5 Art Programs Every Digital Artist Should Use:

One of the biggest questions aspiring digital artists have is what type of software they should use. While the decision of which programs are best for you depends on what type of art you like to do digitally and what your style is, there are definitely a few suggestions I can make! Here are the top five art programs I suggest, along with the pros and cons of each:

  1.        openCanvas

openCanvas is a program that is perfect for sketching and for those who are familiar with the layout of Photoshop. You have the ability to customize brushes, ruler tools are available for use, the interface of the program is user-friendly, and you also have the ability to create ‘event’ files which allow others to watch you draw. The downside to this program is that there aren’t as many drawing/painting tools available in openCanvas as there are in other programs.

  1.       Paint Tool SAI

Paint Tool SAI is a great program to use for drawing and coloring digitally. It’s a very lightweight and smooth program to use, and the program itself is very responsive. Paint Tool SAI allows its users to easily draw delicate things, and when it’s running there is little to no lag on the computer. Another very good thing about this program is the fact that it isn’t as ‘resource hungry’ as photoshop is. One of the only cons that I’ve seen for Paint Tool SAI is that there aren’t as many filters available as there are in other programs.

  1.       Sketchbook Express/Pro

Sketchbook Express/Pro is a program that’s very simple to work with for sketching. It features a simple interface, it’s tablet-PC friendly, and the tools available are able to imitate pens, pencils, and brushes rather well. A difference between Sketchbook Express and Sketchbook Pro is that Express has limited tools and functions, whereas Pro has everything. Another big downside is the fact that this program is designed only for quick sketching, so there are a limited amount of layers to use.  

  1.       GIMP

GIMP is a free program that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It has a wide assortment of tools and brushes to use, and it’s a simple program to learn. You can also customize the brushes which comes in handy. However, a drawback to this program is that it has been reported to be slow (depending on your computer) and a bit glitchy at times.

  1.       Photoshop

Photoshop is a program perfect for anything from drawing all the way to photo editing. There are plenty of design tools to choose from and this program is also useful for photo corrections and manipulation. The interface is user-friendly, and users can start editing photos and creating right away with ease. A downside to this program is the fact that the interface can be very overwhelming to people who are just beginning with these types of things. A final drawback is that not all the updates are completely bug free as soon as they’re released. There will usually be a couple bugs and glitches that need to be fixed and reported.


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4 Quick Tips About Drawing

Drawing is a form of art that absolutely anyone is capable of doing. Nobody is born being able to draw, and everyone can learn how to do it! With that said, some people have developed their skills more than others have, but there are always new tips and tricks to learn. Here are some of the tips that I’ve found to be most useful, and I hope you’ll think the same.

  1. Avoid Smudging Your Drawings:

When drawing in pencil (or any other smudge-able type of medium), use a piece of paper underneath your hand to avoid smudging your work. It’s suggested that if you’re right-handed, start shading from left to right, and if you’re left-handed, start shading from right to left. While smudging lines in a drawing can be useful – especially when it comes to shading – it becomes difficult to make a sharp, clean drawing when your hand constantly smudges the lines.

  1. Control:

Being in control of your drawing utensils and knowing how to make them perform how you want is a big part of creating art. Changing the value (lightness/darkness) of your lines can help in adding contrast and details in your drawings as well. To help gain better control of the pencil, it all depends on your hand placement. Positioning your hand closer to the lead end of the pencil allows you more precision for fine details, but this also results in heavier, darker strokes. Positioning your hand closer to the eraser end gives you less control, but it will allow you to have lighter strokes which are a key component for shading.

  1. Use References:

While drawing, make sure to use and study photos of objects or even the objects themselves in real life. At least half of drawing involves observation. To be able to draw something well, you need to see it. For example, have you ever decided to whip up Filet Mignon one night without even looking up a recipe? Of course not! If you have then I’m curious as to how that went for you. However my point is you need to learn how to do something before you actually do it, and this is very true in drawing.  Therefore, if you want to draw something: study it first, find some pictures, and then go for it!

  1. Practice:

This is the most cliché tip of them all, but it’s the best one there is. If you want to become a better artist, the best thing you can do is practice. Practice every day, and draw whatever you see. If you are unable to draw, then look at objects and imagine how you would draw them. Think about where the light source is coming from, what medium you would use, and what basic shapes you would use in your drawing. There is always so much more to learn, so get inspired and have some fun!


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I Think I Can’t Draw