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Most folks around DA seem to use CG to create all their art, but a lot of us still plug away with pens, pencils, and markers.  I interviewed a few of my friends who do traditional art to see how they create their pieces, and see how they feel about their materials.

From :iconwyndstar:wyndstar
Weapons of choice: 2h pencils, magic rub erasers, Koh-i-Noor Rapidograph 0.25 & 0.35, black ballpoint pens, Sakura Micron, Faber-Fastell Pitt pens; Strathmore bristol smooth 9"x12", regular computer paper, DELETER manuscript paper; DELETER brand and IC Screen screentones; several brands of markers and blenders including Prismacolor, Tombow, Copic and Neopiko

Pros and Cons:
-2H pencil: I draw with a lot of pressure and if I use B, I’ll smudge all about!
-magic rub erasers: they're soft enough so that when you're erasing a big giant page, your arm doesn't get tired. Only downside is the eraser dust.
-Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph: I love this pen because I always want a fine line and the ink is really dark. The bad thing about it is, it bleeds on some paper and sometimes the tip gets clogged so you have to wipe the tip a lot.
-ballpoint pens: I just like them because they're smooth. :P and they create a certain atmosphere. The bad -- you have to get used to inking with them. :(
-Faber Castell Pitt pens: SUPER DARK PENS!! They are LOVE! :D the bad -- they need more sizes :(
-Strathmore bristol smooth: I can't even tell you how much I love this paper. The bad-- expensive :(
-computer paper: if you've got no money... :P you don't need the expensive paper. The bad—can’t use markers; certain pens on it or it'll bleed. :(
-DELETER manuscript paper: Super smooth! They’re great for inking and markering. The bad-- expensive and hard to find.
-ALL SCREENTONES: Awesome shading effects. :D  The bad -- hard to find, expensive, and takes awhile to learn to use them (IC Screen's glue is more sticky than DELETER)
-COPIC & Neopiko markers: LOOOVE them!  COPICs are refillable/Neopiko in MY opinion, looks more watercolor-like.  I LOVE the brush tips because you can blend them easily and create watercolor effects. The bad -- expensive, sometimes hard to find. And the smell :(
-Prismacolor markers: cheaper than above markers. The bad -- UGH! the SMELL!!!!! I have to open a window when I use these!  Has no brushtip :(

24 by wyndstarin love with the dead of night by wyndstarcalling card by wyndstarCOMMISSION_sean by wyndstar



For sketching I use Rotring tikky II 0.5 with Staedtler's blue graphite. The good of it is that I can erase the blue lines in Photoshop and it makes a clear drawing. The bad is that the blue graphites are expensive (2 dollars per box of 12 blue graphite), and also, somewhat fragile, so you have to control the pressure or you can brake them while drawing.

For inking I use Staedtler pigment liner. They cost [in Chile] between 2-3 dollars per pen and they come in sizes between 0.05 - 0.8. I like that I can do a fast inking and it’s resistant to water, so they're perfect for inking in watercolor works. But the bad part is that they're very fragile (especially the ones between 0.05-0.5) so heavy pressure can brake it. And also, when they run out, you have to buy one new.

And also, I use Winsor & Newton drawing ink, in "black indian" and "white" colors with a nib pen. I like that it does a good ink job, but you need a lot of patience and watch the amount of the ink you use on the nib pen, because if you use a lot of ink on the nib, it can stain on your work. Each ink bottle cost between 2-3 dollars [in Chile] and they really worth it.

And for paper I use any sketchbook, usually with bond paper that is good to work with ink and graphite, but you need a lot of work with watercolor. Each sketchbook cost 3 dollars, and it depends of the brand, the bond paper can be good or bad to work with. That's why I use a lot of the art store brands.


Pencils - Very hard leads at very random times for very random sketches and pencil works, but never anything that I color, usually. 6H - 4H. I think my lead-holder is 8H (if that's possible). For things I intend to color, I use a plain old mechanical pencil because I very rarely have a sharpener handy.

