ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Comics & Graphic Novels

Programs for Comic Artists on a Budget

Updated on December 4, 2013

We LOVE Manga Studio!

Bring on the Bad Guys!  Panel created exclusively in Manga Studio!
Bring on the Bad Guys! Panel created exclusively in Manga Studio! | Source

Lots of Comic Software Options

There are tons of options for comic artists out there. You don't need to spend allot to get into software that will give you professional quality comics. Remember the real skill is within the comic creator, and not in the tools they choose to use. So before you go off and invest $500+ in any high level software thinking it will make great comics for you. Do some research and you will find great software out there for far less, if not even free.

After much research of my own, the best option I've found is to save yourself your most valuable asset (your time) and invest in Manga Studio. It's the only program out there that is exclusively designed for comic book creators. Everything else is a huge time investment in work arounds and jumping in and out of various programs which is a complete waste of time.

I've personally spent 1,000's upgrading Adobe products and using them for about 15 years now. Upgrading every other year or so to "save" money. And back in 2005 I discovered Manga Studio 4EX (for $125) and while I still have to maintain adobe products for my graphic arts work. I would happily throw it in the trash for Manga Studio and Corel Painter in a heartbeat without hesitation.

I honestly believe that Smith Micro is doing their very best to help comic creators. I can email anyone in their entire organization at anytime with questions about Manga Studio. I speak regularly to the MS division manager and can do so with any of their other product managers at any time. Try getting a "real" human at adobe....

And I'll have to write another 100 page blog to list the reasons why you'd be much happier as a comic creator with Manga Studio. The perspective rulers, page rotating and flipping, 3d reference modeling, pencilling/inking/lettering all in one single program. The list is just vast and extensive. Think about it. Manga Studio is made by comic creators, for comic creators. All other programs are made for a neutered and general audience. So they do not have you in mind specifically and foremost.

With Manga Studio 5 you can spend as little as $49.99 to get your feet wet if your on a tight budget and then upgrade for another $149.99. Or if you're on a really tight budget you can get an older version 4EX for a decent deal and still upgrade. Ultimately you will want an EX version either way. It's necessary for full functionality.

Here's a Manga Studio link:
http://bit.ly/1aDMDdV

When I want to do more advanced coloring I have been using Painter instead of Manga Studio or Photoshop. It's far less expensive than Photoshop and quite simply a better program for a much more realistic for painting and colouring experience. I've used this program since release 9 and ever since been progressing towards kicking the Photoshop habit alltogether.


I've been intrigued with the new gateway that has opened up since Adobe prices have gone up and Corel prices have gone down. Corel has been making tons of new programs to compete in the pocketbook level that is really great for us budget conscious artists that do not have two dimes to rub together...

Here is a Painter EX3 Link:
http://bit.ly/17IkcIu

And better yet... Free stiff is awesome! I also use Paint tool Sai. Which I believe is pretty much a Painter ripoff, or Painter is a ripoff of it. Painter is FAR more advanced but Paint Tool Sai is a very nice entry point for a totally different and "real" painting experience far more applicable to paint artists than Photoshop. This type of paint program is something the Japanese have used for a looong time. There are a bunch you can find, but they're still in Japanese, but Paint Tool Sai has been translated to English.

Here is a Paint Tool Sai Link:
http://bit.ly/HX8lQ6

I hope this helps. Don't get me wrong, I own and use Adobe products, but they are far more expensive and in most cases suites come with completely un-necessary products that you'll never even think of using. And now the suites are all organized so that you are always missing something, unless you get the Master Collection suite, which royally stinks. For instance Design Standard no longer has Premier or Dreamweaver, and what graphic artists doesn't do editing at sometime or another. So you look at Web Premium does not have Premier either?? What web guy doesn't need video editing? So you're forced to buy the Master collection which is ridiculously expensive to get everything. And obviously Adobe doesn't care, just look at their discussion boards of angry customers.

Yes, you can get the cloud now, but it's just a hassle, and when you add it all up (unless you're diligent with turning products on and off). It may even cost you even more than suite versions in the end, and you see a monthly bill that you have to budget for. And even then, Manga Studio and Corel (and Paint Tool Sai) products will still cost you far less than even the annualized cloud price and be at your beck-and-call daily. And likely not need upgrading every 6-9 months.

And every creator needs a script editing tool like Microsoft Word. But I have kicked the MS Office habit and expense by using Apache's Open Office. This is free software and works just fine with regular Office stuff. Just save in Word and Excel format. I've even heard of people using Open Office for making their comic books in a pinch.
http://www.openoffice.org/

Some other options for free comic art would be Gimp for coloring and then InkScape for lettering.
http://getgimp.com
http://inkscape.org

Also you can find an excellent alternative to Adobe products in Xara. Xara Photo & Graphic Designer ($90, one time fee) is a great Photoshop substitute and their full suite of software has most everything you would need.
http://bit.ly/18lRgWO

I know that most creators are on a tight budget, like myself, and there are tons of options out there. It just takes some investigating. I'll share some more as I test and use them. Until then defend your pocketbooks! Nobody can have MY dust!

Good Luck!

Your Friend and Fan!
Mike Rickaby
Copyright 2013 CE Publishing Group

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)