7 Must-Have Tools for EVERY Digital Artist

As a graphic artist, there are a few tools that you just can’t live without. Here’s a list of the must-have tools for graphic artists, including software and hardware. Learn about the essential tools for graphic artists to create professional images and designs.

Despite what many consumers and retailers might say, the need for more digital content isn’t disappearing. 

Organizations large and small are ramping up their production of graphics, photos, and images, and the demand for talented graphic artists is only increasing. From marketing visuals. 


So without further ado, here are seven of some of the most essential resources for you to invest in:


1. A Good Quality Computer 

This is probably the most important tool of all, as it will be your main tool for creating and editing your artwork. Make sure to invest in a fast and reliable machine that will be able to handle all the software you need. 

A high-quality monitor – It’s important that you can clearly see the images and graphics you’re working on, which is why it’s recommended that you get a monitor with a high resolution and a big screen size. 

A good quality graphics software package will enable you to perform the various tasks required by your job, such as sketching, image editing, vector drawing, and much more.


2. A Pen Tablet  

A pen tablet is an essential tool for any graphic artist as it allows for a much more natural way of working than using a mouse.  

Working with a pen tablet is similar to working on paper with a pen and paper: the cursor on the screen moves in direct relation to the movement of the pen tip on the pad. 

This close connection between what you see on screen and what you’re touching with your hand leads to a much more precise and realistic line creation. On the other hand, working with a mouse is somewhat like pogo sticking: you see the cursor move but not directly related to V to movement.  

Your movements are interpreted, converted, and then translated back to you, which creates a substantial gap between what you see and what you create. 

Working with a mouse is also less precise because you can’t see the density of the cursor. With a pen tablet, you can actually see the weight of your brush tip when you move it across the pad 


3. Good-Quality Graphic Design Software 

This is a bit of a no-brainer. Obviously, you’ll need some software to be able to create your artwork. There are a lot of great options out there, but don’t go crazy. 

Choose one good publishing software package for creating your 3-D compositions (I personally like Cinema 4D for this), one for drawing (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, AutoCAD), and one for creating animated graphics (e.g., Adobe After Effects).

You may also want to consider a vector-drawing program (such as Adobe Illustrator) if you’re going to be creating lots of logo designs or other images with consistent dimensions that need to scale up or down without losing quality. Another great tool for graphic artists is a palette cleanser – an app that allows for artistic effects 


4. A Scanner

While it might seem counterintuitive for someone trying to improve their skills in digital art, having a scanner for regular pencil/ink work can really come in handy. While it may take a while to warm up to the idea of storing a large piece of equipment like a scanner, you will eventually see the benefits. 

Not only will your scans remain intact even if your computer crashes, but you will also be able to upload them in a vector format, allowing you to make edits or adjust sizes without losing quality easily. 

As mentioned, having a scanner will enable you to take your work to the next level. While you can digitize your artwork by scanning in print versions or grabbing digital copies off the internet, being able to work directly from your original drawings will save you time and frustration.

5. A Lightbox

In the same vein as scanners, lightboxes are another example of old-school tech that’s still great for the modern digital artist.  A projector is even better, as it can help you spread an image across a wall.

But for online work, these tools can be very frustrating to work with because they usually can’t be resized without loss of quality.  That’s why they’re often limited to specific sizes when placed on a client 

They allow you to get the upper hand when physically illustrating something, be it in sketches or OBE, because they provide control over your work and the way it’s displayed, which is hard to get otherwise. Plus, they’re cheap – you can easily purchase a lightbox for less than $30 on Amazon. 

Of course, though, I’m not exactly a true fan of any of these online products because E-Capitalism is morally destitute. It’s a necessary evil for anyone who can’t program/construct the resources from scratch. 

6. A Good Printer

Selling prints is one of the best ways to help finance your art passions, plus there’s also the added benefit of helping your patrons get their art fix without contributing much to media conglomerates and monopolies (*cough cough* Disney).

From another philosophical standpoint, getting a good printer for your art also helps cement your creations in reality. If you want to make tangible things, such as artwork, designs, and documents, a printer will help you do that. 

Modern printers are cheap – you can pick up a solid all-in-one model for less than $200. More expensive printers deliver sharper images and more features, of course, but the minimum also has its perks.


7. A Digital Camera (maybe): 

Digital cameras can potentially be a great tool for the average digital artist because they allow the user to manipulate images in a variety of ways. 

Some photographers even make a career out of photography, but they aren’t always the best candidates for digital artistry because they’re more focused on capturing the original image as closely as possible. 

That’s why photographers shouldn’t always be the first pick when it comes to outsourcing image manipulation projects. Other devices, such as iPhones and selfie sticks, are selfie sticks good for digital artistry? (Suprise, suprise: the answer is “technically yes”) Also, other types of cameras, such as bridge or super-telephoto models, are also a choice.


Graphic artists need to be proficient in a variety of different software programs in order to produce their work. Some of the most commonly used software programs include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. 

Each of these programs serves a different purpose and offers its own unique set of features. As a result, it’s important for graphic artists to be familiar with all three programs in order to create the best possible artwork.

In addition to the software programs mentioned above, graphic artists also need to have a good quality computer and pen tablet. A pen tablet allows you to draw directly onto the screen, which can be a much more natural way of working than using a mouse. 

It’s also important to have a good quality printer so that you can print out your artwork in high resolution.

In conclusion, a graphic artist needs a few key tools to succeed. A good quality computer and reliable graphic design software are essential, as is a pen tablet, allowing a more natural way of working. Additionally, it’s important to have a portfolio to showcase your work, and business cards can help you network with potential clients. 

Finally, make sure to stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry if you want to keep reaching your audience. And while we might be a long way away from it, in a better world, most people will have access to Universal Income. On the off chance, you live to see that day, it’ll be good if you have already spent time pursuing your passions, regardless of whether or not they make you wealthy. 


What other tools do you think are essential for graphic artists? Let us know in the comments!

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