The Tools Artists Use

Vikki Chu

Posted on March 26, 2009 | Comments

Vikki Chu is an illustrator living in Richmond, Virginia.


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

I use a size .35 Rapidograph for most of my drawings and I love it. Graphite pencils are also great. I love ink washes over graphite. When sketching from life, I carry a refillable brush pen filled with an ink/water mix for washes. A drawing tablet and Photoshop are important for when I'm doing any digital work. I have a cute little Wacom Bamboo tablet that I often bring around with my laptop.

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

I use a Rapidograph, so the ink I use is almost always black Rapidograph ink.

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

Most of my color is done in Photoshop. I love the quickness and economy of digital color. Watercolors are also great and I have been using them more frequently. I use Winsor Newton.


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 am currently alternating between a Moleskine and a Global Art journal (sketchbook). Those are the two main sketchbooks I use. I love the richer and more textured feel of the Global art paper, but it tends to be rougher on a Rapidograph nib. I also do a good amount of drawing on copy paper and bristol paper when I have it.

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

Yes, I use Photoshop for most of my color.

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

Yes, sometimes I pick up things by talking to artists/friends or seeing how they work. New tools and methods are fun to experiment with, but only very occasionally do they become integral to the way I work. The Rapidograph, which I first tried after seeing a friend using one, is now a tool that I really trust.


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)?

The computer is all of those things. It's mostly up to me whether it's more helpful than it is necessary or distracting. It has been infinitely helpful in self-promotion and as a source of information.

Thanks Vikki!

Vikki Chu's illustration portfolio can be found at and her weblog is at Vikki can also be found on Flickr (vikki-chu).

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