As I constantly try to improve my craft, I have come across a number of tools that have sped up my process or introduced a quality in my work that few others have. There are now thousands of creative resources available online, but these are the ones I find have the biggest impact for their price.
Out of all the Astute plugins I own (Mirror me, VectorScribe, ColliderScribe, and InkScribe) I definitely use VectorScibe the most. It has a lot of features, and even though I really only use two of them, they make a huge difference in speedy vectoring.
All I have to do is show you the gif that Astute has on their website for you to understand:
Similar to the Smart Remove Brush tool, the Smart Remove Point is a fantastic feature that makes you wonder why Adobe hasn't copied this plugin. The difference between the Astute's Smart Remove Point tool and Adobe's regular remove point tool is how it affects the adjacent points' handles. In the context of lettering, where 90º bezier handles are preferred, this feature saves me a lot of time. Observe the difference:
Adobe's regular remove point tool does not affect the adjacent points' handles, which will alter the bezier curve.
Vectorscribe's smart remove point tool adjusts the adjacent point's handles to approximate what the curve was before the removal of the point. This feature is useful when trying to achieve perpendicular bezier curves.
These photoshop brushes are pretty well-known around the illustration community. They’re great for mimicking traditional media like pencils, gouache or pastels. I think I have just about every pack. Totally worth the buy!
These vector scatter brushes are great for adding texture in Illustrator! They can make your Ai files a bit large but it’s worth it to make that final touch.
I really wish you could just buy the sponge brushes because that’s what I use roughly 90% of the time I use anything from his website. I have used the wood patterns and seamless texture swatches in this crate often, but I really don't use the icons, graphic pattern swatches, or graphic styles at all.