Best 5 Techie Gadgets of 2017 For the Digital Artist

Author Chinavasion Marketing 2.6.2017. | 09:46

Not too long ago getting into the visual arts meant getting your hands dirty with paint, clay, charcoal, paper and various other physical media. While those methods are still used today, digital art has become a dominant force simply because it allows artists to have a commercial advantage.

Source: Pixabay

With digital art tools you can knock out iterative pieces, rapidly produce material and best of all you can do it almost anywhere and at any time. No mess, no fuss and more productivity. Even if you are an artist who mainly works in physical media, there are now a lot of great devices which can effectively digitize what you make in the analogue world, giving you the best of both approaches.

In this article I’m going to highlight the five gadgets I think are the best, must-own devices for digital artists. Obviously that doesn’t mean you should own each one, but in their respective classes these are the stars.


1. The Apple Pencil

Source: Apple

Tablet computers seem like the perfect device for a digital artist, but they have one major flaw: no pressure sensitivity!

Unlike some dedicated art tablets, iPads and Android tablets generally have no way to measure how hard you’re pressing with a stylus. The solution has been to integrate pressure sensitivity into the stylus itself, giving rise to devices like the Adonit Jot Touch. The problem is that a given app needs to support a specific model of stylus or it won’t work, causing fragmentation between software and  hardware.

If you’re lucky enough to own an iPad Pro or are planning on getting one, Apple has essentially solved that issue by providing a stylus that’s natively supported by iOS. So app developers can now simply develop for the Apple Pencil and be sure it will work consistently. While the Apple Pencil has some limitations, it’s a great product overall.

The pencil itself is one of the slickest stylus implementations on any tablet and is comfortable and intuitive. Too bad about only working with the iPad Pros, but they are some of the best tablets money can buy!


2. Cintiq Pro

Source: Wacom

While the Apple Pencil does a great job of turning a consumer tablet into a serious art tool, there’s still no comparison between that experience and the feeling of working on a dedicated graphic tablet.

The Cintiq Pro (in the size of your choice) is still the standard-bearer for professional graphic tablets and the latest models do not disappoint. You can have one with a 13” or 16” screen and can work on Mac or PC. That’s the main difference between a Cintiq and an iPad when it comes to drawing. The Cintiq is not a mobile, standalone device.

3. Livescribe 3

Source: LiveScribe

When you just can’t give up paper but you need to digitize your work as quickly as possible, the Livescribe 3 smartpen may just be the answer that you’re looking for. It’s also a good choice if you don’t have a tablet computer, since it can send the information to a smartphone. Most tech-savvy people rate their smartphone as the top gadget to own, but the small screen make using a stylus basically impossible for art.

Using a Livescribe 3 and the special paper that the company makes, you can instantly digitize your sketches. It’s not as robust as an art tablet solution, but it’s convenient, has the feel of true ink on paper (because it is) and the paper is pretty cheap.


4. Da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3D Printer

Source: XYZPrinting

3D printing is an amazing technology that bridges the gap between the physical and digital, but while a 3D printer can take your digital sculptures and turn them into solid matter, it doesn’t usually work the other way around. So it’s pretty cool that 3D printing company XYZprinting has created an “all-in-one” solution that also includes a 3D laser scanner as part of the package.

All you need to do is put your model into the machine and it will create a 3D model that you can then send to a client or further manipulate in an application such as Zbrush.

5.Pantone CAPSURE

Source: Pantone

To the digital artist colour is everything, but finding exactly the right colour can be a challenge, not to mentioning preserving it when you find it! Often an artist’s eye will spot exactly the colour that they’ve been looking for.

Luckily Pantone, those popular purveyors of colour catalogues, have an answer. It’s called the CAPSURE and this neat little machine can capture (get it?) and compare colors you find out in the world while giving you the nearest Pantone match to that colour.

It’s got 10 000 Pantone color values preloaded and can be updated accordingly. While it’s perhaps more useful for design artists, anyone who takes their colour accuracy seriously.


Fine Arts

While the way we make art has fundamentally changed thanks to the digital art revolution, nothing has changed about the human spirit that drives the creation of art. Every artist prefers one medium over another, but the digital drive in visual arts has opened up far more possibilities than it closes. It’s doubly ironic given the current craze for retro technology.

The future also looks bright for those looking to express themselves in new ways. AR and VR in particular are going to have a profound impact in how we craft art for the visual senses. If you want to see the cutting edge of what digital artists can look forward to today, don’t miss our review on the Microsoft Surface Studio.

Kostas Chiotis is a lover of digital art and technology writing freelancer. You can read his blog at and feel free to follow him on Facebook and Twitter


This guest post was written by Kostas Chiotis who is a lover of digital art and technology writing freelancer. You can read his blog at and feel free to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Author Chinavasion Marketing 2.6.2017. | 09:46
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