Many readers have been asking me for more specific information about which drawing pens I use and what their different characteristics. I'll get into more specifics later in this post but here are four highlights about my use of drawing pens:
1. I draw with two basic types of pens: a) water based (non-permanent) ink pens and b) alcohol based (permanent) ink pens.
2. I draw on paper with water based pens and I draw on mylar with alcohol based ink pens.
3. I combine alcohol based markers with water based ink pens so as not to smear the linework.
4. I limit my pens to four brands: Pentel Sign pen, Pilot Fineliner pen, Staedtler Lumocolor pen and the Pigma Micron pen.
Below is an explanation of each pen along with a “test page” in which I drew the same subject using different pens and compared the results.
SketchUp Model View. For this drawing exercise, I traced over an aerial perspective from a Google SketchUp model I constructed of a residential development. I printed the scene on bond paper and added some trees with a Chartpak AD marker.
Pentel Sign Pen. The broad fiber tip on this water based pen is ideal for quick sketching large drawings without a high level of detail. I drew over the SketchUp scene on tracing paper which resulted in heavy linework with a general lack of fine detail in the buildings, windows and trees. The drawing was too small to effectively use the Pentel Sign pen.
Pilot Fineliner Pen
Pilot Fineliner Pen. Similar to Pentel Sign pen with a solid black ink and fiber tip, this pen was a perfect size to reproduce the detail of the buildings, shadows and landscaping. I drew on tracing paper and was very pleased with the line weight, detail and quick action of the pen.
Staedtler Lumocolor Pens (top to bottom): Lumocolor S (super fine), Lumocolor F (fine), and Lumocolor 318 F Refillable
Staedtler Lumocolor F Pen Comparison. The two drawings above were from two different types of Staedtler Lumocolor F pens. Notice the different tips from the closeup photograph. The standard F pen (upper image) was very wet and very difficult to capture any detail on mylar. The thick linework is too rough and unacceptable compared with the other pen options. The lower image was drawn with the 318 F Refillable pen and produced a beautiful sharp line on the mylar. The 318 F pen is a great fast drying pen for use on mylar and erases quite easily with a moistened eraser.
Pigma Micron 02 Pen
Pigma Micron 02 Pen. This permanent ink pen is manufactured with different tip sizes to produce varied line weights. Categorized as a “technical pen”, this permanent ink pen produced a consistent line width on mylar but was much slower to dry than the Staedtler pens. Notice the smudging at the lower portion of my drawing. When drawing on mylar with this pen, I advise having several spare pens around as the hard finish of matte mylar will wear away the pen point over a short period of time.
Final Aerial Perspective. This cropped drawing was from a larger 30”x60” aerial perspective I drew on mylar using the Pigma Micron 02 Pen. Knowing that I was going to color the entire drawing, I outlined the architecture and trees, and applied very minimal shading to the overall image. The completed line drawing was digitally copied onto presentation bond paper and colored.
Final Colored Perspective. I used a combination of Chartpak AD markers, Copic markers and Prismacolor pencils to illustrate the forest, residences and overall landscape.
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