Pens - For black inking, I've used Microns, Staetler Liners, and more recently, Rapidographs. Of the three, I think the Staetler liners are the best. Rapidographs are awesome, but if you're not drawing with them 24 hours a day, they get all clogged up. Microns always die too quickly and smear when I try to color things before the ink dries. :E Staetlers dry pretty much the instant they hit the paper, so they rock. Sometimes I'll do a pen sketch or two in two different colored gel pens like I did when I was 16. :D I love collecting pens. Back in the day, I was that chick with 80 pens in her backpack. I am also very very fond of Deleter Tachikawa pens (they have old dip-pen nibs), but seeing as I've been to no cons in the past 5 years that HAVE them anymore, I haven't been able to work with them in a while. I also love me some good old ball point pens. :B

Markers - I still use Crayolas from time to time when I have the help of my handy-dandy <a>water brush. Generally, I go with Prismacolors when I don't have Triacolors or Copics. I've dabbled a tad with Chartpack Ad markers, but they are atomic BOMBS when it comes to fumes, and all-nigh uncontrollable unless you want a wash of some sort in the background. Another one I'm all about is the black licorice marker in the <a>Mr. Sketch scented markers pack. It dissolves into CMYK. I shit you not. That's how I did this and this with just one marker.

Colored Pencils - Prismacolors, just like everyone else. How boooring.

Paper - Bristol for marker stuff, copy paper and LINED PAPER for a lot of other things, but I also like to work with different colored paper, too. :V




I usually sketch with a plain mechanical pencil (Quicker-Clickers FTW) with .5 lead, and do all my erasing with kneaded erasers - I have one that's new-ish and nice, and then a horror of an old kneaded eraser that's practically black from use, which is occasionally useful because it'll hold a thin shape for doing fine/tiny line adjustments better than the softer one, and also if I smush it down hard on the paper and leave it for a minute it'll leave an awesome grungy kind of texture. Paper is just a Strathmore sketchbook - not great paper and tends to be a bit textures, no good for watercolors but okay for inking and marker work. I also got a pad of Strathmore watercolor paper to play, it's worked out well for the one thing I've used it for but - uh - don't use markers on it. :XD:

Inkswise, I have a set of Sakura microns. I usually use .005 and .01 for basic thin lines, then use the .03 or .08 for thickening parts out. I also have a Staedtler brush pen and find it godly for doing black hair or just playing around for ink-sketches. Sometimes I ink with Bic pens too, they're also great for shading hair and work well for things I don't plan to put wet media on. They're also good for ink-sketching, which I'd rather not waste micron ink on.

For coloring I've used colored pencils (I have a set of Prismacolors with hard leads, and a few random colors I picked up in soft lead), watercolor pencils + water (also Prismacolor), and - uh - Prismacolor markers. I - I'm not a brand whore, that's just how it worked out. D: The soft-leaded pencils are great for smooth shading and blending, but even the hard-leaded ones will work for that, it's just a little more difficult to get a smooth gradient. Watercolor pencils are fun, but really require watercolor paper to use and the colors tend to end up lighter than one imagines after adding the water, so it's good to put it on a good bit thicker and darker than you want the final product. (As a side note, this set of watercolor pencils is pretty good for doll face-ups too, since as far as I know they're not oil-based. They don't make for very smooth blushing, but are great for eyebrows, lashes, and lip-lines.) The markers tend to bleed, but I've had pretty good results with them - but then, I don't use them for much that's very ambitious. n.n;;

Field Trip by hokutoCapti by hokutoLoose:Control by hokutoGhost Metal - Relly by hokuto


And why not? :P :iconazarath:azarath

Materials: I tend to use Strathmore smooth bristol for just about everything, especially if I'm going to ink and marker a piece.  I use Staedtler fine liners or Sakura Micron brand pens - anything waterproof.  I use 2H pencils of any brand, since they're light enough to erase before inking. As for markers I use Copic and Prismacolor.

Pros and cons:  Bristol board is really smooth!  The marker lays down perfectly on it.  But, it gets costly, since I use 11x14 and it costs about $10 USA per pack.  I don't recommend vellum bristol board; the texture is killer on your marker tips.  Cardstock and inkjet computer paper also works well, and lead to really rich colors. But you have to learn how to control your markers to make sure you don't get any bleed.  Staedtler pens are a bit more expensive than Sakura brand, and seem to hold up a little longer.  But, the points are made of plastic and are fragile.  For someone like me who presses too hard, snapping points are common.  :(

Prismacolors are popular and cheaper ($2.50-$3.50 USD per marker).  They are very rich and dark a lot of the time.  Sometimes I get mislead by the color on the marker's case.  They have a great broad point and they FINALLY started manufacturing new fine points.  Previously they had plastic points like on Microns, but now they make them with tiny brush tips.

