As a cartoonist, the most useful tool in my studio (and most used) is my computer. Because I draw four features for DBR Media, I rely on my computer to streamline some of the tasks in creating my cartoons. And because of the problems I've run into with Windows (crashes, viruses, etc.), I moved to Linux.
And I was wonderfully surprised to find so many graphics software applications available for free.
The "top-shelf" graphics app in Linux is The Gimp image editor. Gimp is a PhotoShop clone of sorts. Gimp works like Photoshop, feels like PhotoShop and even opens PhotoShop .psd files.
With Gimp, you work in layers just like PhotoShop (check out the above screen shot of my feature Word Pile). In fact, you can do everything in Gimp that you can do in PhotoShop, PaintShop Pro, PhotoImpact and other image editors. You can can add color, cut, paste, clone, crop, move elements, create mattes, select areas, add filter effects,etc. It's all there! And the cost is...FREE.
(I like Gimp a lot. It's worth re-visiting.:) I've blogged about it before here and here.)
When parents ask me what kind of computer or graphics program they should give their children, I tell them to get a Linux system. All the tools a young budding artist needs are already installed. And this software is incredibly powerful. Best of all, the cost is much more affordable than a Windows system and certainly thousands less than a Mac.
Linux is perfect for the family budget. Plus, the system is secure and immune from Windows viruses.
If your child is showing signs of digital creativity, get him or her a Linux system. Linux is fast, powerful, packed with creative digital tools, and wonderfully affordable.
I use Linux to create my cartoons. You can, too.