My Favorite tangling, Coloring and Shading Supplies
In this page I will add some of my favorite inking, shading and coloring supplies, to make it easier for those who ask. These are my own recommendations and I use these same tools and supplies. Keep in mind that the links contained here have affiliate links, that is, when you click through my links to Amazon and get these products, I get a small referral commission -- AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. You must click through my links, otherwise I won't get the commission: I really appreciate it, it's just a way to support the work I am doing!
Inking and Fineliner Pens
Inking pens and fineliners are used to create the line art of a piece. These are my favorite ones:
An important comment about fineliners
Watch carefully for the TRUE NIB SIZE. Some pens are named 005, but their nibs are NOT 0.05MM. THAT IS PARTICULARLY TRUE WITH SAKURA PENS. Although Sakura are marked as 005, 01, 02, 03, etc, these numbers DO NOT correspond to the actual width of the pen nib. You can see that the 005 Sakura Pen is actually a 0.20mm, much thicker than the 0.1mm I enjoy so much. I find that a bit confusing. Still, they are very good quality and the ink will color over MOST other media, which makes it a favorite amongst artists including me:
Distress Inks react with water and with other inks in ways that produce beautiful mottled backgrounds. My favorite brand is Tim Holtz's Ranger.
Pencils come in a variety of hardness and blackness graphites. For super smooth shading, I recommend starting with 2H, then going to H, passing through F or HB for slightly darker areas and finalizing with 2B. I only use 6B for very large or dark areas, very selectively.
To make that graphite pencil smooth, I like to use a blending stump, which is a hard roll of paper in the shape of a pencil. This is not the same as a tortillion, which is a hollow roll of paper.
I've tried many different brands of colored pencils and I've come to the conclusion that colored pencils are a matter of personal preference. Some are more buttery and some are harder, it depends on you.
If you get anything other than the super large set, don't forget to get a Colorless Blender Pencil, to create smooth transitions between colors:
(Oh, if you would like more information on how to use the colorless blender with your colored pencils, get my Vibrant Color Shading ebook here).
Caran D'ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons
These are the most fantastic crayons even: not only are they smooth and waxy to work dry, they also are WATER soluble and blend into wonderfully vibrant colors. You can apply them directly over paper and then blend with a wet paintbrush, or scribble on a piece of palette paper to use as watercolor paint. The only drawback: don't draw too much with black inking pen over them, since the particles might clog the pen. You can get them here through Amazon.
Acrylic Markers - Red
Red acrylic markers are a fun supply to work over gold, as described in my ebook Tangling with Gold. Both brands I recommend are excellent, very vibrant and opaque red:
Montana Acrylic Marker
Molotow Acrylic Marker
Colored Pencil Sharpeners
I LOVE Prismacolor Premium colored pencils, they are soft and buttery. The only problem is that the wax lead sometimes can be prone to breaking, and I destroyed many valuable pencils while attempting to get a super sharp point.
Until… I found out that colored pencils require special sharpeners. These are the ones that I tested myself and they are all good:
Click on the image to directly to the Amazon.com page:
Faber-Castell Trio Sharpener
This one is Faber-Castell, but works just the same with all colored pencils I've tried. I like it because it also comes with a regular pencil sharpener, so it saves me space in my portable drawing kit:
Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener
This one is made by Prismacolor and works really well with their own pencils. The advantage of it is that it has two settings, you can choose the length of the pencil tip, short or long.
This sharpener is excellent, produces very high quality points. It has 5 different settings for point sizes -- a bit of an exaggeration in my opinion, but the sharpness of the blade is really good.
Paper & Artist Paper Tiles
Zentangle original artist tiles
If you want to get the original Zentangle® tiles, then you can find them at Zentangle.com.
A bit of a taboo in the traditional Zentangle world (there are no mistakes!), I like to use a precision eraser after shading to bring back some of the highlights. My favorite one is the refillable one by Tombow:
Tombow Mono Zero Precision eraser 2.3mm
Gray Markers for Shading
Copic Markers (refillable)
My all time favorite brand is Copic: there is just something about the ink quality which makes it flow over the paper. Warning, these are not cheap markers, but the quality is infinitely superior to anything else I have tried. If you get them, then you CAN AND SHOULD also get the refills, which eventually offsets the cost of the markers. Here is a small set that comes with a multiliner too.
If you would rather get them individually, then get the Neutral Grays: N0, N2 and N4 to begin with.
White Pens for Highlighting
White pens have a number of useful purposes: you can "erase" (cover up) any mistakes you made with ink or markers or you can help to fade away excessive shading. My favorite use for white gel and paint pens is creating vibrant highlights over shaded or colored work.
I'm in love with this pen -- it produces very opaque results over most medium and is easy to use. Although the packaging claims to be "extra fine tip", this is not a delicate thin pen, it's very broad even for a marker. However, with care I've been able to create super tiny dots (not lines) with it, and am quite happy. The white is ULTRA white and that is enough for me.
The best use for this pen is to create very opaque and white highlights over colored pencil Gems. Make sure you get the WATER based one -- I tested the oil based cousin and it did not perform anywhere nearly as well.
This is a very thick paint marker -- 1mm -- and the only reason why I include it in my short list is because it's made of acrylic paint, and as such is VERY opaque and will paint white over almost anything, including those pesky purple and red colored pencils which tend to seep into other whites.
To view a comparison chart between pens, visit this post!
Organize and sort
Other Tools & Supplies
Learn Zentangle and Art: