The Tools Artists Use

Miguel Herranz

Posted on February 12, 2013 | Comments

Miguel Herranz is an illustrator and sketchbook artist living in Barcelona, Spain.

Sketch of Barcelona, by Miguel Herranz

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

In my everyday work I almost never work on paper. I work with a Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop on a Macintosh computer. But in my free time, I draw on location using ink and watercolor in sketchbooks of different sizes. For the linework I use fountain pens, fiber pens, ballpoint pens, and brush pens. For the color I use always watercolors.

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

I like to carry different tools with me and decide depending on the subject (fountain pens and fiber pens usually for architecture, ballpoint pens and brush pens for portraits, trees and natural-live subjects). But I have no rules.

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

I use Lamy fountain pens, UNI Pin fiber pens, Pentel brush pens, and any kind of ballpoint pens. My watercolors are Winsor & Newton and Schmincke applied with Sakura waterbrushes.

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

Almost always watercolors.

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 Winsor & Newton Bijou box I bought on a lucky bid on eBay (just $17!!), but I often change the colors in it. I have acid seasons, earthy seasons, shadow seasons...

Illustrations from an Emilia Romagna cookbook, by Miguel Herranz

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

Always vertical (I don't love the landscape format). I use 2 sizes: one pocket size that comes with me in every moment but swimming, and the backpack size (about 5,5 x 8,5 inch) that I use when I go drawing on purpose. I love paper not as thick as watercolor paper, but enough to put on some washes. I love Stillman & Birn, Strathmore and Hahnemuhle sketchbook.

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

I don't use canvas to paint on.

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

I do not alter the work on the computer after scanning the drawings. I just make a few curve corrections, but I never make selective changes or adjustments.

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

I'm use to waiting for reactions and comments.

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

No. I love writing in my sketchbooks and I do not conceive them without writings and I'm often asked about that. Some people see writing as something out of the ordinary.

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

Sometimes I use Painter but I use almost always Photoshop.

Sketch of a Gaudí gate in Barcelona, by Miguel Herranz

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 do not ask my self about. I work digital for my paid jobs (illustration and storyboard) and I love it because of the precision, the productivity, the possibility of skip scanning and working on layers and the command-Z shortcut. But I'd never work digital for the work I really love, which is sketching on location in sketchbooks. I do love sketchbooks.

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 don't care about. The computer is just a tool and it can be a good tool. The main point for me is the idea, and a good idea can be rendered digitally or not. Computer possibilities are very spectacular but if there's not an idea below they are just fireworks. I do not blame the computer for this.

Thanks Miguel!

You can find Miguel Herranz on his portfolio website, on his blog freekhand, on Flickr (mherranz), on YouTube, and on issuu.

comments powered by Disqus