Tools I Use to Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively

Ever since launching Art Sales on Autopilot (my free email course about how to sell your art almost 100% passively) I’ve been getting questions about what tools I personally use to create art and designs to sell passively. Because I sell art and designs in a variety of styles, I think you’ll find some helpful tips here, no matter how you yourself are currently making art.

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Tools I Use to Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively

Tools I Use to Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively: My Abstract Watercolor Paintings


How I Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively: My Abstract Watercolor Paintings


One of my favorite things to make are abstract paintings. I consider myself more of a “creative explorer” than an artist, and there’s really nothing like creating abstract work that makes me feel that exploration on such a great level. I mix medias so that, when they connect, the paints have a reaction that creates it’s own path, movement, and beauty. Well…. sometimes! Other times they are complete garbage and get thrown away. That’s the nature of this kind of exploration.

So what mediums am I using? I personally use Dr. Ph. Martin’s liquid watercolors, Dr. Ph. Martin’s liquid acrylics, Yasutomo traditional ink, Angora Pan watercolors, and more.


Some of the paints I use to Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively

My husband and I also love to go to estate sales, and if there is a type of paint or medium I’ve never used before, I will buy it and try it out! I’ve had fun with alcohol inks, colorful India inks, watercolor pencils, pastels and more.

I almost always use the ready cut watercolor paper from Strathmore to paint on. I like that I don’t have to rip my paintings out of a pad or block that way. But if I am planning to use a lot of water, I will get a nice block of watercolor paper. Oh, and if you use watercolor and/or alcohol inks, you’ve got to try painting on Yupo. It’s kind of like a plastic-y paper, and it’s sooo fun to experiment with!

Once my paintings are complete and dry, I scan them with my Canon CanoScan 9000F MkII because, for the price, I found it scans my art better than most other options in its price range. It picks up the nuances of my watercolor paintings, without blowing them out. However, if you’re painting larger, you might want to get a large bed scanner, like this Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner that can scan artwork up to 12″x17″.

For larger works I will photograph them with my Canon EOS Rebel (I absolutely LOVE this camera!) I learned how to best photograph my art by watching this quick video from Saatchi Art:



Tools I Use to Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively: My Digital Paintings


How I Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively: My Digital Paintings. (Palm Springs by Jules Tillman)


I originally bought my iPad Pro (with the add-on keyboard and Apple Pencil) to work outside of my home office from time to time. But also because I’d seen people make some seriously fun and great art on their own iPad Pro‘s with an app called Procreate App. It’s amazingly powerful, and great to experiment with!

One of the things I love about Procreate App is that it allows you to share process videos super easily. Here is one I made of me just playing around with all the brushes and such when I first got my iPad Pro:


As you can see, there is a lot you can do in Procreate App! I use it to create art for prints, as well as print-on-demand sites like RedBubble and Society6, where they print on everything from canvas to mugs to blankets and much more. You can create large pieces in Procreate, too (16384x16385px at 300 DPI — or a bit smaller with a higher DPI).


Tools I Use to Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively: My Mug Designs


How I Create Art and Designs to Sell Passively: My Mug Designs



While I sometimes use my  iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (it’s so fun to hand letter with!) to create mug designs, usually, I use good ol’ Photoshop. I’m sure that some graphic designers are shaking angry fists at me, because I “should” be using Illustrator, but I have been using Photoshop since… dang! The 90’s! And it’s just easier for me as a go to. (I will say that Adobe just offered their suite of products on sale and I snatched it up — so I have, and may start using, Illustrator. We’ll see!?)

Before creating a mug design in Photoshop I just make sure I have the right dimensions and have the DPI set to 300. Most companies that print on mugs for you, like Printful (who I use for mugs, prints, and more) will have a template you can use.

So there you have it! The tools I use create art and designs to sell passively! I hope you’ve found this helpful.


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  1. Reply

    Linda Ursin

    October 26, 2017

    I’m a creative explorer too 🙂 and I’m on redbubble. Abstracts can be a lot of fun to make. Like play for artists. For photo art, I use pixlr. So far I only have an a4 flatbed and my camera to scan/shoot my art.

  2. Reply

    Amanda connors

    September 13, 2018

    Was hoping you could give me some advice. I have been using the iPad Pro with procreate to make art and I’m wanting to make digital downloads that I can sell on Etsy. Thinking it may be a little easier for me with having kids to just sell digital downloads . I have not listed anything for sale but I wanted to know what advice you could give in order to be successful with this. I’m so confused on how to get my art off the iPad procreate program and onto Etsy. Vector, svg jpeg? what program do I need that hopefully won’t cost a fortune since I’m a stay at home mom. I just want to try to make some extra cash for my kids, doing something that I enjoy, without having to go to a 9-5 and leave them at a daycare. Any advice would be appreciated.


    • Reply

      Jules Tillman

      September 21, 2018

      Hi Amanda,

      With Procreate you can export your images in a variety of formats, but the two I’d suggest if you want to sell on Etsy are either jpg or PDF. I simply save the image to Dropbox and then pick it up on my computer. Then you could just list it on Etsy from there. (In theory you could do it all with your iPad, but I find it’s easier on my desktop.)

      I hope this helps!

  3. Reply


    November 18, 2018

    Thank you for writing this! It was very helpful!

  4. Reply


    January 22, 2019

    I just got my new iPad Pro and sell art on Redbubble, I was wondering can I still use it to get my work on to Redbubble without a computer or what do I need to do in that area of expertise to get my work onto Redbubble to sell it thanks.