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Since I keep getting asked the same questions by many different people, I've decided to start a series of Frequently Asked Question  (FAQ) journal posts.  If you ask a question that was covered in one of them, I will point you here.  It will save me time if I don't have to cover the same bases, over & over again.

Someone asked me what art supplies I like to use.  Here's what I'm comfortable using:

PAPER:  I like to use Strathmore 3-ply or 5-ply illustration board, in cold-press (rough) finish, for most illustration assignments.  That includes anything pen & ink, as well as color.

PENCILS:  I use a standard lead holder, and leads weighing from B to 6 B.  I like a soft lead.

INKS: I ink with Schaarf watercolor brushes, #s 3&4.  For technical stuff, I use Kohinoor Rapidograph technical pens, and sometimes my Pitt pens (which I normally use for convention sketches).

As for ink itself, I mix my own cocktail of equal parts Dr. PH Marten's India Ink and Dr. PH Marten's Hi-Carb (high carbon content) India Ink in an inkwell, with a few drops of technical pen ink to help the ink flow from the brush smoothly.  I only mix an ounce or two at a time.  I tried pre-mixing a whole bottle once, and it smelled like feet.  Seriously.  Even after the art was done, the ink stank.  My art smelled like feet.  Woof.

For whiting-out, I will use Dr. PH Marten's Bleed-Proof White.  Sometimes I will use Winsor-Newton's white, but it has a serious off-white cast to it.  Also, Liquitex Titanium White acrylic paint works well in a pinch.

Sometimes I will draw on animation paper, for speed's sake.  The paper takes Pitt pens amazingly well, and I can get some serious brush lines with them.  I did a number of my later CATWOMAN covers this way, and most people can't notice the difference.

COLORING: 99% of my colored work is done digitally.  I currently use Photoshop CS2, on a custom-built PC.  I also have a MacBook Pro.  So, please don't berate my choice of computers; I use both platforms.

And yes, I color with a mouse, NOT a tablet.  I'm happy this way for now, so everyone can stop trying to convince me to 'go WACOM'.

CONVENTION SKETCHES: For con sketches, I use Bristol Sketch paper, Pitt pens, and COPIC gray markers.

**************************************************************************************************************

I will be attending the 2009 Mega-Con in Orlando, Florida. The dates for the show are February 27 - March 1st and it is held at the Orange County Convention Center, Hall D, 9899 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819.

The Showroom hours are *Friday – 1-7pm, Saturday – 10am-6pm, and Sunday – 10am-5pm (*Pre-Advance ticket holders will be allowed into the showroom hall at 12 Noon on Friday February 27th.)

For more information on the show, the official site is:

www.megaconvention.com/
  • Listening to: Tornado warnings on the TV
  • Reading: WATCHMEN
  • Watching: PATTON on BluRay
  • Playing: Street Fighter 4
  • Eating: I have a rumbly in my tumbly
  • Drinking: Pepto Bismol
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:iconjinnymcg:
JinnyMcG Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2011
Hi, there; I know this journal is a tad bit old, but I did a query for "faq" in your journal, and this is the only entry that came up.

:)

Basically, I have a question about the markers you typically use. What I own are Prismacolor markers, and I've heard that they do not blend (I can get a little blending but it's not easy); meanwhile, I hear that COPICs are great for blending. Have you ever used Prismacolor markers? They're a little easier to come by (not exactly cheaper, just easier to buy), but I'm curious if the same effect can be achieved as what you get with COPICs.
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
In the long run, COPICS are WAY cheaper, because they are refillable. COPIC costs about $7. The refill bottle for that marker is also about $7, for a total of $14. But the refill will refill the marker 8-10 times. So, that's like getting 10 markers worth of use for $14.

I also like how the COPICS work, with the Strathmore Drawing paper I like to use. I personally prefer them over the Prismacolor markers, but that's no slight. It's just personal preference.
Reply
:iconjinnymcg:
JinnyMcG Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
Thank you very much for your reply.

