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Confession: I have a particular obsession with MacBook Air laptops… SPECIFICALLY the older ones (2017 and earlier) with the smaller trackpad and non-clacky keyboard. Everything else gives me RSI.

I still use my 2014 laptop, and bought a backup 2017 laptop that had been sitting unopened in a tech warehouse for 3 years. #oldschool

My phones tend to last me for years before I hand them down to my husband. We don’t see the point in keeping up with new releases unless there are game-changing features (or I’ve fucked my old phone irrevocably).

I do love Apple iPhone’s Portrait feature with the 3 rear cameras however for photography. I have the 11 Pro Max. (You can find the 12 Pro Max here.)

We have a big A3 Brother printer/scanner unit, and to be honest, I don’t know if we’d bother buying that size again.

It was helpful for scanning artworks that were bigger than A4, but I haven’t needed to do that in years. Plus, most of my artwork is now created digitally.

 

I fell in love with digital illustration in 2020, and quickly upgraded from a standard iPad to one of those big motherfucker 12.9 inch iPad Pro.

But… I personally found it too large and cumbersome to use constantly. So I use it just for bigger book design projects now, and use my 10.2 inch iPad 95% of the time. They are GREAT!

If you are at all interested in doing digital art/illustration, take my advice and skip all those other lacklustre, bodgy tablet styluses. I bought them all and did NOT fall in love with digital creativity until I had an Apple Pencil. They are MADE for making stuff with. The sensitivity! The compatability! The pressure! All of it! DIVINE.

(Also, I have both Apple Pen & Apple Pen II, and actually prefer just the plain ole Apple Pen. I am, indeed, a basic bitch.)

I’ll be honest – I’ve bought a lot of fancy microphones over the years, and have been frustrated by the trickiness of getting them all set up each time.

The ones I use over and over again? Gaming headphones that my husband bought in a 2 for 1 deal.

They make it easy for me to just… create.

I do 90% of my book reading on Kindle Paperwhite now. I like that it’s backlit (for reading at night) and waterproof (for reading in the bath) and that I can shuffle thousands of books around with me at a time. Plus, I also now collate all my book highlights & notes onto Goodreads, and use that as a research resource! 

I just have the wifi (not cellular) version, the idea of an ad-supported Kindle version makes me vom in my throat. 

I always decorate my laptops with skins from Society6 – like a colourful vinyl sticker that decorates the top of your laptop.

Sometimes I make my own design to amuse myself, sometimes I buy from other artists. They are all just so freaking SCRUMPTIOUS!

Plus, removable! 

For years I used a calico shopping bag or oversized handbag as a Mobile Office to shove my laptop, iPad, journal & Kindle in. But then middle-age struck and my shoulders were like FUCK YOU CREATIVE PACKRAT. 

So I acquiesced and got a sensible Bondi Backpack from Wanderers Travel Co. I hope it makes me look more like intrepid but stylish traveller than teenage schoolgirl, but either way, my shoulders have stopped yelling at me so much, so that’s a win.

I use Kajabi for most things in my business:

  • selling through their shopping cart
  • teaching my courses through their learning management system
  • running my affiliate program

I used to use Kajabi to send all my marketing emails as well, but their send rates went completely borged and it made me very cross.

I wish I could use it for marketing emails still – it makes things so much simpler to have an all-in-one system!

 

I use ActiveCampaign to send all our marketing emails. 

Pros:

  • good email deliverability rates
  • good customer service

Cons

  • can be eye-wateringly expensive
  • insists on putting a logo on all email opt-in forms unless they charge you double eye-watering the amount.

In related news, I think I need therapy about email delivery providers.

Ahhhh, for the simple days when Mailchimp was enough!

