ART TOOLS AND RESOURCES

Get Resources You Will Need on Your Artistic Journey

Welcome to my art tools & resources page! Here I’ve compiled my personal list of the very finest art supplies, computers and other technology, books, online resources and more – the best and most useful artist tools of all kinds for both traditional and digital art. 

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💡 Please note: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. When you buy through those links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.💡

This page will include lots of my own favorite products, the ones I absolutely love and use every day in my work.

It will also include other art tools, books and resources I have tried and thoroughly tested and found to be really great and really useful, as well as many recommendations from friends, colleagues and guest artists whom I’ve interviewed on my site’s (Art Side of Life) podcasts.

  • Here we will try to answer some questions that you may have, like:
  • What do you need for drawing?
  • What do you need for painting?
  • What do you need for digital art?
  • What do you need for your art business?
  • What do most digital artists use?
  • What do most fine artists use?
  • What do most commercial artists use?
  • What brands of art supplies are the best?

…and a lot more!

As you may already know, the Art Side of Life Blog also has many, many buyer’s guides, with a wider range of reviews and suggestions for specific types of art tools, and wherever it makes sense I will include links to those articles. But here, on this Resources Page, you will find the best of the best – my personally curated and approved list of the greatest artist tools and resources available today. Enjoy!

If you’re looking for gift ideas for that special artist in your life, you might also want to check out my new buyer’s guide – Best Gifts for Artists!

Quick Links - Page Directory

Tech for Artists

The Best Tech for Artists - Laptops, Tablets, Printers, Scanners

This section answers the following questions:

  • What is the Best Laptop for Artists?
  • What is the Best MacBook for Artists?
  • What is the Best Drawing Tablet for Artists?
  • What is the Best Printer for Artists?
  • What is the Best Scanner for Artists?
  • What Laptop / Tablet do Professional Artists Use?
  • What Supplies Do You Need to Make Digital Art?
Section Quick Links

Best Laptops for artists

Best MacBook for Artists
Apple MacBook Pro 16 Inch

16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage, 2.3GHz Intel Core i9


Best Value MacBook for Artists
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with M1 Chip

CPU: Apple M1 Chip: 8-core CPU; 16-core Neural Engine

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): Apple 8-core GPU


Lean and Powerful
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15" Touch-Screen

CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 5 3580U or AMD Ryzen™ 7 3780U

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): Radeon Vega 9 or RX Vega 11


Affordable
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go - 12.4" Touchscreen

CPU: 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 processor 1035G1

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): Intel UHD Graphics


Best Standalone tablets for artists

Best iPads for Artists

My Pick
NEW Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi‑Fi, 512GB)

Apple M1 chip for next-level performance

Brilliant 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color


Affordable Pick
NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)

10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3 wide color

64GB | 256GB



Apple Pencil (2nd)

Second Generation Apple Pencil

Compatible with iPad mini (6th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generations), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations)


Best Windows Tablets for Artists

Best for Artists
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13"

13.3 Inch WQHD Touchscreen Display, Windows 10, Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD


Best Microsoft Standalone Tablet
Microsoft Surface Pro 7

12.3" Touch-Screen

Intel Core i5; 8GB RAM Memory - 256GB SSD


Best Stylus for Microsoft Tablets
Microsoft Surface Pen

For Surface Pro 7 Pro 6 Surface Laptop 3 Surface Book 2 Laptop 2 Surface Go Studio 2 Pro 5 Pro 4

4096 Pressure Points

Different colors


Best Plug-in drawing tablets for artists

With Screen

Wacom Cintiq Pro 24

Creative Pen Display – 4K Graphic Drawing Monitor with 8192 Pen Pressure and 99% Adobe RGB


NEW
HUION Kamvas Pro 24 4K

NEWEST MODEL: UHD Graphics Drawing Tablet, Full-Laminated Screen Anti-Glare Glass 140% sRGB - Battery-Free Stylus 8192 Pen Pressure and KD100 Wireless Express Key, 23.8 Inch


Best Android Pen Display Tablet
Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen

13.3 Inch Graphics Display for Art and Animation Beginners


Without Screen

Wacom Intuos Pro

Screen size: Large

Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet for Mac or PC, Large, New Model

