About 2,5 years ago, I decided to take my hobby a step further and turn my fashion illustrations into a business. Until then I just took pictures of my artwork to post them on instagram and that was it. But when my business became more professional, my needs for tools changed as well. How could I digitalize my drawings? How could I trace a sketch on to a new piece of paper (I mean, by using something better than a window)? Since I didn't go to art school - I'm a self-taught fashion illustrator - I had to figure these things out myself. So, for all you illustrators out there who have the same questions, here are the answers - my 5 illustration tools that make artist life so much easier!
Hot Pressed Paper, for digitalizing your artwork
I still have to thank Miss Magpie Spy for this piece of advice that totally changed my instagram game. Her drawings on instagram always have a perfect clean white background and I asked her how she accomplished that. She told me the key is to use super smooth hot pressed paper (if you use watercolors, like me), because it scans so well and doesn't show any texture. Multiple brands sell it, like Arche and Canson. If you have that, a regular scanner will do. I like to enhance and brighten the colors with Photoshop as well, because the process of scanning can make the colors look a bit dull on screen.
I love my lightbox. It's basically a big flat led lamp that shines through your paper from underneath and makes it way easier to trace sketches and drawings. There are many variations available. I prefer a bigger size, like A3.
When it's dark outside, normal lamplight often won't do because the light is very yellow which makes it difficult to see colors as they really are. A daylight lamp comes in very handy here. Especially is you have to work evenings from time to time or just like drawing after dark. There are a lot of brands, types and sizes available.
The best mechanical pencil
Really, it's true ;) No just kidding. I don't know if it's the best one out there but I really love it. It's the Grip plus 0.7 by Faber-Castell. I like it because the grip is quite big and holds very well which ensures that your hand muscles don't get overstretched. The pencil itself is still very thin.
Digital drawing tablet
This one you might be familiar with: a digital drawing tablet to draw on your computer. I have a Wacom Intuos tablet and use it for digital artwork and touch ups in Photoshop.
If you're just starting out in illustration, you don't really need all these things, but they do make life easier if you want to take your artwork to the next level. The ones I would really recommend if you want to digitalize your artwork, are the hot pressed paper for watercolor and the Wacom drawing tablet. Let me know if you have any questions or would like to know more about the tools I use.
- cover photo by Angela de Baat