This is what life looks like as a digital artist. All jokes aside, this is all you need: an iPad with an Apple Pencil, a desk and a chair. You will also need a lamp so you can see your coffee cup, because you will be working well past your bedtime.
There are variations to this set up, some people still like the fossilized computer, or a traditional laptop with an antiquated Wacom tablet. But for the most part, this is the dull drab appearance of a digital artist and author. Personally, I find the traditional laptop and tablet combo inconvenient and expensive. The Adobe Creative Suite alone sets you back $600 per year, let alone the $1,500 laptop and the $400 Wacom tablet.
A basic iPad along with an Apple Pencil will get the job done, both will put you out about $350, and if purchase Procreate, another $10, (or Medibang Paint for free). Done, congratulations, you’re in the digital art business.
There are several apps that I swear by as a digital artist, a few of them you may have heard of.
No. 1 – Procreate. Procreate hands down is the best drawing and art creation experience ever. You can customize pretty much anything from brushes to layout. Now that it also has text capabilities, you really do not have to look anywhere else.
No. 2 – Comic Draw. While this is dedicated to comic artists, there are certain things that are just mind-blowing awesome, such as the ability to write scripts and ideas along side of your art and drag any of those thoughts right onto the image making it dynamic art. It is the only app on the market that can create press-ready/print quality PDFs. I put together both of my books with this app. The books are called Snootle, which is a full-color book with nearly 100 pages, and Snootle In: How To Treat Your Puppy, which is a full-color children’s book.
No. 3 – Affinity Photo. This is a very hard program to learn, not going to lie to you, but it is the only full-fledge photo-editing and art program out there. No, it really satisfy as much as Photoshop, because most artists have been indoctrinated into that work flow, but it does do most of what Photoshop does if you have the patience to learn. Plus, it is a one time purchase, which will save you thousands of dollars over the years, which brings me to it’s counterpart…
No. 4 – Affinity Designer. One stop shop for your illustrative needs. Again, hard as nails to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you will probably leave Illustrator far behind.
If you find the Affinity suite too daunting, there are two more apps I’d like to tell you about.
No. 5 – Graphic. Graphic is formerly known as iDraw. I’ve done many commissions with this app. It is easy, direct and professional to use. It is not a beefy app, but it gets the job done with the basics.
No. 6 – Pixelmator. It is not the easiest app to learn, but it is much easier than Affinity. It has the basics of photo manipulation, and it has been around forever so it is stable.