The Tools Artists Use

Chris Crites

Posted on June 03, 2009 | Comments

Chris Crites is an artist living in Seattle, Washington.


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

I always have a 9" x 12" sketchbook going but have not drawn too much recently which bums me out. In that I work with Sakura Micron pens and Sharpies.

I also always try to have a softbound small Moleskine in my pocket and a black ballpoint pen so I can sketch on the go.

The watercolor Moleskine and a Waterbrush are a lot of fun.

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

Just depends on the mood I am in. Whether I want color or not, whether I feel like painting or drawing.

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

Sakura Microns are great since they are waterproof and come in so many sizes and colors.

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

Acrylic is my main medium. I used to use Liquitex Concentrated in bottles exclusively since they had so many opaque colors but more recently been using Golden fluid acrylics as well.

Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Artists Ink is pretty awesome. You can get so many "watercolor" effects but once it dries stays put.


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

Paper bag is generally what I paint on. I like the tooth, the folds and the way opaque acrylics "pop" off the surface. I have started branching out with Arches watercolor paper and Okiwara paper for the acrylic ink and wash effects.

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

No. I scan all my paintings or have them photographed. The only Photoshop action is sometimes tiling together multiple scans of larger pieces.

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

The water brush I got from seeing a friend use it and how handy it seemed (water filled handle allows for water to slowly flow out of brush tip). Great for traveling.

The acrylic ink I picked up on a tip from Robert Hardgrave.

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

Besides the bag, not really. My original bag paintings all had the drawings inked in with a bamboo pen, but now everything is pretty standard.


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)?

Not necessarily a necessity, but the computer has certainly made the process faster for me. I am able to adjust images' contrast so that they work better for my limited palette style. I also like the fact that I can scan my images and that is about the cheapest, easiest and almost best method of documenting for me. Websites I think are pretty critical for an artists exposure. Sites like Flickr help as well. It sure does become a distraction having a computer in the studio. Hearing the email incoming or just thinking about checking the weather or other online nonsense.

Thanks Chris!

You can find Chris Crites online at his portfolio website and on Flickr.

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