The Tools Artists Use

Coming back to life

Posted on July 26, 2012 | Comments

Hi there. It's been a while!

I certainly do find it quite ironic that one of the reasons I started this site—that the wonderful Comic Tools had stopped posting these kinds of interviews—actually happened here. But, I want to right that wrong, so I'm bringing the site back to life!

I'm starting to send out interview request emails again, and I hope to have an new interview to post in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I may be fooling around with the site's design a little bit (more than I already have). If you want to make sure you're alerted when I start posting new interviews, subscribe to the site's RSS feed or follow the Twitter account @ToolsArtistsUse for updates.

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Britt Wilson

Posted on May 03, 2010 | Comments

Britt Wilson is an artist and illustrator living in Toronto, Ontario.

bwilson-no-good-deed

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

I think it all really depends on what I'm doing. I'm in love with my brushpen, but it's totally balls for penciling roughs. Balls. But really, I'd have to say my red Col-Erase pencils, my Pentel Brush pen, and my Pentel RSVP ballpoint are my daily heroes.

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

I sit at my desk and ask myself this question while staring at the array of pens and pencils and brushes and god knows what else. I painted with a feather once. Not like the end they make quills from, but the fluffy part. I guess what I end up doing is really thinking about what kind of line I want to achieve, and which one of these damn things is going to give me that. Sometimes I trace over drawings a few times with different pens to see what I like best for that particular project. Mostly I get really frustrated and just use a ballpoint.

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

I use acrylics pretty much exclusively right now. Although I'm considering getting back on the gouache horse that I fell off after art school. Such bright, creamy, vibrant colours. I'm also feeling a lot of nostalgia for crayons and pencil crayons. I feel a hefty need to play with them again.

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?

Anything cheap. I buy SO many paints in crazy different colours that if they weren't cheap, I'd be bankrupt. Or ten grand in debt to a loan shark in order to feed my colour addiction. For acrylic I usually end up buying the Liquitex Basics, and I use Golden mediums with them.

bwilson-sticker

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

As long as the paper is smooth as butter and completely toothless. I hate HATE textured paper. With a fiery passion. yuck. I also prefer that sketchbooks be hardbound, I don't like spiral ones because the pages slip around and rub against each other and everything ends up all smudged.

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

Canvas is balls. I hate the regular texture to it. I prefer to work on paper for my illustration work, and wood or masonite boards for fine art. Or as I just did the other day, I spread light acrylic modeling paste all over the canvas, like icing a cake, and when it dries it has this look of old plaster. A great texture to work on.

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

I do go the digital route sometimes. Usually when I'm in a hurry, or I want something really smooth and uniform. In which case I usually colour my linework in Photoshop, and then drop in flat colours. I'm no good at digital painting though.

bwilson-guitar-guy

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

Yes, actually. I was hearing all this buzz on the interwebs about the Pentel brush pen, and I was looking for a good brush pen anyways. I hate the felt tip kind, the tip gets all fuzzy and gross after 1 drawing, and there isn't as much control over the line weight. If you can't tell already, I'm really anal about my drawings, but I also like a little bit of messiness. Sadly I'm incapable of actually letting myself be messy. I found the Pentel pocket brush gives me the perfect amount of control vs. chaos. Plus it fits in my purse so I take it everywhere!

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?

Lately I've found myself slowly moving closer and closer to working digitally, which I have always steered clear from up until now. I LOVE the physical act of painting, of getting it all over my fingers and in my hair and on the sleeves of my favourite sweater that I forgot I was wearing again. But I'm also an illustrator, and there is often a big time issue, I can work faster digitally, mostly because when working digitally I simplify myself a lot. Even more so than that, I'm a starving artist with a terrible, old and shitty scanner and lately it's just not worth fighting with it, or paying someone to scan it for me.

bwilson-iron-and-wine

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 have a huge internet presence, probably too much so. I have two blogs, a website, way too many email addresses, and I'm on Twitter 24-7. My entire fan base (tiny as it is) is online, so without the computer and internet, I'd be even poorer (hard to imagine). I also have a catalogue of work I find inspiring in a folder on my computer. Anytime someone on one of the many blogs I follow does something mind boggling, I drag it into the folder and look at it for hours.

