Essential tools for freelance creatives

Essential tools for freelance creatives

Tools that make my freelance life less stressful and my creative process butter smooth.

Tools do not define your work!

As an experienced Freelancer and Motion Designer, I’ve accumulated a bunch of tools over the years. Tools that make my freelance life less stressful and my creative process butter smooth. These tools are not only applicable to Motion Designers but too many creative freelancers and business owners.  Oh and let me get this out of the way first: tools do not define your work!


MacBook Pro

I started out with my 15-inch MacBook Pro. If you’re going to use animation software I highly recommend getting as much RAM and Memory as you can afford. My laptop is mainly used to scroll Pinterest for countless hours, illustration work, and basic animation work. Being able to take my laptop anywhere anytime is awesome.


Look, animating on a tiny screen sucks. That’s why I invested in two 27 Inch monitors from LG. I adjusted the settings and they now behave like one large screen. This makes working way more fun! To save some desk space I’m using a Newstar standard that can hold both screens.


Some animation projects are filled with complicated high quality or 3D assets. Animating those on my Mac is an impossible feat. I need more in my life than waiting for frames to render. Things go way quicker on my PC. Here are my current stats, I’m trying to upgrade my graphics card (but prices are icky at the moment). A good samaritan has lent me one!

Motherboard:  Asus PRIME B365-PLUS

Power Supplies:  Corsair RM750 750W

Wifi Adapter:  TP-Link Archer TX50E Wireless Networkadapter

PC-Case: MSI MPG Series SEKIRA 100R

Graphics Card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 960

Memory: 32GB (2x 16GB)

Processor: Intel Core i7-8700 3.2 GHz

SSD: 500GB

Extra drives:

File sizes are going to be the death of me one-day. I use Seagate Expansion Hard Drive for all of my old client work and personal work that is completed. For animation to go even faster I have a second drive that uses the memory of after-effects. It’s best if you save your project somewhere separate from your memory.

iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil

To be honest here; this one is completely unnecessary (but fun) if you only work in Illustrator and don’t need any hand-drawn elements. I usually do thumbnail sketches, storyboarding, and things for fun in Procreate. I have the Ipad pro 10.5 inch. I’m really behind on trying out illustrator on the Ipad, so that might be life-changing when I get to it.

Together with a software called Astropad I can transform my iPad into a professional drawing tablet. This really helped me out when I needed to draw curly things or more hand-drawn elements in Illustrator. You could do certain things with your mouse, but the pen just gives it way more flow. Besides that? The iPad Pro is super fun and easy to take with you on vacations and to local coffee shops. It’s my main tool for brainstorming ideas!

iPad Pro Stand

Since my back and neck don’t appreciate staring down for long periods of time I found this really great standard from Elevation Lab. If you’re planning on drawing a lot on the iPad Pro, it’s definitely a life savior.


Having video calls as a freelancer is key to building client relationships, especially when they don’t live around the corner.  I find that a good quality webcam is proof of how professional you are. Currently using the Logitech StreamCam, since I’m also streaming so now and then.  


With calls and timing animations on sound a good headset: HyperX Cloud II is necessary. I also don’t want to make my boyfriend mad by continuously repeating the same part of a voice-over... even though sharing my pain sounds kinda fun.


A lot of these products make my work process quicker. Animating on a PC is a significantly quicker than on my laptop.


Standing Desk Ikea

Balance is everything. Sitting too much isn’t healthy and I bought this standing desk for a bargain at Ikea in 2020. I remember having a 20% discount and another discount as an IKEA family member. I might look silly swirling the handle for a few minutes, but that’s fine with me!

Ahrend 2020 Verta Ergonomic Chair

Oh man, if you have a budget and plan on working full-time behind a desk you can’t go without an ergonomic chair. I have the Ahrend 2020 Verta. It’s perfect and super adjustable! It was super hard to find a chair that could move the arms closer to my body.

Mouse Map Galaxy

I didn’t want my desk to get indents or dirty. This galaxy mouse mat lights up. It’s very soft and I have zero issues with using my magic mouse on it. Besides that, I got it as a gift on my birthday!

Finn the duck -  Light

This one speaks for itself, just look at it! You might call it Benson besides Finn, but that’s up to you. I really enjoy this light either as a desk light or a night table light. I can help but smash or squeeze it a few times a day…. Sorry, Benson.


Social Media often makes it look like you need to start out perfect. It can take years in reality. Start small and your tools will grow as you do!


Don’t think it’s a surprise for anyone, but I’m using Adobe Software. You can use a 7-day trial version of any program if you haven’t tried it already.

Adobe Illustrator

My go-to Illustration software. I use this almost every single day to create fun styleframes and visual designs. Want to know more about styleframes? I’ve written a short article about it: read more here.

I could use photoshop, but Illustrator uses vector images. Which are scalable, so they don’t end up losing image quality. I love the pen tool, pathfinder, and different effects I can create in Illustrator.  I also use this for storyboard templates.

Adobe After Effects

I use After Effects weekly and still learn new things all the time. If you miss a certain function or an action, you can easily expand it with a variety of plugins.

Adobe Photoshop

Mostly if I need some different kind of feel for my illustration work and textures. You can use it to make gifs of your video files. But since I  bought an AE plugin for that I don’t use it very often anymore.

Adobe Indesign

If you need anything done with a lot of text and a good layout. I use it for creating (video) brand guides, (interactive) templates, financial and legal documents.


There are many free softwares out there. But I’ve been using the Adobe Suite since school and didn’t want to change. Bonus Tip: can’t afford the full amount yet? Adobe is quite generous when it comes to discounts! Just hit them up in the chat. Perfect if you’re just starting out!


Google Calendar

I used to look for replacements, but not after I’ve customised it. It took a while to find something that worked for me. I now have a combination of Google calendar and Notion.


I’ve tried many to-do list apps or bullet journal books, but none of them work as well as Notion does for me. I’d love to make a Notion Tour someday! :)


I don’t have time to be making invoices on my own. Simply don’t want to either and since Moneybird was free for up to 3 invoices a month, it was great to start with. I have a paid version now for €12 a month and can send an unlimited amount of invoices!


I love toggle, it’s so easy to use! I need to keep a registration of my hours anyway, but toggle gives me more. Full-on reports of how much time I spend on specific clients or projects. Great for scheduling and calculating budgets for future projects.

Marketing Tools


I’m not a big marketing tool user yet, but later for Instagram is perfect. The free version is helping me out enough and when my content gets to be a bigger part of my routine I’ll definitely upgrade. I mainly use the feed-preview and caption planner.

Blog Tools


You’ve probably already noticed, but my first language isn’t English. I’m also not the best writer (yet) and I could use all the help I can get. I put my writings in Grammarly before I post any of my blog articles. So your eyes (hopefully) don’t have to hurt while reading.

Phew, that’s it. I hope this list of tools will help you out with starting your own creative adventure! :) I’ll try to keep this list updated whenever I find new tools, so don’t be afraid to share any recommendations in the comments.  

Let me know if you found some interesting tools or one that you’ll start using right away.

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