my creative resources
Here is a complete list of the creative resources that I use almost everyday in my business as a surface pattern designer and illustrator. I have only included what I truly love and really helps me with my work – I hope you find something useful here for your amazing creative business!
This list of supply recommendations includes affiliate links which pretty much means if you click the link and purchase the product, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you – so its a cool way to support a small business (me 😊) while buying products that I love to use!
Winsor & Newton pan paints – I was given a set of professional Winsor & Newton pan paints for Christmas a couple of years ago and they are amazing to use. I really like the travel tin as you can buy extra colours and fit them in the middle part of the tin. You definitely get what you pay for as the colours are brilliant and blend beautifully.
Watercolour inks – for vibrant colours and large-scale painting you can’t go past watercolour inks. I use the colours Ultramarine, Sapphire and Aquamarine from The Paper Mill to paint ocean scenes. I also love Magenta for the brightest pink!
Caran D’Ache watercolour pencils – if I had to choose one art material above all others it would be these watercolour pencils. They are the perfect combination of drawing and painting and what I use more than anything else. I was given this stunning set of Caran D’Ache pencils for Mother’s Day one year, if you are ever going to spoil yourself with an art set this would be my recommendation!
Derwent watercolour pencils – a more budget-friendly option that I also love to use are the Derwent watercolour pencils. I used their set of 36 colours for years and would suggest these for anyone starting out in watercolour pencils. Their Inktense pencils are another option that are really fun and excellent for bold drawing as they literally turn to ink once you add water.
Polychromos Coloured Pencils – these pencils are wonderful for adding detail to watercolour illustrations, and also for using on their own for pencil illlustrations. They blend beautifully so you don’t need to start with many colours – I have done many nature drawings using the tin of 12 colours and over time have added individual colours.
Watercolour paper – pricey – for fancy and very nice paper you can’t go past either Arches Hot Pressed 300g or Fabriano Hot Pressed 300g – I prefer to use hot-pressed watercolour paper as it is super smooth and suits my drawing style for adding lots of detail. The heavier the paper is the more layers/water you can add without the paper buckling.
Watercolour paper – budget – this Eraldo Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper is fantastic and excellent value – I use this paper for most of my watercolour artwork, especially when I am painting motifs for pattern design.
Watercolour sketch book – I love the size and feel of the Winsor and Newton softcover watercolour journals – perfect for travelling and also a great size if you are like me and don’t get much time for sketchbook play so want something smaller. The paper is quite thick and so you can use both sides of it which is great.
Brush Cleaner – I’ve always used The Master’s Brush Cleaner and Preserver to clean my brushes – it cleans so much more effectively than just using water and also keeps your brushes lasting longer.
Folders and plastic sleeves – As I do most of my artwork on A4 size paper, I keep my completed work in A4 ring binders using these heavy weight sheet protectors.
Posca paint pens – these are just a fun art material to have, I use them for adding bold and bright detail to artworks especially acrylic paintings. The Posca website has a great visual of the different pens and colours available. This set from Amazon has four fluro colours including my favourite Posca colours which are fluro yellow and fluro pink.
Black fine liners – I have a heap of these in different sizes and different brands, I like to use them when travelling to add detail and shape to watercolour sketches, and also when drawing insects.
White gel pens – I like to use the Uniball white gel pens, they are great for adding white details to my nature illustrations and also fun when doodling in my sketchbook.
White ink – I was having trouble making my white gel pens really pop on dark blue watercolour, so after some googling I came across Winsor and Newton white calligraphy ink and it definitely stands out more on a dark background.
Daylight LED Table Lamp – this daylight LED light is fantastic for working at night or when there is not much natural light. It has two arms you can move and also change the brightness. I tend to use this even in the daytime so that my light source is constant, especially when I’m drawing from real life and want to keep the shadows and lighting the same throughout the day.
Ring Light for your phone – this is a cheap and portable way to add some nice lighting when using your phone. This ring light just clips onto your phone and has three different colour settings. I use it when recording talking Instagram stories and when taking flatlay photos with my phone.
Lightbox – this has been a game-changer for my nature illustration as it allows me to sketch out my drawing in my sketchpad or on drawing paper and then once I’m happy, I use the lightbox to trace onto my watercolour paper. Previously I was sketching onto my watercolour paper and I found that the pencil marks that were rubbed off caused damage to the paper so my final illustration wasn’t as neat as it could be. I use this A4 LED lightbox which is so easy use, I suggest doing tracing in a dark room too.
Scanner – I use my scanner to copy my artworks so I can then play with them in Photoshop. My scanner is quite pricey as I also use it for scanning photos – I know there are cheaper ones around that are just as good for art but if you are interested I use the V800 scanner from Epson.
SSD card – I switched from HHD to SSD for my external hard drives as they are supposed to be more reliable. The brand I use is Seagate and yep so far so good!
Mouse wrist rest – I bought this gel wrist rest after spending a few hours clicking with my mouse and ending up with a sore wrist. You can really feel the difference using a wrist rest if you use a mouse a lot.
Adobe Photoshop – this is the program I use for creating patterns as well as editing photos and creating digital collages. I use Photoshop pretty much every single day. I use this instead of Illustrator mostly as I use hand-painted art or photo images.