:)

When I get to the point where I use markers frequently, I'll have to find the best way to get COPICs (probably mail order seeing as how I live in a rural area). :D The Prismacolor markers are nice, but I'm not completely happy with them.
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
You can order them from bluelinepro.com, or jerry's artarama.
Reply
:iconjinnymcg:
JinnyMcG Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
Thanks for the link to bluelinepro!!! I have been wondering how to get boxes of nibs (the art stores around here only sell kits with the holders).

:)
Reply
:iconjinnymcg:
JinnyMcG Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
I've got a dozen or more different types of paper (most of the Canson and Strathmore paper types sold at Micheals); which Strathmore paper is it that you prefer with the COPICS?

The Prismacolor markers bleed a lot on many of the papers I have. :X
Reply
:iconignifero:
Ignifero Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2009
wow, mouse painting... O.O

i wanted to go San Diego a few years ago, but the embassy did'nt gave me the Visa to enter to States
Reply
:icon0omrshydeo0:
0oMrsHydeo0 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2009  Professional General Artist
I read a coment that you made about how coloring it's really easy if you do it the right way, but digital coloring for me it's really hard so I guess I'm not really doing it the right way :(

Could you please give some advise? I would really appreciate it
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2009
Hi!

I'm trying to work a few tutorial FAQs into my schedule... please stay tuned!

-AH!-
Reply
:icon0omrshydeo0:
0oMrsHydeo0 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2009  Professional General Artist
Wow that would be great!

By the way I forgot to mention that I love your work :)
Reply
:iconwrathofkhan:
wrathofkhan Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2009
Hello, sir.

I've actually copy-pasted your journal and saved it as a word doc. I hope you don't mind, i'll keep it as a reference. Thanks and more power!
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2009
Thank you so much for saying so!
Reply
:iconstaceyrobson:
StaceyRobson Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009
A mouse? A MOUSE?!
Reply
:iconmindintomatter:
mindintomatter Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2009
Thanks Adam. Surprised at the lead softness, but you must have great control at this point. Also heard that you work with a somewhat blunt, unsharpened lead at times.

Schaarf watercolor brushes are news to me. Expensive? And the mouse for coloring comes as a bit of a surprise. I know many people that work this way as well. I'm currently stuck on a mouse. It doesn't seem to be hampering your ability at all, so that's encouraging.

thanks again for the insight
Reply
:iconfeyphilosophy:
FeyPhilosophy Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for posting this!
It's very helpful!
Reply
:iconobliviousally:
obliviousally Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2009  Student General Artist
It amazes me you do such spectacular work with the mouse. I don't think I could do more than flood fill with the mouse these days. But then, I'm barely able to draw with my tablet half the time. So I guess I should take what I can get.

Is there a trick to sketching with softer pencils? I really adore how they put lines down, but I'm constantly smudging them, so I stick with the harder leads.
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2009
Well, the page does get a bit sooty, but I use a kneaded eraser to help clean up any unwanted graphite on the art.
Reply
:icontoughsongye:
toughsongye Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2009
hi Ah,I am a fan of u from china,i wanna know how do you learn about anatomy?And i'am in trouble with the details of buildings,thing's like making the windows parallel and equal
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2009
Well, you learn about anatomy by studying the human form as much as possible, and drawiing it as often as you can. A great book or two on human anatomy as it relates to the artist (as oppossed to a doctor) really helps.

The same for perspective (what you call the 'details of the building';). I'm not sure how much you do or do not understand about the principles of perspective, but they are crucial. Find some books or online sites that explain perspective to you.

If you already grasp the basics of one-,two-, and three-point perspective, here's a quick trick to help you with buildings and windows...

Draw a square on a piece of paper, with perfectly equal length sides.

Draw a straight line from one corner to the opposite; do the same from the other corners. You should now have a square with an 'X' in it.

Using a triangle with a good 90-degree right angle, draw a horizontal line across the middle of your square that intersects with the middle of the 'X', but is also parallel to the top & bottom lines of the square. When done, do the same going from top-to-bottom: draw a vertical line that intersects with the center of the square, and is parallel to the left and right sides of the square.

You should now have a square that has an 'X' in it, as wll as a '+'. More importantly, you now have a square made up of four smaller squares. This is called SUBDIVIDING.

