#1
Greetings!

To parody myself a bit, at least as I appear on here:

"blah blah blah non-digital art blah blah print version blah blah"

So, to change that a bit... I have some questions:

  • I have a tablet-cum-laptop that I basically just use for browsing the internet. Windows 10, but was designed for 8. It has a touchscreen, keyboard and laptop-style touch mousepad for input. It doesn't really have any software (especially not anything advanced for art use). What could I do to try digital art, without spending lots - e.g. free art software to download?
  • I don't really know where my finances are going, but if I was to buy a new computer, with a view to doing art, making a webcomic etc, what would you recommend? I'm thinking either all-in-one desktop, or static desktop separate 'tower' plus monitor.

(also: I imagine some of you on here might have similar questions, please go ahead and ask them... I also imagine some of you might just want to talk computers... feel free :))
 

Lo.

4-Stripe White Belt
#2
I have a tablet-cum-laptop that I basically just use for browsing the internet. Windows 10, but was designed for 8. It has a touchscreen, keyboard and laptop-style touch mousepad for input. It doesn't really have any software (especially not anything advanced for art use). What could I do to try digital art, without spending lots - e.g. free art software to download?
I don't really know anything specific for your device as I never had one of those, I imagine the touchscreen isn't pressure sensitive? That might be a problem if you wanna use it for art.

As for free programs, I swear by Clip Studio Paint (same as Manga Studio, they've rebranded into Clip Studio Paint).
I honestly think CSP is the best Art program out there for comics. Their free version (called "Debut") is actually pretty good. You can probably do with that one for a long while and get some more features with their Por version later if you're feeling like it. They also go on huge sales very often.

I've tried most art programs out there since I wanted to stop using Photoshop once they went with their new monthly payment business model and the only one to legitimately compete with it was CSP. And specifically for comics, I think CSP is better.

Some other decent free alternatives are GIMP and Krita. I've had a ton of issues with GIMP when I was trying to use an older Genius tablet, but for anything wacom should work well enough. I've no clue how it plays with touchscreens. Krita is pretty cool for paintings and illustrations. Or so I've heard.

I don't really know where my finances are going, but if I was to buy a new computer, with a view to doing art, making a webcomic etc, what would you recommend? I'm thinking either all-in-one desktop, or static desktop separate 'tower' plus monitor.
It depends a lot on what kind of art you wanna do - 3d art usually requires better computers than 2d, and comics and illustration work also tend to vary a bit.
But, generally speaking, a tower + monitor should always be cheaper. With all-in-ones you're paying extra for that extra "portability". Same with laptops. If you plan of just having it in your home, it's better to have a tower; especially because if you build it with the right parts you get a lot longer lifetime because you can upgrade it by parts over the years. With stuff like laptops and all-in-ones you usually kinda have to throw it away and buy a new one once it gets old enough, or if something breaks.

The most cost efficient is usually to go Windows and a tower+monitor. 2D art usually doesn't require very powerful computers, it's mostly just a having a bunch of RAM and having an ok processor. Optionally a decent graphics card can help. Some artists prefer big harddrives to keep all your pages, so that's mostly personal preference.

In theory you could also save money by installing any flavor of Linux instead of Windows but that means a lot of software won't work and when it comes to graphic tablets, the only real guaranteed support you'll find is for Wacom tablets. I wouldn't recommend saving money that way, honestly.

On the other extreme of things you can buy a top of the line mac, which are a delight to use but are expensive as heck.
Also the Microsoft Surface Studio makes me gush but that's probably not something I'll ever be able to afford
 
#3
I'm gonna second Clip Studio Paint. I'm that guy who screams all over Twitter, Facebook, Tapastic, and Deviant Art when CSP(Clip Studio) has a sale- you're getting a program that is as good as Photoshop & Illustrator combined- with other elements that are designed to help you make a complete comic book of your own- for a fraction of what you would pay for those respective programs. Where as PS & Illustrator are on a subscription, with CSP you pay a one time price- and it's yours FOREVER. You even get updates for free; the original price for this program is $50 for the basic(PRO) and the extended version(EX) for $219...however, they do have sales many times throughout the year- you can usually get the Pro on sale for $25 & EX for $129.

With CSP, you can draw/ink/color/letter all in this one program. It even has some vector capabilities(like Illustrator). I picked it up a couple years back coz I had some art peers rave about it- they were right.

There are other programs like Gimp & Krita that you can download for free; I've never tried those, so I cant give you any insight as to how good they are.

As for computers- I have a laptop and a desktop(my desktop was refurbished- picked up at the local computer store- Micro Center, for $160 about 5 yrs ago; still works). I've been mainly working on my laptop coz I work on my comic during lulls at my day job and at night while watching TV at home. I just got something that had a good processor, a considerable amount of HD space and a LOT of memory(coz Photoshop eats up a lot of memory). Having a larger screen was a bonus...
 
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#4
I third Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio! Has been invaluable as it's specifically designed for comics (word balloons, panel layouts, tones etc.) along with the usual multiple layers, brush types and whatnot.

On the hardware side, I actually just tried CSP + my graphics tablet on my Lenovo laptop today - I'd always worked on my desktop PC previously. It's the U310 model, i3 processor, pretty mid-range and over 3 years old and it was certainly workable with CSP. Wouldn't want to use it all the time, but it's a decent backup.
 
