The Tools Artists Use

Kiersten Essenpreis

Posted on June 10, 2009 | Comments

Kiersten Essenpreis is an artist originally from the suburbs of Chicago, now living and working in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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

I actually love 3H pencils, Micron pens and very small (00 or smaller) inexpensive paint brushes. My boyfriend has been trying to get me to buy a drawing tablet (he swears by it!), but that hasn't happened yet.

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

I tend to go through paint brushes VERY quickly, so I don't like to spend a lot of money on them. Every time I head to an art store I always try to stock up on the smallest, thinnest and least expensive brushes I can!

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

My favorite are 005 Black Micron pens, they're the best!

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

I actually use Flashe paint, which is a high pigment vinyl based paint. It dries very flat, which is great for scanning.

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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 love a brand new notebook of any sort (cheap or expensive, small or big) and I always have great intentions of filling it with beautiful ideas and drawings. But somehow I always end up using them to make lists.

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

I usually only like painting on sanded and shellacked Baltic Birch wood.

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

I sometimes use Photoshop when color correcting my work, or if I have a short deadline on an editorial job.

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

I actually started using Flashe paint after seeing another artist who used it. I had been working with acrylics, but was unhappy about the shine it produced on the wood when scanning the finish.

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

Nothing too strange.. I do use small pieces of contact paper for each color I mix, when painting. For some reason, the typical mixing palette never worked for me.

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

I don't use it a lot, but Photoshop can be very handy!

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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 feel most comfortable painting, but that's probably because that's what I do everyday.. I guess everything else is kind of out of my comfort zone.

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 definitely the most helpful tool when it comes to promotion. With all the great art and design sites and blogs, there are endless opportunities for people from around the world to have access to great art and artists.

Thanks Kiersten!

You can find Kiersten Essenpreis online at her portfolio website youfail.com, on her weblog, and she is currently having a sale of her original art to raise money.

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