5 great new tools for illustrators

The best new software, hardware and accessories that will make your life easier.

Last month flew by in a flash, but that doesn't mean we didn't have time to round-up the five new illustration tools for September. Our scope this month is a bit broad and includes some software, some hardware and a mirror! Yes, you read that correctly, a mirror.

So without any delays, let's see what we have in store for you this month.

01. Paintstorm Studio

Paintstorm is a great digital art tool, and a bargain at $19

I'm no stranger to digital drawing tools. In fact, I try something new every month. This past month, I tried Paintstorm Studio – and it's been a lot of fun. The brush selection and customisation options are amazing. The interface is easy to navigate and laid out exactly how you'd expect. The bottom line: If you're looking for a new paint program to help you create that perfect background or detailed terrain, I highly recommend Paintstorm Studio.

02. Krita

An even bigger bargain is Krita - it's completely free!

Another digital drawing app I tried is Krita. Krita is an open source sketching and painting program that's been in development for more than 10 years – although I had no idea of its existence until recently. The cool thing about Krita is that it's able to save and load PSD files. Which means, if you're looking for a Photoshop alternative, especially one that's free, this might be the one. Whether you're creating advanced illustrations, concept art or comic books, Krita offers a wide-range of features wrapped up in an intuitive user interface. What more can you ask for, right?

03. Winsor & Newton BrushMarker

Winsor & Newton make some of the best marker pens around

Taking things back to the traditional arts (so to speak), check out the BrushMarker from Winsor & Newton. Available in 72 colours, the BrushMarker helps take your line work to the next level. With its twin-tip design, you can choose to use either the broad chisel nib on one end or the brush nib on the other. Plus, these markers are blendable and provide streak-free coverage thanks to their dye and alcohol-based ink. So if you want a marker that's perfect for rendering and shading, grab a few of these.

04. Pentel Ain Regular Size Eraser

An eraser is an essential but oft-overlooked art tool

An often overlooked, yet essential tool for any artists, is the eraser. Enter the Pentel Ain, considered by many to be one of the best. It's made of a high-polymer material which allows the eraser to cleanly remove lines from the page; and it does so with a limited amount of dust. Another noticeable feature is that it seems to be studier than other erasers in its class.

05. Decobros 8-inch Tabletop Mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the tabletop…

Having access to Google Images is great. But having a vanity mirror on your desk can help you find that exact facial expression you need for your next illustration. The Decobros tabletop mirror is two-sided and has a viewing area of eight inches, which is big enough for you to see your entire expression, at once. Sure, we could all just use our iPhones to capture that expressive selfie, but there's nothing quite like being able to see it live.

And this concludes another round-up of new illustration tools. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and give these a try! By the way, if you'd like to share an illustration tool you've been using, let us know in the comments. We're always looking for something new.


Tammy Coron is an independent creative professional and the host of two podcasts – Roundabout: Creative Chaos and Invisible Red. She's also the organizer of Indie DevStock, and the founder of Just Write Code, a small independent production company based in West Tennessee. In addition to working on her own projects, Tammy is a contributor on Creative Bloq, Lynda.com, iMore and RayWenderlich.com. When she’s not earning a living, Tammy enjoys spending time on her farm with her husband and their two sons.