Archives for category: pencil







Here are a couple of my recent doodles, completed during a lecture class to prevent me from falling asleep. I have a robot and mustache(moustache?) obsession, by the way.


Since I’m always talking about how much I dislike pencils, I figured I should explain why. I guess it’s not that I dislike them, I just think that pens are 2000% better for certain things, where pencils are normally used. I am a strict ink advocate. I only voluntarily use pencils for marking measurements and where I’m doing actual representational drawing (which is rare anyway). The rest of my drawing/sketching/writing is done with pen. And because I love lists oh so much…. this is why pencils suck:

1. Pencils aren’t permanent. Yes, I understand, the whole point of pencils is to erase your mistakes. But I don’t think we should be doing that. “Learn from your mistakes,” is a very common philosophy, which I think most people agree to be true. Shouldn’t this apply to art and design as well? When I’m sketching out an idea, I don’t try to make it perfect. If I make a mistake, I try again. Keeping screw-ups in my sketchbook shows me what doesn’t work in a particular design, and on occasion the mess-ups can turn into a final design element (ex: a rounded corner that was supposed to be sharp).

2. Ink is quicker. When I try to sketch with pencils, it takes me forever, because I get caught up in shading, detail and shadows. Pens generally have one line width and weight. With a pencil, by the time I make everything perfect and pretty, I’ve lost the idea. Pens allow me to ignore the detail and just get a rough idea on paper, ignoring the small mistakes and focusing on the big picture (literally).

3. Ink is bold. With pens and other permanent mediums, you get bright, bold colors. I think that it’s easier to see what colors work in your design when you have the extreme versions.  Color can be adjusted later, so the easiest way to immediately choose what might work is to have the quick, yet bold color right in your sketch. With colored pencils, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the choices, and blending of color. My favorite colored pens to sketch with are the Staedtler triplus Fineliner ( They have a wonderful line, great colors, and are very fun to sketch with. I’ve also incorporated them into the final product of mixed media art pieces.

4. Pens are more aesthetically pleasing. Writing in ink is definitely more beautiful than writing with pencil. Ink can create smooth lines, and fantastic letterforms. The typography geek in me gets so excited to see how certain letters looks with different types of ink…in pencil they are just boring.

5. The flow of a pen somehow makes it easier to get my ideas onto a page. This might be more of a personal preference, but I find it easier in every possible way to get words and images onto a piece of paper with ink rather than a pencil. I’m not sure how exactly to explain this preference, but that’s just how I roll.

Think in ink!

I really don’t like pencils. I believe that it’s important to see the progression of ideas, even if they start out terrible. I do not dwell on the mistakes, but with time a mistake can transform into the best idea of all. Much of my work has turned out this way. Countless people stand by the phrase “learn from your mistakes.” Shouldn’t that apply to art as well?

Don’t forget your mistakes. Use ink.