Ask the Artist: salty-catfish

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Ask the Artist: salty-catfish
Interviewee: salty-catfish
Date(s): August 13, 2012
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Fan Art, Supernatural
External Links: interview is here; reference link
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salty-catfish was interviewed in 2012 for Supernatural Roundtable.

Some Excerpts

Materials: Paint box - I have this cute, small one by Schmincke and a few loose colors I accumulated over time. I've never really tried the watercolor that comes in tubes, though I hear it's good, especially if you want to use more pigment than I generally do. Since I live in Germany I have easy access to the mostly good local brands (like also Staedtler or Faber-Castell, no, not getting paid for this), so I tend to buy those. Winsor&Newton is pretty popular abroad, afaik, and russian paints can also be really good.

Brushes - My babies are a few Series7 sable brushes by W&N. Sable brushes are very soft and springy and there is a consensus that they are best for watercolor. Well, it's true! I've also got some by daVinci but the Series7 really are the best so far. Their perfect point makes me so happy *_* My larger brushes are synthetics and they also serve just fine. I really like the red 'cat tongue' shaped one! My smallest brush is a 3/0 (though I usually go with the 0) and my largest a 10. IMO if there's one area where you want to invest in quality, it's brushes; I can't stand working with horror brushes. Paper - In case you are unaware, since you paint with a lot of water you need special, thick paper for this medium. It's probably the biggest investment in the long run since colors and brushes last for quite a while. There are a lot of different brands and kinds of paper and they all act differently, but I won't go into that here LOL. I don't really like the strong grain most of the more paper sold here has. Maybe it's just like that in Germany but it's really hard to find something that is just smooth. For that reason my favourite paper atm is not from one the fancy, traditional brands but this one. Yeah, awesome design, I know. xD One time I was daring and bought this pad that prides itself on having an 'extra smooth surface' but beware, this stuff almost acts like normal paper and is really unforgiving! Don't buy it! 1) masking fluid - It's white goo that dries to a transparent film that can be rubbed off with an eraser later. It's mostly useful when you have small areas that should stay white in an area that you want to be an even wash. It can be a huge pain (means, it requires crazy speed and dexterity and also your image WILL be ruined if you botch it) to do those without leaving some drying borders when done without help. I'm mostly too lazy to use it but it comes in handy from time to time. I did the fireflies in the 'Sam/Dean in the woods' piece with it, for example! (see a close-up here) 2) tissue - or paper towel, toilet paper, something like that - super important! I always clutch it in my right hand to immediately press on the paper when something goes wrong and also use it to rub off the brushes in-between etc. I know other people don't do this but frankly, I couldn't deal with WC at all without CLUTCHING MY TISSUE LIKE A DROWNING PERSON. 3) glove - ridiculous looking, I know! When you rest you hand a lot on the paper it can become water-repellant because of the natural oiliness of the skin which leads to ugly spots in your washes, so the glove is for protection, if needed. I could also put a sheet of paper or something under my hand but I tend to forget moving it along, so I prefer this solution. I bought a a set of gloves from the drug store and cut off the tips. Trés chic! 4) testing paper - vital! To test the colour, I also tend to mix on it. 5) table salt (provided by Plato and Socrates) - only very rarely used, for effects 6) wonky sumi-e brush - mostly used to brush eraser dust from the paper, sometimes also for painting 7) white gouache - when I've really botched it this gets used to fix mistakes, though it's never as nice as the paper white! Doesn't show in a scan, though of course you can see it on the original. 8) natural sponge - I don't use it a lot but sometimes better than the brush if you want to wet larger stretches of paper. 9) tape - sometimes I tape paper to a board with it.

For digital painting and graphics I mostly use Photoshop (sorry Painter, I like you but I'm just too lazy for your controls) and my good old Wacom Intuos2 tablet.
I've already mentioned the digital painting (I've really done that a lot, haha!) but I actually also have oils and acrylics. I don't use the oils right now because my living arrangements aren't great for it, but I definitely like that medium. I couldn't really bring myself to enjoy the acrylics so far but I have used them - I remember doing a Castiel painting with them. Something else I really like is working with ink though I haven't done much fanart in that medium for some reason. It's something I really want to do though! I've also painted a bit with gouache in the past and would like to explore that more but those paints are also pretty expensive and since it's also water-based and not too far away from watercolor it's not so pressing atm that I'd make the investment.