Top 5 Pens for Illustrating

I’m a big believer in the best pens being whatever you have to hand, as when you have an idea any pen will do! I’ve seen some amazing pieces created with some of the cheapest biros, so not having “the right pens” shouldn’t be an excuse (unless you’re attempting to paint a mural with nothing but an old potato).

That being said, I get a lot of people asking me which pens I use for my sketchbook and hand drawn work – so I thought I’d share some of my favourites in a blog post.

I love a good geek-out over pens so if you’d like to share some of your own favourites, please do so in the comments section!

Kuretake Mangaka Flexible
Favourite for: Outlining

I really like the flexible tip on this one as it allows me to use different pressures to achive both thick and thin lines. The ink comes out smoothly and is smudge proof when dry, which makes them particularly nice for outlining.

Kuretake Zig Brushables
Favourite for: Shading and adding colour

I use a lot of different markers for colouring but I keep coming back to these for my sketchbook work. The markers have dual tips with a tint of the same colour at the opposite end, which makes them great for adding highlights and shading. They are a bit unforgiving when using for large blocks of colour (so much so that I usually switch to Promarkers for this) but the brush responds well to changes in speed and pressure when applying single strokes, so I find them really comfortable to sketch with.

Uni Pin Fine Line
Favourite for: Detailing

I find this pen really versatile and use with all kinds of papers and mediums, but mainly for detailing. The ink dries quickly can withstand a good amount of layering with watercolours or markers without bleeding. I can be a bit heavy handed sometimes but the nibs are durable and can withstand it well. They’re more expensive than other fine liners but I find they last longer so I don’t replace them as much.

POSCA Chisel Tip
Favourite for: Large scale and live drawing

The 8mm chisel tip is always my go-to for big work, particularly live drawing events. The ink comes out clean and opaque, dries fast and leaves a nice finish. The chunky barrel and sturdy flat tip makes it easier to keep steady when working at odd angles. The ink doesn’t come out so fast that it drips, but you can pump it to get that effect when you need it.

Koh-i-noor Toison D’oh Lead Holder
Favourite for: Sketching and Shading

Ok, so this is technically a pencil, but it would be a shame not to include it as I use this pencil during pretty much every stage of my process! From the initial sketch through to the final details. The lead is nice and durable so I’ve even used it for marking out scale when starting a mural. It comes with a handy sharpening tool at the end too!

Festive #ArtDrop 2016

I’ve been putting up little festive illustrations around Manchester city centre today, for a one-off holiday #ArtDrop run.

The series has been created using a combination of digital lines, with details and colours added by hand, along with some sparkly layering and a silver frame to finish. No 2 pieces in the series are alike and they won’t be available anywhere else.

See my Twitter @stina_jones for clues on the locations. Find one and it’s yours!

Layering Sparkles with Kuratake Wink of Stella brush pen

Festive #ArtDrop by Stina Jones

#ArtDrop Manchester

Over the past few months I’ve been leaving Free Art packs in various locations in Central Manchester for people to find and keep. Each pack contains a limited edition (1/10) art print, stickers, and a handwritten note to the recipient.

It’s always a fun excursion finding spots for these little art packs. I sometimes leave clues on my Instagram and Twitter for anyone who wants to track one down – but more often than not I leave it up to chance. It’s nice to hear from the folks who randomly come across them!

I have a few more of these packs at the ready to leave out in the run up to the holidays, so keep an eye out if you’re in Manchester. I’ll be following up with a new series in 2017 too.

#ArtDrop Manchester Northern Quarter

#ArtDrop Manchester Oxford Road

Collab Nation: Experiment 5, Stage 2

I usually spend time deliberating options before adding my mark to a new Collab Nation piece – but when I got my Stage 2 through from Korp I immediately knew what I was going to add!

My addition was re-purposed from one of my masked robot characters, with added feathers to tie the theme in with Korp’s awesome worm character on the left.

The piece is now on its way to the next artist to add their mark for Stage 3 – I can’t wait to see what they add!

To see the rest of the submissions and watch the collabs unfold, head over to the Collab Nation Facebook page or follow the project on Twitter and Instagram.

Collab Nation: Experiment 5, Stage 1

One of my favourite collaborative art projects, Collab Nation, is back for Experiment 5!

This huge international drawing project has each participating artist starting a drawing on A3 paper, then sending it on to the next artist for them to add to the piece. This continues until 4 artists have added their mark to the drawing. The process produces awesome and brilliantly unpredictable results!

There have been some fantastic collaborations come out of the first 4 Experiments and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of each one. The lineup for Experiment 5 is set to be the biggest one yet!

My Stage 1 submission (featured above) is now on it’s way to the the next artist and I can wait to see what he adds! I’ll be doodling on a piece by Korp next for my Stage 2.

To see the rest of the submissions and watch the collabs unfold, head over to the Collab Nation Facebook page or follow the project on Twitter and Instagram.

  • About

    Stina Jones is a Freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer based in Manchester, with over 10 years industry experience producing fully bespoke imagery for everything from print and web marketing campaigns, through to animations and artwork installations. Clients include BBC Digital, HTC Mobiles, British Airways, Ordnance Survey, Atkins Global, Access to Music Ltd, ValueMyStuff.com, Bitters 'n' Twisted Venues, among others.

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