Tips & Tricks: Sketchbook Tools and Tips

by C. Wu



Some of my favorite sketching tools

Some of my favorite sketching tools

1. Draw guidelines in colored pencil

Wooden colored pencils work fine, but to save sharpening time, I like using the Pilot Color Eno mechanical colored pencils. They are light enough that you don’t really need to erase them after drawing over your guidelines in a darker pencil. I used a Derwent 8B pencil here.


2. Adding dashes of color

My sketches used to always be monochrome, but now I occasionally add dashes of color for aesthetics or if I have a color idea I want to show on my sketch. I will use many different types of markers, like a blue highlighter shown below, Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens, and Copic markers (but not often, since they bleed so much).


3. Woodless pencils

The entire side of a woodless pencil tip is graphite, making shading easier and faster. They also come in various grades like regular pencils. Here, I used an HB Cretacolor Monolith Woodless pencil. I also like the Prismacolor woodless pencils.


Tips #1, #2 and #3 shown here

Tips #1, #2 and #3 shown here

4. Color Backgrounds

I use the same markers mentioned above to draw blocks of color behind sketches. They give the sketches a more finished feel and add visual interest to a page of sketches


5. Use ballpoint pen

I used to only use pencils or pens branded for artists, but then I discovered that the generic ballpoint pen is excellent for drawing: it has a lot of great qualities found in pencils, as you can create many different line widths and values. However, it can go darker than most pencils and doesn’t require graphite refills or sharpening.


Tips #4 and #5

Tips #4 and #5

6. Sticky notes to cover mistakes

I use sticky notes to cover up large mistakes when sketching in pen. To get the sticky note to lie flat, peel it off the block from the side instead of from the bottom, or use an adhesive roller to stick it down. I use the Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive roller.


An effective use of sticky notes

An effective use of sticky notes

7. Monami Plus Pen 3000

I discovered this pen while exploring a stationery shop. It’s very smooth and can achieve a nice range of line widths.  



Happy sketching! Leave any of your own tips and tricks in the comments section below!