In the past, Boris has been drawn on newspaper with madly bleeding Sharpie pen, on printer paper with a smeary ballpoint. This incarnation was drawn on a bit of 10" X 14" (25 X 35 cms) leftover hot pressed Arches 300 gsm Watercolour Paper using a couple of Mitsubishi Uni Pin Permanent Ink, Fine Tipped Pens (which are water and fadeproof and claim to be lightfast too), in my hand. Boris was then washed, (much to his disgust because he wanted to be tan coloured), with a hint of pink Caran d'Ache Neocolour II Water Soluble Wax Crayon borrowed from a fellow artist working beside me. I had to explain to Boris that his ears and snout were all wrong for him to be a tan coloured Tamworth pig. He was not impressed! The wash is not showing up very well in this scanned image at left.
I'm saving my pennies for a set of these Swiss made Neocolour II sticks. They are amazing, boast a great pigment load and dissolve completely and so easily with a touch of a waterbrush. They even claim to be lightfast which is more than can be said for Derwent Watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils and sticks. Although labelled "wax crayons", the Neocolour IIs are not at all waxy after being wet and ordinary water colour paints will happily blend with them. If you are chasing the Neocolour II crayons, just Google them and you will be inundated with purchasing choices. Every art supplier's seems to stock them.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the above two links. Just included them for the convenience of blog readers. The first Art Shop link is an Aussie one and is where I prefer to buy a lot of online supplies because their prices are better than most, the service is excellent, their postage charges are a reasonable flat rate, they actually have a physical art shop (in which you can personally shop if you live in the area), crammed with terrific stock and they answer email queries very quickly. The second link is good old reliable, sensibly priced, Dick Blick for US readers and international shoppers.
Uni-ball and Uni Pin Pens versus Others
Mitsubishi Uni Pin Fine Line and Uni-ball Micro Deluxe rollerball pens are my favourite drawing tools. Absolutely waterproof, non-fading, lightfast and with wonderful tips with which to draw. No idea if they are archival but they are supposed to be acid free which simply means that the ink is PH neutral and should not cause your paper to deteriorate over time if you have gone to the trouble of sourcing archival papers on which to work.
Archival and Acid Free are different kettles of fish. The terms are not interchangeable. An archival paper is also acid free but an acid free paper may not be archival. Lignin found in wood pulp papers is the culprit that can cause yellowing and brittleness in aged papers. Cotton and rag papers are free of lignin.
I have Sakura Pigma pens, Zig Millenium pens, and Pitt Artist Pens - all of them almost equally as permanent as the Uni Pin ones, all claiming to be archival, but the Uni Pins seem to flow better and not feel as scratchy when using the very fine tipped ones. This may have something to do with the fact that I rarely draw on good quality Bond or cartridge papers, as I seem to prefer a watercolour paper of the smoother hot pressed variety. It is asking a lot of a very fine tipped pen to draw smoothly on these rougher surfaces designed for watercolours.
Another possible choice from Mitsubishi is their Uni-ball Eye Fine/Micro pen which comes in 10 colours and 0.5 and 0.7 tips too. I really wouldn't call a pen with the finest tip being 0.05, a "micro" tipped pen, but it doesn't alter the fact that they are nice to use if you don't need anything finer. I've only sourced the black ink version of these, but they seem just as pleasant to use as the other pens in this Mitsubishi range, but not quite so easy to find as the other two pen types.
I freely admit to pinching the images of the pens and the tips from the Uni-ball web site for the legitimate purposes of this review. It's such a glowing review that I feel they owe me one or two pics and if they send me a copyright infringement notice I'll scrub this review from my blog - so there!