What Software Should I DRAW or PAINT With?

As some of you may already know, I normally use Adobe Photoshop when creating the images that are on this website. There are many other different software’s which can also be used for painting and illustration purposes. How you chose this software will depend on a couple of different factors which you should be aware of prior to making a potentially expensive purchase.
Before you begin using software, it’s important to know the type of images you will be producing. The type of software that you chose will depend on following factors.

  • Vector based illustrations
  • Pixel bases illustrations
  • Software and Artistic Background

If you will be resizing the images into a variety of image formats which exceed the size of 12×18 inches you may which to consider using vector base software. These programs allow you to manipulate the size of an image without losing image quality. They work by using mathematical algorithms to produce line art and consist of a single line connected to two or more separate points. By combining these different lines together we are then able to create the final images.

Although this type of software does provide a lot of flexibility it does have its own restrictions as well. Each color within this image must be represented by its own individual line which can be highly problematic if an image posses a texture or gradient. A texture or gradient will cause the colors to be separated into several different pieces which will increase the number of lines required to represent that specific area. The more lines that is present within the image, the slower the running time for the software. When these images are to be printed these problems become more evident. Before an image can be printed digitally, it must first be sent to the printer and if this image exceeds a certain loading time it can cause the printer to crash. Vector images are best suited for images which posses’ text and simple graphics for this reason.
Examples of vector based software include but are not limited to the following.

If an image uses photo’s, gradients and textures than pixel base software would be more suitable for that drawing style. Adobe Photoshop is software which divides an image up into small points also known as pixels. The resolution of an image is normally calculated by the number of pixels which can be seen by square inch and is known as the DPI. The normally recommended resolution for a printable 8×10 inch image is normally 300 dpi since this produced the best results. Resolution will depend how this image is being displayed and should therefore be optimized to the appropriate size. Although these types of software allow for a greater number of color variations in an image the final image can’t be resized without losing image quality even if the DPI setting is changed. Should an image need to be sized up significantly, this image would require quite a few filters in order to prevent pixilation from occurring. Pixilation occurs when the individual pixels become visible and is a sign of a poorly formatted image. The following is a list of the different software which utilizes a pixel base system for drawing purposes.

Your artistic knowledge will also be a key factor in determining what software is best suited for your purposes. Software such as Corel Draw offers a more realistic painting application but has a reputation of being more unstable. Corel Draw does have the added benefit of saving files into Adobe Photoshop file formats but will produce unsalvageable files should it become corrupted. Sketchbook Pro is a much more affordable option that Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw and it produces extremely small file sizes. Most people who find it difficult to transition to a digital medium will normally find this software easier to deal with. This software is far more simplistic and can more easily mimic traditional drawing techniques when combined with a Cintiq. Adobe Photoshop and illustrator can have a more dramatic learning curve but provide the user with the greatest amount of flexibility when producing artwork.This software can be extremely liberating once you’ve settled down with a specific kind but only if you’ve also invested in the necessary hardware. Although you don’t require an expensive tablet or cintiq it is better to at least purchase a medium size since the small one’s can be difficult to draw with. If you’re a business or wish to sell your artwork, I also recommend that you legally purchase your software since it could potentially save you a lot of legal hassle. If you do not which to have to purchase a new version every year I also recommend purchasing the perpetual licence as well.

Understanding what type of style of drawing you prefer as well as understanding your current knowledge base is extremely useful when determining what suits your needs. Now that you understand these fundamental questions, you will be able to make a more informed decision and I which you the best of luck in your learning process.

Copyright © by Yasmeen @ YarkspiriFantasyArt.com


Yasmeen completed both the 2D and 3D animation course at Algonquin College and worked in the animation industry as a freelancer for a number of years before being hired to manage the 3D printing services at ItsYeBoi. While using the Alias of "Jenny" during her services, she was responsible for the testing, maintenance and upgrading of the machine while also filming and developing 3D printable assets for various projects.