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Most widely used tools for illustrations and designs

Designing is not just about being able to draw or create art. It is so much more; it is the ability to visualise something and bringing that idea to life through the magic of illustrations and visually-striking graphics. And to accomplish such feats, an artist’s best friend are their designing tools at their disposal.

When talking about illustrations and designs, the tools that a designer needs comprises of a combination of both hardware and software. There are many options available to a graphic designer, especially when it comes to creating digital artwork. These designs might be used for a variety of purposes from illustrations for books to creating advertisements, paintings, drawings for buildings and so much more. To be able to create such visualisations, one must know what the tools of the trade are and must be familiar with them.

There are a lot of tools to choose from, but the most used designing tools for illustrations and designs are listed as below,

1. Pen and paper/Computer

Always a classic, the pen and paper is one of the easiest and fastest ways to transfer the ideas from the mind to a medium of visualisation. Artists have been using this tool since long back and they still use it to this day, since it can give shape to the final product by showing the initial rudimentary sketch. Since it is available so easily and one of the most common options, a pen and paper is one of the best tools to start out with.

A computer is geared more towards the artists who crave for a more digital form of their designs and want to bring their illustrations to life in a more refined way. Computers are mostly used as a catalyst for the numerous softwares available on them, which helps the designers in crafting their work. But the hardware in a computer allows one to create almost anything he/she can imagine. Devices like iMac Pro or the Windows Surface Studio are best suited for such type of work.

2. Tablet and Stylus

The digital substitute for pen and paper, a tablet and stylus are the perfect tools for a designing artist who wants to feel the nostalgia of drawing with added features of its digital counterparts. A tablet and stylus act just like a digital paper with additional capabilities like instant coloring, warping, resizing, rotating, filters and so much more. Illustrations and designs feel more visually attractive on these screens and the drawings are easily transferrable between devices. The hybrid style of drawing on a screen with a stylus while being able to utilize the modern functions of the modern technologies. The Wacom tablet or the iPad Pro are some of the best-known devices on the market for such work.

3. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is the go-to tool for every graphic designer, be it amateur or an expert. Adobe’s collection of software consists of the three most important design tools,

  • Adobe Photoshop: It is one of the most widely used raster graphics editing program for photo editing, compositing, digital painting, animation and graphic design. It is the industry standard for creating anything from logos, banners, posters websites to manipulating computer art. It has more than a dozen tools for an artist to play around with and many more features to work on for a designer. It even allows working on 3D images and allows the user to draw or paint whatever they like, with added capability to separately edit the individual elements of the illustrations. Photoshop also has the features to edit videos as well as image analysis.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Illustrator is another essential part of the Adobe suite for creating vector graphics. It is basically a software which deals with shapes being manipulated mathematically in an aesthetic manner. Simply out, this program helps in drawing, mixing and refining designs to make something unique and eye-catching. Mainly used for logos, posters, icons, and even editing fonts, Illustrator provides the user with an array of editing options to create illustrations.

  • Adobe InDesign: Another program of the Adobe Creative Cloud, InDesign is a tool used to create designs and illustrations while also implementing files from other Adobe programs. This tool is used primarily in the publishing industry to create books, magazines, brochures, interactive PDFs etc. It provides the flexibility to easily design the template of the user’s work with different fonts, designs, the ability to automatically resize photos and artworks according to the layout. It is fairly easy to learn than the other two programs for beginners and one can quickly pick up on its features and functions.

4. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

Another popular graphic designing tool, CorelDRAW is a powerful web designing and vector graphic illustration editing software that allows the creation of visually striking designs and other digital works. Like Adobe, it provides numerous tools for working on logos, web designs or print projects like books, pamphlets, magazines etc. It even allows the user to directly publish their work in WordPress, while it has the ability to support over a hundred file formats.

An important element of designing is using the right font to supplement the work. Fonts are essential tools for a graphic designer as it gives a certain sense of style and flair while providing context. While fonts are mostly provided by the designing programs, certain fonts are only available by purchasing and/or downloading them from font sites.

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The author of this article, Rohan Sarkar is a professional illustrator and is currently pursuing his masters in Toronto, Canada.


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