3 Fantastic Programs for Creating Digital Paintings

There’s always good reasons to create art traditionally or digitally, but why not do both? Sometimes it’s nice to feel the resistance of the paint gobbed onto your brush as you slowly spread it across a canvas. The thick, oily smells and damp, sticky textures of drying paint that’s been laid down in a careful formation to create your latest work of art. It’s also nice to switch over to the digital world when you’re tired of the mess traditional painting brings. You also don’t have to wait for the screen to dry before adding that next layer. Don’t like the way parts of your work looks? Ctrl-Z that baby and away you go trying something else!

Here are my top 3 favorite programs to create art with and have it looking good enough to buy.

#1 Adobe Illustrator

You thought I was going to pick Photoshop didn’t you?

Illustrator is by far the greatest tool for cutting your time in half when it comes to digitizing line art. Especially if you can’t quite afford that top of the line Cintiq Wacom tablet you’ve been eye-balling for the last year. If you’re like me, you really love drawing out your ideas on a good ole piece of paper and then probably inking it out with your favorite Micron pen. So now you want to add color, maybe fiddle with the color schemes or just avoid risking a potential disaster on the original work. Illustrator can trace your scanned work into vector lines so each stroke can be edited or adjusted to just how you want it. Since it’s done in the vector format, you also get the added bonus of being able to resize your image to any level without degrading the image quality.

#2 Adobe Photoshop

Ah, you got me. Photoshop made it onto the list. Who doesn’t love this program. Once you learn all the buttons of course [much the same with Illustrator]. You want some pixels that pack a punch? Photoshop can create smooth shading and textures with the large collection of brushes available and it even allows you to create new brushes so you can get that stroke looking just right. Then bam! You can export your new piece out in jpeg, tiff, png, and more!

#3 AutoDesk SketchBook Pro

This little lovely may not be as well known as the other two, but let me just say SketchBook Pro was by far the best $5 App I have ever bought. Not that I have very many $5 apps floating around mind you. If you have a tablet and like to draw or just doodle incessantly go find this app in the Google Play or Apple App Store ASAP! It’s like a miniature Photoshop on the go. If your tablet has a camera or simple access to the web, you can import your art and use it as a base to flesh it out with color, shading, or textures on as many as 18 layers. This little app does a pretty good job at keeping up with the speed of your hand and toggling between brushes or erasures is a breeze. I really love this little guy and quite a lot of my pieces on the home page were actually made entirely in SketchBook Pro.

2 thoughts on “3 Fantastic Programs for Creating Digital Paintings

  1. So informative. I appreciated the review for different digital art software. I have the knowledge to start painting quality digital paintings without the trials and errors. I think I will be using the software’s, now I can make an informed decision on budgeting for projects.


    • Good to hear! Knowing what to get and budgeting for it is by far the biggest challenge when starting to make art digitally. The Adobe Classroom in a Book series is a really good tool for learning how to use their products as well. They’re also not too pricey on Amazon to boot!


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