About programs that you can use to make art

There are many, many programs out there to make or edit images. Some are more popular than others, and some specialize in creating certain types of images. Many are even free. Since there's a lot of choices to pick from, I've selected a number of useful programs and listed them here.

Raster Editors

  • MS Paint (XP and older)
    A staple of Microsoft's Windows systems, this comes with the system. It's often attacked and criticized, as people that use it are often beginners who aren't very good with computers. However, if you know what you're doing this program can be very useful and produce good images. That said, it really is a bare-bones program and lacks features that most other programs have.
  • MS Paint (Vista, 7)
    When Microsoft produced Windows Vista, they produced a radically different MS Paint. Unfortunately, while some things improved, the changes weren't all for the better.
  • GIMP
    GIMP, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, is a powerful program that tries to compete with Adobe's Photoshop. It has many of the same features and is very useful for editing images. However, it's seen as complex and unintuitive in comparison to other image editors. It's free to use, and can be downloaded from here for Windows users. Linux systems often come with it or have it in their respective repositories.
  • Kolourpaint
    Kolourpaint is an image editor that's found in the KDE software suite. It's largely a clone of the MS Paint from before Windows Vista, but it also has a number of features that make it more powerful than MS Paint. If you like how the older MS Paint worked, check this out. Linux users can find this in their repositories with KDE. Windows users need to get KDE for Windows and then find it in the installer. They should take caution however: KDE for Windows is not yet ready for everyday use and might be a bit buggy. I use it anyway (and there are a few minor bugs I've run across), but you might not want to get it just yet.
  • Adobe Photoshop
    Photoshop is by far the most famous raster graphics editor out there. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of this, so I cannot say anything more about it other than include it here for a more complete list. You can find it and a trial version at Adobe's website.


Vector Editors

  • Inkscape
    Inkscape is a free program for working with vector graphics. Among other things, it has a number of unique and useful features, such as several shape drawing tools and some effects filters. It can be found here, though Linux users should check their distro's repository first.
  • Adobe Flash
    If you've done pretty much anything online in the last decade, you've run across Flash at least once. While the program is largely used to make small programs for websites, it's also a very powerful drawing tool. However, it's a tad on the pricy side, so you might not want to jump in and buy this right away. There is a trial version of the program available at Adobe's website if you want to try it first. Note that my copy is very ancient, so anything I have to say about this program might be out of date. It's my favorite drawing program, Kolourpaint being a close second.