Graphic Design & Illustration


This is the personal and professional blog of Illustrator and Designer Bryan E. West. Blog focus is on illustration as a business, the artist's journey, freelance, and the online art community. 


I thought this week I would talk about some of my favorite art tools. These are far from "the best" tools, but they are the ones that I have found work best for me. Still, my arsenal of art tools is always changing and I would encourage other artists to never stop searching for the perfect pen, brush, ink, etc.


Brushes are my primary inking tools. I do almost all my inking with my #4 Winsor & Newton Series 7 Sable brush. Winsor & Newton sable brushes are practically an industry standard at this point. They are a little pricy, but if you take care of them they can last years. I recommend using the Winsor & Newton brush cleaning fluid. I clean my brushes thoroughly after each piece, sometimes during. It's always nice to have some old worn out brushes, I use a couple cheap chisel brushes usually for texture or lettering. I also have a couple old tooth brushes that I use for splattering, textures, and other punk rock effects. 



From front to back. That little pen is a pilot petit 3 and it's great for line art and writing, it's really versatile and it's refillable. Faber Castell pens wear down easy, but their ink and line quality is really nice. Presto white out is good for fixing large mistakes and creating white ink effects. Sharpie and Posca both make a great felt-tipped paint pen, I use these for writing and fixing small mistakes. Pentel brush pens are a great on-the-go option for those who like to ink with a brush. I use that huge acrylic marker for spotting large black areas. it's awesome. 



I do very little finished art in pencil, but I use colored pencil like crazy. I will probably do a blog about my process later, but typically I sketch in blue or red so I can remove the color easily in photoshop and leave the black ink. Prismacolor makes some great blue and red leads for 2mm lead holders. Speaking of lead holders I have a 5.5mm lead holder I load up with mont blanc 4B leads. I really only use this for lifedrawing, but it's absolutely amazing. In the back I have some blackwing pencils that are really fun to mess around with, although I haven't really worked them into my standard process yet. 


I make a lot of notes and to do lists, so having something portable and quick is important to me. The midori travel notebook is awesome. It's expensive, but everything is replaceable/refillable. Clipped to that I have a pilot petit fountain pen, a surprisingly good fountain pen and it uses the same cartridges as the pilot petit 3. I have a few fountain pens, and my Jin Hao was easily my favorite until part of it broke recently. My backup is the Lammy pen pictured above which is a nice reliable pen. The best fountain pen ink I have found is Sailor ink, nice and dark with very little bleed. 


Speaking of ink, I have yet to find a better ink for drawing than Deleter Black #4. This stuff is amazing, it's pitch black, dries pretty quick, and is easy to clean off a brush. Deleter also makes a nice thick whiteout that is great for white splatters. Dr.Ph. Martin makes a wide range of colored inks that are really fun to play with. I don't use them often, but the vibrant colors are fantastic. 

That's all for now. I have a few more tools I will probably talk about some other time, but right now these are the ones I like best. Comment below and let me know what your favorites are!