The Akashiya Sai ThinLine Brush Pen Extra Fine, Sumi Black just sucks. It has no redeeming qualities: it's way too dry, it's ink capacity is low, it's tip turns into a ragged mess quite quickly. The only good thing about it is that you only wasted about 5$.
I was at Heroes Con back in 2015 and talking to Mr. James Harren during a portfolio review. I asked him how the hell he was getting these amazingly controlled ink splatter almost gradients, and he told me he wasn't. He was using halftone sheets. He pulled out his portfolio with some of his originals, and inside was a few sheets of Deleter Halftone Sheets. James actually handed me a full sheet, which was beyond kind of him to do (this one, SSE-492 for the curious). It took me a really long time to actually ever even use it, but it started up a pretty costly interest in halftones. Today, I'm going to talk about some tips and tricks with halftones from Deleter and also go into some helpful tips on what exactly you are buying (because their website is not very new consumer friendly!)
There are a lot of brush pens out there that look similar to this design: a bristle brush tip, and huge barrel, which doubles as a replaceable ink cartridge. It's a bit of an odd design compared to the more fountain pen-like brush pens, in that you have to squeeze it to push ink into the feed area. These pens aren't nearly as nice to look at, but it's currently my favorite brush pen. This is a utilitarian, function over form brush pen, and it's one of the cheapest of the refillable bristle brush pens by far (usually around 6$ on Amazon or $8.25 on JetPens). If you don't have one of these pens, I suggest you grab one.
Non Photo Blue Lead (or Non Repro Blue Lead) is a bit of a legacy item as far as art reproduction is concerned. The benefit of its use would be that you wouldn't have to erase, because the camera taking a photo of your black and white inked illustration wouldn't be able to pick up that color of blue (Xeroxing either). We can use this tool today with scanning in our work, it just takes an extra step. Above is a before and after of an image with the non photo blue lead on the left. On the right, I just dropped the saturation of the cyan channel down to 0 and bumped the lightness all the way up, and poof, it's gone. There's a few other ways to do this, but the point is there is still a reason to do this today (though most artists now print their non photo blue layouts). In this round-up I am comparing 5 different non photo blue leads, and seeing which is king.
Note: Originally the illo sketchbook 8"x8" different rating, but in retrospect and with more use, I have made an adjustment to it's final score. Read on to see the change.
The illo sketchbook 8"x8" honestly has some of my favorite paper in a sketchbook. For quite a while, I was looking for a hardback bound sketchbook that had bristol board. To no avail. Such a thing really doesn't exist. Strathmore's Visual Journal line has both a smooth and vellum bristol, but it's wirebound, not many pages, and the cover is ugly as sin. Everything there is a bit of a compromise, so, I'm not really into them. But this, this is so close to perfection.
(aka Timo) is a comic creator, designer, and illustrator living in Durham, North Carolina. He has his BFA in Studio Art from East Carolina University with a concentration in Illustration. He hates speaking in the third person.
© Copyright Timothy Weaver 2019