List of 120+ Illustration Tools, Resources, Software & Assets (mostly free)

This is a giant collection of tools, assets, apps, and software for illustrators, no matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re a professional illustrator, you’ll find plenty of amazing tools here.

Resources & websites to help you improve every aspect of an illustrator’s life, from software & assets to help you create new art to apps & services to help you manage and organize your day-to-day as a freelance.

The list focuses on free and sometimes open-source resources, but there are also alternatives that cost money throughout the guide.

This list contains affiliate links. If you make purchases through some of the links on this page Creativehowl will earn a small commission.

illustrators tool list header

Illustration Software

There’s plenty of fantastic illustration software out there, and over the years open-source and free software has grown and developed into great options for doing professional illustration work. Below I’ll be showing some of the best drawing apps and software, both free and ones with a price tag.

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Photopea

Photopea is best described as a free online version of Photoshop that you can use in your browser. It’s amazing how many features Photopea offers and you can do a multitude of things with it, just like Photoshop.

It’s 100% free with ads on the side, with an option to pay to remove the ads.

Photopea
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Krita

Krita is a free and open source painting software for PC, MAC & Linux. Krita is one of the best free drawing software out there, and a great option for anyone starting out with digital drawing or any professional.

Head over to their website to see what you can do with Krita and how many fantastic featured this free software offers.

Krita
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Inkscape

Inkscape is yet another free and open source drawing software. Inkscape is a vector based software for PC, MAC and Linux.

If you’re looking to get into vector art this is a great place to start for free.

Inkscape
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Procreate

Procreate is a fantastic drawing app for iOS/iPadOS. At the low price of $9.99 you get so many features, and they’re always adding new exciting features.

If you own an Ipad (with a pen) I highly recommend Procreate for everyone, from hobby painter to professional illustrators.

Procreate
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Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint is a software for drawing and painting for PC. Mac & iOS. It’s feature heavy software that has everything a digital artists could need. It also offer a bunch of features aimed towards artists making comics and manga.

Clip Studio Paint cost US$49.99, there’s also a pricey upgrade available with some additional features aimed mostly towards comic artists and animators.

Clip Studio Paint
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Photoshop

Most of us know about Photoshop, but it’s important to include on this list just because it’s basically the gold standard when it comes to Photo editing and Illustration software. You can do so much with Photoshop but the price tag can be intimidating

The cheapest option is to get Adobe’s Photography bundle with Photoshop included for only $9.99/mo. If you’re a student they also offer a great deal on all their apps.

Photoshop

(affiliate link above)

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Affinity Designer

With Affinity you’ll have the complete digital drawing experience, you can choose to work with both vector or raster (pixel) design. It’s featured packed with everything you could expect from modern drawing software.

It’s available on MAC and PC priced at $54.99. There’s also an Ipad app for $9.99.

Affinity Designer
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Vectornator

Vectornator is a vector illustration software available for MAC, there’s also an Ipad version and they’re both free. It’s a solid choice for anyone interesting in getting into vector drawing and don’t have the money to spend on Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer.

Vectornator
MediBang Paint

MediBang Paint

MediBang Paint is yet another free option when it comes to drawing software. It’s available on most platforms, PC, MAC, Ipad, Iphone & Android.

MediBang Paint

Brushes for Photoshop, Illustrator & Procreate

Adding new brushes to your favorite drawing app or software can really elevate your creative work. There’s so much to choose from and it’s easy to get lost in all the brushes out there, here we’ll explore top places to find brushes for Photoshop, Procreate, and Illustrator (free and paid).

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Envato Elements

Envato Elements is marketplace to find and buy assets for illustrators and designers to use. There’s plenty of brush packs to check for Photoshop, Illustrator & Procreate.

Envato Elements is subscription based which means you get unlimited access to all the brushes, tools and other assets in their massive catalogue with the subscription.

Envato Elements

(affiliate link)

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Creative market

Creative Market is a marketplace where artists sell their assets and tools to other creators. There’s plenty of brushes to browse through here, the price tags for a brush pack is usually around $10-$20.

The selection of Procreate brush packs are especially great here, but there’s also Photoshop and Illustrator brushes available.

Creativemarket

(affiliate link)

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Behance

Behance is a massive social media platform for designers and creators run by Adobe. Most people turn to Behance for inspiration, but it’s also great for finding free things shared by creators on the platform.

Search “free brushes” on Behance and you’ll find endless of professional brushes available for free. Just make sure to show your appreciation to the artists sharing their brushes!

Behance
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Procreate forum (Free Resources)

Procreates own community forum is a fantastic place to find Procreate brushes. Here artists share their own brushes, and you can find quality brushes for free.

There’s also a marketplace on the forum, where you can buy brushes from other artists, usually priced reasonably.

Procreate forum
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Dribbble

Dribbble is social media community for designers, it’s a fantastic place to find inspiration or promote your work. But it’s also a great place to find free assets and tools made by other designers.

Doing a quick search for “free brushes” you can find quality brushes being shared for free.

Dribbble
Brad’s Art School

Brad Colbow’s Free Procreate Brush list

Brad Colbow is an illustrator Youtuber that does videos for creative professionals, tech reviews, software, and other topics.

On his website he has a great list of his personal favorite free procreate brushes, it’s a great curated list worth checking out.

Brad Colbow's Free Procreate Brush list
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Gumroad

On Gumroad you can sell digital products, it has become a hotspot for artists, illustrators and designers to sell their own assets, tools and brushes through their marketplace.

It’s a fantastic spot to find endless amount of digital brushes and buy directly from the artists.

Gumroad Brushes

Stock Assets – Free images, videos & assets

When doing design or illustration work you might find yourself needing assets, images or videos that you can produce yourself, at those moments stock assets is a real life-saver. Here I’ll list my favorite sites to get free stock images, video and patterns, ready to be used in commercial work.

(Quick reminder to always check the license on what you can and can’t do when using these stock imagery.)

unsplash

Unsplash

Unsplash offer a library of over 2 million free high-quality photos, for commercial and non-commercial use, and giving credit is optional. Over 200,00 photographers has contributed to Unsplash photo collection making it a incredible place to visit when you need any kind of photo in your work.

Unsplash
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Coverr

On Coverr you can find free stock video footage to use in your work. You can use the videos for commercial use and providing credit isn’t needed. It’s my favorite place to go when I’m in need of stock videos, an absolute goldmine.

Coverr
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Burst by Shopify

Burst is a free stock photo site run by Shopify. Similar to Unsplash this is a large collection of photos you can use as you like in your creative work.

You can use their photos for commercial use and its not need to provide attribution/credit.

Burst
Biodiversity Heritage Library

Biodiversity Heritage Library

The Biodiversity Heritage Library has an amazing library of high-res scans of old posters and prints with plants and animals, all within the public domain, their mission is to make biodiversity literature openly available to the world.

It’s a great resource if you need some imagery for your design or illustration work. As of writing this guide 319,588 Photos is included in their Flickr library

Biodiversity Heritage Library
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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a project by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia). They host a collection of 80,000,000 freely usable images, sounds and other media. All media files on Wikimedia Commons has no copyright restrictions.

It’s another extremely useful resource if you’re looking for free imagery to use in your work, whatever it might be.

Wikimedia Commons
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Pattern Monster

Pattern Monster is open source online tool (under the MIT License) that offers free repeatable patterns for your design projects. As of now there’s 248 patterns available that you can customize the way you want, drag sliders to change the patterns in a multitude of ways, including the color and shape. Once you’re done you can download the pattern as SVG, PNG or CSS.

It’s truly an incredible tool for any designers, developer or anyone that needs pattern designs in their work.

Pattern Monster

Mockup designs

Mockups are a great way of presenting your design work in a setting. It’s a quick way of showing your work on a product, a wall or countless other settings. Below I included sites where you can download free mockups. Download them and open them in Photoshop, put your own design or art work in the correct layer and you have images ready within minutes to be shown in a presentation to a client or on your portfolio.

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Unblast

Unblast is a curated collection of the best free mockups that you can find online, 5470 mockup designs as of writing. If you’re going to use any of these for commercial work you need to check the license with the creator of the mockups first.

Unblast
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Dribbble (free mockups)

I’m going to include the designer social media platform Dribbble once again, just because it’s a great resource to find free mockups shared by fellow designers.

Dribbbble Free Mockups
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Gumroad (free mockups)

Gumroad is a marketplace to sell digital goods, and there’s actually plenty of free things available here. Doing a quick search for mockups on Gumroad will find you a huge selection of quality designs, some are free and some aren’t.

Gumroad - Free mockups
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Behance (free mockups)

Adobe’s social media platform for creative professionals is great for many things, not just a superb source of design inspiration, there’s also plenty of freebies to be found on the platform. You can find a large number of mockup designs being shared for free by other designers on Behance, it’s a designer’s goldmine.

