All about the tools
First thing first: start small and save money, the greatest tools won’t do the work for you by themselves. When starting out, try drawing really fast with pen/pencil without erasing (or hitting the undo buttons if you are drawing digitally) can help you get used and more confident in your drawing. This type of practice is not about making a line in a right place or having perfect perspective, but to get over the fear that holds you back from making the line at all.
Pencil/fountain pen + ink + scrap paper for daily doodling
I actually don’t use pencil that much and do sketching with the same fountain pen I use for writing, then make a photo with iPad and clean it up in Procreate. I use pencil mostly when transferring sketches to watercolor paper.
Watercolor for… watercolor illustration
Watercolor has a way of creating randomness in paintings that is very hard for me to replicate digitally. Also, I love the touch of wet brushes on paper. My palette is a mix of Rembrandt watercolor half pans and Koh-i-Noor full pans, some small tubes and pans from Schmincke and Sennelier, all artists grade. I attached them to a big ceramic plate that made a circular palette. Paper is Arches hot press 300 gsm paper (I bought a whole 9 m role so I don’t have to shop so often :D). Brushes are all over the place, some really cheap (kids stuff), some really expensive. I usually paint with Raphael kolinsky series 8040, but Isabey squirrel mop and Escoda (both natural and synthetic) are great too, just try them out if you can and by time, you will find what suits you the best.
PC + Photoshop + Wacom Intuos for digital illustration + Artisul D16
Yes, it is a PC with Windows. I am not an Apple fan. I actually don’t care if it’s Windows or Apple or whatever as far as it does the job, and maybe one day I will get over the Wacom Cintiq hefty price too. I use Photoshop most of the time, but I want to try Affinity photo and designer too, they look very promising. I currently have a Wacom Intuos Pro paper edition, a Bamboo before that and even a smaller and cheaper Wacom before the Bamboo, all of them worked well. The hand/eye coordination was a bit awkward at the beginning, but you get used to it. I am waiting for an Artisul D16 pen display, which has very good review as a Wacom alternative, it doesn’t have such starry spec as the newest Cintiq, but is a lot more affordable, I will update this post when it arrives (soon).
The Artisul arrived, yay! The build looks solid except for the pen, it’s quite light and feels kind of… plastic. Installation was easy, however I had to uninstall the Wacom driver before installing the Artisul one. The Artisul website claims that the pen has 8192 levels pressure sensitivity, but there’s only 2048 written on the packaging, so I am not sure about it, maybe I have an older model? Anyway, it is less sensitive than I am used to on my old Intuos and need to push more to activate it, but it is good enough for my style. I love the pen display for drawing, but for everything else, I still prefer the Intuos (not using mouse at all). I tried to reinstall the Wacom driver later and it somehow works, but Photoshop and Illustrator, the 2 programs that I use the most stopped recognizing pressure sensitivity with it, which is frustrating because I can’t find any working solution for that. The pen pressure works in Medibang and Sketchbook so it’s clearly an Adobe problem. At least the D16 is ok so I suppose I will just keep things like this for now.
I have a Canon, a regular A4 cheap scanner, nothing fancy, it just works.
Just a cheap one for some testing and normal document printing.
iPad, Apple pencil + Procreate app for daily doodling and small size illustration.
As my floor get messy with all the paper sketches everytime I work on a project and all the scanning and clean up are really, like really really time consuming, and because I am greatly interested in the topic of productivity (although I am not always productive), I needed something I can easily carry around and do all the work without juggling water bottles, packs of colored pencils, watercolors, palettes, pencils and papers everytime I go painting outside or packing for vacation. I’ve been drooling over the 13′ iPad as soon as it came out, but end up with a smaller 10,5′ and the Apple pencil. The thing is awesome!!! It was like the first time (many years ago) when I discovered there is a thing called graphic tablet. It was at 9. grade, we had this digital painting/graphics design class and there were those tiny A5 something tablets to draw on, not very well, but oh, how come no one told me they exist before? To think about it today, we had a really progressive art teacher… The only minus point of the small iPad is that when it comes to larger canvases (by large I mean A3, which is not so big when you work for print) I have to zoom in and out a lot. I always wanted to paint something in Jungle book theme and to test the iPad performance, I made this 3 illustration (5000x7000px, 300 dpi). Procreate could handle only 12 layers (quite limited for me) and crashed a couple of time when I made really fast movements while coloring with the bucket tool, but the file was fine. The drawing experience itself was awesome, no parallax or lag, precise lines, the mate protection film (iCare) makes drawing easier and more paper like. Love at the first try 😀
You can find those prints in my shop.