The Tools Artists Use

Jennifer Sánchez

Posted on February 19, 2010 | Comments

Jennifer Sánchez is an artist living and working in New York City.

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

for the past few months i've been particularly addicted to krink markers, but i also use deco paint markers, sharpie xtra fine and 2b-6b pencils

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

it all depends on what already is on the painting and what the painting is doing. sometimes i need a big black krink marker to help wipe out many layers or sometimes i just need a sharpie or pencil to accent.

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

deco paint pens, sharpie pens and i use bombay inks to make drips/lines

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

strong and opaque! that's why i love krink and deco. i dream of krink in fluorescent colors. but also use golden acrylics.

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 golden paints in tubes, but my work is loosing up a lot and i'm beginning to buy golden paints in bottles.

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

scrap paper usually does the trick, but if need to practice or work out my scribbles/script i have a large newsprint pad and a medium sized drawing pad.

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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 pre-stretched and primed canvas. dick blick has a good one - blick premier gallery with a 1.5" profile. i have a small studio space and these come in a great variety of small and medium sizes. but i also paint a lot on paper, i like lanaquarelle 300lb, 22"x30" cold press and recently began working on hot press which i'm lovin!

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

nope

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

yes, krink! but the first way i heard about this was thru ric santon at Parts Gallery in toronto. he let me know about them and i realized, "that's what the graff writers are using!" i've seen KR's stuff all over the city and other tags w/all their beautiful drips and always wanted to know what the hell they were using. god bless KR! - he brought back that old school look.

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

nope. i also use circle and oval stencils

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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)?

absolutely it's helpful tool for making art. i don't use the computer to create, but i like what i've seen other artists do like david d'andrade. i do like how you can undo something on the computer - wish i could do that when i paint! it is absolutely necessary to promote. i have a blog that's specifically to share my inspiration and new work. i use facebook to connect w/artists i admire, collectors and fans. thru facebook i've found many artists that i might not have noticed b4. plus artists share events and new and progressing work on fb and i love that. i'm currently charting the progress of a painting on fb and a collaboration w/ rob bondgren. i believe that artists, especially those w/out gallery representation need to be proactive in sharing and promoting their work. it's crucial for artists to harness the power of the internet and have some sort of online presence.

Thanks Jennifer!

You can find Jennifer Sánchez online at her portfolio website miss-sanchez.com, her weblog, and on Facebook. Some prints of her work are available at 20x200 and originals are available at The Beholder.

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Juan Carlos Solon

Posted on February 12, 2010 | Comments

Juan Carlos Solon is an artist from the Philippines living and working in Toronto.

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

My all time favorite tools (for now) : Pentel pocket brush, Pilot G-Tec C4 (0.4), Pilot Hi-tec point V5 (0.5), Any technical pencils, Wacom Tablet.

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

Depending on what I'm working on, I'll choose the most suitable tool to use. When I'm doodling or sketching I like using my ink pens and colored inks. For roughs or defined roughs I usually use a pencil. I used to use pens for my roughs, but recently I've been using pencils and have been pretty happy with the results.

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

I absolutely love pens, especially of the black ink variety. The main pens that I use, and have used for years are: Pilot G-Tec C4 (0.4) and the Pilot Hi-tecpoint V5 (0.5). I have tried dozens and dozens of pens, but these seem the most reliable to me. The G-Tec is water resistant so it’s nice to add watercolor on top. The Hi-tecpoint is not, but when added with water makes a nice effect. The G-Tec is also very nice for cross hatching.

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

I love color, in my earlier ink illustrations I used very bright colorful primary colors to balance with my dark line work. Nowadays I'm experimenting with more subtle tones.

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?

For color on my ink works, I use mainly Dr. Ph Martin's Transparent watercolor. I bought the full set of 36 inks, however I realized later on that I only needed 4-5 colors. The inks have a nice immediacy to them, they are bright and colorful and are really fun to play around with! I also recently bought a set of Staedtler Triplus fineliner color markers for doodling. They work really well, and have a really nice flow.

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

The Fabriano Venezia artbook is my tried and true sketchbook I’ve been using for almost 5 years. I always try to use another one, but I just have been too accustomed to the paper and set up. I find everyone has a different sketchbook that suits their style of sketching and work. There is no right sketchbook to buy but, there is a sketchbook that’s right for the artist.

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

Yes, lately I have been finishing my work with color in Photoshop. I really like the solid clean flatness you get with Photoshop colors. Even with some of my works with ink, I would scan the ink textures and line drawings to fix them within Photoshop for the final illustration.

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

Yes all the time, sometimes the results are good and some bad, but curiosity is a great ally when trying to explore new ways to express yourself. Word of mouth of new pens, inks, paper or techniques on Photoshop is a great way to learn new things.

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

In my pure digital art, I use tend to use just Photoshop.

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?

