The Search for the Perfect Drawing or Painting Tool?

Whether or not you create digital or traditional pieces, professionals often seem to get a recurring question but does this question have any merit at all? If there are in fact supplies and equipment that does give an artist a higher advantage would this in fact make this person a better artist?

Today, now more than ever, we are surrounded by various tools and supplies which we are told will make us better artists. In most cases these new materials and supplies are variations of pre-existing products, containing minor differences to allow for a specific use. If we look at how art was previously made this might help shed some light in what relevance these might have to artistic skill.

If we look at the renaissance period, most brushes and paint materials were still made by hand. The paint was often combined with minerals, plants and insects to form their own individual pigments. These ingredients needed to be ground down by hand and mixed with oil or yolk to produce the paints for the artist. By using certain routines and procedures, artists were then able to get a more uniform consistency to work with. Brushes were no simple matter either for they also had to be properly tied down to the quill in order for them to stay in place. Most people who created these supplies learned these valuable skills through apprenticeships which were no easy task since these would last for several years. Even with these strong challenges, these artists at the time were able to produce exquisite pieces of art and at a formidable rate. Does this mean that the materials that were being used at the time were better than the ones being used today?

In most cases I’ll argue that our current materials are better and cheaper than what previous artists had available. Many of the ingredients now have to meet certain standards which help control certain toxicity to make it less harmful for the user. Nowadays with the different brands available, there is also more competition between the suppliers which help maintain lower prices. Paints now benefit from formulas which provide a greater consistency when being used and artist no longer need bother with older routines and procedures prior to painting. So if it wasn’t the paint or materials that made the renaissance artists such great painters what was it?

During the renaissance as it is today, it isn’t the materials being used that will create the better artist but rather the experience that they bring to the medium and tools of their trade. An experienced artist is normally very flexible and adaptable because of their ability to apply previous knowledge to their current situations. These artists realize that the materials they are using will act in a certain way and therefore are able to modify their painting style to reflect that medium. If an artist understands the basics of composition and lighting, then they will apply this information to whatever scene they are attempting to create. A professional sculptor will recognize the importance of anatomy and silhouettes and will often keep these as a primary focus while working. While using certain professional products can be beneficial they should never overshadow the skill of the user. For me the greatest example of this is my pen drawings, I use the cheapest pens available to create sketches. I do not use these pens because they are cheap but rather because I know how to use them to achieve the effect that I seek.

Rather than being obsessed about finding the perfect drawing tool or brush, students would greatly benefit from a better understanding of structure, anatomy and composition. Whether you are a professional artist or a novice, I hope this information was useful to you and that you will continue to create new pieces in the future. Best of luck and I hope to see you soon.

Copyright © by Yasmeen @


Yasmeen completed both the 2D and 3D animation course at Algonquin College and worked in the animation industry as a freelancer for a number of years before being hired to manage the 3D printing services at ItsYeBoi. While using the Alias of "Jenny" during her services, she was responsible for the testing, maintenance and upgrading of the machine while also filming and developing 3D printable assets for various projects.