Behance Free mockups

Free Icons

Below I included my favorite places to grab free icons that can be used in commercial work. Perfect for web design or any graphic design work.

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Iconmonstr

Iconmonstr offers 4500+ free icons that you can download as SVG, EPS, PSD or PNG. You can use the icons on the site in “commercial projects, services or products without attribution.” You can read the full licences here.

Iconmonstr
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Evericons

Evericons is a free collection of 460+ icons. created by designer Aleksey Popov. The icons are under a public domain license (CC0 1.0 Universal). You can use the icons for commercial work.

Evericons
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Feather Icons

Feather icons is an open source collection of 280+ simple & beautiful icons. Feather Icons is licensed under the MIT License.

Feather Icons

Fonts

Next up we’re talking about fonts, where to find free fonts for commercial use and also where to go for font inspiration when you’re feeling stuck in your design work.

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Google Fonts

Google Fonts is a collection of 1,358 free licensed font families. It’s an amazing resource for all your font needs.

Google Fonts
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Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel is a website dedicated to find quality freeware fonts that can be used for commercial work.

Font Squirrel
font finder

Google font finder

This tool will help you find the right Google fonts for your project. I think Google Fonts is a amazing but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that you can choose from, this tools let’s you narrow down your choices.

Google Fonts Finder
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Typewolf

If you’re looking for font inspiration and see what’s trending in the world of type, Typewolf is a lovely place to visit. Explore and get inspired.

Typewolf
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Adobe Fonts

Sign up for a free Adobe account and get access to their basic library of over 1,000 fonts. And with a Creative Cloud subscription you can get unlimited access to 20,000 fonts. Adobe Fonts is perfect for anyone that use the Adobe ecosystem already.

Adobe Fonts

(affiliate link)

Textures for Design & Illustration work

Coming up, we have sites where you can download quality textures you can use in your design or illustration work. Adding textures can really elevate your work, below sites have all kinds of textures, everything from paper to concrete, and everything in-between.

unsplash

Unsplash Textures

The massive free photo collection over at Unsplash can be a splendid place to start looking if you’re after some nice textures.

Unsplash (Textures)
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Paper-co (free paper textures)

Here you can find a huge selection of free paper textures available for download. The whole site is packed with ads everywhere, but if you can ignore that it’s a great resource.

Paper-co (free paper textures)
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Lost and Taken

Lost and Taken has large collection of free texture stock photos. Here you can find a multitude of different textures. Grainy paper, vintage paper, concrete, and so so much more.

Lost and Taken
behance logo

Behance (free textures)

I keep mentioning Behance on this list, but I can’t help myself to include the social media site for creatives once again. Doing a quick search on Behance and you’ll find a goldmine of textures ready to be downloaded for free.

Behance (free textures)
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Creative Market Textures

If you’re tired of browsing through all the free textures and you feel like you can’t find the right texture for your illustration or design work, Creative Market sells plenty of quality texture packs that will help your work pop.

Texture packs usually goes for $10-15 on Creative Market.

Creative Market Textures

(affiliate link)

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Texture labs

Texture labs is a fantastic resource that offers near 1000 free textures. Paper, soil, sky, grass, ink, brick, wood is just a handful of the categories of textures you can find here. You can find the generous license for Texture labs in full here.

Texture Labs

Collect & Organize Ideas/Inspiration

As a creative professional your ideas and inspiration are tremendously important. Having a way of organizing and collecting all the inspiration is a good idea.

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Collect

Collect by WeTransfer is an outstanding service that let’s you save and organize any type of media or URLs. Sort your ideas and inspirations into boards and start declutter your brain.

Collect is free with 5 GB storage included. Available for iOS, Android and through their website.

Collect by WeTransfer
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Pinterest

Most of us know about Pinterest, and it can be a powerful tool for creatives to use Pinterest to discover and organize your inspiration.

Pinterest
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Raindrop.io

Raindrop is a bookmark manager that let’s you organize and saved websites. If your web browser is always filled with endless tabs, Raindrop could help you catalogue and sort your internet finds with the help of tags and categories.

Raindrop offers a free plan and is available for almost all platforms. (web, iOS, Android etc.)

Raindrop

Portfolio platforms

Having an online portfolio is almost a must have for any creative professional. A place where you can showcase your work and present it to potential clients and customers.

If you want to learn more about each portfolio platform and how to create your own portfolio you can read our comprehensive guide on the topic here.

