Tools of the Trade: 8 Creators and the Pens, Pencils and Markers They Love

Being creative doesn’t take any specific tool, but after years of work and exploration we all develop our favorites. Maybe the ink from that pen flows just right or makes the perfect tiny dots. Maybe that marker has the color with the most punch. You know what’s best and so do these artists using pens, pencils or markers. We rounded up 8 from past features to learn which tool they like to keep close, and what kind of work they’ve used them for.

Ramon Bruin’s 3D Anamorphic Illustrations Just Got Even More Extravagant With Multi Layered Illusions

Since we last covered his work, Ramon Bruin has been adding even more complexity to his illustration repertoire. He calls his anamorphic drawing/ photography combo “Optical Illusionism” and has added “Multi Layered Illusions” to his specialties. Using multiple sheets of paper he creates images that look like stacked towers when viewed from just the right angle. His drawings are done mostly in graphite pencil with an occasional colored pencil, ink, or acrylic to add a splash of color.

Ramon Bruin Plays Tricks on Your Eyes Using Just Pencil and Paper

When viewed at just the right angle, Ramon Bruin’s pencil drawings appear to pop right off of the paper. The self-taught, freelance artist proves that he has mastered the art of anamorphism with his latest collection of optical illusions. His photorealistic images combined with eyeball trickery have landed him an article in the upcoming 2014 edition of Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Based in the Netherlands, Bruin has many other artistic talents outside of drawing- painting with oil, acrylics, watercolors, and most favorably an airbrush. With over 9 years of experience in airbrushing, including a graduation from the Airbrush Academie in Lelystad, Bruin is a professional airbrush artist. He started his own company called JJK Airbrush.

Carved Graphite: Miniature Pencil Sculptures


Inspired by the original pencil sculptor, Dalton M. Ghetti, a Hungarian artist who goes by the name Cerkahegzyo on DeviantART has created some amazing copycat pieces along with some of his own innovations. Using razorblades, needles, and thread, he creates miniature objects in the graphite of pencils after filing away the wooden casing. From keys to chain links, coils, monsters and more it seems he will never run out of ideas.

Elephants: An Enormous Carbon Pencil Mural

Upon first looking at this impressive mural, one might think that it was created with paint, but this highly detailed piece was done entirely in carbon pencil. Adonna Khare created a whimsical world where animals live in harmony around 5 happy elephants. From afar it is easy to see the elephants, gorillas, and chimps, but upon closer examination, miniature versions of many other animals can be seen. Khare’s mural looks like a page out of an I SPY book where the longer you look at it the more you will discover.

Geometric/Organic: Sculptures Carved from Pencils

Did you know pencil sculpting was a thing? That’s right, using the common graphite filled writing device, artists are creating beautiful works of art which combine both the geometric, stackable nature of the lowly pencil, and the often organic forms of hand sculpted art. By glueing the hexagonal sticks of wood together and then carving the resulting block, large honeycomb-like structures can be created. Depending on if a colored pencil or graphite is used, the carved portions of the resulting forms reveal the inner writing material and form a flowing surface of pixilation.

Visual Bits #183> Everything Is Remixed

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Photo-Realistic Pencil Drawings Come to Life

Paul Cadden’s work is astoundingly realistic. The detail, the shading, the long hours spent creating the large pencil drawings which emulate black and white photographs is just awe inspiring. Take a look at some of the challenging subjects Mr. Cadden decided to draw: elderly people, whose wrinkles tell a lifetime of hardship while reflecting on the present, drawings of youth sharing a smoking cigarette outside a bar, a reclining nude, the busy streets of New York and of Scotland.

Pencil Head: Beautifully Animated Mayhem

It’s difficult to describe the wild, manic trip taken in this animation by Qwaqa. With a smattering of pop cultural references and a strong anime vision, the film whisks you through captivating scene after scene, creatively transitioning to the next and keeping you guessing where it’s all headed. Giving the film its musical rhythm is Fat Boy Slim’s now classic, Right Here, Right Now

Tension: The National Debt Plan

With President Obama signing legislation to raise the debt ceiling just before a potential national default, few seem happy about the outcome, even the very people that voted for it. Here we bring you “Tension,” the latest drawing from Robbie Douglas. He says: “I wanted to do something regarding the debt situation that’s been taking the center stage of the news for the last week or so, the idea with the piece being that the fighting between the two parties has been essentially just a strain on the situation.”