Tine McCormick
So since I've been drawing, I've managed to collect a wide variety of materials which seem to collect on every shelf and in every drawer of my office. I think it will be helpful to share the materials that I use most often in my drawing, which consists mostly of charcoal, pen, and graphite, along with various erasers, tortillons, and sharpeners.

I keep all of my tools (fairly) organized in this little compartmentalized container I snagged at Goodwill for $1.99. It has another compartment along the bottom in which I store a couple of teeny sketchbooks, and the majority of my drawing tools are kept in the top compartment. So what exactly is in this box of goodies?

Pencils. Lots, and lots of pencils. Pencils come in a wide variety of "grades", which pretty much describes how hard the graphite is. The softer the graphite, the darker the mark. Hard graphite can be pretty stiff, and gentle pressure will leave almost no mark at all. I tend to prefer a very soft pencil, around a 5B (the "B" refers to soft graphite. The bigger the number, the softer the graphite. Pencils can also be graded as "H", which refers to hard graphite, or as "HB", which is somewhere in between the soft and hard graphites. I will occasionally use a 5H pencil, which is pretty hard, to draw soft, fine lines when first sketching out a drawing).

What are those weird looking sticks, you ask? Pure chunks of graphite. I use them to apply "tone" my paper, or give them an all-over grey color, which makes it easy to erase bright white highlights when I am drawing. I also like to occasionally use a standard #2 pencil, and a mechanical pencil for fine details.

I'm not wildly-crazy about messy sticks of compressed charcoal, but I am a fan of these charcoal pencils. Made from wood burned in low-oxygen conditions, charcoal can leave dark, black marks on paper. I use two kinds---- vine, and compressed. Vine charcoal is very soft and brittle, and leaves a mark that can be easily brushed away. Again, I use this to tone my paper. The pencils contain harder compressed charcoal, which I used to draw the majority of my charcoal sketches with.

Though I don't use them often, I also have several fine-tipped micron pens of varying widths that I use for line art. They don't smudge when erased, so I can trace over pencil outlines and then erase everything but the pen, leaving crisp, clear lines. 

Speaking of erasing....

.... I do quite a bit of that too. I have a wide variety of erasers--- plastic, gum, and kneaded. The plastic erasers are pretty standard, but kneaded erasers are pretty cool. They can be used to "lift" graphite off of the paper without completely erasing, which is perfect for attaining varying shades of gray, or adding natural looking highlights. 

Those cardboard tubes are called "tortillons", and are used to blend graphite. It will blend dark marks into light ones to result in a smooth gradient. I use the Q-Tips for pretty much the same thing. 

.... Oh. I forgot. My favorite little toy. My Sakura Electric Eraser. 

It's a fancy little gadget that's perfect for erasing detailed areas without accidentally smudging the rest of your drawing. It has a tiny replaceable eraser tips that spins at high speed to erase without having to rub back and forth. I used it to pull out the highlights in this picture:

So yeah, that's it basically. I have plenty of paints, pastels, brushes, markers, crayons, and colored pencils, but these are my go-to tools when it comes to drawing a sketching. 

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