Creativehwol's Online Portfolio Guide
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Squarespace

Over the last couple of years Squarespace has become the #1 choice for illustrators and artists portfolios. Building a beautiful portfolio with Squarespace is easy with their themes and templates.

Squarespace is a great portfolio platform for anyone that wants a easy

Squarespace

(affiliate link above)

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WordPress

WordPress is a free open-source software to create websites with. It’s an extremely popular platform and 43% of the web uses WordPress.

WordPress is best suited for anyone who’s interested in web design and wants their portfolio in a particular way. The software itself is free, but you still need to buy a domain and hosting to get your WordPress portfolio up and running.

Wordpress
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Wix

Wix is another great tool to create your own online portfolio. They have flexible payment plans with reasonable monthly fees and plans that suit even smaller websites.

Wix
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Adobe Portfolio

This is Adobe’s portfolio platform that’s included in the Creative Cloud. Adobe Portfolio is connected to Behance, so you can with a few clicks build a portfolio with the work you uploaded to Behance already.

This is a great option for anyone who already have or are planing on getting a Creative Cloud subscription.

Adobe Portfolio

(affiliate link above)

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Weebly

Weebly is great superb website service that let’s you create your portfolio or website fast and easy. Starting at only $8/month Weebly is a great choice for many creatives looking to get their work online.

Weebly

(affiliate link above)

Social Media Tools

Managing your social media as a creative can be a time-consuming task, coming up with new ideas and posting new content all the time is tough. Fortunate for us there are plenty of apps and tools to help us grow and manage our social media, making it a far less stressful task.

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Later

Later is a fantastic tool that lets you schedule your Instagram posts for a later date. You can get a free Later account that lets you schedule 30 posts every month, which should be more then enough for most people.

Later

(referral link above)

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Zapier

Zapier is a powerful service that lets you connect web applications with each other, so for example, if you post something on Instagram Zapier can make it automatically be posted on Twitter, Facebook or maybe save that post to a Google drive. That’s just one example but the possibilities are endless with Zapier, and it can help you organize and automate your life online.

There’s a free option for Zapier that lets you have 5 automation up and running.

Zapier
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Buffer

Similar to Later, Buffer let’s you shedule and plan your social post in advanced. Buffer supports Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Buffer
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Canva

Canva is a online graphic design tool, that let’s you easily create social media posts and other visual content. There’s countless templates and tools at your disposal over at Canvas that makes creating stunning content easy.

Canvas offer a free plan, but there’s also a paid subscription that get you access to all their tools and templates.

Canva

(affiliate link above)

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Linktree

With Linktree you can easily link to multiple places in your social media bio. Linktree lets you create a link where you can list as many links as you like, it’s basically a landing page for your social media profiles. A great workaround for when you only get one link in your profile (like Instagram for example).

Linktree

Learning Resources for Creatives

Next on our list, it’s about learning new skills and improving yourself. The internet is an excellent place for learning, there’s endless resource available at your fingertips at any moment of the day. Here are some of my favorite sites where you can take online courses, watch tutorials, and learn how to improve creative skills like drawing, animating, photography and much more.

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Skillshare

Skillshare is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to learn something new online. Skillshare is especially great when it comes to courses in creative fields like drawing, graphic design, animation and software for designers and illustrators.

There’s a free 7-day trial for Skillshare, otherwise you need a subscription that gives you access to all the courses.

Skillshare

(affiliate link above)

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Udemy

Udemy offers online courses in range of different topics. Unlike Skillshare you don’t need a subscription, instead you pay to get access to the courses you’re interested in.

Udemy has a large catalogue of great illustration and design courses, but they’re especially a extraordinary resource if you’re looking to learn how to code.

Udemy

(affiliate link above)

Domestika

Domestika

Domestika is another online course marketplace, with a focus on courses for a range of creative fields and mediums. On Domestika you pay to get access to the courses you like, they also regularly host large sales on all their courses.

Domestika
Brad’s Art School

Brad’s Art School

Illustrator and Youtuber Brad Colbow teach you the basics of drawing on his Youtube channel Brad’s Art School. Color theory, perspective, drawing faces is only a few of the topics explained in this ever-growing free resource.

Brad's Art School
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Design Principles

Design Principles is an open collection of Design principles and methods. With over 165 contributors, 1448 design principles and 195 design examples it’s a fantastic resource to take a deep-dive in or to visit anytime you need some guidance in your design work.

Design Principles

Creative Inspiration

Finding your inspiration is something all creative professionals have to deal with, it’s not always an easy task but our next category might help you find that creative inspiration you’re looking for.

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Creative Inspiration Gallery (Creativehowl)

Inspiration gallery is a collection of over 150 artists, creatives and illustrators telling the story about inspiration behind one of their works. It’s a great resource to get insight in the creative process of these talented creatives.

It’s an ongoing project of mine here on Creativehowl that shows that inspiration can come from anywhere, and that something you need actively look to find it.

Creative Inspiration Gallery

Graphic design Inspiration

Our next category is all about places graphic designer can go to seek inspiration for their next project.

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Really Good Emails

Really good emails is a resource that collect inspiration when it comes to email marketing, newsletters and stunning looking emails in general.

Really Good Emails
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Httpster

If you’re looking for web design inspiration Httpster is a terrific place to start. It’s a curated list of stunning websites that’s constantly being updated.

Httpster
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Marketing Examples

As the name applied this is the place to go if you’re looking to get inspired when it comes to marketing examples. Ads, social media content and successful marketing stories.

Marketing Examples
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Commerce Cream

Commerce cream is a curated collection of excellent online stores using Shopify. Get inspired by these e-commerce web designs.

Commerce Cream
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Behance

Adobe’s social platforms for creative professionals are a wonderful place to seek inspiration at. Graphic design inspiration is where Adobe really shines, but you can find pretty much any creative expression on Behance.

Behance
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Dribbble

Dribbble is a social media platform that focus on graphic design. Similar to Behance it’s a great source of inspiration.

Dribbble

Color Inspiration

Finding the right colors choices for your design or illustration work can be tricky.  To assist you, there’s endless online tools to help you find new color combinations.

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Color Hunt

Color hunt lets you explore color palettes made by other visitors. Browse through popular palettes or explore diffrent color themes. You can also create your own color combinations.

Color Hunt
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Picular

Picular uses Google image search to find you new colors for you. Go Picular and type a keyword, then you’ll receive colors based on that search term. The results has a large element of randomness to it making it a great tool to find something new and unexpected.

Picular
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Grabient

Grabient is a online tool if you’re looking for color combinations in a gradient. The library of color combinations are limited but you can also edit and create your own gradient color mixes.

Grabient
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HueSnap

HueSnap is another simple online tool to either create or explore color palettes. There’s a massive library of user-created color palettes to browse through.

HueSnap
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Pigment

Pigment is a beautiful tool for color inspiration based on lighting and pigment. Manipulate light and color intensity to find new color combinations.

Pigment
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Design Seeds

Design Seeds is a color inspiration blog that extracts color palettes from photos. The blog has been online since 2009 so there’s plenty of color inspiration to explore.

Design Seeds
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Adobe Color Wheel

This is Adobe’s color palettes tool where you can create and save your color combinations to be used later in other Adobe software and apps.

Adobe Color Wheel
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Coolors

Coolors is yet another color palettes generator, if you can ignore the cheesy name it’s a great simple tool that lets you explore others color palette or create your own.

Coolors

Shop platforms – Sell your work

Selling your work online has never been this easy, there’s now several fantastic platforms you can use to start selling online within hours. Here I’ll include the best platforms for setting up an online store.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide about shop platforms you can read my guide where I talk about the best and most popular platforms, what they offer and what the right choice for you might be. (link below)

Creativehowl's Shop guide
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Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. To open an Etsy store is free, but there are fees when you sell anything on Etsy, the fees are slightly above average compared to its competitors.

Etsy is not just a shop platform it’s also an online marketplace with millions of visitors and potential buyers, making it a great platform for anyone who hasn’t a great following on social media, for example.

Etsy

(referral link above)

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Squarespace Ecommerce

The website creation service Squarespace also offers the ability to create your own online shop. If you’re already using or planing on using Squarespace for your portfolio this is a seamless way of integrating an online shop into your website. A exceptionally effortless way of maintaining a shop and a portfolio by combining them both.

Squarespace Ecommerce

(affiliate link above)

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Shopify

Shopify is an online shop platform used by numerous big companies and brands. Shopify has a monthly fee but the transaction fees are really really low, making it a fantastic choice for medium to large online stores.

There’s a free trial available so you can try and see if Shopify is the right choice for you.

Shopify

(affiliate link above)

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Big Cartel

Big Cartel is online shop platform made for artists and creatives to sell their creations. It’s a great choice for anyone starting out with their first shop. Setting up is easy and there’s even a limited free plan where you can sell 5 items in your shop, if you need more there’s a monthly fee.

Big Cartel’s fees are also very low (similar to Shopify’s low transaction fees). The only downside with Big Cartel is that it isn’t as customizable and feature-rich as previous shop platforms on this list.

Big Cartel
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Gumroad

Gumroad is a platform for selling digital products online. Gumroad is popular choice among artists and designers looking to sell their digital art but also assets like digital brushes. Setting up and starting selling is very easy, it’s also free to use Gumroad, but it comes with a transaction fee (similar to Etsy and Squarespace).

Gumroad

(affiliate link above)

Order your art on products –  Merchandise vendors

If you’re going to sell your work online you need quality products. You can always print and make your products yourself, but if you’re looking to order your art as prints, t-shirts, stickers, or anything else, the following places could be a good place to start.

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Awesome Merchandise

Probably my favorite place to order quality products from. They offer a large selection of printed products to choose from, like art prints, stickers, clothing, mugs and a lot more. Awesome Merchandise has their customers in focus with great prices, free shipping and low minimum orders.

Awesome Merchandise is located in Unite Kingdom and the USA.

Awesome Merchandise
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Sticker Mule

Sticker Mule lets you create and order your art on stickers. There’s plenty of different materials, shapes and styles to choose from, making any sticker geek filled with joy.

Sticker Mule

(referral link above)

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Noissue

Noissue makes custom eco-friendly packaging materials with your designs. Custom-designed tissue paper, tape, bags, boxes and so much more. It’s the place to go if you’re looking to up your packaging to the next level.

Noissue
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Spoonflower

On Spoonflower you can upload your pattern design and order it on fabrics or as a custom wallpaper. There’s also a marketplace where you can buy other designers textile designs and wallpapers, or start selling your own.

Spoonflower

Print on Demand – Sell your work

With these print-on-demand sites, you can upload your illustrations or art and start selling your work on products like t-shirts, phone cases, or prints. All you have to do is upload your work and they do the rest (shipment, production, payment, etc.) And you’ll get paid between 10-30% of each sale. It’s an effortless way of selling your work online.

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INPRNT

On INPRNT you can sell your art as high-quality prints. INPRNT pays the best by far of any print on demand sites. 50% of sale price on art prints goes to the artists, compared to 10-20% by most other sites.

INPRNT
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Society6

Society6 lets you sell your art on a range of different products, there’s too many to even list. You set your own profit you’d like to make, but it’s usually around 10-20% of the sales price.

Society6
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Threadless

Threadless specializes in t-shirt designs, but they also sell other products. You can open up your own store front where you can sell your t-shirt designs.

Threadless
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Teepublic

Teepublic is another print on demand site that focus on t-shirt designs. They are known to offer t-shirts at pretty low prices. You’ll earn around 20% of each t-shirt sale.

Teepublic
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Design By Humans

Design by humans lets you sell your designs on t-shirts, phone cases and art prints. You need to apply in order to open your store front and starting to sell on their marketplace.

Design By Humans
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Print All Over Me

Print All Over Me lets anyone start selling their designs on clothing. PAOM specializes in all-over patterns and prints on clothing.

Print All Over Me

Crowdfunding – Accept donations & memberships

Crowdfunding has reshaped how artists, designers, and creators can get paid for their work. Now people can easily fund and support creators they love and help small creators make a sustainable living. Below I listed the most popular choices when it comes to crowdfunding, these services let you accept donations or let your fans support you with a monthly subscription.

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Patreon

Patreon is the most popular option when it comes to crowdsourcing for artists and designers. With Patreon, you can offer a monthly membership with exclusive content for members.

Using Patreon is free, but you can choose how much Patreon takes from your monthly income (5, 8, or 12%) and each tier comes with additional features.

Patreon
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Ko-fi

With Ko-fi you can accept donations or offer memberships to your fans. Donations has a 5% transaction fee, and if you want access to membership service you need buy their Gold plan for $6/month.

Ko-fi
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Buy me a coffee

Buy me a coffee is another service that lets you easily accept donations or start a membership service for your followers. Buy Me A Coffee charge a 5% transaction fee.

Buy Me a Coffee

Freelancing tools

It’s common for people in creative fields to be freelancing. Being your own boss comes with many benefits, but it also requires a lot from you. Below are a collection of tools that will help freelancing artists and designers to organize and manage their professional life. It’s business time!

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Toggl Track

Toggl Track is a free tool for automated time tracking and reporting, track your hours on a project for the client or for yourself. Toggl Track has a free plan that lets you do unlimited automated time tracking.