Sadly it is also SUPER distracting, and I'm starting to learn that I have to shut everything off and buckle down, or I can waste entire days playing around on the internet making dick jokes on twitter and chatting, and trolling through other people's awesome work that they can do because they are not addicted to the internet.

Thanks Britt!

You can find Britt Wilson online on her portfolio website brittwilson.com, her weblog Britt, a Wilson, on Twitter (@Britterson), Flickr (batamarang), and on a weblog she shares with Vicki Nerino: Uterus Parade.

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Aurélie Neyret

Posted on March 26, 2010 | Comments

Aurélie Neyret is an artist and illustrator living in Rhône, France.

aneyret-valentine2010

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

I enjoy both traditional and digital processes and try to practice both. For my professional work though, I often go digitally. I'm more comfortable with, and it's faster for me. I can come back on any step of my process, and I love the technical possibilities that digital provides. I use a Wacom tablet and Photoshop CS4. I start from zero in Photoshop, so my digital work is 100% digital. But I also love drawing with good old pens and pencils. Recently my favorite pencil is a Conté Pierre Noire, I love it because it makes really deep blacks. My friend Victoria Maderna also gave me a wonderful little pencil: Schwarz Black soft, by Faber Castell. It's soft and oily, but not greasy. Sometimes I draw with pens as well. For the colors, I'm an addict of watercolors.

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

I do not prefer pen rather than other medium, but sometimes I feel like drawing with them. My favorites are Pilots, I have several of that brand. I try to use different sizes in the same drawing, but depends, sometimes I start doodling with a ball pen and I end up filling a full page. Another one that I find very useful, is this Japanese ink pen, with a brush: Pentel GFKP. The brush is really good, allowing to vary the line density, and easier to carry on than an ink bottle.

aneyret-cerise-concept

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

As I said, my favorites are watercolors. These are awesome and also frustrating to use, but I love it. I have two boxes of Winsor & Newton watercolors, had them for ages, and they still feel kind of magic. Plus you can take them anywhere, they fit in any pocket! It happens that I use color pencils as well, or acrylics, but I'm not that good with paint. I never trieds oils, and I feel quite ashamed about that haha! In the near future I would like to practice more painting though.

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'm quite difficult about paper. For exemple, I don't like Moleskine paper much, because it's yellow and you can't really add water on it. They are good for pens though. I often prefer watercolor paper, or Canson. About sketchbooks, a friend of mine who is an artist too, Jens Claessens, always buy these A4 and A5 books for me, in a little art store of his town. They don't have any particular brand I guess, they are only huge books with an hard cover, black or blue, with nothing on it, and the paper is perfect for me. That said, depending of the context, I draw on anything, like on a paper napkin, wood, stones, or the walls of my bedroom...

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

I don't recall this happened, except maybe in school, trying out my schoolmates's tools. I like being inspired by others but I try not to “copy” other artists process too much. I would be afraid of losing my own personality by trying the tricks of other artists. That said, most of the mediums I use are pretty common. I think it's how an artist uses a tool that makes it unique, more than the tool itself.

aneyret-cerise-fishing-the-flying-fish

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

I only use Photoshop. I used to mess around a little bit in Illustrator and Painter few years ago, but not seriously. I'm a bit of a noob!

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 work digitally for my commission work (for press, graphic novels, illustrations for clients), because it's easier. I love the freedom that digital process provides me. For quite a long time I didn't had a scanner, so I learned to draw everything digitally, without traditional sketching. It was more a constraint at the beginning, but in the end it made things easier. I developed my style this way and I can work quite fast now. For my own pleasure I still draw traditionally though, but less than digitally. I sell original artworks on Etsy. I do some when I have time to produce stuff just for fun. No pressure. It seems more difficult for me to work traditionally for a client. I'm not confident enough with it, less practice.

aneyret-sketch

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)?

Definitely all of the above! It would be crazy to say that it's not helpful. Not especially for creating art, there is tons of full traditional artists that don't really need a computer as a tool of creation. But for creating a network, contacts in the industry, for job seeking, to have a website, to communicate with clients, to find reference, for inspiration, etc. Computers and the internet are obviously a huge resource.

