The Tools Artists Use

Patrick Vale

Posted on September 05, 2012 | Comments

Patrick Vale is an artist and illustrator living in London.

London skyline, by Patrick Vale

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

All of the above, my favourite is a pen which allows a fluid line, like a brush dip pen or a technical pen. It really depends on the brief and the size really. Don't use pencil so much, but should! Love a drawing tablet, but only use to colour really. Just ordered iPad 3 and Wacom stylus, so watch this space.

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

It depends on the brief. The architectural illustration I do needs to usually have a fine line and no heavier marks, so I will use a technical pen. For other stuff I do, that's just for me, I like to use anything really.

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

Posca, Rotring art pen, Pilot drawing pens, and Winsor & Newton ink.

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

Ink, watercolour, gouache, markers, and the computer.

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?

Just good quality paints, I mix my own colours.

Shelving and bikes, by Patrick Vale

Is there any particular type of notebook or drawing pad you prefer? Or does any scrap of decent-sized paper work in a pinch?

No real preference. A large Moleskine is nice as a sketchbook and they do a watercolour paper one now as well which is great.

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

Don't really paint at the moment, but canvas is a nice surface to work on.

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

Yup. I use Photoshop to colour depending on the brief.

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

No, I like to try things out myself.

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


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

I never do this. I draw always freehand on paper, and will colour sometimes in Photoshop.

Florence, Italy, by Patrick Vale

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?

Totally job dependant, I like both. Only use Photoshop if I want a computer-coloured "look." If I want the work to look loose and inky, I will actually do it on paper. I don't trick this digitally.

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)?

Th computer is amazing, but it is just a tool. If you don't have the basic skills and a good eye you get found out.

Thanks Patrick!

You can find Patrick online on Twitter (@patrickavale) and his portfolio website. More of his art and contact information can be found through his agent, début art. And if you're one of the few that has yet to see the timelapse video of Patrick sketching the New York skyline, go watch it now!

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