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10 top new illustration tools to explore this July

In this month's round-up, we'll be looking at tools every illustrator should have at the ready. While many of these feel like they're limited to comic book illustration (opens in new tab), the truth is, they can be used for so much more. If you're a visual storyteller, this list will have something for you.

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01. Foundations in Comic Book Art


Although this instructional book (opens in new tab) by John Paul Lowe is geared towards comic book illustration, the tips and techniques included may be applied to other aspects of illustrated storytelling. Lowe's friendly tone and fundamental lessons make this easily one of my favourite 'how-to draw' books.

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02. Framed Ink


Another great book, this one by Marcos Mateu-Mestre. Framed Ink (opens in new tab) teaches you how to tell your story, both visually and artistically. In this book, you'll discover the art of composition: Marcos will show you how to set up your scene, and which poses to use. It promises to teach you what you need to know to make your audience to 'feel' the scene rather than just see it.

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03. Castle Art Supplies sketch set


This 40-piece sketch set (opens in new tab) has everything you need to get started with drawing or continue where you left off. It includes graphite, pastel and charcoal pencils, blending stumps, erasers and more. However, one of the coolest features of this set is the case with the pop-up stand. Honestly, even if you ditch the tools included, the case alone is well worth the price!

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04. Copic Multiliner SP


The Copic Multiliner SP (opens in new tab) line of pens has to be one of my favourites when it comes to line work. While it's a bit more expensive than other options, this pen is waterproof, and comes with replaceable tips and a refillable cartridge. My toolbox includes a 0.1, 0.3, and a 0.5.

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05. Sepia Fine Tip Inking Pens


While I don't personally own this set of Sepia Fine Line ink pens (opens in new tab), I do know artists who use them, and they are quite happy with their performance. This particular set comes with a nice variety of sizes with which you should be able to accomplish most inking tasks.

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06. Copic Marker Sketch set


If you're looking to work with some basic colours, this 12-piece marker set (opens in new tab) will help get you started. Copic does offer bigger sets, and I highly recommend them if you can afford it, but if you're on a budget then this set will be perfectly suitable for most jobs. The Copic Markers are double-ended, with a broad chisel tip on one end and a fine brush tip on the other. They are alcohol-based, permanent and non-toxic. They are also refillable and have replaceable nibs.

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07. Copic Sketching Grays set


With these six grey markers (opens in new tab) you'll be able to render some remarkable greyscale illustrations. Not only that, but you can use this set to help you learn more about working with values and light and shadow. Like their coloured counterpart, these markers are refillable and have replaceable nibs.

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08. Helix drawing board


If you're looking for a no-fuss drawing board, take a look at this one from Helix (opens in new tab). This 16"x21" board is designed for portability and for use around the studio. Despite its metal edges – which help it keep its shape – this board is lightweight, and well-made.

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09. Leaning bridge


When you're doing any type of traditional work, the 'leaning bridge' comes in handy. With this transparent, heavyweight acrylic shelf (opens in new tab), you'll be able to work on the details of your illustration without the fear of smearing or smudging any work you've already done.

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10. Sketch Wallet


We've saved the best until last: the Sketch Wallet (opens in new tab) is something no illustrator should leave home without. The nice thing about it is that you don't have to carry around another 'thing'. With the Sketch Wallet, you can store your credit cards and your sketchbook together. If you're an illustrator who's on-the-go, this is a must-have!

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Tammy is an independent creative professional, author of Apple Game Frameworks and Technologies (opens in new tab), and the maker behind the AdventureGameKit (opens in new tab) – a custom SpriteKit framework for building point and click adventure games. As an innovative problem solver and industry leader, Tammy enjoys working on projects from content creation – including books, tutorials, videos, and podcasts – to the design and development of cross-platform applications and games. For Creative Bloq, she has written about an array of subjects, including animation, web design and character design.