I'm a big fan of a lot of different art supplies, but perhaps the one that has made the biggest change in the way I create illustrations is the magical blue lead.
I cannot say enough good things about this product.
The reasons I love it so much?
- it erases REALLY well
- when I'm trying to figure out how to draw my subject I don't get overwhelmed by the mess of scribbles
- it doesn't compete with whatever ink/watercolor I might lay over it.
- this is purely aesthetic, but I like the technical feel it gives the in progress work
Here you can see that the blue line work around it is faint, but it gave me an excellent feel for where my ink lines needed to go.
If there is one piece of equipment I recommend for every lab student, it's a mechanical pencil filled with this lead!