The Tools Artists Use

Becky Dreistadt

Posted on January 29, 2013 | Comments

Becky Dreistadt is a painter and comic artist living with her partner Frank in Los Angeles.

From Becky Dreistadt's (and Frank's) comic, Tiny Kitten Teeth

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

I use Staedtler 4H, 2B, and 6B pencils. 4H is for watercolor paper, the rest is for drawing and sketching.

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

For my quick rough work I love a Kuretake No. 9 brush pen. I also have a few other random foam tip brush pens from Kinokuniya and Jet Pens.

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

I work primarily in gouache, a little watercolor and every so often cel vinyl. I've started experimenting with Japanese Poster Color (Nicker and Turner).

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 Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes for my painting, which is primarily in Pebeo T7 Extra Fine Gouache. I also work in Holbein Acryla and occasionally Turner Gouache, as well as Animation Cel Vinyl. I have a couple of travel sets, I have Schmincke Watercolor & Gouache sets, but I mostly use little Pelikan sets when I am moving around.

Hapytzu illustration, from Becky Dreistadt's Capture Creatures

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 love these kraft paper recycled sketchbooks that I found in a Walmart in Virginia, which were super underpriced there. When I sketch, I mostly just use US Letter paper.

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

Painting on wood is fun, as well as cels and crazy Yupo plastic watercolor paper, but I mostly work on Hahnemuhle watercolor paper.

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

When I scan paintings it generally washes out the colors. I usually just do some basic level color correction in Photoshop then I'm done.

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

Yes! I tried Rosemary & Co brushes because of Bryan Lee O'Malley, which are lovely and I'm going to do a big order of those pretty soon. Also John Pham told me about Deleter #3 ink, which has replaced Winsor & Newton Spider Ink as my favorite ink.

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

Illustration by Becky Dreistadt

I sometimes do fingerprints in the watercolor, I also use rubber ceramic painting brushes to mix my paints.

The strangest one is when I was living in New Zealand, my partner Frank did a radio show at a small station based above what I could only imagine was an illegal hookah bar. They had this plastic sticker that covered the window that had tiny holes in it, so you could see from inside but not from outside. When that bar was closed, I assume for being illegal, I tore a big chunk of it off the window. I use that to create dot pattern/zipatone patterns in my paintings.

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'm about to get into digital coloring a little more for expediency in certain projects, but we'll see if it's actually faster for me.

Thanks Becky!

You can find Becky Dreistadt online at the website she runs with her partner Frank, Tiny Kitten Teeth, her own portfolio site, on Twitter (@beckyandfrank), and on Capture Creatures. You can also watch a timelapse video of Becky painting on the Soul Pancake YouTube channel.

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