I am continually asked what tools I use most in my fashion illustrations so I thought it was time for another installment of Secret Weapons. First up, is my sketchbook and paper of choice. This may come as a surprise, being that I make a living as an artist you may think I'd use something fancy and expensive from an art supply store, but I do not. For years I've been using these Barnes & Noble exclusive sketchbooks. The reason I like them so much is that the paper is thick, almost a card stock, and super bright white. The whiteness is important to me because I scan most of my work. They have a spiral binding, which I prefer so the book can lay flat, thick hardcovers that protect the pages well, should I decide to throw in my bag, and the piece de resistance is they have perforated pages for easy tearing out. They also come in different sizes, so I have small ones (above) for quick thumbnail sketches and traveling, and larger ones for my more polished sketches. (Keep in mind however that these are not the best choice for a beginners because, as I mentioned, the paper is thick, and not conducive to tracing. It also soaks up the marker, which means you have to move fast. When I was in college, and learning, my paper of choice was Bienfang marker paper.)
Next I'd like to share the white charcoal pencil. These are fantastic for creating highlights over marker, even better than white pencils because of how dense and opaque they are. If you take a look at my last post about my new print Miriam, you can see that I used a log of the white charcoal pencil to render the large brimmed hat and create texture and highlights within it. I also use it to add shine and highlights to hair in almost all my illustrations.
Lastly is something I absolutely cannot live without when sketching, the amazing kneaded eraser. It picks up everything from the faintest smudge to heavy thick lines. Its pliable and can be molded to easily into a sharp point or stretched out for easily self cleaning and it doesn't leave marks. The kneaded eraser is a must have. (I realize I sound like a infomercial here, but its true!)