Huion Inspiroy H1161 Graphics Drawing Tablet

Screen size: Large

Android Devices Supported 8192 Pen Pressure with Battery-Free Stylus 10 Shortcut Keys,Compatible with Chromebook, Android, Windows and Mac


Best Printers and Scanners for artists

High Quality
Epson Artisan 1430 Wireless Color Printer

Printer Type: Inkjet Color Printer

Maximum Paper Size: 9 x 13 Inches

Resolution: 2400 x 4800 DPI



Entry Professional
Canon Pixma Pro-100 Wireless Color Professional Inkjet Printer

Airprint and Mobile Device Printing

Ambient Light Correction

8-ink dye based ChromaLife100+ system

Borderless prints up to 13x19 inches

Model in the UK / Germany - Pro-100S


Best image quality
Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner

Maximum Resolution 4800 x 6400 DPI

Bit Depth: Color: 48 bit :: B&W: 16 bit

Maximum Image Size 12. 2" X 17. 2"



XXL
Epson Expression 12000XL-GA Flatbed Scanner

3.8 Dmax for excellent detail in highlights and shadows

Maximum Resolution 2400 x 4800 DPI

Maximum Image Size 12. 2" X 17. 2"


Software and apps for Artists

The Best Software and Apps for Artists

There are lots and lots of software programs out there, for beginners or seasoned veterans, for every kind of art process, and at every price level from free to ridiculous, but here is a very short list of the apps I know and love.

  • What Apps are Best for Digital Art?
  • What Software do Professional Digital Artists Use?
  • What is My Favorite App for Painting and Drawing?
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – The most powerful art programs available today, the Adobe suite covers all kinds of work and processes, and is a must have – not just to take your work to the highest level, but to insure it meets full industry standards on all levels.
  • Procreate – Simple, fun, powerful and really cheap, Procreate for Apple is the app I use most, and easily My Favorite.
  • Astropad – Built for creative professionals, Astropad turns your iPad into a professional working tablet, working wirelessly with your Mac (and soon Windows) in Photoshop and Illustrator..
  • Clip Studio Paint – An incredibly powerful drawing and painting program designed by artists for artists.
  • Medibang Paint – A free and super easy art app, especially popular for comic book artists but great for so much more.
  • Paint Tool SAI – Not the most intuitive software, but for Windows users Paint Tool SAI offers incredible control and precision – and it’s free!
  • Krita – Really popular and surprisingly powerful free art software for Apple, Windows and Linux.
  • GIMP – Image manipulation software for editing photos and artwork, GIMP is also great for creating new work. Free and Open Source!
Art supplies for Artists

The Best Art Supplies for Artists - Paints, Brushes, Pencils, Pens, Markers, Paper

This section answers the following questions:

  • What Art Supplies do Professional Artists Use?
  • What are the Best Pencils for Drawing and Sketching?
  • What are the Best Pens for Drawing and Sketching?
  • What are the Best Colored Pencils for Artists?
  • What are the Best Colored Markers for Artists?
  • What is the Best Paint for Artists?
  • What are the best Paint Brushes for Artists?
  • What is the best Paper / Sketchbook for Painting and Drawing?
Section Quick Links

Best pencils for artists

Best Drawing and Sketching Pencils

Palomino Blackwing 3 Pencils Set

Legendary Blackwings in a basic set - wonderful to use!



Tombow MONO Drawing Pencil Set

Assorted Degrees, 12-Pack. Professional Quality Graphite Pencil Set with Eraser and Sharpener


Best Mechanical Pencils for Artists

Best Colored Pencils for Artists

Best Erasers for Artists

Tombow MONO Zero Pen-Style Eraser

With refill - Best eraser overall for artists and My Favorite



Prismacolor Magic Rub Eraser

Wonderful, versatile and cheap; 12 per pack



Best Pens for artists

Best Fountain Pens for Artists

Faber-Castell E-motion EF Fountain Pen - Pure Silver

High-quality stainless steel nib in width M (medium)