Adobe Fonts – part of the Adobe package, this has heaps of excellent fonts you can use in your projects. My favourite thing with Adobe Fonts is the ability to use a visual search (so for example a screen shot of some font that you like) and it will match the most similar fonts from the Adobe catalogue. The search options are great too as you can choose things like weight, width, font type.
Adobe Lightroom – I shoot most of my photos in RAW and then bring into Lightroom for editing. It can make a huge difference to your photos especially when the lighting isn’t perfect. You can save presets when you are editing a bunch of similar photos so that the end result looks similar. What I also love about Lightroom is the ability to get some quite artistic looks from photos.
Creative Market – my go-to website when I need a specific mockup.
Creatsy – they create excellent mockups, the files are so easy to use and look amazing! They also have a freebies section on their website where you can find some brilliant free mockups.
Placeit – another mockup website I love, you can create a heap of templates and then pay the monthly fee to download the images which is quite economical. They have some fun mockups I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.
WordPress – what my website is created with – I pay for a business plan and whenever I get stuck on something I can chat with someone straight away and they help me, its fantastic for someone like me who struggles with technology.
Mailchimp – I use Mailchimp for my newsletters and for sign up forms for my email list.
Asana – basically a to-do list on a calendar – perfect for being organised and planning ahead and you get reminders of what is coming up so you don’t forget important things.
Planoly – my social media planner. I upload my posts including captions and hashtags a month ahead, and its quite nice being able to look at my future posts and not feel panicked about having something to post.
Unsplash – excellent royalty free images. I use Unsplash to find reference photos for drawing and also photos I can use to create mockups.
WeTransfer – I use WeTransfer to send files to clients – its easy to use and quick!
Youtube – I love using Youtube for specific tutorials (like how to make a light ray in Photoshop), there is a wealth of information on there!
Pinterest – Pinterest is one of my favourite tools for two reasons – I get so much inspiration from there, and I also find clients by posting on there. Love love love Pinterest!
Skillshare – Skillshare has so many amazing classes on anything creative or business related. The classes can be quite in-depth so its fantastic for learning a new skill.
Inshot – this is a video editing app I use on my iPad – its really easy to use and you can save videos in a variety of formats.
Printful – I use Printful for making products with my patterns, so far just for personal use but you can set up a shop to sell through your website. My favourite products are the biodegradable iPhone cases and the recycled swim shorts. The quality is excellent and prices are quite reasonable.
Redbubble – a print-on-demand site that is good for trying out your patterns on products and you can also set up a shop page on their website.
Society6 – similar to Redbubble, there are some slightly different products though so worth having a look. Also with any print-on-demand sites I HIGHLY suggest getting a sample of any products you are wanting to sell before making them public to make sure you are happy with the quality.
Spoonflower – a print-on-demand fabric, wallpaper, and homewears website which also has weekly design challenges that can really inspire you if you are stuck for ideas. I’ve ordered quite a bit of fabric from Spoonflower and the quality is awesome. I’ve also had a few fabric and wallpaper sales which is always exciting!
MiGoals – I love their Goal Digger planner and Weekly Notes diary – really helps with business planning and actually being focussed with goals.
MOO – I just love the square cotton business cards from MOO – they are eco friendly and you can get a different design printed on every one – oh and the quality is fantastic! Perfect for artists wanting to show their work, you can create a whole set of little artworks on the cards.
Social Club Community – I joined the Social Club Community after I had spent yet another week trying to piece together bits of info and come up with some kind of social media strategy – this group provides weekly Instagram lessons that have basically made me enjoy using Instagram!
Full Time Artist podcast – this podcast is full of advice and ideas, and host Nic Everist really focuses on making an income from your art practice while also enjoying what you do.
I decided to include a category on sun-safe and swimming brands and products as I love swimming but I’m also very sun conscious. I’m someone who has rarely been sunburnt and easily tans but I still have sun damage. I had a melanoma removed from my face a number of years ago and now have 6 monthly skin checks as well as taking part in a melanoma research project. Luckily it is so easy these days to be sunsafe!
Solbari – I am big on being covered up from the sun and the best clothing and hats I have found are from Solbari – I wear their long-sleeved shirt in bamboo pretty much everyday even in the middle of a Brisbane summer and I love them. Everyone in my family has a Solbari hat too!
Olasol – Olasol make super fun rash shirts and leggings which you can wear swimming! I wear my Olasol leggings to the pool all the time, as yep your legs can get sun damage too!
Tribe Tropical – another fantastic Australian brand that makes long-sleeved sunsafe swimwear in fabulous designs!
Ultraviolette – Ultraviolette makes is so easy to wear sunscreen everyday. My current favourites are Supreme Screen for face and Extreme Screen for everywhere else. They don’t feel or smell like sunscreen and are 50+.
Swim Skin & Body – I try to swim laps at least once a week and I’m sure you’ve also experienced the crunchy hair and dry itchy skin you get after swimming in chlorine. The Swim Hair and Swim Skin sprays from Swim Skin & Body completely remove any smell or dry skin from swimming, I just love these products!
Sunsmart app – this app tells you what time of the day you need sun protection and also what level the UV is – I live by this app, and plan my days around the UV times to avoid too much sun exposure.
Byron Chai Tea – I make a pot of this every morning, it is the best chai tea I have found!
Ethique lip balm – I use lip balm about a million times a day and this is my favourite one – it is super moisturising, no nasties, and best of all the packaging and lip-balm tube are compostable!