Like mostly everything else, it also can be a huge distraction and a tool of procrastination. It's up to people to use it in a clever way. I'm still trying to figure it out!

Thanks Aurélie!

Aurélie Neyret can be found online at her weblog Clo! and on Twitter (@ZeuClo). Prints of her work can be found at INPRNT and some originals are available on Etsy.

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Luciano Lozano

Posted on March 19, 2010 | Comments

Luciano Lozano is a graphic artist and illustrator living in Barcelona, Spain.

llozano-storm

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

Well, It's hard to say. I used to work mainly with a black marker and then scan it and work on the computer. But lately I'm using more and more black pencil and sometimes acrylics. I still use a lot the computer, which I think is a great tool. I always draw by hand.

I only have been an illustrator for 3 years so I consider I'm still learning and experimenting. I don't know yet whether this is going to be like that always. I'll tell you again in a couple of years.

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

I'm quite extremist. And normally I like to go from something to its opposite, so if I do a computer drawing, I tend to be doing something with acrylic. But of course It depends on the project. Newspaper illustration normally is more simple and more graphic.

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

I like black, and few colours within an illustration.

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

Either acrylic or computer. I love a simple black pencil.

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 a full set, although I don't tend to use many colours.

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 Muji notebooks. Any of them.

llozano-vic

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

I like canvas. Although I've just started.

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

With illustrations almost always. With paintings on canvas I leave them as they are.

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

Not really. Maybe the way it's used.

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

Not that I can recall.

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

I always use Photoshop. I think Illustrator is a great program but I've never used it for that yet.

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?

Digital normally. It allows you to change quicker and test whether It works before changing the layout, and if there are any changes from the client, It's easier to change them.

llozano-nymind

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 totally necessary. The main point is to use it as a tool and not the final objective. That's what I think. That's why I always draw by hand. I like that the computer has this human touch that is so personal and make your work more unique. To look for inspiration and reference is great too. Before making an illustration I need to have a lot of references, and now this is really simple with Google. If you need to see how a van looks like you can do it like that and It saves you a lot of time. Also to promote your work is very helpul. Most people I work with I've never seen. I only know them in the digital world.

Thanks Luciano!

You can find Luciano Lozano online at his website/weblog ilustrista.com and on Flickr.

Tools featured in this interview: , , , , ,

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Joanna Davidovich

Posted on February 26, 2010 | Comments

Joanna Davidovich is an artist and freelance animator living in Atlanta, Georgia.

cupojo-sketching

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

My favorite thing to draw with is col-erase pencils - red. But generally, I love grab-bag art supplies. I have boxes and cases of old markers, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, pens that I've scavenged over the years. If I'm in an experimental mood I like switching mediums. It can help get you out of a rut too.

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

It depends on my purpose- though I rarely finish drawings traditionally anymore. Mostly I just doodle- my choices of drawing utensil are dictated by my whims.

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

Haven't found one that I've stuck with yet. I usually get what's on sale.

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

I need to learn watercolor... Now I just play around with markers and colored pencils - Prismacolor.

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 don't usually get sketchbooks larger than 8.5 x 11 inches, or less than 65 pound weight paper. Beyond that, again, it's whatever's on sale. My favorite sketchbook is the one I made myself out of animation bond packaging cardboard. I call it my Crapbook- its a really low-tech, low-pressure kind of sketchbook. I never feel like I'm ruining a perfectly good blank sheet of paper by drawing in it.

cupojo-pupsaver

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

I use Photoshop - nothing fancy, just to add a little color to my sketches.

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

I've wanted to get a Moleskine for a long time, but I can't bring myself to buy one. They're so expensive! Have you noticed yet that I'm cheap? ;o)

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 draw traditionally, and finish digitally if I finish at all. I just can't get the freedom of traditional drawing on paper with a tablet, and as for finishing digitally, its just easier to experiment with color that way.

cupojo-peabody

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)?

A computer is a terrific tool! For all the reasons you stated and more. The only problem arises is when it becomes more of a crutch than a tool. Thats why I need to kick my own butt and work traditionally again.

Thanks Joanna!

You can find Joanna Davidovich online at her portfolio website cupojo.net and her weblog Cup O' Jo.