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Hone Your Craft

The Surprisingly Simple Supplies This Illustrator Uses for Her Stellar Sketches

Hone Your Craft BY courtney conway 01/30/2018


Illustrator Cerise Zelenetz’s off-kilter, delightfully witty doodles and paintings are a bit reminiscent of Picasso’s, if Picasso had been a very cool twenty-something woman who split her time between New York, Paris, and Vermont. Given that, you might be surprised to find she’s a big fan of super-accessible supplies like Sharpies and generic black pens and even flirts with washable markers made for kids. Here’s a more detailed list of what she loves and why—maybe it’ll convince you to start making some art, like, right now?



“I mainly use the smallest felt-tip pens I can find, around size .03. I like the level of detail I'm able to obtain with the Sakura Micron .03. One of the major technical focuses of my work is line variation, and I've found the Sakura give me some of the finest yet boldest line work out of any pen brand.”




“With watercolors, I like using them in ways you’re not really used to. So, for example, I like to use watercolor paint on canvas and use the paint outside the drawn lines. I also always like to experiment with different brands for color and texture.”




“If I’m just drawing with pen, I’ll use regular sketch paper. If I’m watercoloring, then it depends on the project, so I use either a normal watercolor paper, or stretch canvas—Blick has lots of options for those. But I’m working on this project right now that’s canvas fabric with fabric dye and paint. It’s bigger piece, and I’m trying create the same effect as watercolor with the fabric dye.”

Cerise teachin' her craft.  


“There are just so many color and width options. I find Sharpies to be a good go-to and standby, especially when working with fabric and clothing, because I trust them to last through washing and wear. I also really like using them if I’m doing something bigger, like a wall mural. People are always surprised because they’re such a common thing, but you can do a lot with them!”



“There’s this pencil shop on Orchard Street in New York called CW Pencil Enterprise that’s full of all these different types of pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, and erasers—it’s really great. I love using children's markers, and seeing how I can use those in different ways as well.



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