Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Sketch Material Wish List

Some of the bicolored pencils I'ved tried -- with disappointing results.
From the length of the customer service “returns” line at Costco, it seems that quite a few people didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas. I’m happy with what I received, but what about all the things I haven’t gotten because they haven’t been made yet? I bet every sketcher has an ongoing wish list of things they want – if only someone would invent them. Here’s mine:

  • Good quality, double-sided colored pencils, preferably with water-soluble cores. The idea for today’s post came to me a few days ago when I was putting together my minimal kit and wishing I could have a few more compact colored pencil colors. Every time I see a set of bicolored pencils, I try them with high hopes, but invariably my hopes are dashed: Most such pencils are a novelty intended for kids, and the cores are hard and pale. Caran d’Ache’s red/blue Bicolor is the one exception – high quality and with the same water-soluble cores as their Supracolor collection. I wouldn’t need a huge color range – just the basics that would come in a standard 12-color box, but compressed into six sticks. How about it, Caran d’Ache?

  • An even better alternative would be a device to make my own! A while back I was so enamored with the idea of double-sided colored pencils that I started wondering if I could make my own. I became ecstatic when I discovered the Tsunago, a Japanese device that enables you to create a single longer pencil from two stubs. I could attach one pencil backward, with a different color on each end! Before I bought it, though, I learned that the device works only with graphite cores. So close and yet so far away! But I’ve saved all my colored pencil stubs for when someone develops a similar device for pigment cores. (I’m going to put my money on the Japanese, who seem to invent most of the cool art supplies and tools.)

Such a handy brush! But the bristles could use work.

 
  • A waterbrush with real bristles. I’m not talking Kolinsky sable – synthetic hair would do just fine – but I want bristles of better quality than the vinyl on all the waterbrushes I’ve used. I suspect that the fact that waterbrush bristles are always wet is a reason why this hasn’t been developed yet; the constant moisture would probably wreck the hairs. But with so many urban sketchers using water-soluble media, a waterbrush like that would make some clever inventor wealthy!





    I know an urban sketcher who makes his own double-sided implements this way. 
  • A brush pen with black ink on one end and gray on the other – both waterproof. This is just a small tweak of the highly versatile and compact Akashiya Keicho doubled-sided brush pen, which contains water-soluble inks.


  • A better portable pencil sharpener. The Kum 2-hole I’ve been using is OK, but I wish there were a better alternative that still accommodates my larger-barreled Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles. The domed case is clumsy and leaks shavings, and while it gets the job done, I have to twist pencils carefully to avoid breaking the core. 

    The design for my ideal in-bag pencil/pen case.
  • A single, upright, slotted pencil case that would Velcro onto the inside of my Rickshaw Bagworks bag. This would be a counterpart to my Tran Portfolio (which houses my colored pencils) and would replace my hodge-podge of multiple organizers for the rest of my implements. I’ve already designed it and drawn the pattern – I just need someone to make it for me. (Oh, I suppose I could DIY it, but that would mean hauling the sewing machine out of the closet and trying to remember how to thread the bobbin . . .)  


It’s a reasonably modest list, I think. What’s on your wish list of not-yet-invented products? 

14 comments:

  1. For a sharpener, you may find the Faber Castell double hole sharpener useful: http://m.fabercastell.com/brands/artandgraphic/castell-9000-and-pitt-graphite/double-hole-sharpener-box-castell-9000. This is my favorite for sketching on the go. Even the smaller hole accommodates slightly thicker pencils, and if that is not enough there is always the big hole.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Lin. I actually have this F-C sharpener, and it does accommodate most of my pencils, and I like the design better than the Kum. But maybe the blade was already dull when I got it, because it doesn't seem to sharpen as well as the Kum.

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  2. Yes, double-ended color pencils (non-WS for me)! I have even thought about super gluing half-used ones together.
    As for your pencil case - my sewing machine is always set up, so bring your plan to the next sketch outing.

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    1. Thanks for the offer, Sue, but I think I have a solution to my pencil case wish! Stay tuned.

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  3. Definitely the better brush for the waterbrush!

    And I've added that pencil sharpener to my Amazon wishlist to include in my next order. The one I'm using needs replacing as it comes apart and dumps the shavings into my backpack. :(

    Let's talk about your upright pencil case. My sewing machine is set up, ready to go and I have bits of left over fabric for the muslin (trial piece). I'd need dimensions but I think I could build it!

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  4. The black and gray pens bundled up together made me laugh :D
    Happy 2018, Tina! Hope to sketch with you again somewhere sometime in the new year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too, Ching, and I'm really hoping we'll be sketching together again sometime too!

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  5. I'd like watercolor pencils that you can sharpen without the point breaking off and then you resharpen and the same thing happens over and over.

    I like your idea of a black and gray together...a black and sepia would be nice too!

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    1. Hmmm, sounds like your watercolor pencil cores are already broken inside the wood, like they got dropped too many times when they were shipped to the store (or to you)!

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  6. So...I've been staying tuned! What IS your solution to your single, upright, slotted pencil case wish list item? I am loving my Tran Portfolio, purchased after your rave review, but I'm always looking.

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    1. Sorry to keep you on pins and needles, Jean, but I don't have it yet! Hopefully it's coming soon. . . !

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