Materials
I use many different materials to create my drawings and I will let you know about them
in this section of my site.  I try and use the best possible materials that I can find. I have
tried many different brands of paper, pencils, fixatives, blenders, etc...  There are good
and bad products out there and I will let you know which ones I think are best.  Enjoy,
and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will get back to you
as soon as possible.
Pencils -  I use 2 different types of pencils, graphite wood cased and
mechanical pencils.

Wood cased -  I use mainly Prismacolor Torquiose pencils. Derwent graphite
pencils are also very good. I find that the Prismacolor pencils are a little bit
smoother.  These pencils look just like a regular #2 pencil with the wood on the
outside and the graphite core in the middle.  There are different grades of pencils,
hard and soft.  The hard ones are very light when you draw with them.  Not much
graphite comes off the pencil.  These are good for detailed work and for light
shading.  Since they are so hard, you have to be careful not to dent the paper. If the
paper gets dented, you will see a groove in the paper and it could ruin the drawing.
So when you look at the pencils you want to buy you will see an "H" representing the
hard pencils. There is a wide range of "H" pencils starting from 9H (being the
hardest) and going all the way down to "H" (Being the softest of the hard pencils).  
Each number grade going down from the 9H gets a little bit softer so a little more
graphite can crumble on to the paper.  The softer the pencil is the darker the mark it
will make.  So now we can move to the soft pencils which are labeled as "B" pencils.
 These work the same way moving from 9B being the softest and move all the way
don to a "B" getting a little bit harder. The 9B will give you a very dark mark on the
paper.  This pencil really crumbles to give you the dark color. Also you should be
careful when using the soft pencils because they can leave crumbs that can smear
the drawing.  Now, you got some grades in between the soft and hard pencils which
are the HB and the F.  These give you a little bit of both worlds.

                      
PENCIL GRADES  (FROM SOFT TO HARD)

9B, 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H, 9H

Mechanical Pencils- I use mechanical pencils mainly for details. The grades of
graphite for mechanical pencils are the same as the wood cased pencils.  The
difference here is you can get different size thickness of the graphite. These range
from .03 being the thinnest, .05, .07, and .09 being the thickest.  I use a .03 HB and
a .05 3B for my drawings.  The .03 is used for fine details and to get nice straight
lines. It's hard to find 3B mechanical lead so when you find some make sure to pick
some up.  
PAPER - There are many different kinds of paper out there.  There are
different colors, textures, brands, and sizes.  The ones I use the most are Fabriano
hot pressed Aquarello Artistico bright white watercolor paper, Arches watercolor
paper, Stonehenge paper, Strathmore 300 series bristol (smooth, Vallum, and
illustration boards), and Crescent illustration boards.  The best is the Fabriano
paper.  It's 100% cotton and acid free which is good for the longevity of the paper. It
wont turn yellow over time. This is a premium paper which means that it can get
pretty expensive.  A paper that is more affordable that is pretty close to the fabriano
is the Strathmore smooth bristol board.  It's a little bit smoother than the fabriano
which makes it a little bit harder to work with.  The smoother the paper the harder it
is for the tooth (or bumps) of the paper to grab the graphite. I will explain this in the
next paragraph.
There are different textures to the paper surface. Smooth paper means what it
says, that the paper is very smooth and they're aren't many bumps on it.  This paper
is good for detailed work.  The Vallum is a little rougher.  It's got little bumps on the
paper which is good for textured work.  When you see "hot pressed" it usually
means smooth and when you see "cold pressed" it usually means rough.  
Blending - I use many different tools to blend with. I mainly use a tortillion
which is paper that is wound really tight to form what looks like a little thin cone.
There are also blending stumps which are also made of paper that is really wound
tight, this looks like a small pencil that is made of wood. For large surfaces that I
want to get really smooth I use a facial tissue.  For smaller areas that I want really
smooth I use Q-tips.  NEVER USE YOUR FINGER TO BLEND!!!!!  The oils from
your hands will get on the paper and it will create uneven tonal areas that you wont
be able to get off. The oil will grab the graphite and you wont be able to get a
smooth look.  This can really ruin a drawing. So in general, you don't want to touch
your drawings.  Get a piece of transparency or another piece of paper so you can
rest your hand on when you're drawing.                          
Workable Fixative - This is a spray that you use to protect your
drawings when you're done. Once it dries, you can go over and draw on it again.  
This will protect the paper from the sun and from people touching it.  The one I use
is the
Windsor and Newton artists workable fixative.  
Erasers - There are a variety of erasers that I use. First is the Tuff Stuff  
cylindrical eraser.  This likes like a pen with the round eraser inside.  This is used
for fine erasing using the edge of the eraser.  I use a kneadable eraser as well.  
This eraser is like putty and you can mold in any way you want.  This is used for
dabbing the graphite to pull some of it off.  If an area is too dark and you want to
lighten it up, a kneadable eraser is perfect.