If you notice, you can keep subdividing by doing the same thing to every new square you create. You can subdivide the four squares until you have 16 squares. You can subdivide as many time as you want!

NOW.

Draw a square in one-point perspective. Pick a vanishing point, and basically create a square that is at an angle.

Draw a line from your vanishing point through the center of the square, intersecting the center of the 'X'.

Now, draw a vertical line from top-to-bottom, parallel with the sides, intersecting the center of the 'X'.

If you did it right, you now have a square made of up four smaller sqaures, just like before, but you'll notice that because of the principles of subdivision, all your squares are in proper perspective, and are foreshortened correctly.

That is basically how you get the windows of a building parallel & equal. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are MANY subtler principles to this practice that you will discover, but this are the first steps ya gotta take!

Good luck!

:-)
Reply
:icontoughsongye:
toughsongye Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009
Thank you!Very exciting to see your reply.
I think I got it,and I've tried your approach now I can get a accurate 'web'(I know the basic principles of perspective),that makes my drawing more professional ,thanx for helping! Next i'll try to add the frame and shadow to make it 3D.you know,my background always look flat.
Forgive my poor English.
Reply
:iconkamgates:
kamgates Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2009
Hey, I appreciate all your art supply tips! Especially since I'm not getting the best results with the current ink I'm using. Thanks!!

I was browsing Dr. PH Martin's inks online and they are all labeled 'Bombay' or 'Black Star' I noticed Hi Carb is Black Star, but which do you use for your standard India Ink?

This might be a silly question since no one's asked it in four pages, but I'm easily confused. :P
Reply
:iconentityblithe:
EntityBlithe Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2009
People have actually tried to convince you to go wacom? That's rather bizarre, why anyone would bother to do that; it's your preference after all.

Anywho, thanks for all this posting this up.

I really enjoy your work! it's inspiring :)
Btw, it's kick ass that you do use a mouse! XD
Reply
:iconkeresalea:
KeresaLea Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2009   Digital Artist
I'm only going to tell you to go Wacom to speed you up and ease up your movements. (!Carpal Tunnel) But it's a totally selfish suggestion, as I used to use the mouse and I now get work done in a week that used to take three. I was amazed.

See... speed means I get to see more stuff out of you. =) But hey, you know, everyone works the way they want to, old school, new school, we're all doin this because it makes us happy, whatever way it's done!

But also, I just love my tablet, and hope it would make you happy like it did me.

Aside from that, I like peeking in your brain, having a sit down, drinking some tea and pondering India Inks. Thanks for the share. :)
Reply
:iconchrysler:
Chrysler Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2009
Adam, I'm sure people have pointed this out, but just in case, you list above that you'll be at the 2008 Mega-Con, but I bet that you mean the *2009* Mega-Con...
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2009
Thanks!

I'm still writing 2008 on my checks, too....

:-)
Reply
:iconscificat:
scificat Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2009
You...painted...all...with...a...MOUSE!?!? :faint:

WE'RE NOT WORTHY!!!:worship:

WE'RE NOT WORTHY!!!:worship:
Reply
:iconstaindhand:
StaindHand Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
cool, I use mostly the same equipment, at least I did before I went digital. I save so much money on supplies now, more to spend on PORN! yaay
Reply
:icontherealjohnnycanuck:
theRealJohnnyCanuck Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2009
With the internet you spend money on porn?
Reply
:iconstaindhand:
StaindHand Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2009
true, I guess I pretty much pirate everything LOL

its just fun to say porn. PORN!
Reply
:icontherealjohnnycanuck:
theRealJohnnyCanuck Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2009
yes it is fun to say PORN!
Reply
:iconstaindhand:
StaindHand Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2009
PORN!!
Reply
:iconehillustrations:
eHillustrations Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing. Even with a mouse, your art work is incredible. That's what I've been coloring with too, because I can't afford a tablet yet. Now I'm thinking that anything can be achieved without the aid of a Wacom. Oh yeah ^-^
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
Well, one tool isn't any better than any other; it's all about what's the most comfortable for the artist, and enables them to do their best work.

