More Platforms for Creating Digital Comics

by Matt Russell - Posted 1 week ago

Good day to you gallant vigilantes. Today I am bringing you a review of some of my fav apps and programs for creating digital comics. We have talked about this before so I will be staying away from those I listed before such as Photoshop, Affinity, and Gimp.

Let me start by stating that I have been doing this for a while so I haven’t worried about prices as much. They have been tax write offs. A few programs, I was able to get from my job as a teacher.

Along with teaching Programming, I teach Interactive Media Graphics. As a result, when I need a new program such as Photoshop or Affinity, the state of Idaho pays for it. I will try to remember to include prices for you as well.

Clip Studio

Formally Manga Studio, this is the top program. This one does it all. My strangely favorite part is the fact you can see every page in order along the left-hand side, PowerPoint style. Gives you a quick reference for your entire book. Is that weird?

Well, it has every bell and whistle you could want in a comic creation program from scene creation, perspective tools, bundling. It does it all. Take it from concept to coloring. It is the most complete. I love the fact that you can even do the sound effects and word balloons.

They now have an iPad version. I honestly can’t speak to that as I used the desktop version only. My review will be coming soon.

Drawing a face with Clip Studio used for Editorial purposes only

Sketchbook Pro

God, I love this one. I used this all the time for a while I eventually found something better (more about that later).

The thing I really liked about it was how smoothly the pencils came out. I don’t honestly like trying to put them all together but for a single page, this is it. Even just a single panel.

I started out by drawing each panel individually and placing it on the page in Photoshop. By combining the power of these 2, I had a great deal of control. Due to time restrains, I would usually send this off to my inker and let him use whatever program he used (I never asked).

The iPad app is rather watered down from the desktop version. It is still pretty convenient for portability. Works very well with the apple pencil.

Just like any WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editors online this is only for drawing only. Although it has a clean look, it is because it is not near as comprehensive as the Slip Studio or Affinity.

To do the inking, you have to modify the brushes a lot. You can find a ton of tutorials on how to do this online. It isn’t necessarily made for comics so, to get it right, you have to play with it a little.

Like all major drawing apps, you can get it to do exactly what you want as long as you have the time to set it up and really play around with it. A lot of customization goes a long way.

Once again, for pencils A++. For everything else, it might be a struggle.

image used for Editorial purposes only. Spaceship on a distant planet

Pro Create

I love this program. The pencils are top notch, almost as good as Sketchbook Pro but it does so much more. It works so well with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I can’t sing enough praises of this program. Love it, love it, love it!!!

The perspective tools, painting, brushes…everything you will ever need in an entire studio all for the single price of $9.99. Holy cow! It was during my Procreate days that I moved out of my studio and onto the couch. My posture is now shot, but I see sunlight again.

There is a little heavy drainage on my battery but it is well worth it. There is a “pocket” or free version of this but forget about it unless you are just getting it for your kids to draw sometimes.

Side note, when you are using this, I would only use the Apple Pencil or a hard tip bamboo stylus. Don’t even try with any other one.

Portrait painting 08062019 by Vincent Chu used for Editorial Purposes only

Comic Draw

What would ever make me leave Pro Create? Well, only 1 program EVER! A while back our Art Director here at Crypto Comics Andrew Frey told me about an app that he found. I watched a video and bought it instantly. It cost $14 but it was a 1 time, one and done.

Comic Draw is by far, hands down, without question my personal favorite. I have a keyboard connected via Bluetooth and can do everything from type up a script, thumbnail it, draw it up panel by panel, ink it and color it.

To top it off, I can then pull in a speech bubble and type away with the perfect font and even add in sound effects. All in 1 app.

When I am finally done with a comic, I can then export it into pdf format and upload it to our system. This is beauty, elegant, well rounded, and perfect. When I’m working on a comic, this is my end all choice.

Image of a comic page in progress used for Editorial purposes only

Other Choices

I still teach Photoshop and use Affinity and Illustrator to come up with my perfect comic titles, but in the end, how can you top Comic Draw? If you use another program, please let me know. I will give them a try and we might have an update or follow up to this post at your suggestion. What do you use?