Karla Diaz is a professional comic artist and illustrator from Chile, who has been drawing since childhood. She specialises in character design, comics and writing, and currently works for Sandstorm comics. Below she takes us through her studio setup.
"I live in Santiago, the capital of my country, Chile, and moved into this apartment with my partner a year ago. I work as a freelancer, so my studio is set up at home. It’s divided into two sections: one for traditional drawing, sketching and painting, and the other for all my digital work.
"My digital work setup consists of a 2019 iMac, and the main software I use for my illustrations and comics are Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop. I also use Evernote for writing my scripts, and always have Spotify playing K-pop music. Yes, I’m a K-pop fan!
"An old Wacom Cintiq tablet from 2012 helps with my graphic work, and it still does a great job. I don’t use the original iMac keyboard. Instead, I environment, along with some toys and mementos that I’ve collected. However, I don’t like accumulating too many things because they tend to gather dust, which stresses me out. The Ikea panel you can see serves more as decoration and a place to hang my headphones!
"The other part of my studio is the table where I keep all my traditional drawing tools and my iPad. I use the iPad here to view references, watch videos, listen to music, and so on. I also use it for illustrating in Procreate, among other things.
"My current favourite tools are my Copic Sketch Markers. I have two sets: the 72-colour E set, and the set of 24 colours Copic gave me to promote their manga drawing contest. I also have a small set of 12 cool grey Copic Sketch Markers that were given as a gift from my partner.
"Next to my desk, I have a small bookshelf for art and comic books. I plan to replace it with a larger one because it’s getting too small! I have Loish’s artbook collection, lots of French comics, and artbooks from various Japanese artists.
I always try to learn new things, especially drawing and painting techniques. I’m what they call an eternal learner. I love taking courses on digital illustration, art, marketing, social media, and so on."
Find Karla Diaz at her official website, for commissions and new art.
Artist in residence: Karla Diaz
Karla's studio setup, clockwise from top left. "This is my LED lamp. I bought it ages ago, and it still works perfectly. I don’t use it much anymore because I prefer to do my drawing using natural light. (Read our list of the best craft lights.)
"My iPad Pro is one of my most cherished tools; like having a mini computer that accompanies me. When I work in cafes, I take it with me to draw or write, as well as when I travel. (Read our guide to the best iPad for drawing.)
"I have two favourite books. The first is Mika Pikazo’s artbook. Her compositions are inspiring and I love her vibrant colours. The second is Anatomy for Artists by Tom Fox.
"I bought this miniature vacuum cleaner mainly because of its adorable cat paw shape, although in truth it doesn’t actually pick up a great deal of dirt.
"This sketchbook has been with me for almost two years, and I only have a few pages left. The size has been a challenge since I’m used to smaller sizes like Moleskine’s sketchbooks.
"This is my collection of compulsively purchased sketchbooks that, in my mind, I’ll eventually manage to fill up. No, really, my plan is to complete them all!"
Karla's studio setup, clockwise from top left. "This is my panel where I organise my week by hand, which works best for me. Below there’s a cork board where I put important information.
"A new raindrop plant that I bought exclusively for this article, as my first plant died and looked very depressing. Now I have a care kit and fertilisers to prevent that from happening again.
"This is my Ikea panel. I love the design and how practical it is. Here, I have some postcards that I bought from SHEIN, pencils, and my Bach Flower Remedies that I use occasionally when I’m anxious.
"I have an Epson L4260 printer for occasional needs, such as paperwork or printing photos. (Read our guide to the best art printers.)
"This Wacom Cintiq 24HD is truly a relic! I bought it around 2011 when I made the jump from a used Intuos tablet to this one with a screen. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve made for my work. It has survived several moves and still works flawlessly, and has never had a dead pixel."
"This illustration was made with Copic markers as a collaboration with an art supplies store. The idea was to create an image using traditional techniques with the theme related to drawing. It was a pleasure for me since this store is one of my favourites."
"I bought this Logitech POP Keys keyboard solely for its design and beautiful colours, but when I started using it, I realised how satisfying it actually is to type on as well. It’s very comfortable, and the battery lasts for a long time too."
"Lately, I’ve been using a Sakura Papel Blanco Crema sketchbook, which is 21 x 30cm with 80 sheets. The paper isn’t heavy, but it’s sufficient for using Ecoline paint and Copic markers.
"My cat Koko is already a year old, very cuddly, and always demanding attention. He’s also a rescue cat, and was quite ugly when he was little. My other kitten is Luli (right), who has been with us for two months. She arrived infested with fleas and dirt, but now she’s beautiful!"
"My first encounter with Copic markers was through a gift from my partner. They gave me a set of 12 cool grey tones, and I fell in love with them as soon as I tried them out. As soon as I could, I bought a large set, and now I can’t stop using them."
"I’m not a fan of Funko Pops, but I had to have this one of Mr. T, my childhood hero. I bought it without its box at an antique market here, and it was very cheap!
"One of my newer pieces of furniture. I bought it from Ikea when I moved into this apartment. Too bad I underestimated the power of my compulsive purchases, and now I can’t fit any more books in it."
"My partner gave me these Ecoline paints. I first used them at university and always wanted to try them again, so this gift made me happy! They are similar to watercolours and require thick paper."
"I use my sketchbook to explore different themes and techniques. It’s still challenging for me to draw with ease. I think I’m very self-critical, but I’m working on it."
"This is a selection of my favourite pencils, which include some Tombow graphites and well-worn Faber-Castell pencils." (Read our guide to the best pencils for artists.)
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