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So, I figured out a tad more about the Gimp over the past couple days. (Prophetically enough, Mark V. posted on Wednesday a suggestion that I check out the Gimp, as well as InkScape–more on that shortly.) I mentioned last time that I’ve had to explore some Photoshop alternatives, and so I naturally gave the Gimp–Photoshop’s open source cousin–a shot. I just downloaded the latest version–2.8–in which, thankfully, some of my pet peeves (different text weights in a single text string, anyone?) were resolved, but not all, and some new complexities were added. I’m all for learning new software, but not when I’m pressed for time, and not when relatively simple things are made (seemingly) arbitrarily different from my expectations. (Here’s a good example, related to handling of pressure sensitivity.)

Didn’t mean to start out on a complainy tone, by the way. Just wanted to add a little more context to my report on software exploration. The good news is that I now know a little bit more about how to work with the Gimp–I was able to get Friday’s strip composited and prepped totally in Gimp this go ’round. The bad news is it still doesn’t do everything I want in quite the way I want it. The most basic concern may be with line quality–I tried drawing Friday’s speech balloons in Gimp, and they were all wobbly and… icky looking. :) Good news the second, though: I was at least able to figure out how to stop Manga Studio from turning my gray pencil art into screentones, so I could finish up the balloons with those nice smooth Manga Studio lines.

The other big push for Friday’s experiment was drawing style. I had some fun flipping back and forth between Wednesday’s strip and Friday’s; it’s fascinating to me how I’ve stumbled into putting so much detail and precision into my drawings. Friday’s goal was to put some of the “cartoon” back in.

What did you think?

Oh, a last thought, on InkScape. I so wanted to love this program. I started playing with it a couple years ago, and it has done so much right, but I can’t yet get around certain fundamentals. For example, each line I draw becomes a separate object, which makes quickly erasing and modifying those lines challenging, as I have to carefully select each line I want to tweak before I go in with the eraser. (Mind you, I haven’t checked in lately to see if there’s an improvement in the newest version…)

Hey, parting note: If you have insight into any of these different apps I’ve struggled with, I would love to hear from you! :D


  1. Mark V

    Inkscape has improved enough in terms of stability that I use it for
    all of my inking, but it is still very much a “tweak-one-path-at-a-time”
    model (so I suspect it might still be a frustrating fit to your workflow).
    It may still be worth looking at for lettering and compositing.

    I made a quick screencast of a few minutes of setting up a page and
    starting to ink it, in case you’d like to see what the current path
    editing tools look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_66PgsHeUQ

  2. Chris

    Thanks for the insight, Mark. Even with the last version of Inkscape I used, I recall thinking the linework it produced was pretty good. Now, I prefer inking freehand, so it was interesting to see you using the pen tool for this. Thanks for sharing the video!

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