Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sharpie Pen and Crayola crayons: a couple of inexpensive sketching supplies available locally

Some of the discounted supplies found on recent trips to Office Depot: large 11" x 14" Mead sketchbooks and oversize 14" x 17" Foray Marker pads for $3 each that I plan to use for in-class drawing demonstrations. They will come in handy when the limited range of expression of dry erase markers becomes an obstacle to the clear exposition of drawing tips and techniques.
It had been a while since I actually tried using Crayola crayons for anything, but decided to test a box of 24 crayons on the Mead sketchbook paper as a potential inexpensive coloring tool for the cartooning classes. While the colors appearance on the paper is nowhere near as saturated as that of the Caran D'Ache Neocolor I wax crayons, I have to admit that for 30 cents this compact set is a pretty good value for the quick-sketching of early rough color studies.
Comparing the line quality and writing performance of several pigment liner pens of similar nib size (around 0.3 mm in diameter) on Foray marker paper, no significant difference was apparent at first glance. Unlike most of the specialized pigment liners shown, the Sharpie Pen is a fairly common find at local retailers and office supplies stores while costing the least of this bunch.
While marketed primarily as a precision writing tool, I find the Sharpie Pen quite suitable for doodling with ink. The nib feels strong and glides smoothly on both marker paper and regular copy paper leaving dark uniform lines with no bleed through. Despite some online reviews warning of poor durability (mainly paint chipping off the barrel and loosening up of the plastic cap after posting it on the back of the pen), the Sharpie Pen seems promising as a sketching tool given its initial performance and recently lowered price (found the 2-pack for $2.50 at a local Walmart Supercenter store). I just plan to either use it at home or carry it securely in pencil cases that would prevent rubbing against other tools that might cause the dreaded paint chipping. When posting the cap on the back of the pen while in-use, avoid using excessive force and do not push the soft plastic cap all the way down to prevent it from getting loose prematurely.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the comparison of all the pens! it was very helpful =)

B2-kun said...

You are welcomed. Glad you found this post useful. Will have to try the new retractable Sharpie pen to see if it truly eliminates the shortcomings of the original.