Copics are hard to find, and expensive, but are worth every penny.  They come in several varieties and the colors are very vibrant.  I use Sketch, which has a wedge tip, and a wonderful brush tip, great for sweeping, watecolor-like brush marks.  The nibs are replaceable and the ink is refilable.  One marker will cost you about $6 alone, but a refill (which will fill one marker many many times) is about $7 each.  The only thing I don't like is out of the 250+ Copics I have, very few make good flesh tones, and I have to rely on my Prismacolors for that.

Lan's ultra-keen marker tips by azaraththefuzzysocks commission by azarathRandy for luxy by azaraththe good doctor by azarath

Some traditional anime works from my favorites gallery
:thumb79694329:See only, our beautiful world by Kyoko-Taide:thumb77539905:
You've Got So Far To Go by tenaku+FeeL LiKE daNCe+ by VergilSharkyHimiko, the puppeteer by panzergrenadier

Traditional Media tutorials
Tutorial: Detailed Hair part 1 by Cataclysm-X:thumb64621916:TUTORIAL :: COPIC by Ecthelian
The Penciling Tutorial by sashasBasic Pencil Shading by Snigom
Traditional Artwork Tutorial by MiyaToriaka: Faynt's Color Pencil Tut : by F-AYN-T

Want to buy some traditional materials?
Dick Blick
Pearl Art
Discount Art Supplies

Do you use traditional media? I want to hear from you!  Leave a comment below about what you use, what you like/dislike about the materials, and some links to your traditional works.

Future installments coming soon!: traditional screentoning and watercolors!
Add a Comment:
chicharrria Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i use traditional media! :D specifically, latex paints[link] poster paints [link] , ballpens [link] and oil pastels[link]
follow the link for the artworks ! :D

(im kinda resourceful) :peace:

further comments, i think you may use the notes system. thanks. :D
smileful Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2008
many thankies for posting this..:D
this really helped me a lot..i got some ideas..
and opinions..
some of the tools that you mentioned...are really helpful.i'm using it now on my deviations.x'D

OddFoxxeP Featured By Owner May 28, 2008
Wow, thank you very much for posting this, it's always nice to hear a fresh opinion about art tools from someone else.
crazydreamerdreamson Featured By Owner May 2, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Whoot for tradional media!!!! I always use my faithful coloured pencils, I think they're the watecolour caran d'arche ones and they're great as they're hard pencils so you can sharpen them to a really fine point. My friend got me a small set of prismacolours but I'm so scared about using them as they break so easily but they are awesome pencils too. I can't really afford other ones so I've stuck to those, I also have my faithful black pen and biro. =) I'm not that fussed about paper, different textures create different affects. I really want to start using markers tho as they make the piece look professional and the colours can be a lot more vibrant too. I think I'll check out some of those tutorials!
prettystarshine Featured By Owner May 2, 2008
I still am using traditional materials... damn my inability to have a pc... >.<

I use the cheapest of materials available to the Philippines...
pencilling: mongol no. 1, 2 and 3, an HB pencil i don't know where i got (maybe a prize from a birthday party) and a soft eraser that i got as a prize in a bday party again...
Inking: I use a mygel 0.5 gel pen, pilot 0.7 ball point pen, 0.5 avanti gel pen...
coloring: i use twist pens, the fake ones which cost PHP 20 per set...

I like those because they came in cheap (or maybe free) and i hate those because they... uhm... i dunno...

here's my traditional works..:
[link] [link] [link] [link] [link] [link]
Hisietari Featured By Owner May 1, 2008
Oh so cool! Though I'd like to try CG one day, I still cling to traditional art. ^^" Usually I use a cheap but none the less very comfortable, light mechanical pencil and staedtler 2B mines, also 2 Milan erasers (for technique drawing and charcoal/pencils). Outlines usually with copic multiliner black or sepia (0.05/0.3/1.0mm), colours either Copic Ciao markers or watercolours, also coloured pencils: Faber Castell Classic, Koh-i-Noor Progresso, Pentel mechanical glitter pens. *lol* Ah, white gel pen from Pentel. Mm, that's basically it... sometimes acrylics, too, but I suck with the brush even more than with a pen.
The-Yuri-Canon Featured By Owner May 1, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It is funny, I used to be all for traditional means of colouring my work, was trained as an acrylic and watercolour painter, but switched to computers after the cost of screen tones and paints nearly killed me.

