The Artist’s Tools


Today we are going to Muse about the tools used in art creation.   If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.

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An artist’s tools



Many people ask me about them, or the creative process.  So, today I thought I would invite you into the studio.



This is the main work area.  The gray work table is a little wider than seven feet and a bit narrower than four feet.  It serves as a flat file as well as a working surface.  Each of the drawers holds drawings, prints, supplies or paintings.  As a result the table is very heavy and it takes all my strength to roll it clear when I need to get into the storage racks behind it.  I’ve had the table for fifteen years.  It came out of another artist’s estate.  I don’t know how old it is.

To the left of it is a press I use in printing lithographs or monotypes.  On the bottom shelf is a tray used in wetting paper before printing or, in the case of watercolor paper, before stretching.

On top of the table you see a messy assortment of paints, brushes, palettes, etc.  I was assembling the forces for a project soon to be launched.

Behind the table, as before mentioned, is a storage bin, containing completed art works.  Across town I rent a ten by ten storage unit which is crammed to the ceiling with art work if you need any.



And here you see the requisite easel, a reference library, artist’s smock and more storage.

This gives you a pretty good feel for the studio and the tools an artist uses.


increasingly artists are  turning to another set of tools

 Desk Top Computer

Desk Top Computer

This is mine. It is old but it works.

With the proper software and accessories, it gives me access to entire art studio, with many more tools available to me than I could ever have on my own.  It uses special software, Painter, a pressure sensitive Wacom tablet, and special digital brushes.

Painter 12

Painter 12

I use Painter 12 by Corel but that is not the most current program.  They are up to Painter 16.

Wacom Tablet

Wacom Tablet

I draw or paint on a pressure sensitive tablet plugged into the computer.  The image appears on the monitor.  My tablet is eight or more years old, a dinosaur.  New tablets are available that allow the image to appear on the tablet itself which makes working much more direct.

Wacom brushes

Wacom brushes

These are digital brushes used to draw on the tablet.  The brush on the left is an airbrush; the middle brush has special movement rendering capabilities; and, the brush on the right is a general all-purpose tool.

 brush menu

brush menu

The brushes, and tablet working with the software create amazing possibilities, primarily because of the complexity of the software.

Look at the left column of this menu.  Those are all different tools available.  If you scroll down there are more.

It is not clear in this picture, but Markers  on the left column has been selected as the type of brush to be used.  The right hand column lists the types of Markers available.  There are 20.

For each brush type shown on the left there are 15 to 30 variations.

This is a complex tool and it takes time and usage to become adept using it.  I still learn new skills every time I work with it.

One of the most powerful features of Painter is the usage of layers.  A composition can be developed using a series of layers (think of tracing paper) one on top of the other.  These can be edited, removed, and reordered without destroying the image.


Lets look at an example.  We are going to create a painting of a Young Woman with a Puppy.  Using the brushes and the tablet I create a drawing.

 initial drawing

initial drawing

Next I add a tint of color, on a separate layer.  If I don’t like it I can remove it without affecting the drawing.

tinted drawing

tinted drawing

Then background is added on a separate layer.

adding background

adding background

And more background

Developing painting

Developing Painting

Finally, we have a completed painting.

Young Woman With Puppy

Young Woman With Puppy

Now you must be asking, “How do you get it out of the Computer?”  Well, here you need help.  To get a finished image, the computer file must be taken to someone who has high-end printing capabilities.  There are many.  The finished work can be printed on paper or on canvas, other things as well.

So there you have it, a glimpse of the changing scene.

 *   *   *

Getting back to the topic of the power of the software, I need your opinion.  The software allows for the change of the color scheme.  Here are four versions of our painting.  Which appeals to you most?

Four Options

Four Options

More to come

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Books by Thomas L. Tribby Available
Click on title below to preview

Works on Paper

On The Waterfront

Impressions of Florida

Tribbyart’s Boutique


Original Paintings available

Night Shopping

Night Shopping

For information about these or other original works of art, please feel free to contact us:


About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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