Steve’s Creative Resources 1/30/2020

I realized I hadn’t published one of these roundups in ages, so here you go – creative resources I’ve found, heard of, and often use!

Art Sources

  • Free
    • Pixabay – A source for art that is free as well as royalty-free. There’s a lot here, and much of it is professional.
    • Unsplash – A source for photos that are free as well as royalty-free. The quality is very high.
  • Royalty Free
    • Canstockphoto – A great source for royalty-free art, photos, and more. Has a subscription system and a pay-more-get-more credit system.
    • Shutterstock – The classic source for royalty-free art, photos, and more. Has both monthly and specific purchases available.
    • The Noun Project – A fee or membership-based site for downloading a huge selection of royalty free icons! Once you pay for it or download it, it’s royalty-free! Useful for all sorts of projects

Book Covers

  • Premade
    • Go On Write – Premade covers for books – pick one that looks right and the artist will change the title and author appropriately. A great bargain, and even has series of covers at discount! Will do custom work to.
  • Services
    • Paper and Sage – A reliable source of both premade and custom book covers.
  • Tools
    • 3D Book Cover Design – Makes 3D Mockups of book covers.
    • Canva – Book cover creator, though you will want to provide your own art if you don’t want to pay for rights to their stock photo. Also has other services.

Book Reviewers

  • Review Sources
    • Midwest book review – Will review books for free, but it’s a matter of choice.
    • Self Publishing Review – A classic paid review service (where a pool of reviewers is available) for books. Not always a guarantee of the best reviews of course, so you take your risks . .
    • The Indie Review – A large, constantly-updated list of indie book reviewers.

Color Tools

  • Collections
    • Color Tools – Plenty of useful online color tools.
    • HTML Color Codes – Useful color tools, with a focus on web-focused colors.
    • Material Palette – Useful tools for desginging palettes, finding icons, and locating specific colors
  • Color Schemes
    • Color At Adobe – A color theme creator that lets you create schemes, or even get one from a picture, and has a powerful interface.
    • Color Calculator – A color scheme creator that also has useful advice and guides.
    • Colormind – A color theme creator that creates schemes with simple clicking, or get one from a photo.
    • Colors at Halfpixel – A simple palette creator (with a mobile option) with intuitive controls.
    • Coolors – A useful and powerful color palette creator that’s easy to use and powerful.
    • Huesnap – A palette repository and creation tool

Contact Management

  • Mailing Lists
    • Mailchimp – Mailchimp may have some restrictions, but it’s the go-to for easy mailing list management, which is perfect for authors and artists. It also integrates well with other tools.
  • Professional
    • LinkedIn – The classic business networking site, and pretty unavoidable for most professionals.

Game Creation

  • General
    • Game Maker Studio – A powerful game creation tool, with free and paid options
    • Unity – A popular, well-supported game creation tool, not only popular, but one with many tutorials available.
  • Interactive Fiction – Graphics
    • Ren’py – A powerful game creation tool with an inclination to visual novels and life-sim, and capable of powerful customization.
  • Interactive Fiction – Text
    • Choicescript – A choice-based game system, both for fun and used commercially.
    • Twine – A web-based Interactive Fiction development tool with multiple options.
  • RPGs
    • RPG Maker – Game creation tools – the original was RPG focused, but the company has also expanded into Visual Novels.


  • Generator Sites
    • Chaotic Shiniy – A diverse source of generators in a variety of styles.
    • Darkest of Nights – Fantasy-oriented generators.
    • Donjon – Generators for a variety of genres and game systems, some of which provide graphics as well!
    • Dropping-the-form – Generators for various settings.
    • DunGen – A powerful dungeon generation tool!
    • Eposic – Generators – among other imaginative efforts.
    • Fantasy Name Generators – And there are a LOT of them here. About anything you could want, and a few you didn’t know you needed.
    • Feath – Generators of various types, conveniently categorized.
    • Generator Blog – Links out to many other generators.
    • Generatorland – Lots of generators and generator tools.
    • Mithril and mages – Generators for a variety of genres.
    • Name Pistol – Band name generators.
    • RanGen – Random generators, from fantasy to helpful writing tools.
    • Serendipity – A generator site with some setting and name generators.
    • Seventh Sanctum – A gigantic collection of generators founded in 1999, with a focus on writing and RPGs.
    • – A site of generators and other creative tools.
    • – Home of a complex name generator with many, many options.
    • The Force – A powerful name generator with multiple options.


