Web Comics, Chalk Art, Illustrations, Digital Painting, and Cartoons by Artist Eric Maruscak
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Supplies and Materials

For my first post I thought I would take a few moments to talk about the materials I use. The materials fall under different categories depending on the type of work I am doing.

CHALK ART:

chalk_bag_supplies

Since I am mostly know as a chalk artist, and for my street paintings and chalk murals, I’ll start with the overview of my carry-all bag.

The above image shows my chalk art supply bag, and some of the items I bring with me to conventions and art festivals. The bag itself was originally intended for fishing supplies and lures, but like a lot of artists I find that these are almost perfectly suited to fit numerous art materials of odd shapes and sizes. Shown in the image are a number of other useful items if you are making a chalk art mural. These include:

  • Tape Measure – For sizing out a drawing grid. This allows me to keep accurate proportions when blowing up an image from a small printout.
  • Knee Pads – These are most useful in the early stages of the mural when I am drawing the grid and the outline sketch. Once I start filling in the color I usually remove them since I spend most of the time sitting.
  • Hand Wipes – To clean the colored chalk off my hands before moving on to another color. This keeps the chalk colors from contaminating each other.
  • Chalk Board Erasers – Excellent for spreading chalk over large areas and blending one color into another.
  • Not shown, but useful to have, are extra pencils and erasers for reworking grid sizes on your original print out, sun screen (because 10 hours on hot pavement in the broiling sun will burn you raw) and an MP3 player to help pass the long hours with some entertainment.
  • When making an INDOOR mural on paper, it is also helpful to have scotch tape to adhere multiple sheets together (if a single piece of paper is not large enough), rubber bands to make carrying paper rolls more manageable, and a razor blade for trimming paper and removing tape.

chalk_close_up

In this image you can see I used the 8 plastic separator containers, that were originally intended for fishing lures, to sort my chalk by color.

Although not shown in any of the images, I also have a telescoping travel tube for carrying paper murals to and from shows. Other materials vary depending upon specific needs of individual murals, but I always keep a supply limit in mind especially when I need to travel by plane to a show. My supplies are all designed to pack as my carry on luggage. I would prefer to lose clothes but still be able to make the art I for which I am commissioned rather than show up with luggage but not be able to do the work. However, it never fails that at least one run needs to be made to a local art supply store or local pharmacy to get something I need.

ILLUSTRATION/DIGITAL PAINTING

wacom_intuos_iii_tablet

When working on illustration, cartooning or digital painting,  I use my Intuos Drawing Tablet. This is a USB plug in device that allows me to illustrate directly into a program like Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter, and simulates brush strokes, pen pressure, and countless other aspects of “natural” drawing and painting with incredible accuracy. If you plan on drawing in the digital realm, this is a MUST have. I selected a larger 9″x12″ pad because it allows me to move quickly and freely in the very “sketchy” style I am accustomed to. Smaller tablets are available for a cheaper price. On the other end of the spectrum, Digital Tablets (like the Cintiq) that actually function as computer screens, are available for a HIGHER price, and are (sadly) still not in my budget.

The Intuos Grip Pen has an excellent feel and customizable buttons so that you can adjust things to your liking and speed up your work flow. I currently use the click-button on the pen as an eraser and undo button. I never flip the pen over to use the actual eraser feature it comes with as I find it takes a lot more time.

PHOTOGRAPHY

I am not a professional photographer by trade or training, but use my camera(s) to get countless reference photos for my illustrations, and to keep a record of my chalk murals to add to this site and to bring to shows in the form of small print outs. The camera I am currently using is a Canon PowerShot A540.

canon_powershot_a540

This is a point-and-shoot model without many bells and whistles. I find that the image quality is good, but I am looking to upgrade to a digital SLR model with a bit more manual control and a higher quality. It probably doesn’t help that this is actually a refurbished model and has quite a few miles on it. However, almost all of the photos you’ll see on this site of my chalk murals and conventions have been taken with this camera. For being an older model camera with only 6 Mega Pixels, I think it has certainly shown itself to work quite well.

sony_erikson_w760a_2

The other item I will be using for photos is actually my Sony Ericsson W760a phone with a 3.2 Mega Pixel built in camera. In fact, all of the images above except for the one of the phone itself, were taken with the camera in the Sony Ericsson phone. I wanted to use it as a “blog” camera, figuring that is was very compact and would be perfect for images that needed to fit inside posts. I think it is going to be a perfect fit for anyone out there looking for an inexpensive camera phone that might work with blogs. (The phone itself was free when I renewed my contract… take THAT iPhone.)

So there are the basics of what I use to do what I do. If you have any questions feel free to contact me, or share your thoughts on other useful supplies in the comments below. See ya later!

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