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  • Writer's pictureM.A. Hayes

No Fancy Tools Needed!

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

The tools do not make the artist, and it sure as hell do not make the designer! I'm going to say it louder for the people in the back, "YOU DON'T NEED FANCY TOOLS, YOU NEED SKILL!"

I'm not saying it's bad to have the fancy gadgets and doo-dads but work your way up to it first. Start off with the free programs, softwares, and images. They are usually easy to learn and will help to lessen the learning curve when you advance to the more difficult tools.

A lot of artists, and I even still, struggle with wanting to get the newest item on the market. I think to myself, "I'll draw better if I have that new Wacom Cintiq Tablet." In reality, I would draw the exact same, maybe a little faster, but essentially the same. And you know why, because MONEY CAN'T BUY SKILL! As a part time art instructor for both fine art and graphic design, I can attest that no matter how much my clients pay me, I always emphasize practice. Practice until you can't get it wrong.

A lot of people pay for classes or workshops, and they participate in class but once they get home they completely ignore the work and don't practice. They don't apply what they learn, and then complain when they don't see the results and call it a scam. What sense does that make?! Can you explain how you expect to get better without practicing or doing anything? You probably can't because it's impossible.

Skill is everything in art. Your skill is the mark you leave behind in a company. It is the quality of work that you give that not only represents your employer but yourself. And no amount of fancy equipment will change that. If you don't have hand-eye coordination then what is the point of having a $2,000 drawing tablet? There's none.

USE WHAT YOU HAVE TO GET YOU WANT! It took me 4 years to get all of the equipment that I wanted, and I have a greater appreciation for my "new" tools because I had to start from humble beginnings to get the better things in life. My new tools still aren't too fancy, but they are great, they get the job done, and I don't have to worry about upgrading them any time soon. And because I have skill, my art tools is exactly what it is meant to be: a tool and not an enhancer.

A list of free software for graphic designers are listed below.

Free Software

1. Photo Editing:

1. Gimp


3. Snapseed

4. Picsart

5, Photoshop Express

2. Graphic Design

1. Canva

3. Illustration

1. Sketchbook Pro

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