For the past decade, as a professional illustrator, I have actively been finding ways to streamline my workflow. Also, like many other artists, I have a day job, so being able to create art on the go is a must.
The following is a list of tools that I personally could not live without as an artist.
This pick is probably obvious for every other creator, but this is a lesson well learned for me. For years I had been e reliant on working only digitally (more on that later), but recently I have seen the light and bought a few of these journals to keep on hand. I now primarily use them for the rough sketch phases of my work. And the dotted lines help me format the pages and layouts for my projects without visually detracting from the images like lined or graph paper can. Also, let's face it. Nothing beats the feeling of putting pencil to paper, right?
Speaking of Pencils, this is right here, is my go-to. I remember stumbling upon this
particular type of mechanical pencil back when I was in college and never looked back. Not only is this tool incredibly well built and durable, but it also feels excellent between my fingertips. Lastly, it has a retractable point that prevents those accidental holes in your pockets.
Small Stainless Steel Ruler:
This is another must for me when I'm on the go. I don't know about you, but when I'm working on rough sketches for my children's book of graphic novel layouts, it's just really satisfying to have nice straight lines. Lol, that might say more about myself than anything else. I picked up this as a package deal from Staples, and it has proven to be very durable.
I purposely put this tool last on the list to emphasize that you DO NOT NEED THIS to be a professional artist. But in my own personal workflow, this is a must, especially since I'm always on the go. I remember investing in the surface pro 2 in 2012, and it took me a little while to get used to the smaller work area. To be honest, I didn't fully get used to it until I started working on the final version of my first book, THE CARNIVAL PRINCE. I was traveling a lot at the time, and it was great to work on my book just about anywhere.
These days there is plenty of mobile tablet and pen combinations with different operating systems out there, but The Surface Pro line with the windows operating system has always worked best for me.
I'll reiterate that you do not need this particular tool because, let's face it, there are many more affordable options out there (That ill discuss at a later date.) BUT this is a must for me.
I'm currently working on a surface pro 7 with its compatible Pen (sold separately.) Since I purchased it, the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop Studio have been released with bumped-up specs and a welcome update to the accuracy of its Surface Slim Pen (also sold separately). If you are interested in learning more, follow this link for a much more comprehensive review of the new Surface Pro 8.
Now, of course, the Surface Pro is just the hardware, and next time I'll be jumping to software I can't live without in my daily art flow.
So there you have it. In no way is this a comprehensive list, but this is literally what was sitting in front of me when I started writing this article. And honestly, without these tools, I feel as if I wouldn't be as efficient as I am now.
Is there anything you think I missed? What are some artist tools you can't live without when you are on the go? Let me know in the comments!
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