In order to create a work of art, the artist must often use tools to accomplish their task. For many artists, their hands and eyes are the necessary instruments to shape their work. They look at a piece of material and envision the final product. They use their hands to shape the material they have seen in their mind. Artists that work in clay have been using their eyes and hands for millennia to shape their works of art.
Modern artists are not much different than the ancient artists who created pottery now revered by many. In ancient days, man had a limited amount of materials for their art. An entire host of materials have been added to the list of items an artist can and will use to create their pieces. Clay is a fundamental material for artists because it was first discovered by ancient man. Now there is canvas and paint as well as computer screens.
Artists that work with canvas and paint use tools as extensions of their hands. They mainly use paint brushes of many different sizes and thicknesses. Each brush is loaded with paint to deliver the desired amount of pigment to a canvas. The artist's hands direct the brush in application to create their envisioned painting. Some artists prefer to use thicker paint and work with spatulas to create their paintings. This is sometimes used to raise the surface of the paint and give it a sculpted look. Although this effect can be created this way, some artists use the spatula method simply because it is a comfortable tool for them.
No matter what tools they use, artists treat them simply as an extension of their hands during the creative process. The same can be said of a computer mouse. Graphics programs are now part of the art world where artists continue to create.