What Photoshop equipment/programs would you recommend for a beginner?


  • Pro

    @Coreyartus Very well said! There is just so much you can do with Photoshop, it's good to remember that not all of that can possibly apply to everyone. I really like using Photoshop's vector tools but have rarely encountered other who do. Also I recently discovered Photoshop has animation capabilities. Did you guys know that? LOL neither did I and I've been using Photoshop for 15 years!



  • @Coreyartus well said and a great analogy. I may want to interview you for my dissertation. It's about teaching and learning Photoshop.



  • Interesting topic!
    So I understand there are only one or 2 softwares that compare to photoshop when it comes to illustration.

    From those who are fully equiped, could you tell me what budget I would need to start with for a basic equipment and basic software features?

    At the moment I have a 13 year old mac book (which unfortunately does not support SVS videos 😢) and... that s pretty it! As I am not into tech, I have also no experience at all. Do I need to acquire a surface tablet and a pen?

    I would like to be able to try quickly variation in my compositions and clean the background before printing / editing. I am not a professional and dont want to be... just working on a book for hobby.

    Many thanks all!



  • @Julia You do need a computer that can run the software, if it has trouble playing videos then you probably need a new one. 13 years is pretty old for a computer- I usually have to think about upgrading parts in my PC every 4-5 years. Most digital art software websites list what the minimum / reccomended requirements for your computer should be but unless you want to do 3D modelling as well you won't need a really expensive one or fancy system to start with. When it comes to software there are lots of choices these days- I wrote an article that might be helpful for you here, although the focus is on digital painting it is relevant to illustration in general: https://medium.com/the-art-squirrel/whats-the-best-software-for-beginners-to-digital-painting-86efe527a2a1
    Personally I think Krita, the Affinity Suite and Clip Studio Paint are really great and are used by beginners and proffesionals. I think they work on tablets as well which could be useful. Nothing against Photoshop, but I stopped using it so much after finding Krita and Affinity Photo. I still have an old version of it that works fine, but Adobe are actually working on a new thing called Adobe Fresco which will be more tailored to artists anyway, so it will be interesting to see how that develops. A lot of Illustrators are using tablets as well as desktop computers these days so that might be an option to think about as well.


  • SVS OG

    @Julia hi! You don’t really need a surface tablet. If you’re just doing this for a hobby a simple drawing tablet like the wacom Intuos would suffice. They cost below a hundred dollars. Or you can get something more affodable from Huion or XP-Pen. Also there are a lot of free photoshop alternative softwares like Gimp, Krita, etc. They’ll do nicely for the type of work that you do. I hope this helps.



  • @charitymunoz I would actually recommend Clip Studio Paint over Photoshop for a beginner. It has all the same capabilities (plus some special features for making comics) but is way cheaper! It’s on sale right now for a single payment of $25! I just got rid of my Adobe subscription and switched and it’s been great, and a huge money saver. https://www.clipstudio.net/en



  • I think Clip Studio Paint is running a 50% sale right now. . . just throwing that in there! I've been using Photoshop for over 20 years, but I'm tempted to make the leap over to Clip Studio.


  • SVS OG

    @RajSolankiArt @TessaW Is there a reason to get Clip Studio if a person doesn't have a graphics tablet? I do traditional art and use Procreate on my iPad for any digital work or tweaks to my traditional work but that sale is really tempting. Do you think Clip Studio will do enough things without a tablet that would make it beneficial for digitally enhancing traditional art?



  • @demotlj I haven't used procreate, so I have no clue how they compare. Clip studio seems geared more toward drawing and painting on the computer, and is not as heavy on it's photo editing capabilities when compared to photoshop, but it definitely has functions that can be used to enhance traditional art. I think it would depend on just what kind of editing and enhancing you are going for. I've downloaded Clip Studio's free trial and am trying to go through all the features I regularly use in photoshop to see if it can be done in Clip Studio. So far it matches up pretty well for the functions I use.

    As @Nyrryl-Cadiz has mentioned, Krita and Gimp are free and they probably have the functions you need for digitally enhancing your traditional art, without having to purchase anything. The reason I'm interested specifically in Clip Studio rather than Krita and Gimp, is because of it's relative simplicity, "drawing feel", and it's 3D reference capabilities.



  • @demotlj Good question, I think it depends on what you want to do with it. But I know Clip Studio can also be used on an iPad, so you wouldn't have to go out and buy a graphics tablet.



  • If you can use Procreate on an iPad with Apple Pencil, it is awesome and a 1 time purchase that’s pretty reasonable ($30ish) for an awesome program with a really active community around it. It’s pretty good at being intuitive.

    Affinity designer is also pretty easy to use, but a little more complex feeing than Procreate, but that could just be my personal preference.

    I think photoshop can run on your surface tablet, so if you have a nice pen, just do that. Keep it easy! There’s always some sale, so sign up for their emails.

    What’s helped me learn the drawing programs are YouTube videos, and knowing I don’t have to use ALL the tools and all the bells and whistles. It’s ok to just use the built in brushes and pick like 1 or 2 favorites and go from there. Like at the art store, I want to buy all the paints and markers and stuff, but I can’t, so I just draw with what I really need.. same is true for all those options in a program. They tempt me because they are free, but I know it’s better if I pick just a limited edit.

    Also, have fun! If it isn’t fun, pick a different tool. It’s about the art, not the tools.



  • @Christine-Garner thank you so much Christine for the detailed information. I'll check out your article and also have a look at a tablet, Nyrryl also says this is a good option for a limited budget. I kind of knew that I would need to invest, hopefully Santa will help me this year to be better equipped! thanks again a lot!



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Hello Nyrryl, yes! you are right, that should maybe be a more suitable option. Hard to decide when one is not a tech person! but I do see how time I spend on drawing, copying, re-drawing, etc. when time is my most limited resource! thanks again for taking time to advise me. Cheers!


  • SVS OG

    @Julia Hi Julia. I, like you . do books for a hobby. I have found 3 FREE programs that I am learning to use. Not sure if they work with Apple computers though. They are Inkscape (Illustrator subsitute), GIMP (photoshop substitute). and Krita a painting program that you can use a tablet with. They all work with each other. I suggest using GIMP for cleaning up drawings to print. I use the clone tool and that's about all I have ever needed just to clean things up. If they don't have these programs for Apple, maybe there are some other ones. Maybe you can look up Freeware for Macintosh and see if you can find anything.


Log in to reply