The Tools Artists Use

Stephanie Toppin

Posted on March 16, 2009 | Comments

Stephanie Toppin is an artist from Houston, Texas.

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

Pens, markers, never pencils. Sometimes permanent markers.


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

Bic and Papermate. Always black. Sharpie pens, fine, and in black.

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

Markers and Acrylic. Mostly Acrylic. Enamel house paint at times, that indoor / outdoor paint you find at Home Depot. It drips soooo well.

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 always use Basics acrylic paint in the tube and jar and I only buy primary colors. I think learning to mix and handle your paint is key. Premixed colors don't have the life and warmth at times. Factory black esp.

When I buy the Home Depot house paint I try to get the pints and not the gallons too much. It's hard to lift and paint that way. You can hold the pint in your hand and it gives you more freedom.


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

When I want to draw I have to take what I can get, anything around, but if I have a preference I like white cardstock sheets. And a small journal, really small with white paper and black cover are always best. There are sooo many brands now, I am not really religious about the brand.

If you paint, is there any particular type of canvas you prefer? Do you like to paint on wood or any other materials?

I paint on MDF board, precut at Home Depot 1/4 inch and 4 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide. Some people have told me it will deteriorate and not last my life time. I tried wood but not too keen on it. I really love MDF.

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

Sometimes I scan and it comes out faint or maybe just the scanner is cheap so I usually increase the contrast so people can see the drawing better. But that is just for the image of it. The original piece is never altered and reprinted.

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

Yeah I have tried to use different pens, more expensive ones, and it never works. The only thing I think worth spending money on for me is paper. You know the paper when you feel it under your pen, it does make a difference.


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)?

Computers are a helpful distraction. They are the new television in some ways. I would have never known so many artists and seen so many different types of work if it were not for a computer but at the same time I could have been painting instead of sitting in front of a screen. I think everything just has to have a balance.

Thanks Stephanie!

You can follow Stephanie Toppin's work on Flickr (stoppin) and on Artadia.

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