#5
Three for CSP, eh? Might be something to this... although my device has been struggling with just running multiple internet tabs today, it might be worth having a play around when I have the time...
 

Matt Nelson

4-Stripe White Belt
#6
I'll chime in on Clip Studio. Get it.
I use a Microsoft Surface Pro (first generation) and it's a dream with CS. I'd like to upgrade at least to a Surface 4, if not a Studio (after I sell one of each of the organs I have two of.) But I love my Surface, and it makes a fantastic tool for drawing comics.
 
#7
Oh, and talking about CSP sales - there's one on right now until 18th April!

CSP EX $79 (down from $209.99), and CSP PRO $25 (was $47.99) - but I would avoid PRO tbh as it lacks some fairly essential features - here's the comparison.

And according to their ad email I got, Dave Gibbons recommends it :)
 

Lo.

4-Stripe White Belt
#8
Oh, and talking about CSP sales - there's one on right now until 18th April!

CSP EX $79 (down from $209.99), and CSP PRO $25 (was $47.99) - but I would avoid PRO tbh as it lacks some fairly essential features - here's the comparison.

And according to their ad email I got, Dave Gibbons recommends it :)
I've been using PRO for a long time now (coming from Photoshop) and I've never felt any big feature missing. Which ones do you think are worth upgrading for?

By the way for anyone interested, for as long as I can remember and for every time they've gone on sale, the cost of upgrading from PRO to EX has always been the same as just buying a new EX license. So if you plan on eventually getting the EX version, you might want to just buy that one and save money in the long run.
 

Terminus

4-Stripe White Belt
#9
I use Clip Studio EX; I bought the upgrade (on sale) for the story management functions, which are the primary distinguishing traits. The ability to create a single file from which to manage/export all of your pages has proved incredibly useful to me. If you don't need it, though, the only other differences are that EX has no frame limit on their animations and a couple other things that you can see here.

Whether or not you need the story functions depends on your workflow. Personally, I adore it. I flip between pages all the time, though, when I'm working on a chapter. XD
 
#10
I've been using PRO for a long time now (coming from Photoshop) and I've never felt any big feature missing. Which ones do you think are worth upgrading for?
Mainly the multiple pages/story option, otherwise you're limited to a single page at a time. But I guess if you're doing one-page webcomics you won't need that feature as much.

Ah - beaten to it while typing :)
 

Lo.

4-Stripe White Belt
#11
I use Clip Studio EX; I bought the upgrade (on sale) for the story management functions, which are the primary distinguishing traits. The ability to create a single file from which to manage/export all of your pages has proved incredibly useful to me. If you don't need it, though, the only other differences are that EX has no frame limit on their animations and a couple other things that you can see here.

Whether or not you need the story functions depends on your workflow. Personally, I adore it. I flip between pages all the time, though, when I'm working on a chapter. XD
Mainly the multiple pages/story option, otherwise you're limited to a single page at a time. But I guess if you're doing one-page webcomics you won't need that feature as much.

Ah - beaten to it while typing :)
Thanks!
Yeah, that multi-page feature seems quite useful! Though looking at the list of features that the EX version adds, that's really the only one I'm interested in, and I can't justify spending that much money on that feature alone.

And you're right, since I mostly work on one page at a time it's not even that useful for me to begin with.

Well, hope this exchange at least helps someone else figure who's looking to get CSP which version they prefer!
 

Matt Nelson

4-Stripe White Belt
#12
I'm planning on upgrading to EX eventually (possibly with this sale) but if it makes anyone feel better about Pro, I've been using it for my last two books at least, and I've had no problems and felt no real lack in its use. It's a very, very useful program even at its most basic.
 
#13
Computer wise? I'm getting this set up and building it myself. My friends said it's easy and there are video tutorials which will teach you how to build a computer easily.

This build can play most new games at 1080p @ 60FPS, so I'm pretty sure it's powerful enough for video editting and art stuff too, LOL.

CPU Intel 3.70 GHz Core i3-6100 3M Cache Processor (BX80662I36100):
https://www.amazon.com/Intel-i3-610...343&sr=8-1&keywords=intel+core+i3+6100+3.7ghz

Motherboard Gigabyte Micro ATX 2 x DDR4 DIMM 4 x SATA 6Gb/s Motherboard (GA-H110M-H):
https://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-GA-...qid=1485638375&sr=8-3&keywords=gigabyte+h110m

Case Corsair Carbide Series 100R Mid Tower Case:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...d-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

RAM Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single DDR4 2400 MT/s (PC4-19200) DIMM 288-Pin - BLS8G4D240FSB (Gray):
https://www.amazon.com/Ballistix-Sp...0&sr=8-2&keywords=crucial+8gb+ballistix+sport

HDD:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...d-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GAMING, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan), 3GB GDDR5, DX12 OSD Support (PXOC) Graphics Cards 03G-P4-6160-KR:
https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce...&qid=1485638430&sr=1-1&keywords=evga+gtx+1060

Power supply EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W Power Supply( 100-W1-0500-KR):
https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-WHITE-W...TF8&qid=1485638445&sr=1-1&keywords=evga+500+w