Plasq's Comic Draw is an impressive little program that gives you the ability to draw directly on an iPad screen using a graphics pen. This comic book program also happens to be one of the easiest drawing programs to use. It does have one major downside however – it is only compatible with the iPad, so you cannot use it on your computer or Android tablet. The tools don't respond as well on an iPad as they would for a graphics tablet with stronger drawing programs, but the outcome is still good. Since the interface is so simple, this program is perfect for both the beginning artist and the professional.
While at first glance this app seems like the least expensive option, it actually requires additional purchases in conjunction with the app to get the most out of it. First off, you'll need an iPad. If you already have one, this works out great. If not, you'll need to spend additional money (typically between $150 and $700) to purchase one. Having the mobility to draw wherever you want might just make this software worth it.
You can draw using your fingers, but you'll need a graphics pen like the Apple Pencil if you want to get the most precise and lifelike strokes. Graphics pens can range anywhere from $10 to $100. Just make sure you determine how well specific brands respond to your movements and if they are compatible with your iPad.
Here’s fair warning: Although I liked being able to quickly zoom in and out or rotate the image using my fingers, it was equally easy and really frustrating to accidentally touch my palms or fingers to the screen and add brush marks to my project. You might want to consider buying a drawing glove to prevent any accidental markings.
Comic Book & Manga Tools
Something I loved is that you can add Perspective Guides to your work; you simply drag them around until you find the angles you want to use. This makes it so you can easily sketch tall buildings, landscapes or character poses accurately and dynamically. The program uses layers so you can draw on one layer without changing or affecting the lower sketches. Comic Draw doesn't have premade panels; however, it makes it super easy to create your own. And since it focuses on being a basic drawing program, there are no premade characters, backgrounds or props for you to use. Like most of the other programs we tested, this one allows you to easily create word balloons but there is no spell checker.
In addition to creating your own drawings, this program helps you set up professionally formatted scripts. A cheat sheet even explains what symbols to use to specify dialogue, prologue and sound effects. You can have your drawings or your script take up the entire screen, or have them both displayed and ready to edit simultaneously. You can add multiple pages to one project or link existing projects together in the main menu.
Digital Painting Tools
Obviously, drawing tablets and screens have more sensitivity than an iPad, but I was able to make relatively detailed sketches on my iPad. Unlike other advanced drawing and painting programs like Clip Studio Paint EX, this software simplifies the interface, making it easier to find pencils, brushes, ink and other tools you need without cluttering up the workspace. While you can change the opacity of your strokes, there are no gradient tools, so you'll have to get creative with the opacity settings in order to add shading.
Tutorials & Support
The trial version only lasts 14 days, which should give you plenty of time to see if you're interested in purchasing it. As I was learning more about this software, I found myriad tutorials on YouTube, both by the company and from fellow users. The Plasq website also has a vibrant community forum so you can interact with other users to learn tricks or get advice. The only way to contact Plasq for product support is via email.
Since this program is solely available on the Apple App Store, you will need an internet connection to download it. However, day-to-day use won't necessarily require Wi-Fi unless you intend on sharing your creations with others. When you are done creating your comics, you can save them as PSD, JPEG, PNG, ePUB, Comic Draw or PDF files. You can also share your creations directly to email or use AirDrop to send to other iPad users nearby.
Comic Draw is the perfect choice for iPad owners wanting an inexpensive yet powerful comic drawing program. The interface is simplified compared to advanced software, but it still provides plenty of drawing tools to make it a viable choice. If you already have an iPad, you can't beat the low price of this app, especially considering the professional level of art you can create with it. We found this software responded beautifully to our graphics pen and gave us the look and feel we were trying to make in our comics.
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