In this post, I’m sharing with you a glimpse of some of the analogue illustration tools that I use to create my illustrations.
My number one tool is almost always pen-and-ink on paper. I do use digital ink brushes for large-size commissions, like murals, roll-up banners, and posters that are larger than A3. But generally speaking I prefer to use real ink for its authentic feel.
Over the years, I’ve changed my illustration process in a way to accommodate my love for artistic exploration and discovery. After a long journey trying to discover who I really am as an illustrator and artist, I arrived to the conclusion that I loved natural medium illustration so much more than digital medium artwork, and so I decided to marry the two illustration processes to create my Illustrated Blog Series, as well as artwork for client commissions.
For this post, you can see two pen-and-ink illustrations with a wash of watercolour to illustrate some of the analogue illustration tools that I love using – especially that I’m now incorporating more gouache and watercolour into my artwork.
Ink Fine Liners
My number one go-to tool is my collection of pigmented, waterproof ink pens. Everyone loves Sakura’s Pigma Micron pens, but I’m a Rotring Tikky fangirl. Very recently, I discovered Steadtler’s Pigment Liners and I’m totally in love. They glide on the paper like butter. They’re not included in these two illustrations as I’ve discovered them way after.
My first watercolour set was a vintage Pelikan that my aunt bought me when I was a kid for school projects. Two years ago, I upgraded to Van Gogh half pans by Royal Talens, and for some reason I hated them with a passion. I then found out why: One of the colours, Cerulean Blue, has white pigment in it. Mixed with other colours it produces this chalky finish that ruins the whole watercolour effect.
This experience prompted me to upgrade to professional watercolour brands. I got myself half a dozen professional-grade Schmincke Horadam watercolour tubes. And then I went for White Nights’ 36 full pans, and oh my God! The colours are vibrant and luscious and beautiful. They’re made with honey and Gum Arabica, yet this is the most affordable artist grade watercolour brand on the market!
I then went and bought a few Winsor & Newton Cottman half-pans to try them out. Although they are student grade, they are actually quite fantastic, manufactured in a way to always give out vibrant colour mixes, i.e. they don’t muddy out like other student grade brands.
I also have a single Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour stick that is so pigmented it’s unbelievable. Very recently, I added a few Ecoline Liquid Watercolour bottles to my collection and I am loving them so much. They are vibrant and yummy and work great for illustrations that are destined for digitisation – as they are not light-fast
My first set was an affordable no-brand set that I fell in love with. I then upgraded to Pébéo gouache paints that I bought in Italy, and recently got myself a few exciting colours from Winsor & Newton’s Designers Gouache collection, including Opera Pink.
I’m in love with Winsor & Newton’s Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Brushes, as well as their Series 7 Miniature Finest Sable collection. I have a couple Da Vinci Kolinsky brushes, but they don’t have a pointy tip, so not my go-to brushes at the moment. I also have other brushes from professional Italian brands, as well as affordable no-brand brushes for large washes and what not.
As I mentioned earlier my analogue illustration tools star ink pens and fine liners, but I do use other ink tools, like ink dip pens with a collection of vintage, rusty nibs. I very recently upgraded to Winsor & Newton’s Drawing Inks, as they are waterproof and can withstand watercolour washes (depending on the paper, actually). The old ink bottles I started out with aren’t water resistant and I still use them with watercolour to create flowy black effects.
Other Tools: Markers, Erasers, Graphite Pencils, and so on
I like to experiment with different mediums to continuously stretch my skills and knowledge as I find it enriches my illustration style. That’s why my analogue illustration tools also include Copic Ciao markers, mechanical pens, sketching pencils, Faber-Castle kneadable and regular erasers, Tombow brush pens, a couple Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers, an Ecoline Liquid Watercolour Brush Pen, and a dozen or so Derwent coloured pencils.
Thank you for stopping by and see you in my next post. And don’t forget to subscribe: If you’re on desktop, look for the subscription form on the column to the right, and if you’re on mobile or tablet, look for the form below this post. Take care for now!
Illustrated analogue illustration tools by illustrator and artist Yaansoon