I use three pieces of software regularly when making digital art, my open source solutions include Inkscape and GIMP, and my paid service is Sketchbook Pro. GIMP is the first advanced graphic design interface I’ve ever used, and let me tell you, back in 2000 it earned its name! I stuck with it and learned to rock that program – since then it has improved dramatically, offering support for tablets and a redesigned interface that humans can pretty intuitively understand. Then I fell in love with vectors and the best free solution for me is Inkscape. Vectors are a designer’s delight because they are lossless, design once and use that element as large or small as you like in other designs, and if your customer decides they want different dimensions? Not a problem, it’s usually just a tweak here and there! Finally, I’ve added Sketchbook Pro to my repertoire of tools. Sketchbook is the only paid program in my bag of digital tools, it’s $25 a year ($2.08 a month), and offers more of the natural feel of drawing but with fewer consumables since I use my tablet.
Why did I make the choices I have in terms of my digital design software? Well, first of all, I feel that everybody should have access to their own creativity. Expression of self is, in my opinion, directly connected to mental and physical well-being – charging $250+ for a piece of software does not allow movement of creativity for everyone. Second, the software does what I need it to, I understand it and it works well in my process, and finally I feel that free and inexpensive software tools fit within my philosophy that art is made to be seen, and meant to be made. It is for everyone, not just those who can afford it – by making my art with tools which are openly available, I hope to broadcast that you can make your art too, you can get it out of your head and into the heads of others without paying a dime, or a few dimes. To me, that’s pretty powerful, since making your own art is not only an expression of self, but of society as a whole. Art can convey messages about the beauty of life and of things that need to change, open and low cost software make that possible for everyone.
Wikipedia | Gimp Logo by Tuomas Kuosmanen
Wikipedia | Inkscape Logo by Andrew Michael Fitzsimon