There are only 24 hours in a day, and never enough time to get everything done. Productivity experts tell us to cut out the unessential, so we can focus on what matters.
Minimalists encourage us to declutter and simplify our lives, so we’ll have more time for important stuff.
It’s all helpful advice, and as an aspiring minimalist, I try to follow it. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
Sometimes, adding new stuff to our lives can actually improve things. Specifically, tools that enable us to be more efficient and productive.
Three tools worth the investment
My process for creating and adding cartoons to my blog posts used to be quite laborious. First, I would pencil some rough ideas. The best ideas would then be adjusted for optimal design and composition. After that, I’d ink, watercolor, scan and upload them to my computer.
Often, I’d have to resize and crop the cartoons. The entire process was slow and very cumbersome when traveling. As much as I love crafting cartoons with pen and paper, I realized I needed a more efficient system. Something that would…simplify my life.
I never learned how to use photoshop and hated the way a lot of digital cartoons looked so flat and lifeless. But, I decided to explore digital solutions for my cartoons, and found myself in an Apple store one day.
I love my MacBook Pro and have been an Apple computer fan for years, so I decided to take a look at the new iPad Pro and Apple pencil. The sales guy showed me how the Apple pencil works, and then he showed me some drawing apps.
One app in particular, ProCreate, enables artists to draw, ink and color directly on the iPad. The app can be bought and downloaded from the Apple store.
The cool thing about ProCreate is that it includes all kinds of different, pressure sensitive pen and brush sizes, not to mention a bunch of cool effects. Much to my joy, I discovered that I didn’t need to get Photoshop or any other big, expensive, confusing system. ProCreate offered everything I needed.
Now, whether at home or traveling, all I need to ink, color and upload my cartoons to my blog, is my iPad Pro, Apple pencil and ProCreate. For travel, I use my iPad Pro and my small, 11″ MacBook Air laptop. They’re both slender and fit easily in my carry on backpack.
No more spilled ink, pen bags, heavy scanner and papers for travel. I still carry a small sketchbook and Moleskine Journal for writing, but that’s it.
Here’s a bonus tip. If you require reading glasses, then you know what a pain it is to carry them around with you.
I was having dinner with a buddy in Las Vegas and before reading the menu, he slid these little eyeglasses out of his small wallet. They were bendable and clipped onto the bridge of his nose.
“Hey, that’s cool, what are those?” I asked my friend.
“They’re called ‘Thin Optics.’ You can get them in various magnifications and they’re great because they bend and fit inside my wallet. Only $20. I have several,” my buddy said.
I later bought two pairs, and keep one in my pocket everywhere I go. They’re super convenient and enable me to read those tiny menus and other documents.
This is how I draw more cartoons
Now you know my secret to producing more cartoons. The iPad Pro, Apple pencil and ProCreate have turbocharged my productivity. The only down side is that the cartoons are not on paper, to be sold or collected as original art. But I can easily scan the work and duplicate on paper, if I wish.
The Thin Optics reading glasses are handy when I’m in a coffee shop and want to doodle in my little, field notes sketchbook.
I’m a big believer in “less is more,” but I’m also interested in efficiency and productivity. Whether it’s an iPad and accessories, or even a tiny little pair of reading glasses, I’ll adopt them if they make my life better.
By the way, I’m not getting a dime from Apple, ProCreate or ThinOptics. I’m simply sharing what works for me, and driving home the point that adopting the right tools can improve your life.
So, keep an eye out for time saving, productivity tools that can simplify your life. Doing so will help you make the most out of those 24 hours we’re given each day!
Before I go
I’m John P. Weiss, fine artist and writer. Get on my free email list here to receive the latest artwork and writing.
This post was previously published on ART + marketing and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: ART + marketing