I did a lot of research before getting my pocket knife. I wanted something light, and I was impressed by the features of the CRKT M16-13T, which has a skeletonized titanium handle, and something they call an Auto Lawks safety. I wish the safety were not there, it's just a pain in the ass. The liner lock is more than adequate. The only other gripe I have about it is you should not have it in your pocket with loose change or other small items, as these are easily caught inside the handle, which interferes with opening on occasion. Otherwise an EXCELLENT knife for EDC, and I use it almost daily.
The zippo is about the 4th I have gone through over 20 years. It's a must have, as are the spare flints. They get eaten up quickly. The flint dispenser just floats around with my loose change in my pocket.
Ok, now on to the good stuff, my art kit.
I mostly pencil sketch, but am trying out inking. I wanted to store my supplies in something compact and organized. Most of the items I was finding were pencil bags that you would rummage through, or just didn't fit everything. I first started off with the Global Art 24 Pencil case, and that lasted, maybe three days, when I realized it holding 24 pencils means just barely 24 pencils, if they're pens, more like 12. Back to the store and got the next size up, 48. It has a great snap that keeps the zipper pulls from flopping around. It winds up being the size of a medium paperback novel. I love it.
I like being neat when I'm out and about, and I decided to keep the wood pencil shavings out as much as possible. I realized there were such things out there as lead holders, which are essentially the same leads (graphites) as wood, but in a mechanical pencil. Additionally, consistency is critical to improving accuracy when drawing. As wood pencils are used, they get short. It messes up your whole geometry and technique switching between pencils. After a while reading up on some different varieties, I landed on the Staedtler 780.
First, it comes with a clip to hang onto a shirt pocket, which is removable, so I did. For me it gives a more natural feel without the clip in the way. I find the clip annoying and distracting.
Secondly, they come with a sharpener in each cap, which is GREAT if you are in a pinch. It's one of the reasons I landed on this model of lead holder. I got rid of these though, which I will get to shortly.
The Staedtler 2mm leads are only available in 7 different tonal ranges (4H, 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, and 4B). You can get a much wider range of leads from other brands, (Prismacolor, or Uni), but BOTH the availability and color consistency of Staedtler leads did it for me. ALSO Staedtler offers 2mm lead refills, which fit in pencil-sized tubes, that fit in my compact kit. WIN.
After organizing my kit, with the 2mm lead holders, I had to organize it so I could keep track of the different grades, as these holders don't have a built-in indicator on what grade is loaded in the pencil. If you mix these up, happily, you can drop the lead out, and it is laser-printed on the lead itself (hope you have good eyesight).
When you purchase 12-pack refills they come with ONE color-coded cap so you can keep track of what is in your pencil. These are expensive though, especially when you have 5 -7 different grades of lead, and I wanted to keep small tubes for my travel kit. After writing to Staedtler customer service, inquiring of these were available separately, they sent me some for free straight from the factory in Germany. THANK YOU SABINE! Now I can keep them all organized.
Since the built-in lead holder is in the part being replaced by the color-coded cap, I have a few lead pointers. My favorite is the KUM lead pointer with container, since this keeps the lead from going all over the place. When I'm over at the in-laws, I use the one where the lead goes everywhere. I kid.
For finer detail, I got an Alvin DM05 0.5 mm drafting pencil, with HB lead. For the money, this thing is AMAZING! It has an indicator so you know what lead is in the pencil, it has a nice weight to it, the knurled metal grip don't let this thing slide anywhere, and the lead auto advances as your write. Let me say that again. The lead freaking comes out as you are using it so you don't have to keep advancing it with the button. WHAT?!?
Also for the pencils, I have two Tombow eraser holders, a 2.3mm round and a 2.3mm x 5mm rectangular, my favorite being the 2.3 mm round eraser tip. These things get that one stray line of graphite off the page without erasing the line right next to it that you really did want. I found this and was immediately depressed over the years I've lost re-drawing lines that I wanted to keep after getting rid of the one line that had to go.
I have blending stumps, because I want to keep it neat on the road without smudging with my fingers. They're cheap. Buy a hundred of em. Any brand.
For pens, I started off with an 8-piece set of Sakura Microns. These were great, and I still use a few, including the brush pen, but discovered a lot of artists are using Staedtler Pigment Liners. OK, at this point you're going to call me a fanboy. It is entirely possible at this point I may be. I tried them and they feel better to draw with than the Sakura Microns, especially for long periods, since the finish on the pen is matte. You don't have to keep adjusting your hand position as much.
I haven't found a place that has open stock of all the available sizes of the Staedtler Pigment Liners, but when I do, I'll be replacing as many Sakura Microns as I can with the Staedlters.
The Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen is new. I haven't had a whole lot of chance to use it yet. The ink started off warm, but got solid black after a bit of use.
I hope you enjoy my kit. I have a few things I'd like to add/replace, but for now this is just right.
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