As a graphic designer, illustrator and hand-letterer, I have a lot of tools on hand. I use different mediums and I try a lot of different pencils, pens, markers, papers and even sketchbooks. I am always on the look out for some new things to use. But despite the many tools on my desk, I have my favorites and today, allow me to share with you my top 10 designing tools and software. If you are a budding designer or you want to start a design career, these may come in handy.
- Adobe Illustrator – when I was just a beginner, I never knew Illustrator will be my best friend. I hated it so much because it was not as easy to use as Photoshop. However, when I started taking my designs to a whole new level, I realized I need to learn how to use it. If you are serious about getting into designing, this is one software that you should definitely learn. I enrolled myself in Laura Coyle’s illustrator classes, if you must ask 🙂
- Adobe Photoshop – Photoshop is my best friend when it comes to finalizing my papers. I find it easier to layer my files adjust the levels and blending of my textures here.
- Wacom Tablet – I own an Intuos Pro Medium and it works perfectly for the kind of work I’m doing. Although it may not be necessary for other designers, I believe that you can make better designs when you own one. There are more affordable options like Pen and Touch. You can check the tablet list of wacom and see what works for you.
- Pencils – I love drawing in pencils. It gives me more freedom and I don’t worry about imperfections. Right now, I’m using Staedtler 2B in my pencil sketches.
- Micron Pens – Inking my drawings is a vital part of my design job. While there are drawings that would end up being re-drawin in Illustrator, there are some that will be scanned and digitized. I like to add variation in my patterns.
- Sketch Pads – some designers use loose papers when drawing. It is actually more freeing. However, I find very hard to maintain and I’m someone who doesn’t throw any of my sketches unless I really consider them as trash. You’ll never really know when they might come in handy. I keep everything and when they are loose… well, you get the picture. But don’t get me wrong, it’s totally fine. It’s just my preference.
- Tracing Paper – when I ink my drawings, i want it clean so I trace them using tracing paper because I don’t own a light pad yet. I buy a 105 gsm tracing paper at my local art shop.
- iPhone – mobile phones has many functions, but for my designs – this is what I use when I don’t have to scan my sketches. I take a picture of them and upload it to dropbox or I email it to myself. Fast and convenient.
- Scanner – I have 2 scanners at home. One is my printer/scanner and a dedicated one which I find better – Canoscan LiDE 700F. This is what I use in scanning all of my inked sketches.
- Printer – When you design, you don’t just design. You test your products. I have this habit of printing my own patterns to see how they will look in print. There are times I ditch some of my patterns because I didn’t like them in print. I currently own and use my Canon MG6470 but i believe they have some newer versions already.
I hope you’ll find this list useful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave me a message.
If you like this post, share it to your friends who might just need it. I will truly appreciate it.
Do you know of other amazing products we can all try? Please do share it with me in the comments! I’d love to get my hands on them!
That is a great list! I don’t design my own things, but my daughter is in highschool and very good at drawing, sketching and lettering. I will consider some of these for her. I’m hoping she chooses a career in graphic design, but she’s leaning toward the medical field. Thanks Mye!
That is awesome LouAnn! I perfectly understand how you feel. Thing is, when I was young, i wanted to be a doctor haha!
Huh! I hadn’t thought of inking on tracing paper… How do you get color on it, afterwards?
Thanks for sharing your tools! =)
I color most of my designs digitally, Heather. Mostly in Illustrator. That way, I can change them to my heart’s content.
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thank you very much for sharing your tools!
You’re welcome Anika – i hope you find it useful 🙂
Very helpful list! Thank you so much!
You’re welcome Tracey!
This is a great article. I love hearing what other designers/artists use as their favorite mediums. I, too, took Laura Coyle’s Illustrator classes and fell in love. I’m still learning, though. That pen tool can make me lose it some days. 🙂 Like LouAnn says above, I, too, have a daughter who loves art and drawing and amazes me with her skills. She loves the micron pens and I have to buy her new sketch pads every few weeks she goes through them so fast. I never thought to buy the pens online, Amazon is much cheaper than the local store. Thanks! That is where my designing skills are lacking, the physical drawing stage. I just feel so much more comfortable drawing digitally, but I envy the beauty of illustrations by other designers that began on paper. It would be really cool to see a blog post from you detailing how you go from paper to digital to the end product. Just a peak. I love seeing how others work.
Hi Shayla – Laura is an amazing teacher and I still go over the class every now and then to refresh and see what else I might have missed 🙂 As for the tools, yes, I find that Amazon sells cheaper than local stores so if I need to purchase more, I go that route. If it’s just a few items and not worth the shipping fee, i’ll go to our local art store.
Thank you for the suggestion on a new blog post, i’ll think about it 🙂