  • Graphic Tools
    • Art Rage – A painting-oriented digital art program supporting many operating systems, tools, and formats.
    • Clip Studio – A comics, painting, and illustration tool with many options and features
    • Mediabang – A comic and painting application that’s free and multiplatform!
    • Paintstorm – A low-cost digital painting program with many advanced features.
  • Graphic Tools – Free
    • Gimp – Aka The GNU Image Manipulation Program. A free, open source graphic tool that will take care of almost all of your graphic needs (barring a few limits like CYMK conversion and the like).
    • Krita – A free graphic tool focused on professional workflows.
    • Made With Mischief – A quick, free sketching and brainstorming tool.
    • Sketchbook – A free sketching program.
  • Graphic Tools – Painting
    • BlackInk – A painting program, focusing on stylistic work as opposed to realistic
  • Mac
    • Pixemlator – A low-cost alternative to Photoshop for Mac, with lots of compatibility options

Helpful Tools

  • Relaxing Backgrounds
    • 4 Ever Transit Authority – Ride the bus through randomly generated art deco cities. A great program to run in the background or on your TV or monitor to relax you while you create.
    • Anomolies – A relaxing background display/artgame that creates surreal spacescapes, often with strange nebulas and sites that resembe anything from devices to lights to disturbing lifeforms.
    • Becalm – A relaxing journey via sailboat through surreal worlds with a relaxing soundtrack and audio. Can be run for a few minutes or in a loop and you can switch between multiple settings.
    • Panoramical – Available on And Steam. Panoramical is an audio/visual remixer where you can tweak settings in multiple environments, turning them into audio/visual displays. Find your favorite setting, leave it on, and relax.
    • Station To Station – A simulated train ride through imaginary environments. Run it in the background or through your television while you create to help relax you


  • Services
    • Adobe Portfolio – The popular porftolio site – that comes with many Adobe subscriptions.
    • Artstation – Multimedia-focused portfolio and blog platform
    • Format – A portfolio site with store services as well.

RPG Resources

  • Random Charts
    • Chartopia – A site with a huge and expanding amount of charts for RPGs, easily sortable and classified.


  • Audiobooks
    • ACX – Amazon’s self-publishing audio platform
    • Audible – Another amazon audiobook publishing platform
    • Findaway – A wide-ranging audiobook distribution service.
  • Cards
    • Drive Thru Cards – Self-publishing for card games, both physical and downloads.
  • eBook
    • – doesn’t just do games – it also allows for people to publish books, and is very open-minded.
    • Kobo Writing Life – Distribute your eBook via Kobo
    • Nook Press – Distribute your eBook via Nook
  • eBook-Multiple
    • Draft2Digital – A service that distributes to multiple eBook platforms.
    • Smashwords – A wide-ranging ebook distribution service.
  • Physical And Ebook
    • Ingram Spark – Ingram’s eBook and physical book publishing platform. Wide reach, but may require some setup fees and has some limitations.
    • KDP – Amazon’s full-service print and Kindle publishing service. Warning, the eBook distribution is only through Amazon.
    • – A print and eBook creation and distribution service.
  • RPGs
    • Drive Thru RPG – Self-publishing for RPGs, both downloadable and in print. Also supports related merch like calendars.
  • Video Games
    • – is a supportive, indie-oriented game store site. It also has a lot of self-published resources for game development, as well as supporting books of all kind.

Website Creation

  • Services
    • Squarespace – The popular website creator with many options.
    • Weebly – Easy and simple to use website, blogs, and stores.
    • Wix – A simple And effective website source, though paid options are reccomended.
    • – The classic site, with free and paid options. Obviously blog-focused.

Writing Research

  • Maps
    • Old Maps Online – A way to find and view old maps of the world. Great for research and imagining.

Writing Tools

  • Ebook Creation
    • Calibre – A free ebook creation tool.
    • Jutoh – Not only converts your book to various ebook formats, it’s a powerful enough tool that you could even write books in it.
  • Word Processing
    • LibreOffice – A full, free, open source office suite. Beyond the free price, it’s fantastic ad using ODT format and creating PDFs.
  • Word Tools
    • Describing Words – Ideas for how to describe a given word.
    • – The classic online dictionary.
    • Related Words – Helps find words similar to or related to one you’re using.
    • Rhyme Zone – A tool to help you find rhyming words.
    • Thesaurus.Com – The classic online thesaurus, with plenty of useful options and displays
    • Wordsworth – A tool to see if words you’re using fit the time period you’re writing
  • Writing
    • Scriviner – A writing tool that combines note taking, tracking, and writing into one application.
  • Writing Checking
    • Grammarly – A pricey but powerful service and software for checking grammar, spelling, and even plagarism if you need. There are free, limited options.
    • Hemmingway – A grammar checking tool with both web and desktop versions.
    • Pro Writing Aid – A subscription-based writing checker service/tool.