Tablet and Software pairing?

I am trying to get into shirt designing and am thinking of getting a Bamboo Create tablet. My current budget is not large so I was wondering if there are more cost effective tablets that would be good for a beginner.

Also, what programs would you guys recommend? Photoshop is out of my budget. Some tablets come with software I believe, would those be good?


prominent woot artist odysseyroc usually recommends monoprice tablets as being more cost-effective than wacom.

gimp and inkscape are open-source (i.e., no monetary cost to you) image editing/creation tools roughly equivalent to photoshop and illustrator, respectively. the open source tools can do most of what a beginner needs; however, they are reputed to have a steeper learning curve (i.e., not as user-friendly) than the commercial products. if you have specific technical questions about how to achieve some visual effect, there are likely to be a lot more photoshop and illustrator users in the forums to help. but it’s still hard to beat “free.”

if you think you want to start with gimp but later move up to photoshop, supposedly gimpshop makes gimp look more like photoshop.

I definitely recommend buying the monoprice tablet. It’s only $50 for the large one, and works really well. I bought mine over two years ago and am still using it with no issues.

I am not a fan of gimp personally, but free is free and it can do the job well enough. You might want to also try out Manga Studio. I own Ex4 and while I never really tried playing around with it too much, a lot of people swear by it and it is relatively inexpensive (~$50). Since I never tried using it I can’t say what the learning curve is like for it.