Art Tools of Swasky

Víctor Martínez Escámez (aka Swasky) is a Catalan illustrator and art teacher from Spain who lives on the outskirts of Barcelona.

You can see his artworks at

He has mentioned some of his drawing tools in his 2013 sketchbook Enjoy Gaudi but let's take a more detail look at what he uses.

Qn: Let's talk about your pens and pencils first. What do you use? Did you use them to create the drawing above?

Right now I mainly use fountain pens, like Hero or Lamy Safari, but I also use a four colours ballpoint. I started using a ballpoint pen from Uniball, the Eye model, with waterproof ink. The drawing above has been created with the Hero fountain pen, and two Lamy Safari with black and red ink.

Qn: And what pens did you use for the drawings in your book Enjoy Gaudi? I remember there's a picture of a pen that looks like a Lamy fountain pen.

I drew all the book with a Lamy Safari and one Sailor Calligraphy. The Lamy has a Medium nib and the Sailor has a 55º calligraphic nib.

Qn: What ink do you use in your fountain pens?

I used Noodler's Bullet Proof Black Ink but I changed to Carbon Ink, which black is deepest and it doesn't fade with watercolour. Noodler's is good but sometimes, it depends on the paper, fades with watercolour.

Qn: What's the clipper at the top right used for?

It is a cheap clipper used in my country for hanging laundry to get dry. I use also clamps but usually I lost them or I lend to people and I forget, so now I use this cheap clipper for holding sketchbook pages in windy days.

Qn: What's the watercolour box that you're using? Is it good? The mixing area looks small.

It is a Winsor & Newton watercolour Artist Field Box. In my opinion it is enough for me, but I know that there are better than mine. Anyway It is useful, sturdy and colours are good. I bought Artist range, it was expensive but people say that student's (Cotman), which is half the price of professionals, are quite good. Mixing area is small but you can open and there are 3 different mixing areas, enough for me, when I'm out.

Qn: The description you've written just beside the water container says that the box set is 15 years old. Have you replaced any of the colours in the box? What are the colours in your box currently?

Once I went to London I visited a Art Shop, really cheap and I bought, the 24 colors metal box, artist range. It is too heavy, too big and I decided to use its pans in my old plastic field box. Originally it was 12 colours:

  • Burnt Sienna
  • French Ultramarine
  • Ivory Black
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Raw Umber
  • Titanium White
  • Winsor Blue (Green Shade)
  • Winsor Green (Yellow Shade)
  • Winsor Lemon
  • Winsor Red
  • Winsor Yellow
  • Yellow Ochre

I removed black and white and I added three more: Prussian Blue, Permanent Sap Green, Cadmiun Yellow, Cadmiun Red and Paynes Gray.

Qn: What watercolour brushes do you use? I was looking at your watercolour sketches from Enjoy Gaudi and some of the washes are really flat and even. They are made with from the Pentel waterbrush, are they?

No offense to those who use the finest brushes, but I don't really care about them. I'm more practical and I pay attention to the end not the means, and yes, Pentel Waterbrush fits in my concept of the right material to work far from my studio.

Qn: What sketchbooks or watercolour paper do you use?

I'm quite flexible and I always say that you have to get used to any kind of paper. You should be conscious about it and get the most from your sketchbook, experiment. Then when you get enough experience you can start binding your own sketchbooks with the paper you like, that is what I do when I have a commission. Arches are quite good.

In my backpack, right now, I have three different sketchbooks: Moleskine Japanese watercolor sketchbook (special edition for the Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona), the second one is a Stillman & Birn Gamma Series, where I have done my drawings about "My sketching tools", and the last one is a Laloran handmade sketchbook from

Qn: That's an interesting container that you use to store your tools. A tobacco box? What are these tools? They look different from the drawings in the first picture above.

Yes, it is a tobacco box which my sister-in-law gave to me because she works in a Tobacconist. I do not smoke but I think it is a good box for my drawing tools.

From left to right, inside the box there is a clamp, a brush which was inside my W&N 24 watercolor metal box, three Pentel Waterbrushes with liquid watercolour inside, ready to use.

There are also two Caran d'Ache watercolour pencils (black and white), my syringe with a needle for refilling my fountain pens. With a green, golden ring and black tip, my Sailor Calligraphy fountain pen, two Pentel Colour brushes (Black and Orange), three Pentel Waterbrushes (fine, medium and broad), one BIC black ballpoint pen and one BIC Four Colours ballpoint pen.

Qn: What do you use the Noodler's Rabaul Red for? Is it waterproof?

My Noodlers' Rabaul Red Ink bottle was a mistake. I bought that when my original purchase Noodler's Red Fox Ink (waterproof) was run out. Wrong. It is too much ink (3oz) and after two years It still remains more than a third of it. I thought that It could stand washes but most of the papers don't keep it and it fades. Now I use it for text or monochrome drawings.

It was my dream and thanks to my first book "Voltant per Sants" I could buy it.

It is a Brompton folding bicycle and as a commuter, now my trips to the city centre are more comfortable.

When I draw "Voltant per Sants" I got a mountain bike which was quite old. Bicycle is one of my best drawing tools, it helps me for going around and visit places. It is faster than walking, but slower than a motorcycle, and it is greener. One of my dreams will be traveling with my Brompton and drawing far away, who knows.

Qn: Who else do you think we should feature next?

It is a tough request, but in order of preference: Emmanuel Prost, Miguel Herranz, Inma Serrano.


That's all for Swasky. Thanks!

Check out more of his artworks at


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