design without the price tag

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I love Adobe Illustrator. When I was in college I used it every day. It's such a great tool for design or art. I just recently started falling for Photoshop, too. Its such a complicated program, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.
But guys... can I let you in on a little secret? I'm poor. Like, can't afford the Adobe Suite with the student discount poor. But I've still found a way to edit my photos and play with vectors. Because I have found free design replacements  If are like me, and can't possibly drop $200 plus on photo-editing software, it's definitely worth your while to have a look at these links.

by Dan-Heffer // middle: in progress Nova fan art by me // right: Nova from Starcraft)
An example of me working in Gimp. :]
Gimp is a free photo-editing software that is comparable to Photoshop. For a beginner, like any editing program, it can be hard to navigate, but there are lots of great resources on the web, so you can always find a tutorial for what you need to do. Google is your friend. At first I was skeptical about the program, thinking there was no way it was as good as the Adobe product. But for my very limited use, it's perfect. I have never run into a Photoshop tutorial I liked that I couldn't replicate with Gimp.

(silly undies piece by me - view the finished piece here)
A piece being illustrated with inkscape.

Finding an Illustrator replacement was a little more difficult, but a little research brought me to Inkscape. While it's not as in depth as illustrator, it's fit my purposes just fine. I've done all sorts of design work, drawing, and type-editing with this program. Every image for my ten things has been complied with inkscape. It's defiantly worth the amazing price tag of... free. 

I LOVE It's an amazing resource. BUT make sure you check the licensing for the font before using it for anything. It should be right above the download button. A LOT of fonts are free for personal use, but you really should never sell anything with a font on it without checking with the author, and probably donating. It's just common courtesy.'s stock images collection
I love looking through the human stock images for inspiration, and the textures aren't bad either. Though you might have to shuffle through some beginner's work, the price (free again!) makes a little bit of work worth it. Before you use any image, however, make sure to check the description. A lot of the time the original photographer/creator will ask you just to link back to their page, and send a link of your work to them. Easy, but it's important to respect their wishes.

In-home practice sketch model
Any art student will tell you that gesture sketches are the basis of any art lesson. Personally, gesture sketches help me switch to the right brain frame of mind. This site is an amazing tool for those who want to get in their gesture sketches, but don't have the money to afford a model (so... mostly everyone). You can select whether you want your model to be decent or nude, male or female, and how long you would like to sketch each pose.

Pinterest (my Design Tools board)
I don't really think I need to explain the greatness of Pinterest as a resource. You guys already know. :] I will tell you, however, that I have a whole board full of color pallets, links to free fonts and textures, and little tips and tricks to make your work more professional. Check it out, follow it, or even start your own board!

old school (cs2) Adobe Suite (free) download
And if all of these awesome free substitutes still can't fill in for the real thing in your heart, Adobe has offered up some of their old software for free on their site. So you should totally nab that while you've got the chance.

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