The Tools Artists Use

Mick Statham

Posted on May 06, 2009 | Comments

Mick Statham is an artist based in Staffordshire, UK.


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

When I sketch it is usually with ink. A drafting pen or markers are my favourite choices. I find that you can't hide your mistakes when you draw directly in ink. I love that. Occasionally I will use a blue pencil. This allows me to ink over this so that when scanned, the blue sketch lines can be edited out.

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

In the past I have used pretty much anything to hand to create art. Spray paint, oils, acrylic. makers. You name it and I've probably used it. These days most of my pre-production work is done on a computer with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and Illustrator. But when it comes to sketching I'll always stick to ink.

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

Always black, if I'm using ink, and always 0.5-1.0 tip Edding draft pens. Markers can range from thin to really thick tip. Sometimes I'll use a brush pen. I'm trying a few different makes to find perfect brush pen for me.

How do you like your color? Watercolor? Acrylics? Oil? Colored pencils? Markers? All of the above?

On the odd occasion that I actually have the time to paint, I do prefer Oils. But I still mix it up a bit when it comes to the media that I use. It depends what the work calls for.

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 or do you need a full set of colors?

My favourite markers are Pantone make. Auto spray paint is also good.


If you have a different set of tools for working in your studio (or office, or home, or on the couch) and out in public (at the park, or a coffee shop), what are the differences?

I very rarely get to work outside the studio as that is where my screen printing equipment is, however I always carry a sketch book and a drafting pen or two.

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

If I have a choice I'll always pick a Moleskine note book, just for the cool factor really, ha, ha. But really anything that you can draw on is fine with me.

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

I always paint on plywood panels. I get these cut to size at a local timber merchants. I like unpredictability of the surface. No two respond the same to the paint. My screen prints are done on acid-free paper, about 200lb. smooth surface.

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

For my screen prints I'll always use my computer to create the image. Even if I have prepared something by hand it usually ends up being scanned and into Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro and edited.


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

Sometimes but mostly I'll see something new in the art supply store and try it out for kicks.

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

I did use coffee granules once as an aging agent for the ply wood on a couple of pieces that I did way back.

If you create collages, where do you get the materials and objects you use in your pieces?

I don't create collages per se, but my current work is created from found bits and pieces as well as original elements. I do use allot of imagery that I find either in magazines or on the Internet. I'll fiddle around with a scan or picture from the web until it is suitable for what I need.

Do you have any special tools you use for creating collages? A particular X-acto knife, or a certain stamp set?

Just the computer and my scanner.

When creating your digital art, what are the software programs you use? Is one used more than another?

Mainly Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop and Illustrator. Layers are the best thing ever. I use Illustrator to convert scans of my like drawings into vectors.

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?

These days the pre-production work is always finished off digitally. This isn't a preference it's just how the product dictates how I work. I need to produce acetates for the screens that I'll print from. So, even if everything is done by hand, the final stage will always be scan, fiddle and print.


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 think that the use of a computer is invaluable these days. Even if you don't use it for producing the work, the promotional opportunities are so much better in cyber space and save on shoe leather. That said, I have the attention span of a gnat so when I'm online it is so easy to get distracted. Before you know it, two or three hours have gone by and you have nothing to show for your time. I try to update me blog at least once a week, if possible. I find that this simple process helps me to think about my work, what I've done and ideas for the future.

Thanks Mick!

Mick Statham can be found online at his website/portfolio and on his weblog.

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