The Tools Artists Use

Scott Campbell (aka Scott C.)

Posted on April 06, 2009 | Comments

Scott Campbell (also known as just Scott C) is a painter and creator of comics living in New York, NY.


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

When I am sketching, I usually like to use Col-erase blue pencils on zerox paper or 6B pencils. I like to ink with this strange little Japanese pen that I cannot read the writing on, but it is blue on the outside with a small spongeish tip. I like to paint with watercolors using a large flat brush and a cat's tongue brush for the lines and details (which are hard to find, it seems). I also use Photoshop with my Cintiq for piecing things together and trying out value roughs. I also paint full concepts on it for my video game concept work.

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

Well, it is usually all the same. Comics are with the pencils and brush pens, while the watercolors are for the paintings. Almost always. I sometimes watercolor my comics when I have time. When I am sketching, I usually have to feel out what makes me most relaxed to help me think of ideas. I am superstitious like that somehow.

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

I really have no idea what kind of pen this is that I am using, but I have been using it for many years. I can't refill the ink cartridges so I have to keep buying new ones. Expensive and wasteful. I am sorry, the earth.

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

I like watercolors the most because of the texture and airyness. I also have a hard time with committing to things, so I can work light and keep bringing up the value contrast with layers. I can also wipe stuff out if I want. Watercolors are really forgiving. But the texture is what I really dig about them.

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 Winsor & Newton out of tubes. I look for colors that feel good in a spectrum. The basics.


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

Any scrap works good, but I find that copy paper is the most relaxing when I am trying to come up with ideas. I sometimes sketch in little Moleskine books and various spiral bound books and toned paper, but the copy paper is less permanent. I have stacks of doodles on copy paper.

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

I like to paint on rough watercolor paper, so I can get lots of texture!

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

I try not to do this, but when I am concepting, I do quite a lot.

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

Definitely. I have seen numerous artists get great muted colors and textures on paper and tried experimenting after seeing such things. Marcel Dzama gets great muted colors with his work. One of his shows that I saw, really inspired me to explore the watercolor chilled out route.

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

I've been using the same little 50's coffee saucer with the little ring of designs for the past few years. I use it as a palette to mix my paints.

If you create purely-digital art, what are the software programs you use? Is one used more than another?

I use Photoshop primarily. I have accumulated a bunch of amazing brushes that fellow artists have made, that helps the process a whole lot. The Cintiq has changed my life for sure. I may rely on it too much. When I am away from my home studio, I struggle with a mere Wacom tablet.


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 prefer non-digital because I like the roughness and imperfect looks. You can get some great texture in Photoshop, but basic drawing and painting materials still feel and look the best for me.

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)?

I definitely have rules for myself for keeping away from the computer, especially in the mornings. Email and the internet can be very very distracting. But on the other hand it is incredibly helpful to me. Even for my painting process, I use it to piece together all of my doodles and mess with sizes and compositions. I definitely rely on it quite a bit. as far as promoting with weblogs and things, I think it is an amazing tool. I love that part of it. it is very exciting to share your art with people around the world and discover inspiration from others. The quick feedback with comments is very satisfying. It used to be that you slave away on your paintings and comics and wait for the public to see it after it is published, but with the internet, you can get quick fixes of gratification by posting your comics and paintings yourself. I think this has helped my motivation to create tremendously.

Thanks Scott!

Scott C. can be found all over the web! You can start with his weblog at, then Flickr (scottlava), and Twitter (@scottlava), his online comic at Doublefine (the first compendium of which will be released by publisher Nerdcore in Spring 2009), and his art is available for purchase at Gallery 1988, Gallery Nucleus, and at a Paper Tiger.

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