Equipped with a cartridge/converter system



Kaweco Al Sport Raw M Fountain Pen

Medium Nib Fountain Pen

Pleasant, soft feeling


rOtring ArtPen Fountain Pen

ArtPen, Sketch, Extra-Fine Nib for Lettering Drawing and Writing


Best Fineliners for Artists

Copic Multiliner Pigment Liners

Copic Markers 9-Piece Multiliner Inking Pen Set B-2, Black


Staedtler Pigment Liner Fineliner Pen Set

Staedtler Pigment Liner black fineliner pens, full professional 12 pieces artist drawing technical drafting sets


Best Brush Pens for Artists

Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best color markers for artists

Copic Marker 72-Piece Sketch Set

A wide selection of colors for full expressive possibilities, perfect for the working commercial artist or serious fine artist 


Uni Posca Paint Markers Set

Full range Bundle Set , Mitsubishi Poster Colour ALL COLOR Marking Pen Medium Point ( PC-5M ) 29 Colours ( 22 Standard & 7 Natural )


Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best Ink for artists

Kuretake ZIG Sumi Ink

ZIG Cartoonist Opaque Sumi Ink, BLACK, for dip pen, brush, art, illustration, smooth flowing ink, Smudge proof with alcoholbased markers, professional artists and amateur hobbyists


Deleter White Ink

Excellent quality and highly useful - and not just for deleting!



Best Paints for artists

Best Watercolors for Artists

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor 12 Tube Set

Best Affordable Watercolors in Tubes Overall / Best Watercolor Set for Students



Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor 24 Pan Set

My Favorite Watercolor Paints in Pans

Lightweight Metal Sketchers Box Set : 24 Half Pans (24 Colors Set)


Sennelier L'Aquarelle Watercolor Paint 48 Half Pan Set

Best Premium Watercolor Paints in Pans

French Watercolor Paint, Metal Set of 48 Half Pans


Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Studio Set, 45 Half Pans

Best Value Watercolor Paints in Pans Overall / Best Watercolor Set for Students



Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best Acrylics for Artists

Golden Heavy Body Professional 6 Color Introductory Set

Best Professional Grade Heavy Body Acrylic Paint

The basic acrylic painting experience and an affordable introduction to Golden quality



Liquitex BASICS 36 Tube Acrylic Paint Set

Best Student Grade Heavy Body Acrylic Paint



Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Color Paint Set 12x16.9 Oz

Best Value Liquid Acrylic Paint

Semi-Matte Finish, 12 Colors, Suitable for Canvas, Wood, Fabric, Leather, Cardboard, Paper, MDF and Crafts


My Pick
Holbein Acryla Gouache 12 Color Lesson Set

Acrylic Gouache

Splendid paints with superior colors, finish and usability, and a real delight to use!



My Pick
Turner Gouache Acrylic 24 Color Paint Set

Acrylic Gouache

Surprisingly consistent and high quality colors, wet and dry, and quite long lasting and durable - best value!



Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best Oil Paints for Artists

My Pick
Gamblin Artist Oil Colors Introductory Set

My Favorite Oil Paint for Painting on Canvas



Jack Richeson Artist Oil Colors

Best Affordable Oil Paint for Painting on Canvas

37ml Artist Oil Colors, Set of 12


Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Colour Paint Starter Set

Best Budget Oil Paint for Painting on Canvas

Set of 10x 37ml Tubes


Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best paint brushes for artists

Best Brushes for Acrylics and Oils

Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best Brushes for Watercolors

My Pick
Winsor and Newton Series 7 Four Brush Watercolor Set

My Personal Choice for Best Watercolor Brush Set

100% Kolinsky Sable Hair Brushes for Watercolor Gouache Ink and More - Professional 4 pc Round Watercolor Brush Set Sizes 0 - 1 - 2 - 3


Da Vinci Deluxe Natural and Synthetic Watercolor Paint Brush Set with Wooden Storage Box

Best Premium Watercolor Brush Set Overall

Natural Hair and Synthetic Brushes with Wooden Storage Box and Brush Soap, Multiple Sizes, 5 Brushes (Series 36, 991, 5530, 5550)


Rhapsody Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Five Brush Deluxe Gift Set

