I’ve spent a lot of time and money to find out what tools work best for me. Maybe they will work for you.
Here are my favorites!
1. Rapidograph 1/0.5mm
Rapidographs are hard to maintain, but they give such a consistent steady flow of ink that they’re worth the trouble of cleaning once every few months. I use them mostly for inking on acetate for silkscreen separations.
2. Rapidograph 2/0.6mm
This is my go-to pen for inking on acetate. Rapidograph makes ink specifically for acetate which is a big plus for me.
3. Rapidograph 3/0.8mm
This is my second go-to pen for inking on acetate.
4. Rapidograph 4/1.2mm
I use this one to fill in large blocks of black on acetate. I find it too thick for much of anything else.
5. Micron Graphic 1
I buy these in bulk for sketching. I don’t like sketching with pencils generally. Pencils feel half-hearted especially for sketching– just commit! If it isn’t good, then draw it again on the next page.
6. Micron Graphic 3
Sometimes I think, the broader the pen size, the looser I can be with my ideas. Everything is going to look like a 5 year old drew it anyway.
7. Pentel Brush Pen
There are most expensive options out there for cartridge-based brush pens. I’ve tried a few, but this has been my favorite for 5 years. The ink doesn’t gunk, it’s easy to buy replacements for the ink cartridges, and it’s cheap enough to really have fun with it.
8. Rotring 600 Drafting Pencil – 0.5 mm
Made of brass, this pencil is nicely weighted and feels great to draw with. This one is only sold in Japan but you can buy them online(google it!). I use this for final drawings before I ink separations or before inking regular drawings.
9. Sharpie Paint marker
Cheap and mostly good. The only negative is that I find them hard to maintain after a few weeks. The ink dries and it starts to leak from incorrect places.
10. MONO eraser
An eraser that actually works and doesn’t leave big eraser chunks behind.
11. Homemade notebook
Made with standard printer paper with a broken silkscreen print as a cover. After I staple everything along a makeshift crease, my MacGuyvered notebook is ready to use. Sketchbooks shouldn’t be made out of anything precious. Just make it and use it.