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Equipment Ideas for the Digital Artist

Hello Visitor and

Creative Person!

Are you a budding artist still in school or just graduated or in the later part of your life or somewhere

in between and simply curious or just starting out on your creative journey into the field of digital illustration

and Surface Pattern Design?

This blog and the links are aimed at YOU! I will be sharing everything I have been learning, the cool things I've discovered and the links to all of it, plus my advice based on my experience thus far into the fascinating and boundless creative world of digital art.


My blog will focus on a topic, expand on that subject and then direct you, via a link, to that resource.

Resource links are highlighted like this.

So let's quickly begin:



#1 and #2 are the most essential for creating digital art.

• #1 iMac or MacBook Pro: (I have a 2022 iMac 24 inch with 16 GB of memory) Pricing is between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on extras/upgrades. The iMac is 24 inch. But the Macbook Pro has 13, 14, and 16 inch screen choices. Keyboard and mouse included. Educational pricing is available if you are a student or teacher.

• #2 Wacom Pen Tablet: (includes pen) A digital drawing tablet that replaces the mouse when creating digital art. You can't really do digital illustration without a graphics tablet. For graphic design, it's still great to have but not necessary. For digital illustration and surface pattern design, it's a must-have. Educational pricing available.

Adobe Creative Suite: Subscription is $54.99 monthly, $19.99 monthly for students and teachers.(software subscription that includes all the Adobe products plus free fonts, tutorials, photos, images, and more). Software includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, Lightroom, Fresco (for iPad), Capture, and more.

Are there software alternatives that do not require a monthly subscription?: Yes. I use some of them on my iPad, but on my desktop Mac, I only use Adobe.

For now, I will just suggest alternatives for iMac or MacBook, as iPad apps is a whole other subject.

For iMac/MacBook (listed in order of my preference):

Affinity Designer

Corel Painter

Corel Draw

Clip Studio Paint

Krita (free)

Battery Back Up/Surge Protector: Brand: APC at Amazon. Spending hours/days working on a project only to have a storm cut your computer off can not only destroy your work, but can mess up the computer's internal operating system. The battery back-up ensures your mac will never unexpectedly shutdown.

EXTRA: (but really essential)

iPad Pro: Art can be created digitally, by hand, on the screen, using the Apple Pencil. Many artists do their artwork on the iPad and then finish it and prepare it for print/web/video on their Mac. (I have a 12 inch)

Apple Pencil: A must have with an iPad. You simply cannot utilize the amazing software available on an iPad without the Pencil. Does not have to be an Apple Pencil, (there are alternatives).


External Hard Drive: Seagate 2 TB Portable Drive. There's plenty of room on a new Mac, but to keep everything running efficiently and to keep your artwork safe, an external drive can hold a ton of files and relieve your desktop or laptop of carrying the load. The drive shows up on your desktop screen and you just drag and drop your files onto it.

Drawing Glove: Since the iPad has a highly sensitive and precise touch-screen, sometimes your the slight weight of your drawing hand touching the screen can cause unwanted things to happen. The glove is the barrier so only your pencil is reacting to the screen.

iPad Screen cover: (Zoegaa Paperfeel Screen Protector - I did not buy it to protect the screen. I bought it to reduce reflection and the glare of the glass iPad screen and the slight grip it provides when drawing with the Apple Pencil directly on the screen - which makes it feel much more like pencil on paper).

Apple Pencil Grip: The Apple Pencil is thin, and having a rubber grip for your fingers helps to stabalize your hand while illustrating.

iPad stand Great for propping up the device to watch design classes while you follow along on your main computer.

How do you afford it?

It's not cheap and making money with your art is not an easy thing to accomplish.

Just start with what you can afford. #1 and #2 (above).

Digital art differs from traditional methods of making art because you need the technology to do it.

In order to learn any kind of digital art, you have to have a computer (desktop or laptop) and/or an iPad or other digital drawing tablet. Without the digital, there's no digital art.

Take an extra job for a few months and pocket all the earnings.

Apple also has a monthly payment option. Credit is not the best choice, but it's how I got my first Mac computer twenty years ago. Twenty years later, I paid cash. At some point, most of us usually have to borrow or have someone invest in what we are doing.

You can also, if applicable, request Educational/Student pricing from Apple and Wacom.

And, if you are going to college at a university and enrolled in an art program, the entire Adobe Creative Suite of software is free. This is true at Liberty University, which has an excellent online school experience.

Disclaimer: I use only Apple designed equipment and platforms or compatible or designed to accompany Apple products or platforms. For no other reason than it's what I have been using for many years and I think it's the best. Apple of course is not the only show in town and it's not crucial, but, like I said, it's the only thing I've used.

Excluding God's creation, all beginnings start very small.

Just begin and resist the temptation to give up.

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