Change Your Art Supplies, Change Your Perspective

Ok, I cheated slightly and created the background for this little sketch digitally.

Ok, I cheated slightly and created the background for this little sketch digitally.

Although I got nostalgic about my old art from 2012 a few days ago, the thing that I really get nostalgic about is my old art from 2010 and 2011.

I didn’t know why, but it had a very distinctive “look” to it, which I just couldn’t quite seem to replicate in any of my more recent drawings and paintings.

It looked a bit like THIS.

It looked a bit like THIS.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I got some new drawing pens. Normally, I use a 0.5 mm black “Uni Pin Fine Line” inking pen for the lineart on my watercolour paintings – and I’d planned to get some more on Amazon when I noticed that I could get a set of five “Uni Pin” pens for much less. The interesting thing about this set was that each pen had a different nib width (0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.5mm and 0.8mm).

So, out of curiosity, I decided to start testing them out and I started with the 0.1mm pen. Almost as soon as I started drawing, I suddenly realised “This looks exactly like my old art from 2010!”

I’d found the thing that I’d been missing all this time!

The reason why I could never quite re-create the “look” of my old stuff from 2010 was because of the line width. Back then, I was much more into hyper-precise/hyper-detailed drawing and, when I bought my first inking pens (as opposed to just using ballpoint pens), I bought two Shachihata “Artline” pens – one was 0.1mm and one was 0.5. Guess which one I used all the time back then?

In fact, the only pen from back then that I still own is the 0.5mm one (and it still just about works) because I’d completely used up the 0.1mm pen and probably thrown it away sometime back then. So, whenever I got nostalgic about my old art, I’d look at my old 0.5mm “Artline” pen and try to draw with it. Of course, my results looked nothing like my old art for the simple reason that I was using a much larger line width.

Anyway, this got me thinking about how what art supplies we use can influence the art we create and how we create it. Whilst some things are fairly obvious, like my previous example of how thinner pens are better for more detailed drawings, other things can be a lot more subtle.

For example, when I started using watercolour paper, I was always a lot more careful about the quality of my art than I was when I was using “ordinary” paper. Because the cheap watercolour paper I was using was marginally more expensive than traditional paper, every picture “counted” a lot more than it used to. I became slightly more concerned about quality, at the expense of producing lots of art quickly (like I used to).

Likewise, when I got some fairly good Staedtler coloured pencils for Christmas last year, I’ve noticed that I tend to blend colours more often than I used to when I used fairly basic W.H.Smith coloured pencils. Also, whenever I use Crayola pencils, I almost always tend to take advantage of the bold colours that this type of coloured pencil is very good at producing.

The art supplies that you use can have a surprisingly large influence not only on what your finished drawing and/or painting looks like, but also on the kinds of images that you choose to create too.

So, if your art feels like it’s getting slightly “stale” or you want to add something new to your art style, then think about using slightly different types of art supplies to the ones that you usually use. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but they should probably be different in some way or another.

Seriously, you’d be surprised at how much it can affect both what you create and how you create it.


Sorry for the short article, but I hope it was interesting 🙂

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