The Tools Artists Use

Laura Park

Posted on November 20, 2012 | Comments

Laura Park is an illustrator and comic artist based in Chicago, Illinois.

Poster for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, by Laura Park

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

I like most everything but I favor nib pens, ink, and watercolor. I love drawing in pencil and often I wish I wasn't so bad at drawing with a brush.

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

I try to use whatever fits the project best. If it's possible I like to avoid working digitally. Personally, it's just more satisfying to get my hands dirty and work traditionally.

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

Nib pens are my absolute favorite drawing tool. I use Tachikawa holders with a variety of mostly vintage nibs. My favorite being Hunt Lady Falcons, an oddly perfect crosshatching nib. The Hunt Lady Falcons are crazy difficult to find, so if pressed Eagle Pencil Company made a pretty decent Lady Falcon. I like Esterbrook oval points (or Deleter G Nibs) for standard lettering and Esterbrook 358 for script. I don't really have a favorite ink but Speedball Super Black is good and Winsor & Newton makes nice colored inks.

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

I love paints! Watercolor, acrylic and oils. I wish I had more time to oil paint because the smell and experience is so soothing.

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 use a variety of travel kits with pan watercolors (a mix of Schmincke and Old Holland) with one of those Aquash water brushes.

A comic for Saveur Magazine, by Laura Park

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 like Moleskine sketchbook but they're not perfect.

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

When I painted more I liked using everything. Nowadays it's all watercolor on whatever reasonably priced paper I can get.

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

I'll clean up drawing or tinker with my watercolors to correct the colors and often I'll drop out the white in favor of a slightly off white.

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

All the time. I'm very promiscuous when it comes to art tools. I think I'm just half convinced that I'm doing it wrong.

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

Aside from vintage nibs I don't think so.

Comic self-portrait by Laura Park

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 try to work more non-digitally. There was a time when I had a job where I was working in Photoshop and Illustrator all day every day. I have no problem with digital work, but for me it felt like it was a skill suck. From my experience, If you watercolor everyday you get better at it and those skills translate into being better with color in a bunch of mediums. Computer skills didn't translate to being skilled in any other medium for me. Also working digitally makes me incredibly indecisive.

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)?

All of the above. For me the difficulty is trying to balance all the good you can use a computer for against all the productivity-destroying-distraction. I don't have a computer in my studio because I can't just be reasonable and use it for research and email.

Thanks Laura!

You can find Laura Park online at her website and on Twitter (@llaurappark).

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