Whether or not your an artist, a writer, a computer programmer, an engineer, an automotive mechanic, a construction worker, a home developer, you are going to need tools. However, a huge mistake I made, and that many others make, was that I thought that if I had the right tools, the tools would in a way make me what I wanted to be. But, the simple truth is that the tools can’t make you what you want to be.
To be honest, I have wasted enormous sums of money trying to buy that which I thought would make me the successful whatever it was I wanted to be.
However, tools are exactly that. Just tools. What makes an artist is not his tools, materials, or methods. What makes an artist is the depth and breadth of his or her understanding of so many aspects of the arts and his or her raw creativity.
So, for me, my immediate toolset consists of an iPhone SE 2020, a refurbished earlier model iPad Air, and a refurbished earlier model Macbook Pro. That’s it, and that’s all, with the small addition of the Apple Pencil. All of it fits in a very tiny satchel I carry with me everywhere.
Of course, some limitations come with working like this. But, when you know what you want to do, understand the limitations you’re faced with, and you know what you’re doing, those limitations are pretty minor, and there are so many ways around the limitations.
In fact, there’s a certain freedom that comes from working with such limited and minimalist tools. It forces me to make use of what I have, and forces me to be creative in achieving the results I want—rather than having advanced gear and technology, and extensive and expensive art supplies, and relying on them as crutches like I used to.
In the end, that’s really what any of us should focus on. And, no matter our toolset, to simply make use of what we have, to do what our creative minds know is possible.
When I started out as an artist, I mostly produced drawings with graphite and paper. Looking back, that minimal set of “tools” forced me to learn how to express myself in ways I had never been able to before. So look, if all you’ve got is a bit of graphite, and paper, well then be the phenomenal draftsman you can be. I know of a very talented woman in the UK that can use stuff this simple, and produce beautiful fine art.
And, if you’re a painter, don’t worry about having a massive selection of premium, professional paints, and lots of expensive brushes. You might be surprised at just how expressive you can be with a simple set of red, yellow, blue, black, and white paint, with just a couple brushes.
In the end, it’s not the tools that will make you an artist. It’s what you do with the tools that will allow you to create the artwork you want. It took me quite a long time to get to where I have. But, if I had understood this notion a long time ago, I believe I would have gotten to this point in my artistic journey, a bit earlier. So, wonderful art can honestly be produced with minimal tools and resources. And, I believe, you can do it too.