11 Must Have Digital Artist Tools to Help You Grow 

7 min read
DXA Group - 11 Must Have Digital Artist Tools to Help You Grow

As a leading digital art gallery, we understand the challenges of navigating digital art tools. We’ve curated a must-have list to help you thrive in your artistic journey, suitable for beginners and experienced artists alike. These essential tools, including drawing tablets, software, accessories, and online resources, will elevate your digital art. Each item is carefully chosen based on our experiences as digital artists.

Don’t overlook this article; the insights stem from real experience and will significantly aid your artistic growth. Join us as we explore the world of indispensable digital art tools together.

Essential Tools for Every Digital Artist: Top 11 Picks

  1. Drawing Tablets
  2. Drawing Software
  3. Graphic Design Software
  4. Digital Pens/Styluses
  5. Monitor Calibration Tools
  6. Drawing Desk/Stand
  7. External Hard Drives
  8. Animation Software
  9. Video Editing Software
  10. Brushes and Brush Packs
  11. Reference Photo Resources 

1. Drawing Tablets

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Benefit:

Drawing tablets, crucial for digital artists, enable precise and efficient control for a more natural, traditional media-like experience. Drawing directly on the screen and using pressure-sensitive styluses for varying line thickness enhances the creative process.

Recommendations:

  • Wacom Intuos Pro: This is a popular choice among digital artists due to its high pressure sensitivity, ergonomic design, and customizable buttons. The tablet comes in different sizes to fit any workspace or budget, making it a versatile choice for artists of all levels.
  • Huion Kamvas Pro: This tablet offers a large drawing area, high resolution, and a wide color gamut, making it perfect for digital painters and illustrators. It also comes with a tilt function for more natural brush strokes and an anti-glare screen for comfortable use.
  • XP-Pen Artist is known for its affordability and versatility, offering a range of sizes and features to fit any artist’s needs. It has a high level of pressure sensitivity and comes with shortcut buttons for easy access to frequently used tools.

2. Drawing Software

Benefit:

Drawing software offers diverse options, including raster, vector, and 3D programs. Raster software excels in digital painting and photo editing, while vector software is ideal for graphics and illustrations. 3D software enables artists to create models and environments for games, animations, and more.

Recommendations:

  • Adobe Photoshop is an industry standard and is widely used by digital artists and designers. It offers a wide range of features, including brush customization, layer management, and advanced photo editing tools.
  • Procreate is designed specifically for iPad and offers a wide range of features, including customizable brushes, layer masks, and an easy-to-use interface. It is a popular choice among digital painters and illustrators.
  • Inkscape: This free vector-based software is a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It offers a wide range of features, including the ability to create and edit vector shapes, customizable brushes, and an intuitive user interface.

3. Graphic Design Software

Benefit:

Graphic design software is essential for digital artists creating content for marketing, websites, and other platforms. It offers precise control over design elements like typography, layout, and color, and enables high-quality image and graphic creation and editing for diverse purposes.

Recommendations:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: This software package includes a wide range of tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. It is a comprehensive solution for any graphic designer and offers advanced features such as photo editing, vector graphics creation, and layout design.
  • Sketch: This vector-based software is designed specifically for digital designers and offers an intuitive user interface, customizable vector shapes, and the ability to create high-fidelity prototypes
  • GIMP: This free image manipulation software offers a range of features similar to Adobe Photoshop, including customizable brushes, layer management, and photo editing tools.

4. Digital Pens/Styluses

Benefit:

Digital pens or styluses offer a tactile experience for artists, providing precise control, improved accuracy, and a natural feel while drawing or painting on tablets or digital devices.

Recommendations: 

  • Apple Pencil, designed for iPad, offers digital artists precise control, low latency, and pressure sensitivity for an intuitive drawing experience.
  • Wacom Intuos Pro Pen, features 8192 pressure sensitivity levels, tilt recognition, and customizable buttons for a tailored drawing experience.
  • Microsoft Surface Pen, for Surface devices, provides precise control, low latency, and customizable features like erasing or highlighting with built-in buttons.

5. Monitor Calibration Digital Art Tools

Benefit:

Monitor calibration is vital in digital art for consistent color and brightness across devices. Without it, artwork may have color inaccuracies, affecting the final product. Artists should use calibration tools for accurate and consistent results.

Recommendations: 

  • X-Rite i1Display Pro: This advanced calibration tool is designed for professional photographers and digital artists and offers exceptional color accuracy, wide gamut support, and advanced calibration options for precise control.
  • Datacolor SpyderX Pro offers a quick and easy-to-use solution for artists who require consistent and accurate color representation across multiple devices. It also offers advanced calibration options for those who require more precise control.
  • Eizo ColorEdge: This high-end monitor offers built-in calibration tools, making it an excellent option for artists who require the utmost accuracy and precision in their artwork.

