I’ve spent much of my life looking for the perfect pen, pencil, brush, sketchbook, and journal. I read reviews of the items I’m seeking and things I’m not. If a new article starts with “The Best…” I read it. Part of this is that I want all the information before I make a purchase, but also I want the information. *
If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that the most perfect and best tool for any job is the one I have on hand and ready to go.
Case in point, when I sat down and started to doodle the fried chicken sticker (see this post) I used the pencil I had in my pocket (Blackwing 93) and the paper I had on hand (Staples recycled 20lb copy paper.) When I sketch out my Trans remembrance poster turned sticker, I used the same Blackwing 93 in my Talens sketchbook. When I wrote up ideas for a new group I used the Uniball Air I had in my pocket in my sketchbook. When I wrote down ideas for a series of found prints, I used my pocket notebook and Parker Jotter.
Much of these choices have to do with the fact that these were the tools that I have on hand, not because they were special or perfect. Though, one might suggest the Blackwing 93 (or other versions of the firm BW) is a near perfect pencil. I think that the Parker Jotter is a perfect pen for pocket carry. The all chrome and steel version makes for a good gift for a starting out pen collector.
I’ve been known to grab an AmazonBasics No.2 pencil and sketch with it. I have slowly started to switch out the pencils in my studio with Pen + Gear pencils.
If I wed myself to a particular pen or pencil or paper I’ll feel limited or unable to work. But if I use what is on hand, I’ll get something done, or started. I spend a lot of time seeking out the best, but I also let myself use what is around me. The ideas need to be collected and explored, I can do that with anything.
Yes, I make sure I have something decent on hand, but I’ll use anything if it’s there and perfect isn’t around.
* I recently read an article that said this is a trait of formerly gifted kids who strive for perfectionism. If I hadn’t rage quit the article I’d tell the author to go to hell. /sarcasm.