It is nice to see people using Sakura Pigmas for inking, seeing as they are my favs as well. I still use blue pencils, like edge-chan but a less expensive type (Pilot), 2b-4b pencils and Sakura pigma pens for inking. Afterwards I tend to redo the entire thing again the the computer because I found that if I didn't the print quality would diminish, This is when printing large posters that is. I sometimes wish to return to my old traditional ways, but the cost is way to much... *sighs*

Well a Salute to all you who continue with the traditional style and don't get drawn into the glamour of the computer world.

RenKram013 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Professional General Artist
Oh wow. This DAOS is really awesome!^^ We get to express ourselves!:D

And thank you so much for the feature. It really makes me want to do better! Thanks!!!:D
DeactivatimusPrime Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
AWESOME~! Thanks, Lan! :> I forgot to gush about kneaded erasers. T_T Gawsh.
hokuto Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
*blushes with joy at being - er - useful or something ANYWAY YAY*
AngieChild Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
YES, traditional media rule! *__* Thank you for the article!
Too bad I only use pens, ahaha... *is bad at color stuffs + no money to buy* Apparently traditional things are expensive, and they CAN run out one day.
azarath Featured By Owner May 1, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They can be expensive, but a lot of the things people mention here aren't (like the india ink, or pencils, and pens). And I always like to refer people to this: [link] =D
AngieChild Featured By Owner May 1, 2008
Oh wow, I love that! Amazing what crayons can do. OwO Aha, and I use printer paper too. Thank you, it inspires me a lot!
Though, some good pens can still be expensive, and I don't use ball pens. ^^; Prices here are reasonable still, since they're Asian stationeries. But now I turn to calligraphy brushes and ink, and that turn out pretty well since all I have to do is buy ink and only brushes when they turn bad (depends on how I use them). I would recommend this for the Black&White art. :nod:
Livewire07 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008   Traditional Artist
I love traditional media. ^^

I use:
-Copic Sketch Markers. They come in a lot of different colors, and you can achieve a watercolor sort of effect with them. Their skin tone colors are especially nice I find. Another pro about Copic markers is the color numeration system. It makes it super easy to grab the color you want immediately. I like Sketch as opposed to Original because you can get a lot of different textures and width easily with Sketch nibs, which are brushlike.
-Sakura Pigma Micron ink pens. These are nice...They're waterproof, but you still have to wait a good deal of time because they can smear if you marker over them too soon. Cons to these are: (1) The writing on the outside of the pen rubs off, so you have to memorize what each nib size looks like. (2) If you're not careful, you'll crush the nib or bend it...It's quite easy to do.
-Copic Multiliners. I like these better than Sakura pens. They come in better sizes, and I like the way the ink looks. These pens are completely Copic-proof. I really like the gray and sepia pens of this brand. They have flexible nibs and are really nice to use in line art. I like sepia for the outline of skin.
-Copic Opaque White ink. I am just now getting the hang of this substance. I like it because it is VERY white. You can also dilute it for varying degrees of strength. Cons: (1) It's really expensive. (2) You have to stir it.
-Gel Pens. I honestly have no idea what brand I use, but gel pens in general are really useful. They go on nicely over Copic markers. White and gold gel pens are especially nice. :aww:
-Calli Burgundy 013 ink. For blood!...It's a rich, bright red color. It's basically juts calligraphy ink, and while it says it's waterproof, it's not Copic proof, so you can't put anything over it once it's on. :)
-Staedtler Drafting Pencils. I really like these pencils. I use them for (obviously >_> ) pencil drawings (when I branch out and do something that's not anime! :XD:), and I also use the medium pencils (Usually H, but F and HB, and for watercolors I'll go as light as 6H) for line art. The only thing that can be troublesome about these is that they smear easily.
-Mechanical Pencils. Just a regular old HB mechanical pencil. It's nice because it maintains a sharp edge, and they're quick to use. I use these for detail in pencil drawings because it saves time using the pencil sharpener, and for line art. A con to this is that it can dent your paper (because it's sharp).
-Winsor & Newton Watercolors. I use the liquid kind that comes in tubes. Did you know, watercolor tubes are impossible to open when watercolor has dried around the top? :lol:
I've had good experience with these. The only color I lack is bright red. :|
I also use a Japanese brand that's toxic. :o dunno the name...I seem to have lost the box.
-White Plastic Eraser Erasing my line art when it is a sketch. I use gum erasers on my line art AFTER it's inked...These are nice because they don't weaken inked line. And then kneadable erasers for detail erasing and mostly in pencil drawings. Beware the kneadable erasers, they will eat your ink lines alive!!!
-Copic Bleedproof A4 Paper I REALLY like this paper. It is, like it says, (almost) completely bleedproof. This paper is really easy to blend colors on, and it's also easy to draw on with markers. Cons are: (1) It's extremely thin, so it's really easy to crease or even rip your paper when you erase your line art. Word of Advice: If you take a sheet out of the book it comes in, make sure you mark the side you're supposed to draw on. Anything, a pencil mark in the corner. Nothing makes a day suck like finishing an awesome line art on the wrong side of the paper - It doesn't absorb ink and looks really awful. I know from experience. :tears:
-Gamblin Oil Paints These paints are super nice! They look great and mix well. I really like them. :D
-Other Miscellaneous Items Toothbrush (blood smearing!), Ruler, Assorted color pencils, Ballpoint pens, Freezer paper, And last but not least, fingertips. :nod:

