While comic book purists will always insist on traditional paper, pencil and inks, it’s hard to ignore the fact that digital tools can radically speed up the comic creation process. Digital tools and resources enable you to colour, ink and letter much faster than traditional media, and also allows you to more easily modify or correct your illustrations.
Here are a few different digital tools that you can consider. Bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive –we’ll try to update this list as new and different tools come to our attention.
If you want to be serious about digital illustration, a Wacom tablet is a must-have. Wacom provides a range of drawing tablets combined with a pressure sensitive pen to enable you to illustrate within your favourite graphics programs.
If you’re just starting out with a graphics tablet, you could try the cheaper Wacom Bamboo, though we’d highly recommend getting a medium sized Intuos tablet. The larger size will allow you a wider range of movement, while the Intuos model provides a greater degree of pressure sensitivity.
Estimated cost – expect from about $300
Adobe Photoshop is an image editing software tools. It is traditionally used for editing photographic images, but using its pencil and brush tools, you can illustrate or colour directly, or import an illustration from a different application to edit within Photoshop. You can either purchase Photoshop as a stand-alone program for about $1100.00, or purchase it as part of the Adobe Creative Suite for about $2100. Monthly subscriptions are available and cheaper prices are available to students.
Adobe InDesign is a page layout program. While it comes with some basic design tools, InDesign is better used to set up your pages, and to place your illustrations using its framing tools. For example, you may create your individual panel images using a program such as Photoshop, and then lay them out into your final document within InDesign – ready for final print.
You can either purchase InDesign as a stand-alone program for about $1000.00, or purchase it as part of the Adobe Creative Suite for about $2100. Monthly subscriptions are available and cheaper prices are available to students.
If you’re after a graphics manipulation package but you can’t afford the cost of Photoshop, you should instead try GIMP. GIMP includes many of the same retouching and composition tools as Photoshop, but is a freely distributed program under the GNU licence.
Krita is a digital painting and illustration software program, similar in many ways to Corel Painter. Unlike Photoshop and GIMP which are better applied to editing existing images, Krita’s design emphasises creating artwork from beginning to end. Krita is also available for free under the GNU licence. Regrettably, Krita was built with Linux users in mind. While there is a PC version available, there is no planned version for OSX users.
Corel Painter is a digital drawing and painting program. It includes a wide range of brushes, paper textures, paints, oils and watercolours.
Cost is currently about $364 (US).
Manga Studio is a software program specifically designed for creating comics. It includes a wide range of drawing and colouring tools but also includes word balloon and page layout features.
Cost is about $300 (US) for the full version though SmithMicro promotes regular sales across its products.
That’s it for now!