It was fun to doodle several test sketches quickly with its soft dark lead. Since the tip wore down quickly, I had to sharpen the pencil pretty often between sketches. Bottom line: it is a nice distinct-looking pencil that makes sketching fun if you enjoy making dark bold marks quickly and hardly erase like me. It is almost like using a gel pen in pencil form given the darkness of the strokes it can achieve. Yet you can still make some corrections with a nice soft foam eraser.

For the spotlight item...
December 16, 2015
Verified Purchase
For the spotlight item of my monthly review, I picked these nifty German markers: the Stabilo Pen 68 Marker-1.0 mm- 20 color set housed in this ColorParade case. Once you remove the clear plastic dome cover, the case opens like a book and works like a standing easel for the marker pens. It is far sturdier than the flimsy wallets typically used to store kids' markers. The colorful display is sure to brighten your desk or workstation.The pen caps can be posted on the back of the pen, so they won't get easily lost. Their trademark hexagonal barrels are pretty comfortable and don't roll around your table, and their nibs produce uniform bold colorful strokes about 1.0 mm thick. Reportedly the Stabilo Pen 68 can be left uncapped for 24 hours without drying, so you can work confidently with multiple pens uncapped during complex coloring sessions without significantly shortening their useful life. Their rigid pen nibs are well suited for lettering, doodling, sketching, and coloring. Their colorful waterbased-inks flow evenly and without streaking even when using quick drawing strokes. Their inks dry so quickly, that even a light color used on top of a black line does not cause black ink to smear into the lighter color. Thus I would certainly recommend them as a natural companion to the grown-up coloring books that have become so popular these days. If you are still brainstorming for a last-minute holiday gift, I suspect that this marker set would make both kids and adults happy. I have to admit that I really like the packaging, and I was drawn to this set because of its ColorParade case.
1 person found this helpful
I keep a canvas roll...
December 16, 2015
Verified Purchase
I keep a canvas roll filled with an old set of Inktense pencils in my classroom supply cabinet as a coloring option for my students for years, so several colors have already vanished from my original set. It is nice that I can refill missing colors one at a time. The new round barrel Inktense pencils are wider and softer than the original ones that had a hexagonal shape. They fit snugly and securely in the loops of my Derwent canvas wrap. The original pencils tend to slide and fall off since they have narrower bodies. The new color leads do not seem to break as much and lay down the color with a bit less effort. The original Inktense formulation felt harder and drier requiring repeated rubbing in order to release their color on the paper and also crumbled rather easily under pressure. After brushing the dry marks with the waterbrush, the colors become quite bright. The main strength of these Derwent pencils: portability and ease of use of colored pencils coupled with the ability to lay down bright saturated color washes with just a bit of water. After touching them up with a wet brush the marks dissolve into bright ink washes in a controlled manner. Easy and clean way of using colored inks without the mess or risk of spills. The Derwent Inktense pencils would make a fine addition to a portable sketching kit specially when bundled with a waterbrush. I often recommend watersoluble pencils over markers for my students to color their manga sketches since you can get a range of tones by adjusting the amount of water and can even mix some colors to a degree. Personally I prefer softer leads that are less brittle, but I think the Inktense pencils are a good choice for beginners.
2 people found this helpful
I keep a canvas roll...
December 16, 2015
Verified Purchase
I keep a canvas roll filled with an old set of Inktense pencils in my classroom supply cabinet as a coloring option for my students for years, so several colors have already vanished from my original set. It is nice that I can refill missing colors one at a time. The new round barrel Inktense pencils are wider and softer than the original ones that had a hexagonal shape. They fit snugly and securely in the loops of my Derwent canvas wrap. The original pencils tend to slide and fall off since they have narrower bodies. The new color leads do not seem to break as much and lay down the color with a bit less effort. The original Inktense formulation felt harder and drier requiring repeated rubbing in order to release their color on the paper and also crumbled rather easily under pressure. After brushing the dry marks with the waterbrush, the colors become quite bright. The main strength of these Derwent pencils: portability and ease of use of colored pencils coupled with the ability to lay down bright saturated color washes with just a bit of water. After touching them up with a wet brush the marks dissolve into bright ink washes in a controlled manner. Easy and clean way of using colored inks without the mess or risk of spills. The Derwent Inktense pencils would make a fine addition to a portable sketching kit specially when bundled with a waterbrush. I often recommend watersoluble pencils over markers for my students to color their manga sketches since you can get a range of tones by adjusting the amount of water and can even mix some colors to a degree. Personally I prefer softer leads that are less brittle, but I think the Inktense pencils are a good choice for beginners.
My old round corner punch...
December 16, 2015
Verified Purchase
My old round corner punch is bent and no longer works properly, so I was curious as to how well the Kadomarun punch performs. It rounded the corners of Canson Bristol XL ATC cards with no trouble. While it punched cleanly through 2-ply bristol and 3 pages of 24 lb printer paper, 140 lb cold press watercolor paper made it struggle a bit. It also punched easily through the 67 lb color card stock that I used for some custom sketchbook party favors at my nephew's birthday party. If you like round edges on your cards and sheets of craft paper, I would certainly recommend this Kadomarun punch.
My old round corner punch...
December 16, 2015
Verified Purchase
My old round corner punch is bent and no longer works properly, so I was curious as to how well the Kadomarun punch performs. It rounded the corners of Canson Bristol XL ATC cards with no trouble. While it punched cleanly through 2-ply bristol and 3 pages of 24 lb printer paper, 140 lb cold press watercolor paper made it struggle a bit. It also punched easily through the 67 lb color card stock that I used for some custom sketchbook party favors at my nephew's birthday party. If you like round edges on your cards and sheets of craft paper, I would certainly recommend this Kadomarun punch.
Sturdy reliable sketching...
November 2, 2015
Verified Purchase
Sturdy reliable sketching tool that is pretty much impossible to lose under normal conditions. With its bright neon lime body stands out like a beacon anywhere it falls.

