View Full Version : Should I buy Artrage?

11-11-2010, 01:29 AM
Hi everyone. I need a bit of advice if there's anyone here who can help me.

My 10 year old son has put a graphics tablet and software top of his Christmas wish list this year. Now I know absolutely nothing about art and not too much about computers but he is into Manga in a big way and he's actually pretty good. Would Artrage be a good package for him to use with a graphics tablet to learn how to do it digitally?


11-11-2010, 02:25 AM
Art Rage can certainly be used to draw comics/Manga and it is good for a lot more in its ability to mimic oils, watercolors, pastel for fine art and illustration purposes. It is an easy program to open and start using pretty quickly -- the interface is really straight forward. I find the inking tools ion ArtRage to be very responsive.

There is a product called mangastudio (http://manga.smithmicro.com/index_ex.html) that is probably more tuned to that specialty -- but I have never used it and cannot comment on how easy it is or what bugs may be present.


11-11-2010, 02:31 AM
ArtRage is a great introduction to creating drawings and paintings on a computer. You can pick it up and get results straight away, using tools like the pencil and crayons that will be immediately familiar and responsive. As you get to understand the power of the software, things like Photoshop compatible layers with blending modes come into play, expanding what you can achieve.

Is it a dedicated Manga style software - no. Is manga style possible in it - oh yes. Just about any style is, with a bit of practice. The traditional skills used in real media will serve you well in AR.

There is a dedicated Manga creation software called 'Manga Studio', that includes all you would need to create a comic strip, with boxes, text, effects lines, half tone screens and anything else you could think of. I have it, but have it but finding it very technical (admittedly I'm a berk of the first order though) have never got to grips with it.

My recommendation would be to start with AR for its ease of use and potential for great results. It is relatively inexpensive as well. If that whets your appetite and you find it does not fulfill all your Manga style ambitions, then I would check out Manga Studio more.

11-11-2010, 02:48 AM
Thanks for the replies guys, I've chosen a graphics tablet and I think I'll download Artrage for my son to begin with.

If he can produce art half as good as yours Nick I'm sure he'll be very happy!

11-11-2010, 02:53 AM
Manga Studio is complicate and non-intuitive
ArtRage does a lot more and better things than Manga Studio, so it's better to buy ArtRage 3 Studio
It's Ink Pen is perfect for drawing cartoons, manga and anime styles, and the other tools are fine for coloring

11-11-2010, 05:23 AM
I totally think AR is NOT for comic art- you CAN though, but it doesn't mean you should. AR's not the best option for manga art. Since your kid is still learning digital art or manga, I think getting him a Photoshop (or Photoshop Element, usually free) would help him the most- he is going to learn it anyway.

I agree with Nickillus' Comic Studio choice.

11-11-2010, 05:59 AM
I totally think AR is NOT for comic art- you CAN though, but it doesn't mean you should. AR's not the best option for manga art. Since your kid is still learning digital art or manga, I think getting him a Photoshop (or Photoshop Element, usually free) would help him the most- he is going to learn it anyway.

I agree with Nickillus' Comic Studio choice.

Then better to use GIMP, it's free and mostly can do what Photoshop does

11-11-2010, 06:03 AM
I see you're downloading the demo, so there may no longer be a point in making this post. However, in the off chance you're still looking for some opinions, I'll chime in with a few of my thoughts.

You didn't mention which AR you were interested in, so instead of touching on reasons to get any AR, I'll explain why you might want to go with AR Studio Pro (I must warn you, this may come off sounding like an advertisement, but the truth is I'm just that satisfied with this program):
1 - Ink Tool
Manga usually deals with fine, flowing lines. ArtRage Studio Pros Ink Tool accommodates this, by allowing a user to choose the type of head (circle or square) the pen uses, the amount of pressure that may be applied to the stroke (for variance in line thickness) and the smoothing settings, which can be manually adjusted to help keep lines nice and smooth for those with somewhat unsteady hands (like beginners may be). There is also the newly added Taper feature, which can be used to handle your line thickness for you.

2 - Selection Types

Useful for when you've drawn a figure to far to the side of a panel, and need to nudge just that area over, or for masking a certain spot for coloring. ARSP has a number of options open for this, such as Rectangle (useful for panel creation), Ellipse (useful for speech bubble creation), Polygon (useful for everything, imo), Free Hand (for drawing the selection by hand, of course), Magic Wand (good for selecting areas of the same color), and Paint (basically acts like a mask, allowing you to color over those areas you wish to select).
3 - Fill Tool

Good for filling in large areas with color. There is a setting for this tool, which allows you to fill in an area between lines, but on it's own layer. This is useful for the following point of interest...
4 - Transparency Lock
Just use the Fill tool to color in a part of your character on a new layer. Click on the Transparency lock for that layer, and shade away, worry free from going outside the lines.
5 - Sticker Sheets and the Sticker Spray Tool that uses them
Stickers can be used to do number of things, ranging from making ready to use thought bubbles, to Sticker Sprays that make unique lines. Useful for adding just the right touch to those fireballs the main character throws. And what's a manga without speed lines? Make them quickly and easily, by creating your own sticker for them, or check the forums for people who may have already done so http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v292/someonesane/emotes/shifty.gif: Comic book Odds and Ends (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31728).
6 - Stencils and the Ruler
The stencils and the ruler are provided in all of the currently available AR programs, but they're to good not to mention anyhow. Especially the ruler.
♦ Stencils can be made from any image or even layers you've just drawn on within the program itself. Use stencils for anything from added textures over areas (like halftones) or masking areas off, to keep color from getting in there.

