Hi, Iʼm Allie. A watercolor artist combining my love for art, business and nature for a more joyful, creative lifestyle.
Life with running multiple businesses can be hectic and fast paced. As a way to balance, I craved a simpler lifestyle. When we bought our home with a few acres of land, my journey to simple homesteading began.
Here on the blog I share watercolor projects, creative business tips, home DIYs and our garden. I hope to inspire you to live more simply, creatively and joyfully while building the creative business of your dreams.
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Today I’m sharing something I’m so passionate about within my art business. And that is my favorite tools that help me do what I love each day! I’m not talking about my favorite paints, brushes or paper, but rather the important tech tools that I heavily rely on to operate my business. If you were hoping I would touch on my favorite watercolor supplies, I have a full list put together you can grab right here!
I want to share a bit about my artistic process so you can better understand why these tools are so vital for my work and determine if they would be of value for your business! I do want to preface that each of these tools may not be the right fit for your process or business. It’s my hope that by explaining the way I use them in my day to day process that you’ll be able to determine if they will benefit yours too.
As you all know, most of my work stems from hand painted watercolor designs. I then transform these designs onto products such as prints, cards, mugs, as well as wedding stationery for couples. I like to think of my art process in two phases.
1. Analog painting
2. Digital design
Once I complete my paintings, I take a few steps left to my scanner, laptop and Wacom Cintiq (just to give you a reference of my little workspace), and begin to digitize my artwork. This is where a few of my favorite tech tools come into play:
Trust me when I say, if you plan to digitize your artwork, invest in a quality scanner! I may guess that you’ve attempted to scan your work on your at home printer/scanner and been SO disappointed and simply gave up. Why would I ever guess that?! Because I’ve been there! Or maybe you’re doing your best to take photos of your artwork, which is definitely a level up from a crappy scanner, but then there is the risk of distortion, weird coloring from light & shadows, etc.
All it takes is around $100 investment for a scanner that will transform your life!!! I’ve been using my Canon CanoScan scanner nearly every day for the last 5 years. So if I break that down, it’s way less than a penny a day. And way more important than the cost, it’s so necessary for producing quality work! This scanner fits a little larger than 8×10 paper, but I use it to scan up to 11×14 by simply stitching the two scans together in photoshop.
Once I scan my artwork into my laptop, I then begin the editing process. My desk set up is my MacBook Pro laptop hooked up to my Wacom Cintiq, which not only provides me with a second screen to work, but is an incredibly powerful art tool. I first was introduced to Wacom Cintiqs in college and let me just say, once you use one, you can’t imagine your design life without them! I won’t go into much detail about this product in this blog post, but if you are interested in digital paintings, this device is amazing.
You might be wondering at this point, how do you digitize artwork? I promise I am working on a mini course that will walk you through this process so you can begin creating products with your art! Stay tuned for this, I can’t wait to share it with you!
This brings me to one of the most important investments in my business, Adobe creative cloud. I mainly use these three programs from the suite:
The Adobe creative cloud is a complete subscription package that comes with so many powerful applications. While the annual price seems daunting, there is no way my current business would exist without these programs. They do offer one app subscriptions, so if you are looking to get started digitizing your artwork, I suggest investing in photoshop. You can always change your mind later as your navigate new avenues for your business!
The last step in my creative process is printing my products! I will first say that I do not print any of my products here in my home for a few reasons:
The only form of printing I do on occasion is envelope printing with my Canon printer. I feel it’s essential to have an at home printer, so this one is an affordable option that can print a wide range of paper sizes.
In the beginning of my business, I would spend hours searching online for where to print my stationery designs. If you’re a paper freak like me, you know how important paper quality is. The trouble with a lot of print shops is that they serve primarily people who want to print flyers, posters, magazines, banners, postcards, so their paper stocks consist of boring 80-100lb flat and glossy cardstock. No, no no… none of these stocks will work for watercolor stationery! It drove me nuts!
Luckily, some awesome ladies in the wedding stationery industry (shoutout to Cami and Elisabeth), thought of the amazing idea to put together a comprehensive vendor directory for people like you and me! I never search online for print vendors anymore and go straight to this directory. It seriously has everything you could ever need, ranging from mug vendors, book vendors, enamel pin vendors, and of course, stationery print vendors! If you plan to build your shop with a variety of products, this directory is definitely worth it.
That is the rundown of my favorite tech tools that I use daily in my process. I have put together a full list of ALL of my favorite tech tools including my website builder, email marketing platform, client management system, and other helpful resources that I rely on to operate my biz. Grab my full toolkit guide below!
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