dang, this new software seems like it has infinite possibilities! i was planning on writing about the stylus shortly after my earlier post but i kept finding different qualities and new nibs! it’s a tough one to nail! they call this stylus a “pencil” and you use it right on your desktop with the program’s “paper“!
but seriously, this stylus is amazing, you can even get a variety of different shapes, textures, smoothnesses, waxynesses, there’s so many qualities to consider! it’s like eating fine cheeses. so after eating some of these i did these weird stream of consciousness tests with some of the different varieties!
i hit a bunch of supply stores and collected various stylus nibs, but i wanted to make sure they were comparable based on some factor so i used only ones marked with the 6B and 4B distinctions. because this is already going to be retardedly in depth, i’m focusing on the 6B nibs.
so here’s some background you don’t need:
i used to always use prismacolor col-erase [usually blue] to animate. i thought they were the “animator pencils” and sure they’re great, but a friend slipped me these bob camp animation notes that had all these crazy bold lines on them and told me mr. camp will crush anything weaker than a 6B with his eyeball and that it makes a huge difference for quick sketching to use the softer grades. the colors are great for certain circumstances like signifying when there’s a partial hold, tracebacks or cleanups, something like that. but when you’re looking through a bunch of layers they don’t always hold up.
to compound that discovery i stumbled upon this interesting creature here.
so this blackwing was THE animator utensil of choice?! it was basically a 6B?! it used to be made in my neighborhood…and now it’s extinct?! MEGA BOGUS!!
They go for 30 bucks on ebay for a single one now!
that got me thinking, not every 6B is the same then IS IT?! NOPE! there are big differences! lead grades [6B vs 6B] tend to be similar but they vary company to company [so there's no solid standard for softness], and beyond that the lead itself can be smooth and waxy in one pencil and charcoally and brittle in another.
Now that i knew there was once the ultimate pencil and it had been defeated by capitalism and staples i needed to find a reasonable facsimile, so I endeavored myself in rigorous PENCIL TESTING! PUN!
here’s my incoherent musings:
i tested how they worked with different pressure, in a quick squiggle and how much they smudged. overall how they felt and “drew” too. there’s a lot of pencils here, so i’ll summarize a bit.
STAEDLER MARS LUMOGRAPH: before testing i was using mostly the stœdler mars lumograph, which actually racked up pretty high in the end! really smooth and easy to work with quick, puts down a solid line too. sometimes it feels a bit too waxy though and dulls fairly quickly. an all around good pencil, plus the proceeds for all those pencils go to some school in germany or something. you can find these everywhere. the graphite itself is a bit chubby which can be good or bad depending on what you’re doing.
GENERAL PENCIL CO. KIMBERLY: right after the tests my favorite was general’s kimberly pencil. but after numerous field tests at figure drawing and general drawing stuff this sucker doesn’t like pencil sharpeners. the lead quality is really nice though and they’re made from a sustainable cedar wood crop which is a rad aspect for them to boast. the 4B seems to sharpen a bit better than the 6.
TOMBOW MONO: the next i was skeptical of at first but i was swayed and then they were endorsed by this awesome dude simon ampel which only furthered their case. the tombow mono is a pretty slick pencil! it gets dark and draws pretty smoothly without being too waxy a real solid pick! i used the tombow mono homo-graph pencils from dick blick but apparently the mono 100 are badass and these use the exact same lead.
CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC PALOMINO: another being hailed as the potential replacement for the titan that was the blackwing is the smoothest ride in town; california republic’s palomino. i use this pencil a lot now, it’s become my general sketching pencil [though i do hop around a lot] and i’m animating with it too. it keeps it’s point and can get really dark despite claiming to be a 2B! this is definitely a pencil to check out! also comes recommended as far as modern pencils go, by this rad dude: robert ryan cory [in the comments of my paper post]
all of these are winners really it’s up to you to wrangle in what works the best for your purposes. for fast gesture and crazy doodling i use the mars a lot, sometimes the general’s [just not for figure] but the tombo and palomino are pretty well rounded and not too smudgy; good for just about anything!
another contender was the Lyra art and design pencil, but it’s dang expensive and not as good as the others so i opted against making it a finalist.
the turquoises aren’t so bad either but they have a hint of that charcoal feel that i don’t like, a bit of resistance irritates me when i’m doodling with a soft lead.
the general’s layout pencil actually boasts being used by animators on it’s website! but it’s a bit charcoally for me, definitely good at dark lines though and heck, good for layout if you’re more sure with your line than i.
that’s all i got, i have no idea if it makes sense but i’m clicking “post” before i think about it.
here’s some drawings that i did [there's a disembodied head in the upper left by mike carlo too] when i was testing these out that were more about how it felt when i was scribbling than what i was actually drawing so they won’t really help anything here at all!:
this post is a mess and i’ve had a lot of coffee.
– holy canolies! cartoon brew saw some sense in this and linked, totally rad, thanks guys! there’s a bit more discussion there too: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tools/pencil-testing.html
whoa that blink tag worked?! i know what i’m using more of…