10 Essential Art Supplies Every Modern Artist Should Own We are living in a digital world, and these are the tools to create art today

There are over 2.1 million artists working in the U.S. today. Organizations are dedicated to ensuring “starving artists” don’t become the norm. This sometimes means showing artists how to use the digital tools needed for professional photography, videography, graphic design, and more.

I’m a bit of an artist myself – not only do I dabble in creative arts as a hobby, but as a content creator, even my writing is considered an “art.” On top of that, I often have to take photos or create graphics for my blogs and other work. Blogging involves a lot of creativity.

I have a few essential blogging-specific tools I keep around the house, but these are the art tools every artist in every discipline should have in their toolbox.

10. Pens/Pencils

Pens Pencils

Even though I type more than I write, I love having quality pens and pencils around. You never know when you’re going to need to take a few notes or draw a sketch. The majority of artists I met over the years had sketch books, whether their art involved fashion, drawing, sculpting, music, or otherwise. And in jail or prison, a pen and pencil can be the foundation of your hustle and grind.

9. Network Attached Storage


Digital photos, videos, fonts, themes, and other files take up a ton of space. File storage is easily the biggest challenge of professional art, from indies to Disney. A centralized NAS helps you switch devices or workplaces while easily staying productive and accessing your full creative suite of files.

8. Lights


Lighting is everything in art. Whether you’re setting the mood to create, capturing a high-def image, adding a new layer to a performance or live show, or trying to produce a quality video, you’ll need as much light as possible. If anyone ever tells you they’re a professional artist and they don’t have dedicated lights for their business, they’re lying.

7. 3D Printer

Every artist either wants or has a 3D printer, and they’re easier than ever to get a hold of these days. Filament printers like the Robo R2 are the most affordable option. Resin printers like the Formlabs Form2 have the best quality though. Either way, once you dive into 3D printing, you’ll enter a whole dimension of art.

6. Drawing Tablet


Of all the laptops and tablets I’ve reviewed over the years, the Lenovo Yoga Book remains among my favorites. That’s because of the Wacom-built drawing tablet and keyboard combination. It’s one of the smoothest and easiest ways to transfer a paper drawing onto a digital file. You can even use a real pen and paper on top of it.

5. Desktop Computer

IBM Quantum Computer

For any of the digital stuff to work, you’ll need a computer. In fact, you need a computer to even begin to compete in today’s art world. It’s necessary to access sites like Etsy, Pinterest, Instagram, and DeviantArt, where you can promote yourself and your art business. A solid computer is important, and I never believe a professional artist who doesn’t have a desktop computer and a decent laptop to work off.

4. Sponges

sponge-2975517_1920 (1)

The most important lesson I learned in my time working in physical arts (or even as a house painter), it’s the importance of having a wet sponge on hand.  A lot of mistakes can be easily fixed if it’s done fast enough. Sponges are easily the most versatile tool I ever came across working in visual arts. Nothing is better than a clean work space when you’re creating, so keep those sponges clean.

3. Ink

color, blue, dark, bottle

Whether you’re making dyes, drawing, or even printing, you need ink. Printer ink is ridiculously overpriced (even the generic stuff), so the best money-saving decision you’ll ever make for any art business involving prints is investing in bulk ink. Refilling is so much easier than you think, and some companies like Epson are even (FINALLY) catering to the DIY market these days.

2. DSLR Camera

Nikon D5600 DSLR

No professional artist should be without a professional camera. Everyone has a camera phone, but a dedicated camera gives you so much control and a much higher quality. I regularly take photos for my blog, and I’m even considering opening accounts with photo repositories like Shutterfly at this point. Photography is a skill that’ll always come in handy and get you gigs, so get a DSLR and accessories for it.

1. Sharpie Collection

Sharpie Collection

Sharpie markers are among my favorite things in the world. These permanent markers were mainstays in my life during my rebellious teen years being involved in street art. They stayed relevant in corporate America, as a freelancer, and even as a hobbyist. They can mark nearly anything, and the company even makes paint markers to mark what little the ink-based ones can’t.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: