Hardware Equipment Recommendations for Designers and Illustrators

Ever wonder what tools and technology other artists are using to make digital designs and illustrations?

I’m a PC, but the tools I list are available for MAC:

Wacom Tablet
Mustek A3 Scanner
Ergotron Dual Arm



The most important part of my setup besides the computer (just get good RAM/processor) is the Cintiq. It’s a monitor on which you can draw directly to create images. It has pressure sensitivity so it’s similar to drawing with natural media. At over $2000, it’s a little pricey, but if you’re going to be making a living illustrating, it drastically reduces your production time so it’s worth it.



If you don’t have the resources right now, I started out on a $69 Wacom tablet back in 2002. The concept is still the same. You draw on the tablet, and it appears on the screen. The difference is that you are NOT drawing directly as you see. It’s a disconnect from your hand to screen, so it takes a bit of getting used to. Even if you are not an illustrator, if you have to click click click alot, there was a time I was experiencing shoulder pains from all my mouse clicking, and switching to a tablet which can be used in place of a mouse, alleviated the pain.



I still draw sometimes. No, I don’t always trace. When I do draw, I have to scan my images. This Mustek A3 is a STEAL! It’s the cheapest large format scanner on the market afaik. The construction is bare bones and user interface isn’t so great, but for quick scans of large sketches, this is the Dollar Store Duct Tape of Scanners. I traveled across the US dragging one around. I finally had to replace it after several years of use (after putting a way too heavy object on the scanning glass), so yes, I love it enough to have bought two now.



I run dual monitors, one Cintiq and one 24 inch monitor (with 4 USB ports thank goodness). I found this product recommendation from Karen Hallion, and I am pleased to have followed. Essentially, these arms hold up your monitor and fluidly move them around as you please. The arm doesn’t necessarily hold up the heavy 19 pound Cintiq, but it does a great job of allowing me to move it in various positions not available if it were on it’s own stand. When I saw that the Cintiq 24HD had the ability to hang over the desk edge, I thought the Ergotron would be a good alternative to buying a whole new Cintiq, and it has been!

So that’s the basics. Thanks for reading!

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One Response to “Hardware Equipment Recommendations for Designers and Illustrators”

  1. Schwpz September 24, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    Thank you so much for your recomandations! Would you say the Mustek A3 scanner is also good for scanning pencil drawings and watercolor washes?
    I’m having the worst time trying to get my pencil and watercolor pieces properly scanned. No matter how I tweak my Cannon, some colors always end up distorted (like brownish instead of orange) or they’re left out all together, and if I try to compensate for the poor scan in Photoshop the picture ends up looking, well, saturated. Would you say the Mustek could be the solution to my voes? Thanks for reading this and keep up the good work! :D

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