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  1. #1
    Senior Member Arrived skrink's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    Default digital art questions

    Dd is 12 and heavily into graphic novels and all kinds of comic art. She is taking a manga class at the moment and is by far the youngest person there, so it's been interesting. She just loves this stuff, and the instructor tells me she is hugely creative and talented. She suggested we look into getting Photoshop (had no clue - holy crap $$$$ !!!!) and get dd started with digital art. The woman is rather a purist, but I'm thinking there has to be a better/easier/less expensive way to introduce these skills. Anyone know of one (or more)?
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

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  3. #2


    Our public school Parent Partnership (we can take non-core classes through them) offers something called Youth Digital Arts CyberSchool. Manga, video, etc. It's not very easy to read about on the YDACS website but the Partnership spells it out pretty concretely (what's required/what the classes are, etc):
    ydcas description

    Otherwise here's the go-to website.

    I know there are a ton of other resources out there though. And I agree that even getting a student version of Photoshop would be just silly.

  4. #3


    Photoshop elements also has a lot what you find in full Photoshop, and it's not quite so pricey and sometimes you can find a descent sale too. There is also a free program GIMP that you can get it's a lot like Photoshop too.
    Teemie - 11 years old, 6th grade with an ecclectic mix

    Blog : Tumblr : Instagram : Facebook

  5. #4


    I'd second the recommendation for GIMP. There are others; but it depends on what platform you're targeting - Mac OS, Linux, Windows.

    GIMP is (IMHO) clunkier to use than some of the pricier options; but supports many of the same digital art features that Photoshop has. It does vectors somewhat better, even.

    On Mac OS, Acorn, now in version 4 is quite good and very well-respected. I'm not really familiar with the Windows world; but there are undoubtedly similar types of options there.

    A good tablet (e.g. Wacom) is about the only other thing she'll need to get started.
    DD age 9, Grade 4ish

    Eclectic. We do music, math English, history/geography/culture, Russian and science. Lots and lots of reading. I blog at

    WARNING: Unwittingly, I may occasionally say things to which you take offence.

  6. #5


    Second only to chocolate, Photoshop is one of my primary obsessions. Started with it in the early 90's when it was just version 2.0 and, FWIW, it was stinkin' expensive back then. That aside, I only recommend doing a full-fledged version of Pshop IF your child is as obsessed as I was and there's indications that she'll continue with it. If you visit Adobe's site and site up for a membership, you can demo all of their programs for a month for free. In the past, you'd download the application to your system, but now they have their 'cloud' nonsense. Bottom line is that you can still use the program on your computer for free for 30 days. It should give you and your daughter an idea of how it works and whether or not she even likes using it.

    Pshop Elements is okay. I find it annoying and klunky only because I'm used to using Pshop and rely on the keyboard shortcuts and the ability to work in 4 color (Elements can't do that). But it's still a decent imaging program. GIMP is free (last I knew) and I have a few friends who love using it. I've never bothered. Not cause I'm snooty, mind you. But why bother riding a tricycle when you have a Ferrari in the driveway?

    Now that I've rattled on about all of that, I can suggest doing what I did. I had an employer who loaded up my home pc with ALL the software we used at work (Photoshop, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, etc.) and I used them like crazy until that pc died. And I was no longer with that employer. For six months I had no Pshop. It was major withdrawal and I was in mourning. On a whim, I started skimming through craigslist until, low and behold, I found someone who was selling their Adobe Suite (Pshop, Illustrator and InDesign) for $60. The guy was a realtor who'd purchased the suite ($1,300-ish) a year earlier with the intentions of doing his own ad work, but greatly underestimated the learning curve. He decided to sell it and thought he'd be lucky to get $20 for it. Oof. I snapped it up. He contacted Adobe to have the license transferred to me and I sent him the money via Paypal.

    I can say that the newer Pshop has some interesting toys in it, but the nuts and bolts of the Pshop I started with in 1992 are still there. An older version (you can't go older than CS3 if you're running a newer system, and you have to go older that CS2 if your system is XP or older) will do most of what she wants to do. IF she's into drawing, though, I'd look into Illustrator too. It's primarily meant for vector work (drawing) and Photoshop is meant for raster work (photos). IMO, I'd hold off on the Wacom tablet until she's comfortable with using the mouse. The Wacom is good for brush work, but can be a bear when trying to do pen/Bezier curves.

    If she gets stuck, there are really good learning guides: Classroom in a Book Series
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  7. #6
    Senior Member Arrived skrink's Avatar
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    Oct 2010


    I knew this was the right place to turn! Thanks for the resources, all. We've got Windows 8 currently but are considering a switch to Mac before much longer. Sounds like I've got some figuring out to do. Once I dig around a bit I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

  8. #7


    The DD is very much into anime and digital art. Her go-to program is Paint Tools Sai. This one was suggested to her by a friend who is in art college right now. PaintTool SAI - Download
    It has a 30 day trial and is about $50.
    I have been a heavy Photoshop user for years since that was the standard tool when I did web production and graphic design. When I bought a new laptop I could no longer get my older version of Photoshop to install. I looked at the cost of the newer versions and the cloud based subscription nonsense and installed GIMP on my new laptop. So far I like it.
    A good drawing tablet is almost a necessity. We have gone through 3 of the Monoprice drawing tablets, they keep breaking inside. The wiring solder breaks rendering them useless. I would suggest skipping the cheap tablets and just spending the money to get a Wacom Bamboo tablet. This is the one the daughter recently purchased to replace her string of dead Monoprice tablets. Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet: Electronics

    I was particularly proud of her buying this because she earned all the money to purchase it herself. She took online commissions for pixel art (icons, avatars etc) and earned enough in about a week to buy it.

  9. #8


    I've mostly used Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint .

    Photoshop is very powerful and does a ton of other stuff in addition to drawing (photo editing, basic animation, etc) .

    I've been using CSP for a few weeks now. I feel like I spend most of my time in Photoshop fighting Photoshop. I have spectacular luck in coming across random PS bugs - things like lines moving after I draw them.

    CSP took some work to set up the environment the way I like it, but I can do everything I do when I'm drawing in fullscreen mode - picking the colors I use, the various brushes I use and so on.

    CSP has some features that are nice for illustration specifically - you can create perspective guides and there are vector layers that are really easy to use.

    There's a demo available for 30 days of CSP. They have a lot of tutorials for it, so they can be helpful too .

    I use a XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro Screen Graphic Tablet , It's a great tablet. you can drawing directly on the screen . As for a beginner, XP-Pen is a great choice.

    I don't think for first time is good to invest in a more expensive tablet, because what if you're not enjoying digital art?

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digital art questions