PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION Art materials, Editors choice 2 min read

5 Tools For Sketching Quickly

5 tools for sketching quickly
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We recommend these sketching tools based on insights from courtroom sketch artists

Are you looking to quickly express your creative visions and capture the emotion of a moment? Who better than a courtroom artist to talk about sketching quickly? This article investigates five essential tools: oil pastels, clutch pencils, charcoal sticks, brush pens, and toned mixed media paper, to help hone your practice.

When cameras are prohibited in a courtroom, works created by courtroom artists bring key moments in the trial to life as a complement to the written record. From the solemn atmosphere of a courtroom to its intense moments, courtroom artists capture it all as they translate complex legal proceedings into lasting images. Courtroom artists work quickly and need materials that make it possible. There is no set “toolkit” that all artists work with, but here are five common materials that are frequently used.

Learn more about the lives of a working courtroom artists in this article.

5 Tools For Capturing the Moment Quickly

Oil Pastels

Artists can work quickly and efficiently with oil pastels, perfect for indoor environments like a courtroom due to their lack of solvents or odors. These Sennelier pastels are a great choice, with a unique formulation of premium pigments combined with a pure synthetic binding medium and mineral wax. They are long-lasting and have an excellent pigment load!

Clutch Pencils

Clutch pencils offer a unique drawing experience. Unlike traditional wooden pencils that need to be continually sharpened as the lead is used up – no mess from shavings! Quick working artists will appreciate this iconic tool for its convenience and speed of use.

Charcoal Sticks

For creative artists looking to develop their drawing and sketching skills, General’s Primo Euro Blend Compressed Charcoal Sticks are the ideal choice. Each set includes four distinct materials — Extra Soft 3B; Soft B; Medium HB, and White — providing a quick way to achieve a range of values.

Brush Pens

Brush pens, like this Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, are ideal for creating fine to broad lines with a single brushstroke. Portable and refillable with permanent pigment ink, it’s perfect for quick, expressive, and dynamic marks.



Toned Mixed Media Paper

Some courtroom sketch artists prefer to work on toned paper, selecting a tone that reflects the colors and light of the courtroom. Toned mixed media paper, like these products from Strathmore, allows artists to work in a variety of media, and build both lights and darks easily.



What would you add to this list? Leave a note in the comments!

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For tips on how to put these to best use, feel free to check out the following:

Meet the Artist

Scott Maier is an artist and a content contributor to He’s also the author of the instructional art book, See, Think, Draw: An Easy Guide for Realistic Drawing and Beyond.

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