The Tools Artists Use

Tin Salamunic

Posted on August 24, 2009 | Comments

Tin Salamunic is an artist and illustrator born in Bosnia and currently living and working in Richmond, Virginia. He also teaches art courses at Virginia Commonwealth University.


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

For my sketchbook drawings, I use a Pilot Precise Rollingball V7 (fine tip) colors black and red. For my commercial work I use the Wacom Tablet. I also ink my commercial pieces digitally. For Spot coloring and some full page coloring in my sketchbook, I use watercolor brush pens.

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

Trial and Error is the most honest answer. I have tried every pen... every tool on the market. And while I don't believe that the ones listed above are the best of the best in general, they are the best for me. Everyone needs to find their tool of choice..and sometimes it might take years of experimentation and quite a bit of failure. However, the proper tool can not only make drawing and/or painting easier..but also better looking.

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

Pilot Precise Rollingball V7 (fine tip) Pen- They flow beautifully on the Moleskine paper of my sketchbook. The "FINE" thickness is perfect for me, because the thinner the pen, the more it slows me down. I use the color black for my main drawings, and accent details and fill negative space with a red pen.

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

For my sketchbooks, watercolor mainly...rarely 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?

There are rare occasions where I find myself traveling and working on sketch journals. In those instances, I prefer to use the watercolor brush pens...not any kind of sets, because I prefer to limit my color palette.

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 always use the Moleskine sketchbooks. I use the 100-page one with slightly thicker paper to reduce transparency and support watercolor and/or paint application. The feel of my ink pen flowing on the Moleskine paper alone is reason enough for me to use this sketchbook.

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

Have not painted since college :(

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

My commercial work has gone full digital now. However, I do find myself fixing up, adjusting and adding digital touch-ups to my sketchbook pages. Pretty much every sketch page that I scan is carefully fixed up in Photoshop... even if it is the simple addition of the white color in some spots.

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

Everyone has been praising the pen that James Jean uses. Once I got a hold of a box... I realized that it is nothing more than a very think ball-point pen that has a tendency to smear and is too thin for my taste. But that just goes to show that there is a specific tool for everyone.

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

My sketchbooks are the most experimental works that I have. My recent experimentation was playing with transfer markers and xerox copies...nothing out of the ordinary, though.


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

It's all Adobe Photoshop. On very, very rare cases, I use Adobe Illustrator...and even more rare cases Corel Painter.

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)?

A computer is a tool. As long as the artist keeps that in mind, it is extremely helpful. Most people these days misuse the computer, causing endless circular debates whether it is good or bad. If you cannot draw..any tool is useless and cannot be used to your advantage. if you can't paint, oils are us eless too. The only bad thing about the computer is that it allows those without skill to cheat..and those people are the only ones creating the problems in the first place.

Thanks Tin!

You can find Tin Salamunic online at his portfolio website, on his weblog, on Twitter (@Salamunic), and he also contributes to the group weblog Urban Sketchers.

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