Tips: Artist Tools Essentials

May 26, 2018


I thought I’d share the tools I use to create a product from start to finish (specifically greeting cards and paper products for my stationery shop)! From when I first start sketching out ideas to more final drawings, to bringing it onto my computer, and ultimately into a tangible product. Things like the hardware (printers, scanners), software, pencils, artist pens, paper, and production supplies (different paper cutters) I use on a daily basis!

Full list and break down after the jump!



Honestly, I think any pencil you have will do! I also used to use a mechanical pencil just because I didn’t have to sharpen it, haha. Anyway, I just discovered a whole stack of fancier pencils I had to buy during art school that were unused, so I’ve been making my way through them. Here’s a list of what I’ve used and currently using:


Same goes for sketchpads, any notepad or paper will work. You will start to get a feel for the size you like, type of binding, or thickness of paper you prefer. I personally don’t like using small sketchpads because it feels too confining when I’m drawing and I prefer spiral bound. I’ve used all of these:

  • Strathmore Sketch Pad
  • Canson Sketch Pad
  • When I’m brainstorming and being more rough with ideas I prefer to use an even larger drawing pad and then pick ideas I love and finalize them on one of the above sketchpads. Any large piece of paper or even a roll of paper will do, currently I had one left over Bienfang Marker Paper.


I think picking your pens might be the most important step in making your drawings ready for digital and translating the style you want. Once my drawings are final I still do things super analog and trace the drawing onto tracing paper to scan into my computer. Depending on the style you’re going for things like pen line weight and style of the pen nib will matter and that just goes with trial and error!

  • In the beginning I used to use Micron Marker Felt Tip Pen in 05
  • Currently, I am using and loving Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens in XS, S, M, and 1,5, depending on what I feel works best for the design. They can all be found in this Assorted Pen Set (I received this from my sis, who introduced me to them, thanks!). I also use the Brush width pen for hand addressing International orders because it makes everything you write look pretty (and hides my horrible handwriting hah).

Tracing Paper

Once a drawing is finalized I’ll trace it to scan onto my computer. I’ve only used this Strathmore Tracing Paper.


Supplies for Production


  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Silhouette Studio (for creating the cutting templates, but I prep all the designs in Illustrator / Photoshop)

…and that’s it! Whew. Leave a comment down below if I missed anything you were curious about or share any useful tools you use in your daily process!

Some products included in this post are Affiliate links and I receive compensation if you make a purchase through the link! Everything I share and recommend on this blog are items I’ve personally used and hope they help you on your journey.