Customized pens

Part of the fun of making art is making your custom art tools. Here are two pens I customized.
A Twist Action Refillable Pilot Croquis clutch pencil that contains a blue color pencil lead.

I like to sketch with color pencils as they are wax-based, so they don't smear as much in a sketchbook. I'm okay with the pencil being blunt, and I find it a waste of valuable pencil to sharpen it. One possibility is cutting away the pencil wood casing with a knife. The problem with that is you can't do that on a holiday. You can't take a knife with you on a plane so you can't sharpen it that way while on holiday. And I tend to cut the point too long, which causes the point to break off sometimes, losing valuable pencil lead. You can't sharpen it then.

Enter the Twist Action Refillable Pilot Croquis, which can hold a 3.8mm pencil lead. Turns out that's the exact size of the pencil lead of a color pencil. The pencil leads for these clutch pencils are exactly 6 centimeters, and the lead of a color pencil is 18 centimeters. So I bought a bunch of these, a bunch of my favorite color pencils, cut off the wooden casing of the color pencils and cut them to 6 centimeters. The Pilot Croquis clutch pencil holds the color pencil wonderfully, no need to sharpen the pencil while out and about, and little risk that the pencil lead will break. I'm really happy with the construct.

A Gillott 303 dip pen.

This is a dip pen. The nib is a Gillott 303. The modification I made is the holder, which is a casing that used to hold a fountain pen. I cut off the edge on one side so that if could hold the dip pen holder.

In an ideal world, I would have a pen cap for the dip pen, so I could carry it around with me in a sketch satchel, protected. The tip is fragile. Maybe I'll look into 3d-printing a cap.

Customizing your art materials can be fun!


Newer entries in Tutorials

I found this amazing trick yesterday: a Youtube video by darthfurby ( in which it explained how to create 12 points on a circle, in perspective. I've since worked out that it is an approximation, but a very good one.

You start with a perfect square and draw diagonals fron opposite corners. This gives you the center point. And you draw the horizontal and vertical line through that center point, dividing the square into four equal squares, also giving you the first four points on the circle:

Older entries in Tutorials

A quick tutorial on how to lay down a perspective grid with a ten-point divider.