It is always a fight between digital and non-digital. The convenience of digital sometimes shadows the feeling of doing something traditionally. To me, both are equally as important to master, especially nowadays. For rough drafts and defined roughs, I usually tend to stick more to a traditional approach with pencils and pens. However I prefer to finish with Photoshop because I feel that sometimes there is a nice blend with a traditional approach finished digitally. I'm finding myself using digital a lot more lately due to tight deadlines. However in the end I would prefer traditional over digital. There is a rewarding feeling about finishing traditionally and feels nice to hold onto something after you finish a piece.

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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 do believe in the present day that the computer is a very important tool people should embrace and not take for granted. The internet has been a great source for networking with other illustrators, finding a community of artists and finding inspiration through various blogs and websites. I found it enormously important to keep my blog and website up to date, to gain interest from the public and the art community. The blog is also a nice way to show your more of your personality and connect with other people. Websites have allowed work to be seen all around the world, and even allow you to create a shop to sell prints.

However I do believe a computer to be a double edged sword. I think finding inspiration and references online is great and a sure time saver, but I always try to tell myself to remember that there is inspiration out there other than my computer screen. That there are beautiful images around us that Flickr and Google images sometimes don't have. Of course with really tight deadlines people usually do what they have to do to make sure they get a great image on time…Man life is complicated!

Thanks Juan Carlos!

Juan Carlos Solon can be found online at his portfolio website juansolon.com, on his weblog donkeyjuan.blogspot.com, Facebook, Twitter (@juansolon), and on Society6.

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Paolo Lazatin

Posted on January 29, 2010 | Comments

Paolo Lazatin is a freelance graphic artist living in the Philippines.

paolol_MomoScrewsWithTheOdds

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

I use pencils--I always have in my case (1) a clay eraser and a .5 mechanical pencil from Faber Castell, (2) 3H, HB, 5B and 9B Pencils from Staedtler, (3) a sharpener, and lastly, (4) a shading stump, which I just discovered recently (No more dirty index fingers from smudging). I actually have more shades of pencils but always find myself using just those four in particular.

How do you like your color? Watercolor? Acrylics? Oil? Colored pencils? Markers? All of the above? Do you ever do any kind of post-processing (like adding color in Photoshop or similar tool) to your drawings?

The embarrassing truth is, I'm not too familiar with traditional colors. I used to just pick up any pen or pencil (I didn't even know the shades before) then scribble like crazy the first thing that comes to mind. I had no formal art education unless you count the short-lived basic cray-pas coloring that I tried out as a kid, so I wasn't "introduced" to the different traditional coloring media. I always do my colors digitally with a pen tablet and Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. I would really like to learn watercolor and acrylics (and I will, sooner or later). I've used colored pencils, that I was pretty good at, but I haven't touched one for ages.

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

Yes, definitely. I try to find tips and inspirations everywhere, especially art exhibits/museums and the internet. Every now and then, I try and search for a new artist's weblogs/sketchdump. I also frequent DeviantArt, CGSociety, and PencilJack.

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

Yes, I basically use anything to make illustrations and other stuff. You can ask my mom, who was a little unsupportive after seeing some of my "art pieces" when I was experimenting as a kid (e.g. drawings on the floor using her flower pots, "sculptures" I would make with my food instead of eating them, etc.). I know curiosity killed the cat, but I always feel a little victorious after discovering new ways to make art or conquering a specific medium, so I just keep on experimenting.

When creating your digital art, what are the software programs you use? Is one used more than another?

I use Photoshop, Illustrator and 3D applications such as Maya, Blender, and Google Sketchup. I use mostly Photoshop--I would die without it. For a time I even stopped using pencils and did my sketches directly in the PC with a pen tablet. The 3D applications are there for support when dealing with difficult perspectives and shadows. I also make some 3D-rendered pieces from time to time.

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?

To be honest, I prefer to be working digitally--less dirtier and much much easier. Although recently, I have been trying to get back to using traditional pencils. Working digitally has lots of advantages, but it spoils you....a lot (think layers, undo, etc). At some point, if you're not careful, it even pulls you down. I believe you should master traditional tools and techniques first. The computer should only aid--you shouldn't be dependent on it.

paolol_rebirth

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 would say all of the above. Ever since I found out about the internet, I was glued to it, addicted to the endless information it provided. Now that I've picked up the pen (and the Wacom tablet) again, I find myself constantly looking for information and inspiration on how to become a genuine, solid artist. I used to be shy and kept my artworks to myself, but I have seen people grow unbelievably fast by participating in art communities and hearing out other artists' comments. These I think are the true benefits of the web--the accessibility and the interactivity. For a long time, I was stagnant because I had closed doors, but I'm slowly throwing my artworks to the lions (pride, shame, and other feelings aside) to grow as an artist. While the web is not a substitute, a lot of people like me who did not have formal art education can learn a lot from artists all over the world. Distraction? Yes, I love computer games and they make it so hard to focus, so I got a laptop solely for working and use my desktop for games.

Thanks Paolo!

