Creative Biz Note #24

Drawing Programs–Manga Studio vs. SketchBook

This time I’m writing about the pros and cons I discovered while testing out drawing software for my Cintiq. This is definitely a subjective view point but it may be helpful.

There’s Corel Painter, Google SketchUp, ArtRage and many others. But I chose the two stronger (drawing software) competitors– Manga Studio 4 and Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro. I know that many artists work with SketchBook Pro. SketchBook Pro is simply a drawing and coloring program. Manga is directed more to the comic book artist–from drawing, coloring to comic book layout. I’ll cut to the chase and make pro/con bullet points for each…

Manga Studio 4:
The Pros:
– end stroke adjustments are more realistic and detailed than SketchBook
– pen sensitivity is very good…it feels very natural when sketching
– basic default tools work awesome (no need to make new custom brushes)
– some key commands are the same as Photoshop (helpful) 
– if you’re making comics, then this program is great for your page layouts
– perspective ruler is amazing 
– a ton of options when it comes to screen tints (line & dot)
The Cons:
– the downside is that it’s strongly geared toward comic creators…to simply sketch you have to get rid of a bunch of guides, etc.
– loading the software was not very user-friendly
– saving files is somewhat of a mess (eg. folders within folders, etc.). Not as simple as SketchBook.
– symmetry is more difficult than it should be (though more versatile than SketchBook)
– if you adjust you screen resolution at any point, then it will shift the pen alignment and you’ll need to fix your tablet settings


SketchBook Pro:
The Pros:
– very simple and easy to pick-up
– the pricing is right
– default large screen is nice–start it up and go!
– symmetry option is much easier than Manga but not as adjustable
The Cons:
– lacking strong tool detail (it’s there but seems kinda worthless) eg. pen stroke is either too strong or too little
– end stroke control is weak
– layers system is kinda bulky and takes up screen because of thumbnail window (not necessary)
– pen sensitivity seems bad compared to Manga
– some functions move slow on my computer (my machine is more than capable) eg. I have to wait to move a selection.

To Sum It Up:
Overall, I prefer Manga to draw in because of it’s more realistic sensitivity with the Cintiq. But SketchBook is easier to learn and for sketching, it’s all you need. SketchBook ($80) has a trial download and Manga does not. I purchased Manga ($140) and will at some point we’ll be creating a comic. Not sure if there is a trial version for Art Rage ($32). I will most likely purchase SketchBook too just to have it as an option. Later. 

Next Creative Biz Note #25—Negotiating Price–What We’ve Learned So Far


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