:-)
Reply
:iconehillustrations:
eHillustrations Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very true indeed. Can't say much about those ball-mouses though lol. I tried to paint with one, and had a difficult time with it.

I'm glad that you replied to my comment. I feel very inspired. Keep creating more of your extraordinary artwork, Mr. Hughes ^-^
Reply
:iconmichaelstewart:
michaelstewart Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009  Professional General Artist
Do you have any info on San Diego comic con and what table you will be at?

Also do you mind checking out my portfolio?
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
Hi!

As soon as I have San Diego info, I will be posting here, as was at my other sites!

I would love to check out portfolios, but I get about 40 such requests a day, and I honor one, I should really honor them all. And I'd spend all day checking out portfolios, and get no actual work done.

I hope you understand. Please bring some of your work to San Diego; convention time is great for me doing portfolio reviews.

I hope you understand!

:-)
Reply
:iconmichaelstewart:
michaelstewart Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009  Professional General Artist
Oh, I guess that's what I meant, is if you did it at the SD con? I don't have all my work online anyways.

That would be cool to watch you draw since I know you get alot of people asking for commissions!
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
I don't get much drawing done at SDCC because of all the people wanting to talk to you, but I DO portfolio reviews at the show, so bring your work by!

:-)
Reply
:iconmichaelstewart:
michaelstewart Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Professional General Artist
AWESOME!!! THANK YOU, I WILL!
Reply
:icondeathlikescats:
DEATHlikescats Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I know I will be bringing mine. If you have a particular time of day you'd like people to come by (as doors open, just before hall closing, lunch-ish time) let me know. :)
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009
First thing in the morning is bad; that's when everyone rushes the table.

Portfolio reviews are best in the latter half of the day!

:-)
Reply
:icondeathlikescats:
DEATHlikescats Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
good to know and Thanks! I will definitely be bugging you for imput :)
Reply
:iconkidvector:
KidVector Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
As if by magic! I've been meaning to pick up some art supplies as I'd like to get my hands a lot more dirty with traditional art, but didn't have a clue where to start in terms of good pens, inks etc. But this post has sorted me out completely!

I've already picked up some PITT pens for sketchbook work and am looking into Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleedproof White and thinking about buying a set of Copic Markers.

Thanks for taking time to share!
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
Glad to be of some small help!
Reply
:iconkidvector:
KidVector Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
I'm just about to buy some Copic markers but have a quick question first.

I've got a little pocket sketchbook, 150g/m acid free cartridge paper.
Are Copics likely to soak through to the other side?

I'd mainly use them in this sketchbook so it's quite important before I shell out big $$ for them!
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2009
I don't know if they will bleed through; I don't use paper that thick.

You can always keep a sheet of illustration board with you to lay under the page you are working on, to catch the bleed-through. Once it's dry, the art won't continue to bleed. One of the great things about Copics is that the alcohol vehicle that carries the pigment evaporates entirely and won't allow the pigment to bleed elsewhere (unlike some other types of markers).
Reply
:iconkidvector:
KidVector Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for getting back so quick man.
Cool, well I'm sold. At the end of the day It's just a sketchbook to fill up on the way to and from work. If they come through a bit it's not the end of the world. And as you suggest, I'll just have a bit of illustration board with me.

Thanks again for all your advice! Really appreciate you taking time to answer my questions.
Reply
:iconchuck-piresart:
chuck-piresART Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009   Digital Artist
photoshop and a mouse. that. is . fucking. rad. I cant wait till next time some asshole bitching about " yeah man i need to get me one of those wacoms and painter. "
and ill say "Adam Hughes uses a mouse." count it!
Reply
:iconridergirl292:
ridergirl292 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009
this is an awesome list.there are tornados in Georgia?sorry, Im from California. But im going to SCAD in the fall in Savannah, so you just made me a bit nervous.
Reply
:iconadamhughes:
AdamHughes Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009
Well, the tornados don't really bother Savannah all that much. But you will have to keep your eye out for hurricanes. Unlike tornados or earthquakes, you'll know a hurricane is coming days in advance.

You'll love Savannah, at least the Old Town where SCAD is. GREAT place.
Reply
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