I enjoy using fountain pens for ink sketching since you can pick your favorite ink to refill them repeatedly and their metal nibs tend to be sturdier and longer lasting than disposable pens. They are far more convenient than dip pens and bottled inks while on-the-go. Once you fill them up with an ink cartridge or converter, you just have to remove the pen cap in order to start drawing with little chance of an ink spill. For the latter are not really a practical choice when traveling and drawing within a cramped plane cabin for example.

I really like the Lamy Safari's futuristic design with its triangular grip and flattened cylindrical barrel. The plastic body feels high quality like the same material used in Lego bricks. Have I already mentioned that I love its neon lime green color? this pen just can not get lost among the other tools in a cluttered desk.

From a quick glance, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the marks made by the Extra Fine (EF) and Fine (F) nib sizes. Upon closer inspection, the F nib did yield a slightly bolder line as it would be expected. Initially the EF nib felt a bit smoother and allowed me to sketch a tad faster. The continuous fine (F) line strokes broke when I drew too fast. Yet with a bit more practice, they both are very smooth sketching tools that yield a uniform line width.

The Lamy Safari Fountain Pen would make a great gift for the artists in your list and sketch-crawlers in the family. They are sturdy reliable sketching tools, and you can even use them for writing! I carry mine everywhere I go these days.
This compact sketching...
September 9, 2015
Verified Purchase
This compact sketching pencil fits easily in any pocket or purse, and so long as you remember to retract the lead it will not stab you by accident. Thus it is the safer choice by far, should you be running out the door and just need to throw a pencil in your poc

The barrel length of the Kaweco Sport pencil is a tad shorter than my current favorite the Worther Shorty, yet it is a perfect fit for children and artists with smaller hands than mine. Its 3.2 mm thick graphite lead is far more resistant to breakage than typical mechanical pencil thin leads (0.5 mm through 0.9 mm) if you have a tendency to press hard while you draw and snap the lead tip off.

The Skyline clutch pencil features a drop clutch advance mechanism. The lead advances by pressing the button on top which releases the 3-jaws clutch, and you can adjust the length of exposed lead with your other hand or on a rigid surface.

All my short 3.15 mm clutch sketching pencils before the Skyline Sport were also made in Germany, and their refills and lead pointers fit and work with the 3.2 mm Kaweco leadholders as well. Thus you could search for either size when shopping for drawing refills.

Every artist should have at least one compact clutch pencil in their tool box since they make it easier to practice drawing and sketching regularly. They remain pocket safe and easy to transport while the lead is retracted. You are ready to draw when inspiration strikes with just the push of a button. The chunky body reduces fatigue with its wider ergonomic grip.

Their short barrels echoes the compact size of a chunky graphite crayon or a piece of chalk from a drawing class, but they are much cleaner to handle since they keep your drawing media from touching your fingers.

Keeping the thick lead pointed can be accomplished by turning the pencil as you draw, touching up the lead tip with sandpaper, or you could try the Kum Automatic Brake Long Point Sharpener that features sharpeners for 2 mm leads (the white ring opening on one side) and 3 mm leads (the red ring opening on the opposite side of the sharpener).

The Kaweco Sport has the shiniest surface of my sketching pencils, and its plastic body also feels the lightest. While it comes without a pocket clip, you could always order one and attach it to its octagonal barrel. A lightweight body can be an advantage during long drawing sessions, but if you prefer more heft and a matte-finish in your clutch pencils I would recommend trying the the Lamy Scribble.

I would recommend the Kaweco Skyline Sport 3.2 mm clutch pencil for those seeking a lightweight compact drawing tool to upgrade their sketching kits. Personally, I find that having a special pocket-safe drawing tool helps me focus my creative energies and to practice sketching more regularly. You will be more likely to draw more frequently with a reliable sketching pencil close by. You do not need to carry a lead pointer all the time, but it is a nice accessory to have if you want to restore the razor sharp tip to your drawing lead and render fine details.

Should you have difficulty finding their Kaweco 5B 3.2 mm refills, you could also try Lamy Scribble 4B 3.15 mm refills, Stabilo EASYergo HB 3.15 mm mechanical pencil refills, and Worther Shorty 7B graphite leads. The softer leads are more suited for sketching, while HB is a better choice for writing. If you search hard enough, you might even find some 3.15 mm color leads, but I generally find them rather brittle and their marks resemble more wax crayons than colored pencil lead.
3 people found this helpful
This short barrel waterbrush...
September 8, 2015
Verified Purchase
This short barrel waterbrush is equipped with a medium size tip of white nylon filaments. Its green neon color make it easy to spot and find among your supplies on the go. Its water carrying capacity is large enough to complete several small watercolor sketches without refilling. It can pick up color directly from watercolor pans, or it can be used to blend dry watercolor pencil marks.

While I already own several waterbrushes, I just couldn't resist adding this green one to my collection. I tend to use medium size tips more frequently than any other size. To clean it between color changes, you can simply press the barrel to flush it and wipe it on a tissue or paper towel.

While the waterbrush white tip might get stained with some pigments (particularly green ones), it does not hinder its functionality. Successive washes do not get contaminated with the stained brush tip.

The compact travel waterbrush would make a great addition to any sketching kit and allow you to employ watercolor techniques with minimal setup and quick clean up.

3 people found this helpful
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