Top 4 Tools Every Visual Artist Should Have

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Hello and welcome to the Delux Designs (DE), LLC blog and website!
If you’re new here, we blog about everything pertaining to art, creativity, and business mainly with some touches of travel, natural hair, motherhood and parenting. For today’s post, we are discussing our top five tools that we believe every visual artist should have as a starting point for their art career.

Sketchbook and Pencils

Photography provided by @K_DougDE

First things first, you need pencils and paper, specifically a notebook where you can write and doodle out ideas. Something sturdy to where you won’t have to juggle loose paper or risk losing any ideas you have written down. I would recommend a good quality sketchbook. They’re great for those doodles and sketches that I’m pretty sure you create daily if not weekly, and you can take notes freely in them. Some are available full sized at 9×12 inches, and some come in smaller sizes that are portable that you can have with you at all times. We all know as creatives ideas are sparked when we are out and about the most so it doesn’t hurt to have a bigger one for your home or your studio and then a smaller one to travel with you from place to place.

As you can see in the photo above, the main sketchbook that I often use and prefer is the Canson Sketch Universal. I was first introduced to this brand as a freshman in college and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. I don’t have any issues with my pages falling out or pages just not turning correctly. No smear issues when sketching or drawing and the price is fairly cheaper compared to other brands. You can find this particular sketchbook brand here at Michaels Arts and Crafts.

Having a good pencil set is important as well. Yes using your traditional number 2 pencils or traditional mechanical lead pencils is cool but you’ll find as you move into your creative career as a visual artist that all pencils are not the same when it comes to creating sketches and ideas for bigger projects. We recommend our favorite pencil brand Staedtler Mars. I have personally used this brand since undergrad years of college as well and they have been wonderful. They come in different weights which means each pencil produces different tones of light and dark shades. Of course with your pencil set, you may need a portable way of storing them so they don’t end up accidentally broken, or so you don’t end up losing any of them. I would recommend this great pencil case shown in the photo above by Kaddy. I tried to find it online, as this is one that I purchased with my art kit while attending college as an art student, but had no luck finding the official website for it. So I found an alternative through Amazon that may work just as good as the one I have. Check it out here.


Photography provided by @K_DougDE

Having a reliable laptop is essential for a visual artist. You will be drawing a number of things by hand but most will be rendered to become digital works of some sort over time. You’ll need to set up your own website or webpage as well to show off your work and services, along with communicating with potential clients and marketing to potential customers. If you’re a traveling visual artist, laptops are great in this area. You can always pick them up and take them with you versus a desktop computer where you may have a bunch of wires and towers that must be attached for it to work.

Now I have personally used a number of different laptops and have my own viewpoints on each brand. First being would be HP. I love HP, but not as a laptop. I ran out of space fairly fast with it so it began to slow down quite a bit over a short amount of time. I was able to get an external hard drive but the programs and software I was using was way too much for it to keep up with. So I ended up moving on to a Dell laptop. Now this one lasted a pretty good amount of time until the screen just went out abruptly. To this day I have no idea why the screen went out as it had not been dropped or anything like that and it was about only 6 months old, but I do know that I lost a good amount of work and designs when this happened so I probably will never get a Dell laptop again.

Last but not least I ended up finally getting my own MacBook and haven’t looked at another laptop brand since. My MacBook has held up for years. Over 10 years to be exact. It’s fast, reliable, has a ton of memory storage, and it is made to handle the software and programs that I use on a daily basis without slowing down or interruptions. I would highly recommend that you make that investment and step into the Apple world and get you a MacBook as soon as possible if you’re trying to pursue a visual arts career.

Desktop Computer

Photography provided by @K_DougDE

Now I know I said I would never get a Dell laptop ever again, but this does not apply to their desktop computers. I recently got a wireless All in One Inspiron Dell Desktop Computer and I love it! It has everything in one part of the computer vs having a tower and a screen and a bunch wires. Very reliable and has held up pretty good so far. It came with a wireless keyboard that I love so that helped with providing me more space in my work area and a wireless mouse so I didn’t have to go out and purchased those additional parts. I purchased mine from our affiliate partner Office Depot/OfficeMax here.

Another great thing about this particular desktop is that it is very light. I can pretty much unplug it and move it to another room if needed with out any problems. And again there aren’t any wires, just that one plug to plug in for it to work. I also love how the webcam can be hidden at the top of the computer screen, great for safety online.

I know you’re probably thinking well if I have a laptop computer why would I need a desktop as well, right? To me having a desktop plus a laptop increases productivity. You can also save space on each computer system as well by catering your laptop towards certain programs and software, along with your desktop. For example, I only use my laptop for designing so a majority of my design software is on there because I know it will take up too much space on my desktop computer. But at the same time, on my desktop I have a majority of my administration type of work on there, like schedules, invoices, etc. So that leaves a lot of space open for my laptop to just be focused on designing.

Desktops are also great for those important meetings and interviews. Of course you can use your laptop but having a desktop set up in your office with a nice background for important meetings really comes in handy when we talk about professionalism and presenting yourself to your interviewer or potential client in a professional manner.


Photography provided by @K_DougDE

Having a Cricut machine is optional for visual artists but I placed it in our recommendations today because it can be very helpful when it comes to branding and marketing your services. There are a ton of things you can do with a Cricut machine once you sit down and really get to know the machine and the products it uses. I am new to the Cricut family but so far I have been able to really improved on my branding for Delux Designs (DE), LLC by using it.

A Cricut is a cutting machine, primarily for vinyl based projects. You can use it to make personalized mugs, t-shirts, decals, and so much more. This would be like an investment into yourself and your brand, but I would highly recommend you actually consider getting one for yourself.

The main benefit I have found the Cricut to have with my business is being able to cut out the middle man when it comes to promotional merchandise and items. I’m able to create a lot of my packaging in-house versus having to pay someone to do it. As an artist, you can use the Cricut as another money maker for your business as well as there are a number of different services that can grow from this machine. I purchased mine, the Cricut Explore Air 2 from Michaels Arts and Crafts, but the actual Cricut website here has a ton of machines currently on sale.

These are just a few basic tools that we recommend each artist to have or to invest into at some point in your art career. Of course, every artist is not the same & doesn’t use the same methods so the decision is up to you. This is just from our personal & professional views so far in our art business here at DE.

Do you use any of the tools mentioned above? If so, which ones and how have they worked for you? Leave your thoughts & comments in the comment section shown below.
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Thanks for reading everyone!


Disclaimer: Affiliate links have been included in this post in which Delux Designs (DE), LLC receives a commission from any sales made through this post. We assure you, the products featured through DE from product reviews are products that we recommend based off of our own personal experiences from using them.

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