Brevity is the soul of wit.
Using ten or twenty minutes to draw has really taught me a lot in the last two years. The amount of time it takes to wait for my entrée is often enough to quickly describe the moment. Now I have a greater appreciation of what can be accomplished in small increments. These snippets add up on the page and in positive experiences at the end of a week, month or year. Whether drawing from observation or illustrating an idea, sprints of practice can show progress rather rapidly. IMPORTANT NOTE: In general I wait a bit to let ANY INK dry into the paper, if the paper is sized.
Below are some tools I like to use for snippets. Sometimes I combine all 3 tools in the same sketch.
PENTEL HYBRID TECHNICA GEL PENS
These pens have a roller ball and are water resistant once dry. They come in several point widths. I like them particularly for really fast, scribbled sketches. A ballpoint pen is a really humble tool and is capable of great variety. I like to use pigment ink for longevity, so I prefer to use these pens rather than the kind used in most office supply. The gel ink gives a really smooth line and rarely develops the dreaded BLOB-ITIS I remember from high school. BLOB-ITIS creates greasy wads of ink on the edges of the rollerball, landing unpredictably on a sketch in defiance.
A scribbled sketch generally takes only a few minutes. I try to create a condition of light and emphasize the overall shape of objects or figures.
LAMY SAFARI FOUNTAIN PENS
These fountain pens are great because they are rugged, easy to use, and are relatively inexpensive. The marks have an expressive quality that is difficult to mimic with a technical pen, and the mess of carrying a dip pen is not a factor. I use Noodler’s BULLETPROOF INK for permanence or completely compromise and use a LAMY cartridge. The NOODLER’s ink is waterproof so I often prefer to use it if I want to place wash on top.
A fountain pen sketch really makes me conscious of the types of lines I am creating and reinforces the idea that all drawing is abstract.
FABER-CASTELL PITT ARTIST PENS
These pens are available in a full complement of gray tones, which are excellent for developing drawings on the go. I usually buy the BIG BRUSH pens because I like to cover a big area fast. The fine-line markers are really nice to render detail. I always have a large black BIG BRUSH pen to fill in large areas rather than crosshatch into madness.
Gray toned drawings can really conjure a sense of place and light quickly.
THE DEAD BRUSH
When you have a brush that has died you have nothing left to lose: bring a small bottle of ink and work with the dried old crusty hairs. You can throw it away if you choose when you are done!