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5 Graphic Design Tools I'm Grateful for This Year

Drawing of cat

Craftsman’s tools. They can either make or break a creator… right? Do you need a box of 100 colored pencils to complete a work or will six do the trick? I’d argue that it really depends on the quality of the tools and/or the skill of the artist. I drew an epic portrait of my mother’s late Siamese cat with just six charcoal pencils. The pencils were from a Intro to Sketching kit. Not sure what you think, but I think the drawing turned out pretty good.

In my day-job, I use a variety of tools to produce my art. Some high-tech, others old fashioned. Today, in the spirit of thanksgiving, I’ll be sharing five graphic design tools I’m grateful for this year.

Catholic Creative Community

Inspiration, encouragement, and networking

The Catholic Creative community is one of the most invaluable tools I use on a weekly basis.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of this is to get and give support from other Catholic Creatives. As you can imagine, there aren’t a ton of us concentrated in local communities, but through the magic of the internet, Catholic Creatives in the United States have been able to connect here. Several times a week we share creative work and we give feedback to each other. We ask questions about industry best practices. We network. We affirm each other. We witness the faith to one another. I am so inspired by the creativity, skills, and entrepreneurship of many members.

It’s a beautiful, inspiring community that cultivates the creative spirit the Church always needs.

I have been so grateful to have access to the many creative and knowledgeable mind of the Catholic Creatives community.


Physical freedom and keeping work fresh

While it’s nice to have a homebase with multiple giant monitors, my laptop has been key for creative cultivation and my mental sanity. Paired with cloud storage software, map laptop has allowed me to unshackle from my home office and venture to different environments, like various coffee shops or friends’ houses. Both feed my creative brain, pun intended.

My current laptop is the HP Spectre. It’s a 2 in 1 laptop, meaning it can fold over to mimic the form-factor of a tablet. It has a touch screen and comes with a decent stylus. Again, it’s a change-up in my creative workflow that keeps things fresh. It’s a different way to input information.

I’ve been so grateful to take advantage of the many benefits of my laptop!


Cultivating a more Fulfilling Job

I mean… I’d be a bad Catholic if I didn’t mention prayer, right? Kidding!

In all seriousness though, integrating faith and prayer into my work has been game-changing. Everyone should consider how they can incorporate their faith in their work. Since I’m not shy about my Catholic identity and mission in my business, it’s even more important I keep Christ at the center. It’s important I represent Catholicism admirably.

Taking business decisions to prayer ensures I’m doing this work for Christ, rather than myself. I have ideas come to me in Adoration that I never would have thought of had I not made space for the Lord. The days I begin work with the Pope Pius X Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker feel different than others.

The Adobe Creative Suite

High-Quality Tools that are a Delight to Use

Catholicism on Tap logo process slideshow

Yes, I am mainstream and I use the Adobe Creative Suite.

With the breadth of services I provide to church admins and agency owners, having access to high-caliber programs helps me create quality products for each specific discipline. Illustrator for logos, Photoshop for illustrations and photo editing, and InDesign for brochures, book designs, and posters. Canva has its uses and is great for certain people. Just not for me! I have been so grateful for the quality of the Adobe Creative Suite.

Pencil and Paper

Taking a Break from Screens

Drawing was my first love (as show in the cat drawing above). Even though I rarely draw nowadays, it still makes an appearance in my process.

I don’t feel like I can achieve the same level of precision with a stylus or mouse than I can with good ‘ole pencil and paper. I usually use it to draw out ideas or to an initial round of logo sketches. I enjoy being able to rest my eyes from screens and to interact with a physical medium.

I really wish I got more drawing commissions or did more drawings for my shop!


According to Chris Stefanick’s Living Joy, gratitude is an antidote to many, many societal ills we have. It’s important to take some time to be grateful for the things we have in our lives, from the beds we sleep in, to the selection at the grocery store, to our cars. This of course extends to our work. God created us for love, leisure, and labor. Therefore there is dignity in all work. Work gives us purpose and a living wage. Give thanks to God for the work we have and the goods, wages, and joys it produces!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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