You can find Paolo Lazatin online at The Six Thirty, a shared art weblog with Alex Lapa, and at paolaz.deviantart.com.

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Natascha Rosenberg

Posted on January 20, 2010 | Comments

Natascha Rosenberg is an illustrator that splits her time between Madrid, Spain and Berlin, Germany.

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

When I began working as illustrator I always used Van Gogh watercolors, but now I prefer to use acrylics and pencils and I use a drawing tablet for the final details or to fill big surfaces.

I use 2B and HB pencils to sketch and sometimes I try to colour with watercolors or coloured pencils.

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

I don't have a very wide collection, so it's not a difficult decision. If I use a product and I like it then I don't need to look for another.

I start sketching with a graphite pencil and after that I try different tools.

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

I don't use pens very often but I like to ink using my Rotring 0.5.

nataschar_childbirth

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

I started using watercolors but now I use acrylics and colored pencils. It depends on the project.

Lately I love to sketch with a red Col-Erase and colour with Da Vinci gouache.

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 have a Winsor & Newton watercolor travel set. I use it to paint my sketches. At the moment I am really enjoying using a set of colored pencils by Lyra.

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

With the years I've become more and more neurotic about the notebooks. I need one where I write and do my sketches. I was overwhelmed having scraps of paper everywhere with notes and sketches. But I don't have a preferred brand. The most important thing for me is that the paper is smooth. I think that for writing, the best brand is Clairefontaine. I've never tried a Moleskine, maybe I should!

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 to paint on wood and on canvas. But I don't have any preferences. Most of my work is on paper. When I buy paper it has to be minimum 180 grs and smooth.

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

Well, I try to avoid digital post processing but sometimes I make some changes using it. It helps very much.

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 read about the Rapidograph in Danny Gregory's blog Everyday Matters. I tried it but I'm not comfortable with it. But he does wonderful drawings with it.

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

No, I don't think so. I use paper when I do collages. Toothbrushes to add color and sometimes I make my own stamp to create a pattern in an illustration. And I use fabrics, too.

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'm always doodling in my notebooks and they're sometimes a very useful resource when nothing comes to my mind. I start sketching with pencils and I try to maintain this type of line. For other work I try to use not line at all, so I work with the computer a little more. But I work mostly non-digitally. I find that it's more fun and it's very relaxing.

nataschar-pippa

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)?

The computer is a great tool. It saves a lot time and effort to try colors on the computer. It's very helpful for me.

The computer and being online it's a very fast and useful way to be in contact with other artists, to get to know and to see things in places where I wouldn't be able to go.

Working alone at home it's become a very important tool to promote my work and to share ideas with other artists.

Thanks Natascha!

You can find Natascha Rosenberg online at her portfolio website natascharosenberg.com and on her weblog: Natascha's Blog.

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Ebenezer Archer Kling

Posted on September 22, 2009 | Comments

Ebenezer Archer Kling is an artist living in Northampton, MA.

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

My favorite drawing tools typically include ink, either with a brush or Pen. I enjoy the immediacy of ink and the way it forces you to accept and respond to the marks that you make. I've stopped blocking out my drawings with a pencil at this point and I feel that it has forced me to become more informal in the way I draw resulting in a more natural or organic way of composing images on the page.

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

I almost always work on paper with ink and watercolor. There isn't exactly a long decision making process involved the materials I use. I try to keep my tools to whatever I can fit in a bag since I am constantly working outside my studio.

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

Whatever is waterproof.

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

I prefer to use watercolor. I enjoy the way it almost sits inside the paper. I feel that I have an extremely sensitive control of the colors by building up layers of washes and glazes. The luminosity of the hue produced by this method is also very desirable.

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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?

Like I said earlier, I like to be very low maintenance. Anything I can fit in a bag walking around town. That is my only concern.

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

In addition to painting I am also a printmaker. After printing large editions I am frequently left with small scraps of paper which I usually tear down and keep in a large box in the corner of my studio. I will frequently grab a small handful before walking out the door in the morning.

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 too toothy for me.

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

Sometimes If I am commissioned to create a piece of artwork for a band or organization I will start off with traditional mediums but then revise it digitally. Working with clients can sometimes lead to many many revisions and making all of those changes traditionally would simply take too much time so I always keep certain facets of the assignment strictly digital from the beginning allowing the potential for an easy fix. However my studio work is purely traditional.

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

Not that I can recall.

eak-Reaching-Inside

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

Nope.

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

While I could see some real purists harbor contempt for digital media, arguing a loss of sincerity of human resonance, I feel it is just a new avenue in which humans have began to speculate and ask questions about. Digital technology is young and a generally untapped resource. While I still work traditionally I do not feel threatened or angered by the emergence of new technology to create art. I just have'nt figured out quite what to do with it yet.

Thanks Ebenezer!

You can find Ebenezer Archer Kling online at his portfolio website ebenezerarcherkling.com and on his weblog ebenezerarcherkling.blogspot.com. He has also recently started working on the The Paper Girl Northampton Project.

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