Tools of the Trade

Over the years I’ve used all different king of tools. There was a period of time back in high school when I thought “I’m only as good as the tools I use”…and oh how wrong I was…

As you may know, traditionally Japanese manga artists use fountain pens(most commonly the ‘g-pen’) , and so I thought “hey that’s what I`ve gotta use” .. I came to the same conclusion regarding ink bottles, copics, etc.. And miraculously my art wasn’t any better. I became frustrated and disheartened that I wasn’t producing art on par with the artists I looked up to. However, over time I realized that what some pros use may not be what works best for you, and using what’s best for you doesn’t decrease your chances of being a pro. No tool other than your brain can do that.

Now I’ve become an artist of few tools and I must say, my creative flow is a lot less congested, and I’m a lot more at ease. Here is my arsenal of essential tools:


A uniball vision pen. Fine tip. This is the first everyday pen I started using and so it fills a very special place in my heart. The flow of ink is great, so the lines stay constant. The ink is a nice deep black. It’s also awesome because since the pen is waterproof, you can use it with water colors if you feel the urge.


The Precise rolling ball pen. This is actually my personal favorite – it’s finer than the uniball, so it’s great for working on really small details (which i love doing). It’s not water resistant like the uniball though, so as far as working with water goes, it’s good if you want to make a grey watery shading effect. The lines stay intact, even after being worked over with water.


Faber Castell calligraphy pen and Pentel brush pen. They both can make moderately thick lines. If I want more constant lines I go with the Faber. For a more traditional raw brush look, I go with the brush pen. The brush pen is a lot more sensitive to pressure. It effects the flow and the durability of the brush, so sometimes the lines aren’t very constant… but when they are.. 😉


A non-photo pencil. It’s great for when I’m doing initial sketches for a piece – I can make my sketches as messy as I want and I don’t have to worry about erasing, confusing myself with lines, or the sketches showing up in my scans.


An Apple Pencil. Honestly I was anti apple / mac person  for quite some time (except for the iPhone) , but once I received an iPad as a gift my world changed. I no longer tango with PC. So the Apple Pencil was essential for me as far as going digital. Despite its hefty price tag ($99 usually), it’s the best stylus I’ve used for digital. The feeling of drawing on glass is still kind of uncomfortable for me, and I still haven’t gotten the complete hang of it, but it is one of the most responsive and fluid tools I’ve used thus far. I used Wacom products with my pc before and honestly I don’t think I’ll ever go back.


…Ramen Snack. When hunger strikes in the dead of night, sometimes this is all I have to save me from being distracted in the midst of drawing something. They’re delicious and they come in a variety of flavors. Probably THE most important item on this list..!! With ramen snacks … all of your artistic endevours…shall be accomplished without fail.

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