My name is Tuesday Bassen, a NYC based Illustrator and Designer. I'm currently a Senior Designer at Tinybop, a children's educational app company.
Software / hardware
I'll outline my process to better explain my tools in their context:
I start out using a pencil on smooth bristol paper to sketch out my illustration, then use black acrylic ink and a sable brush to finish the drawing, and erase my pencil lines using a Moo eraser (the best!). I scan the piece using my Epson Perfection scanner to my MacBook Air and edit using Photoshop CS5. I bought a lot of my equipment when I was fresh out of school and had a very tight/non-existant budget. If you're interested in getting started, you can easily have my setup for under $1k (with a refurbished computer).
Ideal work environment
Realistically, my current set up is ideal–I share a two bedroom apartment with my boyfriend in a neighborhood that I like and the larger of the two rooms is our shared studio. But if we're talking about dream spaces, I envision something with floor to ceiling windows, a ton of plants, and a long table in the middle of the room that myself and two other designers would share and could chat through design problems together. Since we're fantasizing, the aforementioned studio would be above a dim sum parlor, a coffee shop, and an art supply store for quick restocks!