Thursday, 19 May 2011

Tools of the Trade: Traditional

Starting on the mediums most people will be familiar with, this post deals with traditional mediums.

Here on this blog, we're initially focused on just the drawing aspect of the medium, so pencils are always a must! Don't worry too much about the other mediums to begin with. While they will be listed here for references sake, you don't need to worry about paint or anything else in the meantime (unless your eager to hop in, by all means do so! but remember you gotta learn to walk before you can run, so to speak...)

So without further adeu, let us begin!;

(PS the example art used here generally is my own unless otherwise noted)


Pencils are the most important tool in a traditional artist's inventory, mostly due to it's easilly erasable nature. Pencil allows an artist to plan their drawing and also lends itself very well to shading (as the example above shows, I'm rather proud of that swan heh). It's a great way to get used to drawing.

Of course, make sure you get good pencils! HB is okay for sketching, but is a little too hard to really lend itself to shading, which 2B grade pencils are better suited to. You don't really need the full set (as odds of using any of the other Pencil types is rather rare) so tins like this Dewent one should have everything you need, I'ld also reccomend a kneeded putty rubber. These erase paper lines without leaving the marks that usual erasers leave on paper (or leftover pencil marks)

I'd also recommend a good paper pad, cartridge pads generally are best for drawing, though realistically, any pad will do to begin with. 

Oil and Chalk Pastels

Personally my fave colour medium, pastels provide all the joy of colouring, without the hassle of mixing colours and as a result are nice introductions to traditional . They come in two types - this example shows the chalky kind of pastel. These have nice vibrant colours and stick a lot better than usual chalk (they also mix and overlap pretty well) - though they can be VERY messy. Make sure if your going to use pastels that lay out some kind of cover beforehand!

Oil Pastels are basically a posher version of the humble crayon, only the wax is somewhat softer and (like the chalk pastels) stick better and feature better colours than their cheaper counterparts. Oil pastels tend to be a bit rougher to work with, though provide great texture. 


Markers are very good for those artists with some experience with shading, used correctly, these can make colouring a much faster and simpler process. However they can bleed easilly and colouring over dried marker can leave a darker effect, which if used unevenly can look pretty bad in a picture. Markers are also pretty expensive to boot at about £1.50 a pop for certain markers, and possibly more. If colouring by marker appeals to you, start off with the starter packs and see how you feel from there. Promarkers do some good selection sets to get you started


Paint is the trickest of all the traditional mediums, as it requires skill with a brush and you need to learn not only how to apply the paint but also how best to mix it. I haven't got the best experience with Paint, so I'll set that aside for now as it's something we'll cover a little further down the line So now we've talked about the traditional materials in art. Now onto the Digital Fronter!

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