Looking for some beginner advise

Hi Graphic Design People,

My daughter is a 10 year old budding designer,
Her drawing skills are frankly breath-taking to me,
she can draw realistic, lifelike renditions of anything really - but loves to do anime.

For Christmas she’s asked for a laptop,
I’ve sourced a decent Lenovo Legion & a Wacom tablet.
It’s at this point I’m kind of stuck.
What software would you recommend?

Budget wise I can strech to anything that’s going to be productive for her:
Initially I was thinking tools I’ve used in the past for web dev like photoshop or gimp
but having never done any digital drawing at all I’m at a loss.

Any help, guidance or pointers would be really appreciated.
I’d like if possible to get her started on a tool that she may end up using in a future employed role :slight_smile:

Thanks Keith

1 Like

I do most of my digital art using Photoshop. And that’s top industry standard for flat space art. But work covers my monthly license for that. I might check into the Affinity software someday soon as that’s a one-shot license deal.

A lot of the folks on the Discord channels I inhabit use ProCreate and love it, but that’s Mac iPad only. Some the younger ones use FireAlpaca which is free and cross-platform.

Here’s a question though. Illustrative art is a really tough career. It was even before the advent of computers, and now with the Artificial Intelligence softwares out there only getting better and better, there’s no telling if anyone will be able to make a living at only doing Illustration.

Maybe your daughter would like to dabble in the 3D realm. Adobe has some fairly simple flat animation software (Animate) and while their 3D software (Dimension) isn’t seen all that often (at least not in the crazy exhibit world I work in) it could possibly be a stepping stone. I’m not saying there are a plethora of jobs in 3D either, but it might outlive flat illustration. There will always be a place for good artists. But ‘good’ is always dependent on the style the client needs for their message. Lifelike renditions and anime might not be it. I get it she’s only 10. Let kids be kids. As long as she’s having fun, have at it!

I’d take that $1500 and put it into actual art supplies and lessons with a live teacher who can give direct feedback and guidance. You could outfit an impressive little studio with that much, and expand her opportunity to explore different media. IMO, 10 is too early to be channeling a kid into a career, especially one as perilous as illustration. Get her a laptop for high school, but not 4th grade. Too early.

1 Like

Thx Printdriver & Mojo.
The Photoshop (creative cloud) I can get a decent price for the student license, so is definitely an option - and ill check out the FireAlpaca which sounds & looks fantastic.
Your spot on - I agree with both comments 10 is young for pursuing a career - that’s not my intention at all and if she spends all her lappy time playing fortnite so be it.
I’m just trying to encourage and maybe get her using a pro tool - she’s already doing minecraft & roblox maps for fun on my workstation. When I was her age I was doing dBase II on DOS & I’d sold my first home built pc - none of which I do now - did come across some dBase III code in a delphi app last year mind you…
Art supplies we have by the crateful, our home is filled with wonderful creations.
Classes are limited & in demand in my area: pottery and photography are the current ones keeping her busy, and an art tutor I’m on a waiting list - not as long as the list for Judo lessons though strangely.
Ta Much KeithM

A friend of mine has a talent like this. I was in my 20s and her karate teacher she was about 10 and she drew a photo realistic sketch of the class.

Now she’s 30, we are good friends, and she’s a very talented and successful tattoo artist! And she has done some work for big animation studios.

Incredible the story is similar.

Digital drawing is probably the future.

But you could perhaps get into some animation classes, art classes, painting etc.

Just keep encouraging and suggesting fun ways to make it part of everyday.

I just fear the computer side of things might stifle slightly as technology moves so fast.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud requires an ongoing monthly subscription fee. The applications are Adobe’s professional tools — not beginner tools designed for curious 10-year-olds. However, whether they’re appropriate for your 10-year-old is something only you can determine.

A cheaper alternative to Adobe software is the Affinity Suite applications, which are also professional-grade tools, minus the ongoing monthly fees. If you do buy either the Adobe or Affinity products, your child will need a computer capable of using them without frustrating memory-related delays. The usual 8MB of memory won’t cut it — 16 is something of a minimum.

You also mentioned a Wacom tablet, which is a drawing tablet and entirely different from tablet computers. Wacom tablets are meant as peripherals to computers — they don’t work on their own.

A suggestion for a 10-year-old exploring art and design, might be a Microsoft Surface Laptop that combines a real laptop with the ability to use a stylus to draw directly on the screen rather than only using a mouse or buying a Wacom tablet. I’ve never. used one myself, so I’m not recommending them. Instead, I’m suggesting that you might look into them.

anything at all would do a 10 year old

Gimp is free
Inkscape is free

You can go the professional route and professional grade software which will be much changed by the time your child is ready for a profession.

You might find something here
https://www.adobe.com/education/k12.html

Or approach your school about this as an optional extra.

I wouldn’t say Adobe or Affinity would be appropriate learning curve for a 10 year old though.

You’ve already received some great advice, so I’ll add just one little thing—learning to draw by hand (without computer help) can be a very valuable skill, particularly because drawing by hand is so fast (much faster than from scratch by computer) and if she wants to become a design professional this skill will save her a lot of wasted creative time and save her clients a lot of unnecessary charges.

1 Like

I would recommend software like Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Photo, GIMP and CorelDraw.

Thank for all your great advise folks I really appreciate it,
I’m going to set up a few apps this weekend and test them out with the lappy & wacom.

I setup FireAlpaca on my own lappy just because I loved the name (old firebird dev),
Its got an easy cartoon layout and an absolute ween of web tutorials.
this looks like the very boy for her starting out.
Think its a Gimp branch so its got some bones.

I’m going to spend some time looking at the photography apps mentioned as well,
I’m pretty sure the tutor uses Affinity Photo so its worth a look.

Drawing - by far her number one thing since she could hold a pencil and will probably remain so for a long time, don’t think this has a hope in hell of replacing that - but the lappy will definitely open other avenues. Years ago I bought a large scanner to digitise everything paper created and that library (with photo & video) has grown into terrabytes, wonder what she will make of it - soo exciting.

Much Obliged for al the help.