6. Drawing Desk/Stand

Benefit:

Drawing desks or stands enhance digital artists’ comfort and ergonomics, preventing neck and back strain, enabling longer work periods, and offering stable, adjustable work surfaces for precise control.

Recommendations:

  • ErgoTron WorkFit-TL Standing Desk Converter: This desk converter provides a spacious surface and adjustable height, perfect for digital artists who enjoy working standing up.
  • Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk: This adjustable standing desk features a roomy surface, motorized lift system for easy height changes, and a sleek, eco-friendly bamboo design.
  • The Huion Kamvas Studio 22 Stand, designed for drawing tablet monitors, provides a stable, adjustable surface with customizable tilt for artists.

7. External Hard Drives

Benefit:

External hard drives are vital for digital artists, offering extra storage for large art files and projects, helping with organization and accessibility. They also serve as backups, ensuring data safety in case of computer malfunctions.

Recommendations:

  • Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable External Hard Drive offers a sleek and portable design with up to 5TB of storage capacity. It also comes with Seagate’s Backup software, allowing for easy automatic backups of important files.
  • Western Digital My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive is available in a variety of storage capacities and colors, offering a stylish and compact design. It also comes with WD Backup software, allowing for easy automatic backups of important files.
  • LaCie Rugged Mini External Hard Drive is designed to be durable and rugged, making it ideal for artists who work on-the-go or in challenging environments. It offers up to 5TB of storage capacity and is shock-resistant, dust-resistant, and waterproof.

8. Animation Software

Benefit:

Animation software is essential for digital artists creating animated art or videos, enabling complex and dynamic creations. It allows for efficient work by simplifying changes and adjustments without starting from scratch.

Recommendations: 

  • Adobe Animate formerly known as Flash, is a powerful animation tool that allows artists to create interactive and engaging animations. It features a user-friendly interface and a wide range of tools and features for creating animations.
  • Toon Boom Harmony is designed specifically for 2D animation and is used by many professional animators. It offers a wide range of tools and features for creating high-quality animations, including frame-by-frame animation, rigging, and compositing.
  • Blender: Although primarily known as a 3D modeling software, Blender also offers robust animation tools for creating both 2D and 3D animations. It is a free and open-source software, making it a popular choice for independent animators and hobbyists.

9. Video Editing Software

Benefit:

With digital art tools and video editing software, artists can effortlessly trim and arrange footage, add captivating visual effects and transitions, manipulate audio and music, resulting in professional-looking videos using minimal equipment and resources.

Recommendations: 

  • Adobe Premiere Pro is widely considered the industry standard for video editing. It offers a wide range of tools and features, including advanced color grading, audio editing, and visual effects.
  • Final Cut Pro is designed specifically for Apple users and is a popular choice among professional video editors. It offers a user-friendly interface and a range of advanced features, including 360-degree video editing.
  • DaVinci Resolve is a powerful and versatile video editing tool that is popular among both professional and amateur video editors. It offers a range of features, including advanced color grading and audio editing.

10. Brushes and Brush Packs

Benefit:

Having a variety of brushes is crucial for digital artists as it allows them to create a wide range of effects and textures in their artwork. With different brushes, artists can mimic traditional art mediums like watercolors, oils, and pencils or create unique effects that are only possible in digital art.

Recommendations: 

  • Kyle T. Webster’s MegaPack includes 400+ brushes by professional illustrator Kyle T. Webster, compatible with most digital art software.
  • GrutBrushes offers diverse brush packs, including watercolors, oils, and calligraphy brushes, mimicking traditional art materials. Compatible with most digital art software.
  • Procreate MegaPack offers 600+ brushes for sketching, painting, inking, and more. Designed exclusively for Procreate, it includes specialty brushes like halftones and textures.

11. Reference Photo Resources 

Benefit: 

Reference photo is also one of digital art tools, invaluable for enhancing artwork, providing inspiration, accuracy, lighting, and composition insights. They help develop skills and expand the visual library, making a significant difference in various art forms.

Recommendations:

  • Unsplash offers a vast collection of high-quality, royalty-free photos that can be used for personal or commercial projects. Their search function allows you to filter photos by color, orientation, and even by the type of photo (e.g. nature, people, technology). They also offer a curated collection of photos for specific themes, such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Pride”.
  • Getty Images is a paid service that offers a massive collection of high-quality photos, illustrations, and videos. They have a robust search function that allows you to filter by type of media, color, and more. They also offer a range of licensing options, from single-use to unlimited use.
  • Pixabay offers a large collection of free stock photos, illustrations, and vectors. They also have a selection of video footage and music tracks. Like Unsplash and Pexels, they allow you to search for photos by keyword and filter by orientation and color. They also offer a paid service called Pixabay Pro, which provides access to even more content.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the right digital art tools are vital for success and growth. Drawing tablets, reference resources, and high-quality software can enhance skills, save time, and produce stunning art. Regardless of experience, investing in the right tools makes a difference.

Explore your options, find what suits your style, and happy creating!

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