The Tools Artists Use

Tommy Kane

Posted on August 15, 2012 | Comments

Tommy Kane is a squirrel who lives in Brooklyn. When not on the streets of the world drawing he is a Creative Director for an advertising agency.

Jogeysa Buddha, by Tommy Kane

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

I always use one pen. The Uni-Ball Vision fine pen. Then I have a Winsor & Newton watercolor set and Prismacolor pencils. I keep my tools very basic.

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

I don't have a wide collection on purpose. This way I have no decisions to make. I just start drawing. My only decision is what am I going to draw.

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

Uni-Ball pens are my friends. I like the point size of the pen and I like how smoothly it flows. They are waterproof and can take a beating.

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

I'm a watercolor and colored pencil kind of guy. Because I draw on the street I keep my materials very small. I have a tiny watercolor set with few choices of color. I have to mix like crazy to get other shades. I would love to have more choices but I just can only lug so much around with me.

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?

Like I said I am a travel set kind of guy. I don't do my drawings at home. I could take photos and try to do it all in a nice little studio with lots of choices of materials. I draw everything on the street so I keep it small. Winsor & Newton or Schmincke watercolor sets.

Pike Place Market, by Tommy Kane

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 quite a few. Sometimes I like to work large and sometimes in notebooks. I'm a fan of Stillman & Birn drawing books. Of course, Moleskine. I also love Canson cold press watercolor blocks, 11 X 14 inches.

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

In the past I have done a bunch of paintings. I do them with acrylic paint on cardboard. I gesso it a bit first and then paint right onto the cardboard. They came out great.

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

I always adjust the color in Photoshop. I make my drawings look richer. But I don't do any real part of the artwork with Photoshop. I do all the coloring and drawing by hand.

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

Not really.

Mixed-media painting on cardboard, by Tommy Kane

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 have found the computer to be a great tool for artists. I find tons of inspiration and I have made connections with some of the best artists in the world. I have been able to successfully promote my work to people all over the world. It's like I can publish my own Tommy Kane magazine each week for all to see. I love it and will continue to use till the day I die.

Thanks Tommy!

Tommy Kane can be found online at his weblog, his illustration website, on his advertising portfolio, and on Twitter (@tommmykane). Some prints of Tommy's work can be found for sale on his Etsy store. And you can watch a wonderful video of Tommy Kane at work.

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