Toggl
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Cushion

Cushion is a tool made help freelancers manage their professional life. Schedule your time, forecast your income and track your time all within Cushion. Cushion doesn’t offer a free plan, their plans start at $10/month.

There’s also a 14-day trial available for free.

Cushion
Workspace by Fiverr

Workspace by Fiverr

Workspace by Fiverr is another tool that can help freelancers manage their business. Workspace offers templates for proposals and contracts ready to be sent to clients. There’s also automated time tracking and tools for invoicing & accepting payments from clients.

They offer a free plan that includes many but not all their tools, the paid plan will cost you $18/month.

Fiverr Workspace

(affiliate link above)

Organizational tools

Keeping yourself organized is key for a successful work-life, and there are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you achieve that. For anyone working freelance this is especially important, and as a professional in a creative field, there are many aspects to manage and organize.

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Notion

Notion is probably my favorite thing on the whole list. It’s a software for taking notes and managing your tasks. Notion is exceptionally flexible and you can do so much with it, I use Notion for everything to writing down creative ideas, managing my tasks and goal and also making a grocery shopping list. It’s a extraordinarily tool to organize your life.

Notion is free to use, you can upgrade for more features but the free plan is fantastic. Available for most platforms.

Notion
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Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking software and app. Evernote helps you take notes, save things from the web, and then got plenty of features to keep those notes organized so it won’t clutter your mind.

Evernote offers a free plan with limited storage space, but it should be more than enough if you’re not uploading a lot of files to Evernote.

Evernote
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Todoist

Todoist is an advanced to-do list app made to help you organize your upcoming plans and tasks. Todoist’s strong suit is its simplicity, it’s easy to get an overview of your upcoming tasks without getting overwhelmed by distracting clutter. It’s a powerful app I strongly recommend to anyone wanting to streamline their work life.

Todoist has a free plan available that should be enough for most people, but if you need more storage, project and a few other extra features there’s a affordable subscription you can upgrade to.

Todoist

(referral link above)

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OneNote

OneNote is a note-taking app by Microsoft. What OneNote does especially well is to provide features and customizations so that you can create a notebook that’s personal and visually just the way you want it to be. A great feature for example is the ability to draw and doodle on your notes, perfect for any creative person.

OneNote is available for free, for pretty much all devices.

OneNote
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Taskade

Taskade is a productivity tool to help you organize your work life and get more things done. It’s a feature-packed tool that does an exceptional job at providing tools to visualize your tasks, goals, schedule, and goals. To have features like mindmaps, to-do lists, and roadmaps in one single app is very helpful.

Taskade is available for pretty much all platforms and offers a free plan with basically no restrictions.

Taskade

(referral link above)

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Bitwarden

Bitwarden is a open source software for managing your password. Having strong passwords is important but I struggle to remember them all, using a password manager lets you have strong passwords without having to remember complicated password in your head.

Bitwarden is free to use.

Bitwarden
Grammarly

Grammarly

Grammarly is a tool that helps you spot writing mistakes in your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and clarity. It’s much more advance then your basic spell check, and you can install it in your web browser.

Grammarly has a free option that has its most basic features.

Grammarly
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PowerToys

Microsoft PowerToys is a set of really powerful tools for Windows. My favorite, the color picker lets you bind a command that lets you grab any color code for any color anywhere. There’s also tools to resize images and rename files in bulk, which comes handy for many creative professionals. For full list of tools head over to their website. PowerToys is free.

PowerToys

Cloud Storage (Backup your files)

One of the worst dreams for a graphic designer or illustrator would be to lose all their files. Accidents do happen and that’s why its good to be prepared and backup your work regularly. Here are a bunch of cloud storage service that can help you with that.

If you want a more in-depth look at these storage services you can check out our guide below.

Backing up your work guide
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Dropbox

Dropbox’s free plan offers 2 GB of storage. And if you’re looking for more storage space for your files you can upgrade to the Plus plan for $9.99/month for 2 TB of cloud storage.

Dropbox

(referral link)

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Google Drive

A free Google account comes with 15 GB storage, that is share with all the Google apps you’re using (gmail, drive, etc). If you want more storage there’s flexible plans you can upgrade to, starting at  $1.99/month for 100 GB.

Google drive can be a good choice if you’re using other Google apps and services regularly.

Google Drive
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Onedrive

Onedrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service. The free plan includes 5 GB of storage, and 100 GB for $1.99/month. They also have a deal for $69.99/year that gives you 1 TB of storage and also access to Microsoft apps like Excel, Word and Powerpoint.