Best Value Premium Watercolor Brush Set

Deluxe Gift Set of 5 Aquarelle Artist Brushes - Assorted Paint Brush Sizes


Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best paper for artists

Best 140 lb Paper for Watercolors

L’Aquarelle Canson Heritage Hot Press Watercolor Paper 140 Lb

Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

9x12 12 Sheets | Made from 100% Cotton


L’Aquarelle Canson Heritage Cold Press Watercolor Paper 140 Lb

Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

9x12 12 Sheets | Made from 100% Cotton


L’Aquarelle Canson Heritage Rough Watercolor Paper 140 Lb

Rough Paper for Watercolors

9x12 12 Sheets | Made from 100% Cotton


Best 300 lb Paper for Watercolors

Saunders Waterford 300 Lb Cold Press Watercolor Paper 11x15"

Cold Pressed Paper for Watercolors

300 lb / 640GSM, 11" x 15", 4 Sheets


Saunders Waterford 300 Pound Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper 11x15"

Hot Pressed Paper for Watercolors

300 lb / 640GSM, 11" x 15", 4 Sheets


Saunders Waterford 300 Pound Rough Watercolor Paper 11x15"

Rough Paper for Watercolors

300 lb / 640GSM, 11" x 15", 4 Sheets


Best Paper for Acrylics

Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad

Sized Heavyweight No-Buckle Paper, Fold Over, 185 Pound, 12 x 16 Inch, 10 Sheets


Canson Figueras Oil & Acrylic Canvas-Like Paper Block

290gsm Paper Block Including 10 Sheets, Size:50x65cm~20x26 inches, Canvas-Like Texture


Arteza Acrylic Painting Pad

11 x 14 Inches, 16 Sheets Each, Heavy 246-lb Art Paper, Art Supplies for Acrylic Painting, Oil Painting, & Drawing, Pack of 2


Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Best Sketchbooks for artists

Make sure to also check out my artist’s guides:

Books for Artists

The Best Books for Artists

This section answers the following questions:

  • What are the Best Books on Art Techniques?
  • Which Books were Published by our Podcast Guests?
  • What are the Best Books on Art History?
  • What are the Best Books for Running an Art Business?
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Section Quick Links

Art Books by Art Side of Life Podcast Guests

Best Art History Books

The Story of Art

EH Gombrich :: Phaidon Press :: 16th Edition :: 1995 :: 688 Pages


The Visual Arts: A History

Hugh Honour & John Fleming :: Laurence King Publishing :: 7th Edition :: 2013 :: 996 Pages


Gardner's Art Through the Ages: A Global History

Helen Gardner & Fred Kleiner :: Cengage Learning :: 16th Edition :: 2019 :: 1264 Pages


Art, Second Edition: A Visual History

Robert Cumming :: DK Publishing :: 2nd Edition :: 2020 :: 416 Pages


The Louvre: All the Paintings

Vincent Pomarède :: Black Dog & Leventhal :: 1st Edition :: 2011 :: 784 Pages


The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings

Thomas Campbell & Kathryn Calley Galitz :: Skira Rizzoli Electa :: 1st Edition :: 2016 :: 544 Pages


The Hermitage: 250 Masterworks

Mikhail Piotrovsky :: Skira Rizzoli Electa :: 1st Edition :: 2014 :: 288 Pages


Best books to learn drawing

Art of Basic Drawing

Discover simple step-by-step techniques for drawing a wide variety of subjects in pencil (Collector's Series)


Best Books to learn Color & light

Best Books to Learn Animation

Best Books to Learn Character Design

Best Books to Learn Anatomy

Best Books To learn Cartoon & Comic Book Art

Best Books on artistic Technique

Best Self Development books for artists

Online resources for Artists

The Best Online Resources for Artists - Courses, Platforms, Subscriptions

Section Quick Links

Art Side of Life – Best online resource for artists overall – ok, maybe I’m a little biased, but I do love my site, and it is definitely becoming one of the most complete and useful websites online today for professional and fine artists, art students and beginners, crafters and lots of other creative types!

