It’s that time of year again when we put down our pencils and pick up our favorite ink pens in anticipation of Inktober®. My name is Jerome (aka kulorbandit), an artist based in Phoenix, AZ, and today I’ll be showing you which Zebra Pen tools I like to use for the Inktober® challenge and for illustrating in general, and how I like to use them. So, let’s get started!
Step 1: Sketching Your Design
For starters, I used the STEEL F-701 ALL METAL Ballpoint Retractable Pen from the STEEL series for all my initial sketching. With its fine point tip, gnarled grip, and easy glide, this pen gives me all the control I need. From general sketching, crosshatching, to shading, this is the workhorse of the group. The tip in conjunction with the ink allows me to build up nice gradations with the layering of lines. This is great for an artist like me whose work is primarily portraiture, and where shading is imperative.
Step 2: “Blocking In” With Color
Once I completed my base sketch, I moved immediately into “blocking in.” This is where the Mildliner Double Ended Brush Pens came in handy. For this drawing, I referenced a young lady who has been heavily body painted in multiple colors. With a range of 15 hues of Mildliner Double Ended Brush Pens, achieving multiple colors isn’t a problem. The durable, firm points allowed me to get in and around tight corners while keeping a consistent ink flow. It’s perfect for fills, or for changing line weights on the fly.
Step 3: Adding in Fine Details
Now to add some initial details. For this, I used the Sarasa fineliner pen. The fine tip on these pens is excellent for small details that can really make a difference with the overall finished composition. They dry quickly and are water-resistant, making them great for layering. I use them constantly for mixing and building up skin tones in my portrait work. Since the color spectrum in both the Mildliner Doubled Ended Brush Pen and Sarasa Fineliner sets are complementary, transitioning from one type of pen to the next is seamless. In this drawing, I used the Sarasa Fineliner directly atop the Mildliner Brush Pen to create unique lines that give the figure and shapes more flow.
Step 4: Adding Depth and Shading
Now it’s time to start adding more depth. I went back to my “workhorse tool,” the STEEL F-701 ALL METAL Ballpoint Retractable Pen, and used it to start shading. To get even deeper, bolder black lines I used the Zensations Technical Pens. Available in varying points, the quick-drying, smudge-free, rich black ink is fantastic. I use the combination of these pens alongside my trusty F-701 all of the time when I’m trying to achieve depth and detail.
Step 5: Achieving the Final Portrait Details with Zensations Brush Pens
For the final portrait details, I used the STEEL F-701 Retractable Ballpoint Pen and Zensations Technical Pens sparingly. Not wanting to overpower my drawing, I saved the heavier black linework until the very end. This allows me to be more deliberate about where I want to add volume to the figure. I used the Zensations Brush Pens specifically for this, covering everything from hair to gestural strokes. Easily to control, the thin to broad tapered strokes you can create is awesome, making these pens indispensable!
Step 6: The Final Artwork
All in all, I’m very pleased with the outcome of the final image. The tools used in this example are quite versatile.