The Tools Artists Use

Yuta Onoda

Posted on June 12, 2009 | Comments

Yuta Onoda is an artist originally from Japan and currently living in Canada.


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

My favorite drawing tools are pencils, ballpoint pens and brush pens. I love switching them around when I work on illustration work.

I love trying something new and making mistakes. I think this progress is essential for artists to grow.

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

I guess it really depends on what kind on project I am working on. I would have to pick materials that I can work faster if a short time is given for the project. I would probably pick something that I can take my time working with if I have extra time for the project.

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

I mainly use the pencils from Lyra (Germany) from 8B-4H. These pencils are very smooth and are very comfortable to work with.

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

I use Acrylics the most. It's because it dries faster. I would love to start using oils when I get a chance though.

I have recently started using Colored pencils as well. They're fun to mix with Acrylics.


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 have been using Ceramcoat paints which are very cheap like one tube for a dollar. I love them because they are really chalky and I love how they look when they've dried. It makes an odd texture and it's great material to give some texture to a piece.

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 use the Moleskine. I used to use another kind of sketchbook but I guess they have stopped producing them. I have been looking for a good sketchbook but it's really hard to find one.

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

I normally paint on Stonehenge paper and wood. I work with a lot of layers of paints, as I mentioned, so I like the material to have a harder surface so that it dries faster and I can work efficiently.

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

I often take a photo of my sketch before starting painting to check what colors would work the best. It's hard to start painting without visualizing how it's going to be done, so I normally try to use Photoshop to check when I paint.

When I work on illustration, I normally combine both traditional and digital, so I would say 50% of an image is done by traditional and the other is done digitally.


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

I have tried so many materials because I love to try out something new. I forget the name of the ballpoint pen Joe Morse (illustrator) uses.

He was teaching a life drawing class one day and I had a chance to see his sketchbook. I was so amazed how fine his line work was.

And I bought the same pen and tried it out. Then I figured it's not because of the pen, Joe Morse has such an amazing control of pens. He is so amazing.

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

I often make textures out of Acrylics and scan them in.

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

Definitely Photoshop. I am not really good at other software programs to be honest.

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?

It's hard to decide actually. I think both of them are very different from each other. I love painting because every decision you make is crucial, so it's very adventurous. I love digital because it allows me to undo things and try many things, so it's very adventurous as well.


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 it's a helpful tool for making art. Especially when I need to reference something, it's very accessible and time saving.

It's a distraction sometimes though. It makes me procrastinate.

Thanks Yuta!

You can find Yuta Onoda online at his portfolio website, his weblog, and he is beginning to sell prints of his work at inPRNT.

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