Onedrive offers a lot of storage at a good price. Best suited for Windows users, and not really worth it if you’re using a MAC.

Onedrive
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Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe’s Creative Cloud plan that includes all their software and app comes with 100 GB storage, and you can upgrade to 2-10 TB of storage. The price depend on what kind of plan you already got or if its a student account or not.

If you’re using Adobe software and most your files are used in their apps, having more storage in Creative Cloud can be very convenient to be able to sync and backup your file.

Adobe Creative Cloud

(affiliate link)

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iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service, a free account comes with 5 GB of storage. 2 TB of storage is $9.99/month and there’s also cheaper plans to upgrade to. You can get access to your iCloud storage on a PC but iCloud is best suited for anyone that mainly uses Apple devices, and want files to stay synced between devices.

iCloud

Collaborate & Communicate

No mater if you’re communicating with your team or a client these tools in our next category will help you improve and develop your collaborations.

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Figma

Figma is a design tool that lets you brainstorm and make prototype designs together with your team. With this design tool you can create prototypes for web, apps or other UX designs.

Figma offers a free plan for anyone to get start with.

Figma
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Slack

Slack is a communication tool for businesses no matter the size. It has become the number one choice for team communication by a considerable amount of companies around the world.

Slack
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Discord

With Discord you can communicate via text chat, voice calls or video calls, one-on-one or in a group chat. You can create your own chat Discord server for your team or business, and easily organize the sever into rooms for different topics and conversations.

Using Discord is free, and creating your own Discord server is also free.

Discord
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Witeboard

With Witeboard you get an online whiteboard that you can draw on together with anyone. It’s a free online tool and you don’t even need an account to use it.

Witeboard
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Moodboard

With this tool you can create simple moodboards online to collect inspiration. No account needed, start building your moodboard by uploading your images. If you want others to join and add their images, simply share the link to the board. It’s free and super easy to get started.

Moodboard
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Miro (Mind Map Maker)

With Miro you can easily create mind maps with their online tools. Perfect if you want to visualise your ideas, plans or strategies with a team or by yourself.

Miro
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Whimsical

Whimsical is a collection of online graphic tools that let’s you collaborate and visualise ideas with the help of flowcharts, wireframes and mind maps. Fantastic tools for anyone who need to see ideas visualised in a bigger picture to be able to grasp it. Great for planning, strategizing and figuring out what’s next in a project.

Whimsical
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Trello

Trello aid teams to collaborate, manage projects, and getting tasks done. Trello works like an advanced pinboard, you create boards where you pin tasks that need to be done, when a task is done or ready for the next stage you just move it to another board. It’s a visually pleasing way of staying organized and getting an overview of everything.

Trello is a splendid tool for teams but works just as well for one-person businesses or for getting things done in your personal life.

Trello

(referral link)

Video Tools

If you’re dealing with any kind of video in your work the next category might be useful for you. Here are so extremely useful software to help you record and edit your video work or content.

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ShareX

ShareX is a completely free and open-source software for recording your screen or taking screenshots. It’s lightweight and easy to use. Perfect if you’re looking to record your process when drawing or designing.

ShareX is available for free on Windows.

ShareX
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Lightworks (LWKS)

Lightworks is a powerful video editing software for Windows, OS X and Linux. It’s a fantastic alternative to expensive software like Adobes Premiere or After Effect, Lightworks offers a free version of the software. You’ll be able to export your videos in 720p without any watermarks.

Lightworks (LWKS)
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OBS Studio

OBS Studio is the software to check out if you’re looking to get into live streaming. It’s completely free open-source software for screencasting and streaming, and has become the industry standard among professional streamers.

OBS

Email & Newsletter tools

Communication is key. Here are some services and software that can help you with your email communication with clients or customers.

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Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a free and open-source email client made by the Mozilla Foundation. It’s a great alternative if you want to move away from the big email companies like Google and Microsoft.

Thunderbird
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Mailchimp

Having a newletter is a great way of speaking directly with your followers or fans. Mailchimp is a service that helps you collect new people to your mailing list and sending out your newsletters.

Mailchimp’s free plan lets you have 1000 contacts in your mailing list. Beyond that you will need to pay for a subscription.

Mailchimp

(referral link)

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WeTransfer

If you regularly send big files to clients via email, WeTransfer is a great service for you. Simply upload your files to WeTransfer (up to 2GB on a free account) and you’ll get a link you can share with anyone. Perfect for large file attachments in emails.

WeTransfer