My Art:
mimidan Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Student Digital Artist
nice artwork! :D

looks like i should use pencil first! ^^;

and definitly a good eraser too! :P
azarath Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
White plastic erasers are your best choice. =D
mimidan Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Student Digital Artist
oh! do they erase well? :D
azarath Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They're the best! :#1:
mimidan Featured By Owner May 1, 2008  Student Digital Artist
ered Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
Interesting read :lol:
I should really try to use my markers more - or more like, at all :XD:
azarath Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I would LOVE to see that!
ered Featured By Owner May 1, 2008
Haha, I'll have to try it then, but I'm afraid it'll turn out something awful XD
Thats-Your-Funeral Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Student Filmographer
Oh yes, and you asked for some of our traditional works... (Sometimes computers enjoy taking it upon themselves to screw up screentones, if your printer sucks, like mine. :(.)





Thats-Your-Funeral Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Student Filmographer
When it comes to traditional media, I use a rapidograph pens with black ink (since they give me such pretty, pretty, and very fine lines. Mmmmmm...) and screentones. Lots and lots of expensive screentones. It's totally worth it, if you want that original manga look. Screetone master TYF is in the house! XDD
azarath Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I want to do a feature on traditional screentones... I'll be contacting you on it. =D
mreviver Featured By Owner May 2, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I did a small test piece years ago with traditional screentone. I should find it and post it! X3

I have some sheets of screentone, but I never think to use it. I feel like I need to keep it and not use it because it's expensive, haha.
azarath Featured By Owner May 2, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I had the same problem! And now I have a whole pile sitting around gathering dust.
Thats-Your-Funeral Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Student Filmographer
Awesome! ^___^
kimicatdemon Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ya har har har..I started using pen and ink recently...I use watercolors and cryaons too. (along with markers and map colors, but I lack decent map colors and I lack and orange and yellow marker...orz...)
I guess I like how you have the colors right in front of you and people tend to spaz out more when you say you used traditional media because it's so rare to find people IRL that draw anime and still use traditional media.
Cons? Hmm..I would say the "permant-ness" of them. Once you lay it down, it's down for good. (unless watercolors of course. Just gab a dry cloth/paper towel and dab at the undesired color. Although it leaves a wash behind, it can be overlayed. Or you could put some clean water on it and re dab it but meh.)

But over all, yeah! Traditonal media= FTW >:
PinkieNekoGirl Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
Faber-Castell rocks my world!!!!!
skifi Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
^skifi :heart: Faber Castell 83
azarath Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist

*70+ copics, not 250. I have that many Prismas, not Copics. :-O
KillerGoldFish-ka Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
Thank you very much for sharing those tutorials. =)
As I work mostly with colored pencils it was really interesting for me to learn the ones by *MiyaToriaka and *F-AYN-T
*wants colored pencils to conquer the world*

I also created a step-by-step tuto. -->> [link]
richten Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My respect for all of you traditional anime artists :salute:
Adrian-MalSeraph Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
I particularly use just an HB mech pencil and computer paper. I've gotten alot of comments from people asking if they were print outs.

I also use prismacolour markers on the paper, but I usually have one underneath to help control bleeding on my drawing board.

Oh, RULERS are invaluable for you comic drawers. Get one, it'll save your life.
fongmingyun Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008
Lol. Pencil ftw, mate.

That, and soft pastel.
Damaged927 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:w00t: Nice article! I like how they told the "weapons of choice" and then you featured some work. Good call :D And the tuts at the end are a nice touch :dance:

Heres a good one by *emperpep watercolour tutorial
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April 30, 2008


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