Life & Business

Building Your Creative Toolkit

by Adam J. Kurtz

Building Your Creative Toolkit
No matter what your thing is, you rely on your tools: sharp pencils, no-slip rulers or that tape that sticks to stuff without screwing it up. But when just starting out on a new project or venture, you’re suddenly faced with the daunting task of stocking up. Sure, you can run through the store impulsively buying rubber stamps, but should you?

I’m not the expert on minimalism, but I am a huge tool so I have some insight here. By honestly considering who you are and what you want to accomplish, you can build a useful collection of tools instead of a bunch of expensive stuff stashed in a tote bag under your desk. –ADAMJK

Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit
Building Your Creative Toolkit


THINGS ARE WHAT YOU MAKE OF THEM: Life Advice For Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz
Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives


Adam J. Kurtz Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based artist and author of several books including the international-bestselling 1 Page at a Time journal. His dark (but optimistic) humor comes to life in an offbeat line of gifts and small trinkets. Follow @ADAMJK for more.


Suggested For You


  • Great start. Could you write at least ten more slides on this topic, please? I’m pretty mired in this one!

  • ‘I’m not the expert on minimalism but I *am* a huge tool…” Is this really what you meant to write?

    The Grouchy Copyeditor

  • Great funny post! I need to keep these lists with me the next time I’m roaming the art supply store and feel tempted to walk away with that thing that I’ve seen someone else use and might want some day.

  • Adam I always LOVE your posts here, but this one is especially handy for me.
    I work in many mediums, and always feel like I need so many tools.
    I am currently trying to “purge” my small apartment (I work from home), but keep having thoughts like “What if I need that for a future project, and I will have to buy it again.”
    I should perhaps print your tips out and have them up on my wall.
    Thanks so much, and a special extra thanks for making me laugh as usual.

    Ash xo

    • Actually there are so many FREE tools and resources online. You don’t need to buy so much stuff – all you need is your brain and creativity :)

      And in terms of being creative, all you need is pen and paper or a computer. It does not have to be that advanced, and everybody started out somewhere, from something. Going back to basics are not such a bad thing for finding clarity and focus- also thrift stores are great if you need something. From photo props to actual cutlery for your kitchen – it’s fine you know. If you need something later that you purged out from your flat.

  • Oh my, I am so guilty of splurging on tools I barely ever end up using, and also for keeping my fancy tools “for later”, especially sketchbooks.

    Right now, I’m lusting after a light pad. I realized my design process would be more streamlined if I was able to trace my sketches onto clean paper, instead of inking directly on the sketch and erasing the pencil lines (which sometimes ends up messy).

  • This is so great, I’m so guilty of over buying and hoarding tools, my studio is busting at the seams! Think I’ll print this as a reminder as I spring clean this week :)

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.