November 14, 2010

I have recently been hearing a lot about non-reproduction blue pencils, which are common amongst animators. Conceptually, they are good for rough sketches as their marks allegedly don’t appear when photocopied. I picked a few of these pencils up and started filling some sketchbook pages. My sketching style is very loose, containing many lines as I search for the one I like best. The non-repro blue pencils suit my style well since, when the time comes for add detail to a drawing, I can use a mechanical pencil for more precise markmaking and it is very easily distinguished from the blue sketch lines beneath it. Previously, when I would sketch loosely in pencil and then make tighter marks on top of those also in pencil, the “correct” lines often got lost. It was not until I would ink and then erase that I could see what I really had. Now, my eye can easily distinguish the rough “wrong” lines in blue from the tight, “right” lines in mechanical pencil. Inking on top of those results in fewer mistakes since it’s difficult for me to ink the “wrong” lines.

Using non-repro-blue pencils for the sketching process does have a downside for me, though – one that I didn’t expect. After I ink the page, I can’t easily erase the blue lines. If I do, the ink comes off the page due to the non-adhesive nature of the blue pencil marks. I have to scan the image in, then remove the blue digitally to really see what I’ve got. It’s not an impossible system, but I’m still playing around with the whole thing.

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