These drawing accessories make drawing easier and more fun. Although you might not use them every time you draw, they are the “perfect” tool for some things. I find it very satisfying to reach into my tool box and pull out just the tool I need to bring a drawing along quickly and expertly. None of these tools are budget busters, which is why I own them all.
This is a great perspective tool. It used to be called the Prospec and was widely available, but now it’s only sold online at accurasee.com as far as I can tell. It’s not very expensive, around $10 plus shipping as I write this. The metal type that are available are crazy expensive, so this is a real deal.
Here’s how it works. You sight the object between the short end points and use the other end to mark the size on the paper. You can adjust the real size to drawing size ratio by moving the locking peg (where the legs cross) to a different hole.
It’s an excellent tool for portraiture, figure drawing, and anywhere else proportion is tremendously important.
General’s Pencil Sav-A-Point These simple little plastic things are called “Sav-A-Points” and I wish I discovered them a long time ago. As you can see, they’re plastic point protectors. Sometimes, I work with very sharp leads, and I like to keep them that way. My pencils get toted all around the house, banging into each other and breaking off their points as they go, so these little gadgets save me a lot of re-sharpening time.
They are made for wooden pencils but I can snug them up over the points of my mechanical pencils and they stay put. They’re made of clear plastic so they’re easy to lose, so order a couple of bags of them at a time. They’re cheap and you get a little sharpener, too.
The fuzzy soft surface of a chamois cloth makes a useful blending tool. You can wrap it around your finger to blend large areas or you can fold it into a square and use a corner for smaller areas. You can “lift” graphite with a careful dabbing motion too. When it gets full of graphite dust, it’s time to replace it since they don’t survive washing very well.
I buy one large piece and cut off pieces as I need them.
Artograph Lightracer Light Box
You can always use a bright window for tracing, or a bright computer screen as I do sometimes, but a light box makes transferring a rough sketch to good art paper super easy and it’s excellent
for tracing photographs, too. The light is strong enough to make a line drawing visible through 140 lb. watercolor paper or Stonehenge drawing paper, but you do need to be in a darkened room.
I use an HB pencil with a very light touch to trace, and a kneaded eraser to touch up mistakes. Since I work in a darkened room and can’t see anything but the drawing, the HB medium soft pencil lets me make a line without pressing too hard and scoring the paper. The soft eraser lets me erase without smudging.
Alvin Drafting Kit
This drafting kit by Alvin has some very useful drawing tools in it and a mechanical pencil and a pointer too. These are not tools that I use everyday, but they’re handy in some circumstances. For example, the dividers can be used to take quick measurements, the erasing shield works excellently with a battery powered eraser, a french curve can help you duplicate a difficult shape, and the triangles can be used to make sure boarders are square.
Alvin Erasing Shield
This the the same erasing shield that’s in the Drafting Kit by Alvin. You can probably imagine how useful shields are. They’re made out of a thin piece of metal so you can erase the shapes with precision. At one time or another, I’ve used all the shapes in my shield to help erase precise edges and create sharp highlights.
The images on this page were kindly provided by Dick Blick.