♦ The Ruler (being similar to a stencil) is unique. With tabs that allows us to drag the ends out to easily make it longer or shorter, and marked with proper measuring points, the ruler is perfect for doing thing like 2 point and 3 point perspective.
Of course, this isn't to say you couldn't, or even shouldn't, go with ArtRage 2.5 over ArtRage Studio Pro. Since you are getting the program for your ten year old son, there's a possibility he won't need or even want to use most of these features. And it's not like anything mentioned couldn't be done using the older versions of the program in a different way. It may take a bit longer, because it'd have to be done in a work around sort of way, but it should all be possible.

I've posted some images I created at the bottom of this post, that relate in some way to a "Manga" style. They were all created using some version of the ArtRage program (2.6 - Pro). Also, here's an old video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8ojGDNJQBA) I made of myself drawing Lee, from Naruto. I made the video around the time I had first bought ArtRage 2.5, so it should give you a good idea of how the older version of the program can be also be used to get decent results in Manga images.

http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/files/3/3/4/2/spider_man_b308_thumb.jpg (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=13159&c=member&imageuser=3342) http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/files/3/3/4/2/sherlockholmes_colored_thumb.jpg (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=7350&c=member&imageuser=3342)

http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/files/3/3/4/2/goten_thumb.jpg (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=5624&c=member&imageuser=3342) http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/files/3/3/4/2/cartoonelf_colored_by_gaeton_thumb.jpg (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=7349&c=member&imageuser=3342)

http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/files/3/3/4/2/ss_hallow_style_naruto_thumb.jpg (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=4238&c=member&imageuser=3342)

11-11-2010, 12:45 PM
artrage could make manga really simple with the use of stencils and the illustration pen. To me, seems like it would be a great way to have fun drawing manga. Of course the best method of learning I would think would be drawing on a sketchpad and using a real nib pen with ink or an illustration pen. Once he learns how to do it in real life he will play more intelligently with the software. imo.

11-13-2010, 05:27 AM
Of course the best method of learning I would think would be drawing on a sketchpad and using a real nib pen with ink or an illustration pen. Once he learns how to do it in real life he will play more intelligently with the software. imo.

Yes, I agree that it is important to keep to the old pencil and paper routine, as well. Especially when learning. Though, it's possible he's excited to work on the computer, so that he may share his creations with his friends online, which is also a good motivator. I suppose a scanner would work in that case, as well.

Mike Severoff
11-13-2010, 05:32 AM
I think you have engines in the right direction. :)
"ArtRage" is a better choice. For such an advanced child prodigy, and for all members of your family.

11-13-2010, 06:52 AM
Manga is certainly possible with this program. It may not be the most ideal, but for your situation, I would suggest Artrage over some of the other stuff mentioned. Your son is young and interested in manga right now, which is wonderful, but he may change his art style as he gets older. Kids get into middle school and high school and more art exposure and all other sorts of things change around them that have an affect on what kind of things they like.

At that point he may wish to explore other types of art. Artrage can do that without spending extra money on tools or programs to "try" new things. Or (and I hope this never happens... ) he may grow out of art entirely and then you've spent a lot of money on a program that isn't going to be used. The digital tablets are useful in many ways so that is not such a bad buy, but spending money on a program isn't something I would do easily, unless he was asking for a specific program. Artrage could cover many aspects (school projects, ect.) and even be passed along to another person who may not be as interested in manga.

AR is also a lot easier to grasp, like others have said. Someone young would be picking up the tools he's used to seeing in art class. My niece is 8 and loves to play with the artrage program everytime she visits.

I'm not familiar with PS Elements but I am fairly familiar with GIMP it is free and has alot of options, it's also very similar to photoshop so things he'd learn with it could carry over. But there is a learning curve with GIMP and Photoshop. Sometimes impatience and learning can take the fire out of something new and interesting.

He could use both programs. Many of us use several types of programs because we find one to be able to perform certain things better than the other.

I'm still in the AR vote box, but GIMP is definitely something to explore. I would shy away from something manga/comic specific, unless he's done some research and asked for something in particular. I say this only because kids change their minds so easily.

11-16-2010, 01:06 AM
Thanks everyone for your opinions, they have been helpful to me. I think I will go with Artrage for now and let him have some fun experimenting with it. It's true (and very probable) that he may change his style in the future, so I would like a program that allows him to do that. He is only 10 so he won't want to spend hours learning how to use a program, he'll just want to dive straight in and draw. It seems like this will do the job perfectly.

Thanks again for all the replies.

11-16-2010, 08:04 AM
there are allot of great drawing/painting programs to find on the net
My pref and easy to work / learn with is Artrage
another one that is not much notice on the forum is 'Artweaver'
there is a free version like there is the demo version of Artrage
I use it from time to time, it look's a bit like painter, but is not that big and much easier to learn/understand

05-06-2015, 03:39 PM
This thread helped me choose ArtRage over Manga Studio. I am just learning how to draw. Last night, I had purchased ArtRage. I am purely a newbie at drawing beyond electronic schematics.