We use the full Google Suite of products:

  • email (including having our domain name branded emails forwarded through them)
  • Google Drive (for storing all company files, photographs, book designs, website designs, paperwork etc)
  • Google Docs, Sheets & Slides (for creating documents, spreadsheets and slideshows)

LOVE that it is cloud-based so that I can work on the same document as my assistant at the same time, and never have to worry about a computer crashing and losing important data.

If I was starting a website today, would I use WordPress? Probably not. It’s powerful but geeky and not super easy to use. If I was starting out, I’d use something like Wix or Squarespace.

I’m not starting out however – I’ve been blogging since 2004 and have thousands of blog posts in my archives. So out of pure necessity, WordPress is what I use.

WordPress is powerful and also a complicated pain in the ass. If you’re going to use it, make sure you use a WordPress plugin like Divi so you can do plug-and-play website design with templates.

I host my WordPress websites on WPEngine – they are secure and fast. We made the shift to WPEngine because they have such strong security measures, and they manage the constant WordPress updates – and so far we’ve been really happy with them!

I use Xero as my accounting & financial management system. It’s about a thousand times easier to finangle than other accounting systems I’ve used before.

Plus I love that it’s cloud-based… so my accountants in Canberra can work on our accounts, and I can easily check on reports when I need to.

If you’ve got an accountant or bookkeeper, I’d recommend checking with them what software they prefer using with clients.

 

My assistant & I use Canva all the time to create new graphics for everything in my business.

I love that they make design so much more accessible for small business owners – you can use it for free, and they have some great templates & layouts as well.

Plus, it’s super sexy that’s it’s helped make one of its founders the third richest woman in Australia.

I use Optin Monster to create all the pop-ups, reminder windows & lead magnet forms on my website.

It’s definitely made an increase in adding new people to my mailing list & increasing sales as well!

Procreate is the iPad app I use to do digital illustration. It’s blindingly good & used by most professional illustrators.

And it’s simple enough to use that my kids love using it too.

 

Goodnotes is the iPad app I use for:

  • taking handwritten (and illustrated) notes like these
  • signing documents
  • annotating & studying PDFs.

I use Adobe Photoshop for editing photos, and Adobe Indesign for laying out my books for print. I also used Illustrator to clean up my pen on paper drawings, but most of the time I do them digitally now.

Mont Marte sketching journal

I have been using this exact style of journal since I was 16 and my incredible high school art teacher introduced us into the practice of keeping an art journal. It serves as a place to experiment, record inspirations and develop a room of one’s own. It’s a cheap A4-sized hardbound journal with blank pages. I like that it’s cheap because it never feels like I’m wasting anything. I have been drawing and collaging and painting and taking notes and writing in these since the dawn of time and I will continue to until the end. They are my special place. Whatever kind of journal you use, I hope it becomes your special place too.

Japanese Kuretake Brush Pens

These babies make writing and drawing look wildly artsy. Kind of like drawing with a brush and paint! But it’s a PEN!

You will instantly feel 100x more artistic when using one of these bad boyz.

POSCA pens

Paint pens: be still my beating heart. These babies were the hot ticket item of my high school art room supply cupboard. There was a black market of them. THAT is how delicious they are. It still feels slightly thrilling & contraband to use them.

Windsor and Newton Watercolours

I lived out of this tiny set for years, and just swapped out a couple of the colours to make sure I had my favourites.

Then I lashed out & got the Big Mother of sets. It’s also great, but I remain still in love with the tiny one.

Gouache

I don’t get why watercolour is more popular than gouache, to be honest. Gouache is always my favourite to use out of the two. Even the cheapest shit set under the sun is great. Gouache is like watercolour but more intense and opaque with intensified colours. SCRUMMY!

Uni-ball Eye Fine Pens

I’ve been using the black pens for years in my artworks because you can paint over them – they are waterproof. I use the light blue version for writing in my daily journal. Sometimes I like to go wild and use the purple too. #lifestylesoftherichandthefamous

Got a burning question about anything else I use?

Let me know what you’re interested in & I’ll add it to this page for you!