Okay, it’s not specifically for writers, but I often get asked what programs I’ve been using to create my illustrated works for young readers. Clip Studio Paint (formerly Manga Studio) has been a godsend. Here’s why:

It’s affordable. You honestly don’t have to break the bank with high-end art software. Clip Studio’s fifty bucks, one time download. No monthly subscription.

It’s not overwhelming. Well, not that overwhelming. The first time you do anything with digital art, it has a definite pat-your-belly-while-rubbing-your-head feel. But if you’ve ever used any kind of photo editing program (say, GIMP), you can pretty much hit the ground running with this one. Sidenote: I’ve been attending webinars hosted by professional artists, and I’ve been surprised to hear many admit they rely on a fairly limited number of features, even when they’re available. Most average about five brushes, and one artist whose webinar I attended confessed she never used more than a single layer in her digital art. (Even pros find what works best and they stick with it!)

It has functions that feel word processor-y. I use the lasso, cut, and paste tools in the same way I use highlight, cut, and paste when I’m writing.

It includes character models. These are posable 3D models that you can place underneath your drawing layer. These models don’t draw your characters for you, but they can help with the proportions of figures, in order to speed your workflow. If that’s clear as mud, you can view a tutorial here.

It has some great vector tools. Specifically, line correction tools and eraser tools. (The eraser tool is especially important.) You can see more at this tutorial.

Authors who have expanded into the illustrative arena: are you using a different program than Clip Studio? I’d love to hear about your own experiences. Comment or reach me directly: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

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