The Tools Artists Use

Meg Hunt

Posted on March 05, 2009 | Comments

Today's interview is with the Arizona-based illustrator Meg Hunt.

What are some of your favorite drawing tools (pens, pencils, markers, drawing tablet, all of the above)?

Let's see... I have a lot of tools that I use for different things-- I love brushes and ink for drawing, along with pencil (either Col-erase or mechanical). When I screenprint, I prepare drawings with ink and carve out Rubylith for separations with an X-acto knife. Waves mach 2, by Meg HuntI also really like using sumi ink, acrylic gouache, and random pens and charcoal for doodling. For coloring my illustrations, my drawing tablet and Photoshop are pretty key.

If you have a wide collection, how do you decide on which to use on a particular drawing, project, or day?

I have a lot of tools (a lot of which I don't use right now), but I've grown used to a small set of them and it depends really on what I'm working on-- I'm used to drawing my illustrations on bristol board using ink and Kolinsky sable brushes-- I use handmade designer's brushes from Rosemary & Co. After I ink in black, I add in white details with either a dip pen (G nib) or a brush or an Ackerman pump pen. I'll also sometimes use a light-box to ink other color separations, textures, etc to layer in on Photoshop when I color later. If I'm working on a screenprint, I carve out separations largely with Rubylith and an X-Acto knife-- it's more time consuming than perhaps doing it digitally but I like the old-school method and working in reverse like relief printing.

If you prefer pens, is there any particular brand, color, or type of ink you like best?

I use a few different inks but largely the brand I favor is Dr. Ph Martin's -- the brands I am mentioning here are theirs. For drawing screenprinting separations, I use Black Star HI-Carb ink. For white ink I use Pen-White, and for drawing on bristol I use Bombay black ink.

How do you like your color? Watercolor? Acrylics? Oil? Colored pencils? Markers?

I like color either in screenprinting-using custom mixed inks with pure pigments-or using gouache.

mhunt-tricycle-suck-up-screenprint

If you do use paints, inks, pencils, or markers for coloring, are there any in particular that are your favorites? Do you prefer travel sets of paints to a full set?

I use Acryla gouache -- I just started learning a few months ago and have been really getting into it lately. I have a mixed set of 18 or so paints-- it's enough to get a wide range of color but not too many that it'd overwhelm me.

Is there any particular type of notebook or drawing pad you prefer? Or does any scrap of decent-sized paper work in a pinch?

I have a lot of random sketchbooks-though I couldn't tell you their brands offhand-I usually just aim for as smooth paper as I can find as possible. As long as it doesn't bleed I'm fine! I doodle on random paper here and there too-- or on margins in my bristol board too...

Do you ever do any kind of post-processing (like adding color in Photoshop or similar tool) to your drawings?

Yup, I use Photoshop all the time to color my illustrations-I scan the lineart and color on lower layers, knocking out certain outlines and coloring the rest so it's not heavily outlined.

Have you ever tried a new pen (or paper, etc) from reading about it, or seeing the results in another artist's work?

All the time! Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it doesn't. The Ackerman pump pen is a new acquisition that I picked up after seeing Michael Cho mentioning it on Twitter. Most of my supplies are picked up from word of mouth.

Do you have anything you use out of the ordinary for making your art?

I think the Rubylith isn't that ordinary anymore just because it's rather archaic. I sometimes will make marks using twigs and q-tips and sponges and toothbrushes and anything I can make texture with.

If you work both digitally and non-digitally, which do you find yourself doing more? Is there a reason you would prefer one of the other? Is it because of the tools available in either space?

I use them both about 50-50-- I'd probably go nuts if I worked totally digitally, but due to time constraints I know I'll probably have to use digital just so I can make quick edits and get things done. I like mixing both-- I often get comments that people don't know how much is digital and how much is analog, so it's always a good challenge to push both. mhunt-giraffe-fruit-pick

I asked about post-processing on a computer, but do you think the computer is a helpful tool for making art? Whether it's looking for inspiration online, or using it to build a weblog to promote yourself and your art, do you think a computer is necessary, helpful, or a distraction (or all of the above)?

Necessary hardly, but it's definitely useful. I'd be kind of lost without a computer now, but it's invaluable having the internet to research and promote and make connections with my peers, and making art is greatly aided by having a computer and drawing tablet (for me, anyway). It can be really distracting though, what with all the stuff out there-- but it's just a matter of self-control.

Thanks Meg!

Meg Hunt's personal/professional website is at meghunt.com, and her weblog is located at www.meghunt.com/blog/. She can also be found on Twitter (@meghunt) and Flickr (crossedfingers).

Meg is also currently running a offer where she'll paint you an original (an animal of your choice) if you suggest/pass along her name to an industry contact. More details on the offer can be found on her weblog.

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