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I planned this post for February because of winter feel of illustration, but the world has different plans, and guess what? I had to match up, as always.
This illustration is an excuse to raise the subject of tools in an artistic process. It is because I left my favorite Photoshop brushes for a completely new set. And If I didn’t try the new brushes and the new way of working – this work would never have been created.

What brush did you use?

I hear this question very often. It is also the most common question under many artists’ works.
The most common and very wise answer is :

The tool doesn’t matter, the most important thing is skills

In other words, what counts is what you can do with tools.
I am far from arguing with this opinion. There is no tool which could replace hours and hours of practices. Changing Photoshop brushes, or watercolors for oils won’t make you suddenly a better artist. True!
But…

There is nothing so inspiring as changing tools which you used to use, and the way of working! I experienced this many times. It allows you explore new areas, new ways of sketching, painting expressing yourself. It is a bit like some exciting adventure, you don’t know where it can bring you! It doesn’t matter if you are changing graphic tablet for oils, or Illustrator for linocut – it is always great opportunity to learn new stuff. Changing tools from time to time gives a breath of freshness and it is so exciting!
It is also challenging! It isn’t easy to left the tool which we know and we can use correctly for something completely new. 

New tool, new tricks

A lot of times new tools means the learning is starting from the begin. We have to teach new rules techniques and tricks – and that is so wonderful! This is how skills are born. Nobody said that is easy, but it is so satisfying!
Learning about using new tools also brings a new approach to the way we use the old ones.
That is why I so gladly tell others about tools which I use – it isn’t a secret and different people can achieve so various effects which the same tools – it is crazy! And even if their skills aren’t very good – it doesn’t matter as long as the new tool keep them inspired and motivated.

Surprise yourself!

I always reach for such a change when I feel a bit bored with work, r consistent style or when I have an art block.  Every artist has favorite tools. In case of Photoshop, I also have my fav brush set which I know so well. I know which brush to use for sketching, and which for painting bigger areas. I can use it quickly and efficiently without bigger mistakes. This set is a bit like a pair of favorite slippers – they are comfortable to use, I know them and there is nothing surprising in them.

I always reach for such a change when I feel a bit bored with work,  consistent style or when I have an art block.  Every artist has favorite tools. In case of Photoshop, I also have my fav brush set which I know so well. I know which brush to use for sketching, and which for painting bigger areas. I can use it quickly and efficiently without bigger mistakes. This set is a bit like a pair of favorite slippers – they are comfortable to use, I know them and there is nothing surprising in them.

That is why I give a try a completely different set – I used Concept Art by Kyle T. Webster (now for free in Photoshop CC) and I had a lot of fun with all these various shapes and unexpected smudges. The whole illustration was just an experiment but I am quite happy with the result.

You can watch the whole process on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget to leave thumbs up if you liked it 😉

When the tool doesn’t matter?

The tool isn’t important when you are searching for great effect without putting an effort into it. It never works.
It is easy to watch beautiful illustrations of other artists, who spent almost whole life on learning how to use their tools, and believe that we could do something similar if we only had such tools.
You can observe the way how others are working and try to copy that. It would be good for your experience, but definitely not for your style if your works will be too similar to somebody else works.
Sometimes it is good just grab a tool and see where your imagination will lead you!

Summarizing, the skills are the most important thing, but learning about using various tools can develop them in the quick and very effective way. 

So don’t afraid to ask – because tools are important also!

What is your favorite artistic tools? Did you like try new ones or prefer stick these, which you know well?

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