Be sure to check out these great Art Side tools, articles, podcasts and buyer’s guides:

Best online art classes and art schools

As you may already know, I am both a working commercial artist and an art teacher, and I think I do a pretty good job of teaching not only art techniques, processes and theory but also how to manage an art business. At my site, Art Side of Life, I have partnered with a couple of really great online learning platforms:

This way I can not only offer my courses right on my own site, but through their institutions as well, and hopefully reach and help as many people as possible. Here’s a list of some of the most popular and highly rated courses that I teach:

Featured
Online classes for artists and creatives

Improve your art skills and learn how to make money as an artist with my easy-to-follow online classes such as Making Money as an Artist, Color & Light, Color Palettes, Perspective & Composition, Instagram, and more!

GET THEM HERE

Best Tools to Increase Your Productivity

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Specifically curated- and produced music designed to improve your focus on the work in front of you

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Featured
Don't like reading? Try audiobooks!

If you like listening more than reading, Audible is for you! 

Get your 1 FREE Audiobook and FREE access to Audible Originals library for 30-days with this special offer!

GET AUDIBLE FOR FREE NOW
  • Blinkist – book summaries on demand. Whether you’re an executive or not, check out Blinkist to get summaries of the most influential books out there.
  • Google Apps – one of the most popular – and maybe the easiest to use – suites of cloud-based applications – Docs, Sheets, Slides, Mail, Calendar, Drive – Google Apps are available in a free version. Once you try them, I bet you’ll never go back!

Best Tools to promote physical and mental fitness

  • Headspace – a brilliant guided meditation program for increasing mindfulness, clarity and concentration, Headspace is also a wonderful way to enhance your creativity.
  • Calm – Calm is Headspace’s competitor and they are great thanks to their sleep stories, narrated by famous actors. It’s good to listen to when you can’t fall asleep.
  • Relax Melodies (20% off with this link) – relaxing at the end of the work day, or during breaks, is a great way to make the day more productive, as well as making you feel more clear, positive, energized and motivated, and Relax Melodies is one of the most effective relaxation tools I’ve found.

best platforms to sell your art

  • Redbubble – a small giant in the POD (print on demand) industry, Redbubble offers a huge range of products, with particular focus on the latest and hippest trends. This is the New York of PODs!
  • society6 – if Redbubble is the New York of PODs, society6 his is the LA, and is the oldest print on demand site out there, with a great range of products and an established customer base.
  • INPRNT – by artists, for artists, INPRNT makes gallery quality art prints at their studio, handling all aspects of printmaking, shipping and customer service.
  • Threadless – specializing in custom-printed t-shirts and clothing, Threadless is constantly expanding their lines and offerings – and their artist’s support team is amazing!
  • Displate – Displate produces only one thing – beautiful metallic prints – so you can imagine just how much they care about their product!

best tools for your art business

  • Siteground (Get up to 65% off with this lnk) – SiteGround is what we use for Art Side, and is the fastest and the most reliable internet hosting service we’ve tried (and believe me – we’ve tried lots and lots!). 
  • Freshbooks (Get FREE 30 days trial with this link) – Freshbooks is the most intuitive accounting software in the clouds. Track income and expenses effortlessly, create invoices quickly and get paid on time. Genius! 
  • Shopify – If you want to run your own online shop, Shopify is your tool of choice. With Shopify, you will open your online store in no time!
  • MailerLite – a superior email marketing tool, Mailerlite does everything that Mailchimp does and even more. It has lower SPAM scores than Mailchimp, so your campaigns will reach their targets more often and with more effect.
  • Thinkific – if you are an online teacher, or want to be, but don’t like the idea of turning over the content and control of your lessons to one of the teaching sites, Thinkific lets you set up your own online classes and teaching platform.
  • Wise (formerly TransferWise) – if you work with international clients, Transferwise lets you set up a “Borderless” account, virtually based in the US or the EU, making international transfers much less expensive!
  • PayPal – still the number 1 online payment processing platform, and the most trusted, PayPal is a necessity for any successful online business. And it works great in conjunction with TransferWise borderless accounts!
  • Stripe – a great way to easily offer your customers the option of paying via credit card, used by both the smallest online shops and Fortune 500 companies. Make sure to ask for your “startup” discount when you apply!