Calling Derby Designers/ Software Help


I am just getting into digital drawing with a graphics pad, and I’m wondering what software you folks use. What do you like? What don’t you like?

Also, tips on methods would be great. I’ve seen that some of you (maybe all of you) sketch first by hand your idea, then scan, then trace and enhance digitally.

I realize there may have already been a topic like this, but I couldn’t find it. I would be just as happy to be pointed in the right direction.

Thank you all,


Mr. Weston,
I have tried:

  1. Pencil sketch, ink the sketch, erase the pencils, scan, trace in Inkscape or Vector Magic, cleanup.
  2. Draw in GIMP, trace, cleanup.
  3. Draw in Inkscape
    I used GIMP,Inkscape and Vector Magic because they’re free. I don’t have a tablet. I also have never had a shirt printed, so you may discount this information as much as you like.

Thank you no1.
I will have to give those methods a shot.
Which one did you like the most?


Mr. Weston,

Depends on what i’m trying to draw. Very simple cartoons: Inkscape; it avoids the tracing step, which i have had trouble doing right. For more complicated designs, i prefer the ol’ pencil/pen route, because it’s hard for me to draw fine detail with a mouse. I really haven’t perfected any method, though, so it changes depending on my mood.

SILLINESS: Randomly quoted posts of no particular significance.

I think if you’re not used to GIMP, you’d do yourself a favor by starting out using Inkscape, as that is what your design probably ought to end up in anyway.

If you already draw using something like GIMP or photoshop, then you just need to figure out how to convert those drawings into vector, and for that you can use Vector Magic, or apparently Inkscape (is that right?). Personally, I use the Corel Graphic Suite, which has programs that do each of these things, but I did buy it.


:omg: I thought you used MS Paint.


Yep, vectorize in inkscape, but be careful, sometimes it will take white out or add a miscreant color if you’re not careful. I use photoshop 7 and inkscape, only because inkscape is free and photoshop was already on my work computer(shh don’t tell them).


scoff: he’s a designer now.


Oh. Silly me. Is that a step above or below an artiste? :slight_smile:


Ms. K,
I would, except the demons who run the Derby have decreed that none of the formats supported by Paint are acceptable for Derby entries.


each group would assert they are a step above the other


Dr. J,
I’m not a designer unless I can point to a physical object that I have designed. Right now I’m just a derby-contest-entry-space-taker-upper. You, on the other hand…


Mr. Qubed,
If I ever succeed in the Derby, it will be because I step on the necks of giants.


Update: Now that I have a tablet, I’m trying a new process!,_Nessie,_Fly!-jprg1q-d.jpg,_Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-g014r4-d.jpg

The first and the last were sketched with a tablet in GIMP, imported into Inkscape, tablet-traced with the calligraphy tool, and bitmaps were exported to GIMP for the comp and detail images. The others were drawn in Paint (and a mouse!) and computer-traced in Inkscape.

edit: some of the cross-hatching was done in Inkscape.


I have heard that using a non photo blue pencil for hand sketches can eliminate the need to erase after inking since the blue won’t scan. And Vector Magic is no longer a free to use program, so you’re better off learning inkscape for that. I bought my daughter a 6x8 Lapazz tablet which someone in one of these forums had posted a link to. It works great with inkscape, and cost me a whole $36 + shipping ( special). Good luck.


I’ll give my process, which isn’t that different from anyone elses, but what the hey.

  1. I do my sketch on a ring bound sketchbook. I get the pencil version as clean as I desire.
  2. I layer another (usually printer paper) sheet on top of the image and use a lightbox to trace.
  3. I scan the image into photoshop, adjust brightness/contrast for crisp lines, and erase any noise (marks) that may be on the image
  4. I run that edited image through LiveTrace in Illustrator to smooth out the lines
  5. With the clean, smooth image ready, I go back to Photoshop and do my coloring, resizing, editing, and so on.
  6. When my image is ready. I save a copy as a jpeg (but leave psd for later editing if needed
  7. I run LiveTrace on the finished image and save as a SVG (provided I’m satisfied with my result)

That’s generally my methodology. You could (I’ve heard) do the same steps just replacing Illustrator and Photoshop with your own vector and pixel based software. I hope this helps.


Mine is similar to gumiho, though I stay exclusively with Illustrator for all but the final comps (which get done in PhotoShop).

Trace on paper (usually blank sheets).
Scan into Paint shop Pro 9 (love that program- use if for ALL of my photochop work)
Place scan into Illustrator. Make layer 50% transparent (or whatever is needed to lighten the trace marks). Lock the layer.
Create new layer. Grab the pen tool (or pencil or brush tool if using the tablet).
Trace each major shape until done.
If I’m happy with it, I then delete the scanned original layer, then dink with it until done.

I’m finding out the hard way that LESS IS MORE when it comes to designs. IE- Cho does more with several lines along the inside of shapes for shading (and gets more votes) than many people do with complex hash-marks and/or large filled spaces.

  1. Wacom CTE440B Mouse, Stylus, Tablet & Pen. Unwieldy, at first.

  2. Adobe Illustrator. Always. Period.


Ms. Time,
Pardon me, but I and my Internet connection are frequently overwhelmed by the total quantity of entries in the Derby, so I’ve been unable to examine them in any detail. Could you point out your recent entries? I’d really like to see them.


From the regular contest:

one. mainly created in Illustrator and brought to Photoshop for stuff.

bottom screen capture of Illustrator line art.