The Tools Artists Use

Adam Koford

Posted on February 05, 2013 | Comments

Adam Koford is an illustrator and cartoonist living in Utah.

Little Red Riding Hood illustration, by Adam Koford

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

I used to rely almost entirely on various sizes of PITT pens by Faber-Castell, but recently I've mixed things up a bit with whatever catches my interest. There are several Zebra and Kuretake pens I really enjoy using. I'm not sure of the exact names because they're in Japanese. I also like the disposable fountain pens from COPIC, though the ink flow isn't always reliable.

As for pencils, I tend to use whatever's handy, though there's a mechanical .05 non-repro blue pencil from JetPens that I really enjoy using.

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

I mostly rely on whatever's handy. I inked a few recent comics with a flair pen, which I hadn't done in a long time, and wasn't too upset with the results. I've found that if I get too precious with my work, I don't actually get much done.

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

I love to watercolor, but generally color final illustrations in Photoshop. In the rare instance I do use watercolor, I rely on two very old (and reliable) sets of Winsor & Newton half pans.

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 prefer smaller sets when I paint. I'm not sure I'd know what to do with a full set. Long ago someone taught me to paint a pretty dynamic range without a full set, so I try to do my best with what I have.

That said, whenever I paint, I nearly always go back in with Prismacolor colored pencils or colored inks.

Laugh Out Loud Cats #2116, by Adam Koford

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've been using the Leuchtturm1917 grid notebook for the past two years, as both a sketchbook and final drawing surface (depending on the size of the final image before scanning).

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

Yes. I ink on paper, then color in Photoshop 90% of the time.

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

Yes! That's usually how I discover new tools.

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

I often rely on razor blades or a hobby knife to fix inking problems or add texture.

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

I rely almost entirely on Photoshop for coloring.

'Relative Dimensions' t-shirt design for Shirt.Woot!, by Adam Koford

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 still ink on paper because it's quickest for me. I have used a Cintiq from time to time, but still find I'm faster and can get more interesting results with ink on paper. It's really easy for me to get distracted by brush settings when I work on a Cintiq, so I don't bother.

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 think it's definitely helpful. There are lessons and inspiration to be found in even the most distracting things.

Thanks Adam!

You can find Adam Koford online at Flickr (apelad), on Twitter (@apelad), and on his weblog, Hobotopia.

comments powered by Disqus