Tools of the Trade

Recently I did a post which showed how I ink a sketch.   I was asked by a couple of people after that what kind of pens etc. I use so I thought I would give you a quick tour of my desk


I use a range of paper and card, usually ranging in size from A6 to A3.  I like to use standard sizes so that when people buy them they can easily buy frames.   But whatever paper I use, it always starts with a box.


I used to use lots of different types of pencils, but now I stick with mechanical pencils.  You don’t have to sharpen them constantly, and they are always sharp.  They are also super cheap, and always easy to get hold of.

In some of my drawings you will notice I have experimented with highlighting.  For this I use a Derwent pencil in China White.  This one I picked up from the pencil museum in Keswick, but you can buy them from almost any art shop.


I have used a range of fine liners over the last couple of months of various different qualities.  I haven’t yet become brand loyal, but I like to use something with a nip size of 0.3 – 0.5  At the moment I am using Sharpie fine liners because you can use them on a range of different paper and they are unlikely to bleed.  Another preferred pen is is the hi-tech V5’s and V3’s.  They are more enjoyable to use, but you need a good quality paper.

I also like the Stabilo fine liners, as they draw so smoothly, and have recently picked up a lovely grey.  The only problem with these ones is that the coverage isn’t very even, so you have to be very controlled to get consistent line work.

And finally, for anything that required blocks of black I use a Lamy fountain pen, so that no matter how much ink I need, I know I can get the same coverage every time.  Lamy do a range of different pens, some of which can be quite expensive.  My white one was less than £20 however and is really enjoyable to hold.  I have also noticed my hand is much less likely to cramp thanks to the design.

So that’s pretty much it, I hope that answers some of your questions.  Most of what you see on this blog is created with just those things.  it doesn’t take a lot of money to get started, and really what I have found over the years is that while it’s nice to have a really good pen, even a cheap biro can produce amazing results.  What I would say is that if you want to focus on quality then make sure you start with good paper.  the best inks and pencils in the world will only really look good if you are using the right paper.

19 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade

  1. Laura (PA Pict) says:

    Thanks for sharing your tools. I also use mechanical pencils for rough sketching where other media will go on top. It’s the not having to sharpen them bit that is the selling point. I have a few Lamy fountain pens now all inked up with different colours. I find them ideal for ink drawing on the sofa while watching a movie with my kids and they are also very portable for drawing while travelling or at a museum or whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PMu says:

      I have had a lok on the Lamy site at some of the different coloured inks, but havent taken the plunge yet to get anything other than black. Have you got a favourite out of the colours you have?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura (PA Pict) says:

        I have a rose gold Lamy LX that I love because of the colour and because it is an excellent writer. I keep black ink in it. My most recent addition is the limited edition Lamy Al-Star in Pacific blue which is a stunning colour.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. stevekiddart says:

    Great post, thanks for that.
    I’m quite new to drawing with a fountain pen but like it so far, also have found the mechanical pencils so much better, even the fatter lead ones.
    One thing I am struggling with is a set of dip pens, can’t get enough ink into it. Dip, draw an inch, dip, draw an inch, dip, draw an inch… Soon gets tedious.
    Thanks 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • PMu says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed. I have used dip pens in the past but they always take a bit of courage as I am far more likely to smudge Indian ink then a fast drying fine liner.


  3. MrsD says:

    My first drawing fountain pen… the Lamy Safari with fine nib. Yes it does sit nice in the hand. I bought the converter to fill from bottle ink and am using Diamine fountain pen ink which seems to come in so many colours my head could drop off trying to decide… but in truth one fill-up seems to last ages. I’m using jet black .. which is not their blackest!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. howard johnson says:

    Nice doodling, the working light and dark from a mid tone looks good as does the formal hatching. You might want to try as a dip pen a speedball c-6 because you can eye dropper india ink under the brass flap and get a controlled line. Also brush pens: jetpen sells a lot, noodler’s ink makes a piston fill models as well as some cheap but good nib pens Thanks for the like.

    Liked by 1 person

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