Tools of the Trade – Digital

As usual I’ve been chasing my tail around in circles forgetting to actually write anything down.

Since February I have worked two conventions, was in one wedding, drove on a few road trips, attended one funeral, and got my brain chemistry back together. Back in February it was revealed my local pharmacy had mistyped some info and was giving me a half dose, of the chemical mirror of my anti depressant. So things were kinda hairy for a long while as that got handled and sorted.

Anyways –  I’m fresh out of a convention and decided to try to field a few questions that I get at these sort of events on here. I do a mish mash of digital and traditional things so I’ll address them separately. This particular part is about what I use in digital media – tools, and software wise. I’m just going to do a quick run through of what I personally use, not saying this is the only way to do things, cause it’s not. I’m also going to not go into vast detail of how to use any of this. That would be a very very long thing to write up and I would probably start feeling like I need to be charging for sharing this eldritch knowledge.

Anyways, ONWARDS

I know enough about computers to survive and get into trouble, but not enough to get myself out of trouble. So I’ll spare the actual hardware specs of my computer itself. I’ll just say in dog years, my computer is reaching comfortable middle age. It still does everything I need it to and doesn’t complain and that’s good enough for me.

Graphic Tablet – Intuos 4 by Wacom

Following the trend of old hardware is my beloved graphics tablet. I got this my senior year of college, when my beloved Intuous 2 decided to die in the middle of a final project, ah good times.

Hardware wise not much to say about it, it’s a wacom product that’s pretty solid. It has an ambidextrous function I was really excited about then never made use of. Sadly it does have a tendency to eat its drivers, but that’s an easy fix.  I use this for all my sketching and coloring work on the computer.

Photoshop CS 4 by Adobe

The staple of most digital artists everywhere. I technically have all the basic Adobe Creative Suite, but I don’t bother with the rest much. For most of what I do Photoshop is more than enough for me. I use this to resize graphics, set up print jobs, clean up scans, and add final touches to stuff like color or text.

Mischief  by Made with Mischief

This is a fairly new program on the market, I’ve been using it since it was in beta. I’m probably not using it like its intended to be, but I love it anyway. Mischief is a vector based program that acts more like a raster program. The TLDR version is: infinite canvas, and the images you draw can be exported at any size or resolution you want. It lacks a lot of features (read: brush stabilizers) that something like Sai or Manga Studio has, but I really like using it for line arts and sorting out layouts. Its quickly become my go to for digital sketching.

Painter  11 by Corel

This one I don’t use too often. It’s a really powerful program with an interface that I find maddening. I mainly use it when I want to give a specific look to something, Painter tends to give things a nice texture and feel that most digital programs don’t. Their digital conte and watercolors are things to wonder of beauty.  I love what I get out of it but often I find the GUI too much of a hassle to use on an every day basis. I haven’t played with more recent versions so maybe that’s changed.


Now these are programs I personally use. Not saying these are the best or there aren’t other options. I have friends that swear by Sai and Manga Studio.  Also not saying you should run out and buy them (in the case of Photoshop there are shareware programs that do a lot of the same stuff) but in case anyone was wondering,  this is what I personally use.

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