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.
The East Hill Tombstone White Brush Pen (EAST HILL EH16-1) has been on my radar since I first saw it on Jet Pens a few months back. I don't like most white-out pens because most are garbage. The gel pens usually are too ghostly to do anything ( I do love the Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen though, it's a slight bit wide but it's still great), and there have never been any white bristle brush pens as far as I know, until now. Also there looks like there are pretty much no reviews for it, so I figured I'd get one out there with some examples.
I've used a few Canson Mixed Media sketchbooks over the years. They are one of the few sketchbook with paper that I enjoy that you can get nearly anywhere. I've bought them in Wal-Mart, Michaels, local art supply stores (RIP Askew Taylor in Raleigh, NC), and Amazon, obviously. They are ubiquitous, cheap (I've gotten them for $5 often), and it takes most every ink you can throw at it. Well.
I’ve gone back and forth on Moleskine’s over the years. They were the first expensive sketchbook I ever got myself (the Pocket 3.5″x5″ sketchbook). I’ve used a few of their plain journals as sketchbooks over the years, though that never worked very good with the thinner paper and all. I’ve had a few of the medium sized ones (they call them larges, 5″x8.25″), and those are just cramped for me at this point.
I had also been not too into Moleskine’s for a while over issues with ink. When I got more serious about sketchbooks, I was using Kuretake Brush Pens at the time. And those things did not work at all on Moleskine Sketchbook paper. It would just barely adhere to the page, you would see where it wasn’t evenly getting accepted onto the paper at all, looked like it was oil and water almost. Due to that, they were dead to me.
(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