I get calls, emails and text messages every now and then by young artists as myself and they all seem to be asking one question: What type of pencils and papers do you use for your works? After replying one such query about three days ago, I felt I should post something here as my response. I know many others may be thinking of asking me or other artists this question so here is what I think (My view, and only mine – may be different from the views of other artists).
To begin with, I use different grades of Staedtler Pencils and a Mechanical Pencil mostly filled with a 2B lead now. And there is a paper called Survey Mat, that is what I use. There are others such as Derwent, Faber Castell, etc that I’ve heard of but yet to use.
However, I only started using the above pencil and paper types quite recently. I have always drawn with whatever material available to me. I believe as an artist, you should create with or without “special” materials. I used to buy my pencils and papers from regular stores. Mostly the kind of pencils everyone use for normal writing and marking in offices and schools. I only had to check that it is the grade (HB, 2B, 3B, etc) that I required and I buy it. Even when I was replying the last query on this subject last week, I had to go for my pencil and check the name on it before knowing it was Staedtler myself.
I guess all I’m trying to say is, if you have access to the so-called “special” materials, then that is good for you. But if you don’t, don’t let that stop you from creating something. Most of the works you see on this blog were created with nameless pencils I bought by the sidewalk or in regular stores. The papers were mainly card boards used for general stuff.
An artist will recommend a particular material to you, it doesn’t mean if you use it your works will magically transform to look like his/hers. Many are such queries on websites of prominent artists of our time with recommendations by these artists and yet it doesn’t really transform their works overnight to look like those of these artists.
So I think it’s about time the truth is laid bare: The key is practice, practice, practice! With whatever drawing tools and materials available to you. We are all still learning. Have a wonderful week.