Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Coffee

I need to keep posting on my blog, so weekly I'm going to do a series called, "Monday Coffee". I'm hoping to post this early enough every week so that you can read it with your morning coffee or tea. I've had a lot of exhausting weeks, so this could be a lot of incoherent ramblings. You're probably tired too, so likely you'll understand me either way. 😂

This morning I'm listening to Will Terry talk about, "When to Say No to Illustration Work" on YouTube. The funny thing is it's made me feel a bit better about some of the jobs I have taken. I had a book I did for a self publisher called "The Magic Mask". The job itself didn't pay a lot, but it wasn't hard and I am currently using the images in my portfolio. There are times I have turned down work, and I luckily made the right decision. It's hard to know the line, but I think Will Terry's video covers most of it!

I know a lot of people who are using Photoshop to illustrate. If you are a digital illustrator you probably know that Photoshop is the program to use. The big problem is that paying for Photoshop on a monthly basis is expensive. I can't tell you that there is something better out there, but here are some alternatives:

1. Older Versions of Photoshop: I believe you can still buy an older version of Photoshop outright. Many of these older versions will work on a newer computer. If you go too old the disk won't read right in your disk reader. I have a version of Photoshop 4.0 that I haven't been able to use for years, so maybe don't go that old!

2. Procreate on the iPad Pro with an Apple Pen. If you are thinking about getting an iPad you may consider the iPad pro. It is expensive but some professional illustrators are switching to the iPad, because it's like a Cintiq but is more versatile. Photoshop and a Cintiq together are better quality, but this may be a good alternative for you. I have not had the pleasure of using this yet, but I hear great things.

3. Clip Studio Paint (Formally Manga Studio): I have not used Clip Studio Paint for coloring. I had Manga Studio 4EX and was not happy with the coloring portion. I do love the ink pen, though. You can create straight lines, or a more brush like line. The great thing about this is you can use the pen like vectors and adjust each line individually if needed (but you don't have to use the vectors at all). There are good sales for this. This is not being updated as they have sold the company, but maybe the company that bought them out will make newer versions.

4. Corel Painter: This program is fairly expensive, though you can find older versions of the software. This can be used to make beautiful paint like illustrations. The bad thing is the software crashes a lot. I currently have 11. I have downloaded newer versions and they all seem to suffer from the same instability problems. When it does work it's a lot of fun!

5. Krita: I love the idea of this program, but I can not get it to work on my computer anymore. It does have decent brushes and a good layout. This is a free program so it wouldn't hurt to try it out.

6. Gimp: I feel like this is sort of the last ditch resort. Gimp is absolutely free, but it's pretty clunky. I do use it for minor image editing especially after scanning.

Other programs: Here are some other programs I haven't had the chance to try out or heard much about:

Inkscape: (alternative to Illustrator -- Vector software.)
Affinity Photo
Corel Paintshop
Pixelmator (Mac)
Sketch (Mac)

There are also some free online software. I don't like the idea of this, because the software can disappear. Also there is a huge lack of privacy when you do this.

Which programs do you use for your illustrations? Do you know of any great programs I haven't mentioned here?


  1. Thanks for sharing, Dani. I hear the first version of Photoshop is free. Well, the program is about 27 years old.

    1. I'm wondering how the oldest version would compare. Would it be better than some of the free programs? Have to find out one of these days!