Being visual, and having some skill and talent, I have always been on the watch for good art programs. Among the ones I have enjoyed the most recently is a program called Freehand Painter, a free art program that lets you draw and paint vector based graphics. It is best used with a tablet or touchscreen and is loaded with options for the freeware-loving artist.
The program itself is simple in an elegant kind of way, as the best programs are. It’s really meant and designed to be used with a tablet, but can be used with a mouse if you desire, instead. The installation is quick and easy and doesn’t have any annoying toolbars or adware to install with it.
The program does what it does very well, and doesn’t worry about trying to have fancy window dressings that don’t actually do anything. To the left is a simple toolbar showing you your brush, eraser and cut/paste options. Below that is a color palette that can be modified to your liking by selecting a color and then clicking the little upward right arrow in the lower left corner. Everything is designed to be as easy and quick as possible, just like pulling out a piece of paper and setting to work.
Using a tablet to draw freehand images is supremely easy with Freehand Painter but the mouse is a surprisingly decent substitute. Of course, I am using a high dpi gaming mouse, so maybe that makes a difference, but since I did not have another mouse handy I didn’t try one, other than the touch pad on my laptop, which works surprisingly well for tic tac toe.
The tools to the left can be manipulated for brush size and opacity using the keyboard or dragging lines with the mouse, which is a nice nod to making the tablet easier to use. You’ve also got the option to export (save) your drawings in the format of your choice, including .png, .jpg, .bmp, and gif as the most common ones.
While you won’t find any tools for creating lines or complex bump maps or any of the other stuff you might see in a more traditional ‘art’ program, that’s kind of the point. It does, however, allow for layered images and has some pretty intuitive features like the stroke eraser that removes an entire ‘stroke’ of the brush at one time instead of pixel by pixel. It’s meant to be a freehand drawing tool, preferably with a tablet device so the whole experience is meant to be as simple as possible.
If you’re a talented freehand artist, you might want to take a look at this one, and possibly consider getting a tablet if you don’t already own one. While you may not be likely to find a tablet for free, Freehand Painter will provide your software without charge, or issue. Until next time, my friends.
[Thanks go to reader Panzer for the tip about this program]
Get Freehand Painter here.