Introduction: Materials and Tools for Design Sketching

About: I am an industrial designer and a maker. I like to make prototypes, unique pieces, equipment and other stuff. In this channel I will show you what I do, and in particular the making of design pieces, with var…

October is at the door, and like every year in October, starts the Inktober initiative.

For the ones of you who don't know what it is Inktober is a drawing challenge launched by a famous illustrator called Jake Parker and has been going on for several years now.

The purpose of the challenge is to promote the habit of drawing and the desire to improve.

The rules are very simple. It's about to make an ink drawing every day of October and post it online with the hashtags Inktober and Inktober 2017. That's it.

I will participate this year too and the intent of this Instructable is also to tempt someone else to participate.

Because I am of the idea that anyone can learn to draw, and sketching is the way good ideas become projects.

So for every creative such as makers, designers, artisans, or only DIY enthusiasts practicing this discipline is critical. Don't think you can't draw. You don't have to be an artist. Drawing, as any other activity, requires experience. With practice and some good Instructable, you can improve a lot.

So I will start by showing you which are the materials and tools I personally use in my sketches.

I will make a distinction the base of the types of paper that I use because for every kind of media I use a different kind of paper. The kinds of papers that I use are almost five.

Step 1: Textured Paper Pad With Ballpoint Pens

The first type of paper that I use is a classic sketch paper, 60 pounds or more, of which the thing I'm most interested in is that it is a little textured.

I use this paper to draw with ballpoint pens because on textured paper they have the characteristic to leave a variable stroke depending on how much pressure you use.

This allows me to trace very light construction lines and work on the design before to mark the contours of the drawing. Most of my ideas are transformed into projects this way.

I almost never use pencils because the use of an eraser would break the rhythm of the sketch and the pencil stroke should, however, be retraced in pen and this in a sketch makes no sense to me. The ballpoint pen is a very versatile tool to use.

Step 2: Thin Semitransparent Paper

If you make very confusing sketches or want to try out design variants, an alternative to the sketch paper is to use a very thin layout paper.

This paper is semitransparent and can be used for overlays, a bit like Photoshop levels. You can also use tracing paper, but it is more expensive and more transparent.

So with this paper, you can put a rough sketch under a new page and trace it in a more precise way and maybe modify it.

This paper is obviously not suitable for markers if you want to use markers there are alternatives.

Step 3: Markers and Markers Paper

With markers, you can use a layout markers paper which is specifically made for markers and it is bleed resistant.

Also the markers strokes blends better with this kind of paper.

Reguarding the markers I usually use Copic Ciao, which are basically the same as the Copic Sketch, only cost less and contain less ink. They both have one chisel tip and one brush tip, but the brush tip I almost never use it. They can also be refilled with the proper ink refill.

Very often I start my sketches with a C1 marker so that the perspective and the dimensions of the drawing are almost invisible and then I start drawing with the pen.

Ballpoint pens can not be used together with markers, though, because the ink melts with the markers alcohol and becomes purple.

With markers I use a set of pigment liners of different thickness.

Step 4: Watercolor Paper and Watercolors

Another type of paper I use is watercolor paper when I use watercolors in my sketches.

Now watercolors are not very sketch friendly, but using a mixed media technique can give interesting results sometimes.

Watercolor paper can be very expensive, and this because it's not actual paper, in reality, it is made with cotton.

But since we are not making watercolor paintings, but simple sketches, I usually use a much cheaper watercolor paper , that still works very well. It's a pretty thick paper and it's made of 100% cellulose and not of cotton.

As watercolors , I use a very basic but good quality kit from Winsor and Newton. Individual colors can be changed according to your preferences.

And I use synthetic watercolors brushes.

When I use watercolors is the only time I use pencil to make a very light sketch which then becomes invisible when the drawing is over and you add ink.

Another technique I use with water is to use these Hi-Tec-C brown pens , which have a water-soluble ink, so you just wet the stroke with some water to make shades and shadows.

Or I can use a water brush pen, that is a brush with a little water tank where I insert a little liquid watercolor very diluted and make further nuances. This is a cool technique.

Step 5: Toned Tan Paper

The last type of paper I use is Toned Tan Paper.

It's a kind of paper that I use a lot because it allows me to add white and make my sketches to stand out more.

On this paper, you can use markers, even if you have to be careful because they are bleed to the other side.

White pencils can be used to add light reflections. You can also use ink white pens. So it is a very interesting paper.

A very cheap alternative to this type of paper is to use the Amazon's envelopes, that is a little darker.

Not that from the boxes, but that of cardboard envelops. You only have to cut them. It costs you nothing and it is a pretty good paper.

Step 6: Pentel Brush Pen

The last pen I would like to show you is the brush pen from Pentel. It has the peculiarity of having a brush tip.

Using this pen, with a bit of practice you can do both thin strokes and very wide strokes.

It works best on very smooth paper such marker paper.

I use it primarily when I want to enlarge the contours of objects with a variable thickness.

Step 7: Conclusions

Ok, you are now ready to start your Inktober and to improve your drawing skills.

With a bit of constancy and commitment, you will see that within a few days you will already appreciate a big improvement.

And please, don't think you can't learn or that you don't need to know how to draw. Every big invention ever made started from a sketch!

If you want to see the sketches I will make during this Inktober you can follow me on Instagram, or on my Patreon page.

You can also see a video version of this Instructable from my YouTube channel:

I live you here the links to all the materials and tools of this Instructable, in order of comparison.

I would like to point out that I am not paid from any of these companies, but I have presented the products that I use and that I like to work with. Thank you for watching.

Textured sketch pad:

Ballpoint pen:

Layout Paper:

Tracing paper:

Markers paper:

Copic Ciao Markers:

Copic Markers refill:

Ink liners:

Watercolor paper:


Watercolor Brushes:

Hi-Tec-C Pens:

Water Brush Pen:

Liquid Watercolors:

Toned Tan Paper:

White Pencil:

White Pen:

Pentel Brush Pen: