The International Cartoonist Conspiracy
Blogger: Steve Stwalley
Sites: International Cartoonist Conspiracy, Stwallskull
It's not that much of an exaggeration to describe as a watershed moment what happened following the advocacy of the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen at Wet Paint by the folks at the International Cartoonist Conspiracy. Suddenly hundreds, if not thousands of folks from all around the world began flooding Wet Paint to secure their own Pentel Pocket Brush Pen! The Conspiracy is a community of supportive artists who, clearly, are driven not only by their individual creative lights, but by art materials fever as well! They sponsor many cartooning events, including artist jams and a local chapter of the 24 Hour Comic, which Wet Paint has sponsored. Aside from being a swell bunch of people, they are great resources with working knowlege of art materials and trends in the industry. Twin Cities cartoonist and conspirator Steve Stwalley is a Wet Paint customer who has written intelligently and personally about materials of interest to the comics artist.
Here's what Steve had to say about his picks:
The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen: "This is easily the most prized inking tool of most cartoonists I know, and it is by far the best brush pen I have had the pleasure to use. It works like music, is extremely portable and rarely makes a mess. I've worn a couple of them out, but it was mostly my own fault... while it seems natural to fill in large areas of black with it, I would recommend saving your brush pen and using other tools for that. You want to be pretty gentle with the brush, or you can get some stray bristles... I've had limited success in repairing by removing stray bristles with scissors... better to just treat it nice! It is a testament to what a one-of-a-kind art art supply store Wet Paint is that they consistently go the extra mile and-a-half to carry unique supplies that you can't find elsewhere (the late, lamented Gocco printer... which they amazingly enough still have some supplies for... is another example of this)."
Pentel Tradio Pen: "I was beyond dismay when I found that Pentel stopped making the Fountain Pentel pen, which was my pen of choice for many years. It had its weaknesses (the ink would fade over time, it was a non-refillable felt pen), but the unique tip was like nothing else I had used... it had a flexible plastic nib that made it so it was easy to get different line weights by applying different amounts of pressure to the pen. When I related my sad loss to the helpful folks at Wet Paint, they were knowledgable enough to let me know that although the Fountain Pentel was no more, Pentel now made the Tradio with the same flexible plastic tip! Better yet, the pen was no longer a felt tip... it contained liquid ink.
"It is not without it's peculiarities... the ink occasionally leaks on my finger if I apply too much pressure, and the "refills" are essentially an entirely new pen with a new nib that you screw into the pen casing. This second item is a good thing, actually, as the nibs do tend to wear down by the time I finish off the ink... I can be pretty rough on them. Also, you really want to wait longer than you think you need to before erasing over the ink... it takes a while to dry, and I have smeared many pictures with my own impatience. So far, I have experienced no fading with the ink. All in all, I love the Tradio, and there isn't another pen like it available without a time machine... and it is better than the Fountain Pentel was, anyhow."
Faber Castell Pitt Artist Grey Brush Pens: "While the Faber Castell Pitt artist brush pens are not as fun to use as the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen once you have been utterly spoiled by it, they are still a lot of fun. What I really like about these pens are the greytones, though... this set is a nice, inexpensive way to have a selection of grey brushpens."
Prismacolor Art Markers: "Prismacolor Pens are my favorite things to color with. They pens last a long time before they die, and you have two tips on each one, a fat one and a thin one... so when one side dies, the other side still works! The colors are brilliant, and best of all, unlike most markers, they mix and blend well with each other to make new colors. The ink is permanent and has suffered from no fading in my experience. Warning: Put something under the paper you are working on, because these soak through paper like nobody's business! Strangely, bleeding is rarely a problem, though."
Kneaded Erasers: "Kneaded erasers are great because they not only do a great job of cleaning pencils off of an inked piece of art, you can make them into goofy little sculptures when you aren't drawing!"