Artist’s Tools of the Trade

Pen, pencil, brush, staedter, pentel, brushpen, turquoise

Artist’s Tools of the Trade:

A few of my artist friends were asking me about the tools I use when I create my sketches and drawings so I compiled them all into this photo to share with you guys too. These are all the tools I pretty much use on a daily basis.


I LOVE working with mechanical pencils. You can see from this photo I have a bunch. I guess you could consider it a bit of an obsession but when I have the right pencil in my hand it just helps me feel creative. When I feel creative I like to draw so I make sure I always have the right pencil. My two favorites right now are the Sharp Kerry and the Steadtler Silver. Both are about as good as it gets quality-wise and I highly recommend them.


In this photo the paper and the clipboard aren’t labeled but the paper I use is just cheap copy paper…. the cheaper the better since I’m not worried about archive quality. Basically I just  scan everything and color it on the computer anyway so why spend money on that? Cheap paper is also thin so that makes it easy to see through if I need to trace. One last advantage to using cheap paper is I never choke when I’m drawing on cheap paper and if I do who cares? I don’t know about you but if I’m working on expensive paper I have a whole different attitude about what I’m doing. I guess the best way to describe it would be like wearing a suit to mow the lawn. There are times when wearing a suit is important but for everyday stuff it just kind of gets in the way.


The clipboard is from staples but I have about 5 or 6 of those things floating around and I carry them everywhere. The reason I love working on a clipboard is I can work anywhere and when it comes time to scan my art it’s quick, simple and clean. The funny thing about carrying a clipboard around is that nobody ever questions a guy holding holding a clipboard (In fact, I imagine if you were to throw on a polo shirt while carrying a clipboard you can go just about anywhere, but that’s a story for another time). I hope you’ve found this list of art supplies useful. If you have a tool you just can’t live without please leave a comment and let me know what it is I’m always looking for the next best thing.



How to Hire an Artist

How to Hire an Artist: Tips for Hiring an Outstanding Illustrator for your Next Project:

Finding the right illustrator can be a challenge. Whether you decide to use Bob Ostrom Studio or someone else it pays to know what you’re looking for. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hire a professional before here are a few tips that will help you find the best possible artist for your project.

Know What you are looking for.
Every artist has his or her own style. Many artists are versatile but no artist works in every style. Look for the artist who specializes in the type of art you are looking for. There are many artists and styles to choose from so be patient and make sure you leave yourself enough time to find the right one for your job.

Read the rest of this article on my new site Bob Ostrom Studio

How to Draw a Cat by Bob Ostrom

bob ostrom filming how to draw lessons at burning oak studios

How to draw a cat.

Here is a little video for anyone who loves cats and loves drawing. I did this one down at Burning Oak Studio down in Raleigh a few years ago. I had a great time shooting these. I was a little nervous when I first went in because I had no idea what I was doing but the folks in the studio were great and helped me figure out which end of the marker to draw with and other things that seem so natural when the camera isn’t rolling.

We shot these videos over a couple of days and at the end of the first day I quickly realized it wouldn’t be a bad idea to actually have a few things prepared to say while I was drawing. So, I went home that night and worked on a little script I would use for each of the drawings the following day. I imagined the witty banter I would toss about as I appeared completely relaxed drawing away in a carefree, happy go lucky studio environment. I imagined being the envy of artists everywhere.

Flash forward to day two. Lights on, cameras rolling, me clumsily clutching my pencil for dear life with sweaty palms, a giant shiny forehead and a neon orange shirt…..And Action! Oh no…My mind goes blank. All the witty banter, all the carefree happy go lucky dialog flies right out the window and it’s just me in my orange shirt with a marker and some paper. Wait, what’s my name? Where’s my website?

The guys at Burning Oak, Rob and Matt, were great. They stopped cameras, calmed me down, clowned around a little and got things back on track. It’s funny how something as simple as,  My name is Bob Ostrom and you can find me at Bob Ostrom ends up being five takes.