Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done

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Kyle Fewell

Freelance illustrator

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! I am Kyle Fewell and I am a freelance illustrator in Brooklyn, New York. I mostly work in editorial and advertising, and sometimes will do gallery shows and other things. My professional and personal work mostly deals with cute food, technology and fantasy stuff, and I also make prints, comics, and little pins.

What hardware do you use?

For my desktop PC I use an Intel Hades Canyon NUC (NUC8I7HVK). It's a barebones PC, so you have to supply your own RAM, SSD and OS. On mine I put 16gb RAM and a 250gb SSD with Windows 10. It's made to be a small form factor "VR-ready gaming" PC, so has a pretty decent AMD graphics card and a really good processor, but I primarily use all its power for drawing. Only game I really play on it is Final Fantasy XI, a 16 year old MMO that needs very little graphical power to run great. Only downside of the computer is it has a "cool gamer" skull LED that lights up on the top of it, but luckily they provide software that allows you to turn it off so you can't see it at all.

I use a small 2013 Intuos Draw and Touch for drawing, which works okay. Eventually will get a 13" Cintiq or something but for now it's just that little tablet.

For a monitor, I use a 24" Acer IPS screen. It's nothing fancy, but has decent color accuracy and gets the job done.

Keyboard I use is a Logitech K380 and my mouse is a Logitech MX ERGO trackball mouse.

I also use a Surface Pro 4 for drawing and creating stuff. Was using this as my sole computer for the last two and a half years before I got the NUC, so it works pretty well for how I work, and I still use it when I don't want to be at my desk or am travelling. The Surface Pen has a tip with some resistance, so it's not super smooth on the glossy screen and is pretty nice to draw on. It's not a perfect computer, though - the battery life on the i7/16gb/256gb version kinda sucks when putting it on a workload (about 5-7 hours on light use and ~3ish with a decent sized Photoshop file).

Along with those computers, I have a 10.5" iPad Pro that I use mostly for sketching and maybe line work. I really like this little thing, but I have a hard time using it for anything outside of sketching. Is a great travel buddy though.

Phone is a Galaxy Note 8, which I really love and draw on sometimes in Photoshop Sketch.

My desk is the Stash Desk from Blu Dot. Very simple, has all desk space for my computers and other stuff.

And what software?

On my PCs I use Photoshop CC 2018 for illustration, drawing and making GIFs. For invoicing and other stuff I use InDesign or Acrobat. Depending on the job I'll sometimes use Illustrator.

For the cloud I use Google Drive.

On my iPad I mostly just use Procreate, and that performs really well for what it is. I have tried Adobe Sketch, ArtStudio and CLIP STUDIO, but don't enjoy them as much. Really have a problem with doing full fleshed out illustrations, paintings and whatever on it, but maybe full Photoshop coming next year will change that?

Brushes are kind of software related? I feel like I work very simply and only use maybe 3-5 brushes routinely in Photoshop. The one I use for pretty much everything is by Andy Brinkman, the "BRNK Sketch Pencil 3 Dark" brush that I kind of mess with depending on how I want marks or lines to look. So far it's the best brush I have found that does pretty much everything I could want. The others are Kyle T Webster brushes that now come with the PS CC 2018 subscriptions - I only really use them for texture or blending things. (Rough! Dry! Fun! Is my main go to for textures)

What would be your dream setup?

Ideally I would like to be in a semi-spacious room that's not in my living room like it is now, with lots light and windows and a view of something (Trees? A lake? Mountains? Doesn't really matter). Lots of desk space and shelves for my books, records and comics. Same idea about the space if it was a house, but in an attic.

Computer-wise, a computer that is super powerful but stuffed into the glorious and beautiful Japanese Sharp X68000 Compact from 1992. Would love to have that sitting on my desk and just update it to modern components. Would just stare at it all day.

But, since that is kind of a bit of work.. I would settle for a current thing like a top spec'd iMac Pro (or PC equivalent with a 27" 4K screen) and one of those new 24" Cintiq Pros.

To be honest, my current computer setup is just fine for how I work. I love tiny, powerful computers so I really enjoy my little NUC so far. I think it just needs another monitor and or a 13"/16" Cintiq Pro or whatever, and I will be pretty content for a good while. Still want a view of something that's not a wall, though.