Michael Hirshon is an illustrator and designer in New York City.
What are some of your favorite drawing tools (pens, pencils, markers, drawing tablet, all of the above)?
I'm a pen man, through and through. Also, there's my Wacom tablet.
If you have a wide collection, how do you decide on which to use on a particular drawing, project, or day?
I use pens for my on-location drawings. For editorial assignments, I'll typically use my tablet.
If you prefer pens, is there any particular brand, color, or type of ink you like best?
I like to use cheap Uniball pens (for strong, precise lines…plus a little spontaneity when too much ink leaks out). I don't travel with them, however, as airplane pressurization makes them explode. For those trips, I'll use a thin Papermate pen marker.
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 use printer paper for editorial sketches. My sketchbook is a Canson 180, which I highly recommend. It's got a coptic-style binding so it opens flat. That way you can draw across the entire spread with no pesky crease in the middle.
Do you ever do any kind of post-processing (like adding color in Photoshop or similar tool) to your drawings?
I do all of my color digitally -- I'm constantly changing colors around. I think if I tried my normal work process with oils, the canvas would end up caked with 4 inches of paint. In the end, I overlay textures from photographs I've shot (I often get weird looks from people while I painstakingly photograph decaying walls and dirty floors).
Have you ever tried a new pen (or paper, etc) from reading about it, or seeing the results in another artist's work?
I have not.
Do you have anything out of the ordinary you use for making your art?
Don't think so.
If you create purely-digital art, what are the software programs you use? Is one used more than another?
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 probably do a bit more work digitally, just because of the convenience of being able to move elements around, and quickly change colors and brushes. Though as far as linework goes, my pen-on-paper drawings look better than my tablet drawings.
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 believe it's completely, 100% necessary. Not for the creation of art, but for promotion and communicating with clients. I've been living abroad for the last year, and the only way I was able to continue working was by communicating with my US clients via email and Skype. It's such a seamless communication platform -- many of my clients never even knew I was abroad! I moved all of my marketing efforts online this year and they're working better than postcards ever did (though I still have a soft spot for postcards...).