An artist can only do so much without their tools. Whether they are sculpting, painting or drawing, their work depends on the quality of their tools, and then on their practice and hard work and lastly, talent. Digital art is no different. While you could make drawings and paintings in Microsoft Paint, there are severe limitations to what you can achieve, whether in efficiency or simply a lack of features. Here are the tools digital artists often use.
Wacom has become a top manufacturer of pen displays. They have plenty to offer you, from their Cintiq Touch to their Paper series and Mobile Studios, each device useful for a particular style of art or an approach to working. Obviously, the mobile version allows you to work as you go, while the other devices work best when connected to a computer. That requires additional software, many of which artists often have.
When talking about digital art or design, there are almost no conversations which leave Adobe products out. The very basic tool of almost any professional digital artist is Photoshop. Sure, people often get Adobe Illustrator or InDesign with that, but Photoshop remains a must-have for any artist. You can opt for subscriptions, yearly plans, which are often the least expensive.
The Gnu Image Manipulation Tool is a free software which artists without a budget often download. It was criticized for its complicated interface, which was updated as the software grew bigger. It remains open-source, free to download and use on multiple systems. It is a great tool for any artist who does not want to spend any money on software.
The best combination of Apple products for mobile artists is an iPad and an Apple Pencil, or multiple ones, should you run out of power. Apple’s products are often oriented towards productivity and art, so many purchase them, even though they come at a premium price. The stability and support you get with Apple products is amazing, as well as the quality. That often outweighs the price.
SpeedyPainter is a piece of software which uses the OpenGL API, in other words, it is free. Not all software which has OpenGL implementation is free, but SpeedyPainter is. The downside is that it is only available on Windows platforms. It supports Wacom products and pressure pens, meaning that drawing and painting with tablets is possible with this free piece of software.
MediBang is an illustrator, but one specifically tailored to comics. They emphasize manga comics, and come with various presets like backgrounds and fonts you can use for free. The software itself is also free and has lots of options for you, though it could use some more. For the price of free, though, one cannot complain.
Clip Studio comes in two variants, the Pro and the EX version. The latter has more options, and is almost 5 times expensive, but is worth the price. You get management tools and animation tools, compared to the Pro version. The EX version can manage multiple pages, like a book, and can export multiple pages as well as convert 2D and 3D data. This is one of the best programs for illustrators, but it comes with a price.
These are the top tools currently used by digital artists.
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