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raster graphics editorsGive me a blank canvas and some pencils, charcoal, or paint, and I’ll rustle something up without a problem. It won’t be worthy of hanging in a gallery but my mum would hang it in her living room. But give me some digital art software and you’ll get a blank look in return.

Digital art is most certainly not my forte (as you’ll see for yourself later in the article). Thankfully it doesn’t actually matter when there are programs as good and as free to use as Artweaver available. Oh, and as fun as Artweaver as well. I might not be a budding David Hockney but I have squeezed a lot of enjoyment out of Artweaver over the last week.

Artweaver

raster graphics editors

Artweaver is a raster graphics editor in the same mold as Paint.NET, GIMP, and Photoshop. It was developed by Boris Eyrich and is only available on Windows from XP onwards.

There are two different versions of Artweaver available for download. Artweaver Plus is a premium version of the software and currently costs 29 Euros ($38) to buy. It can be trialed for free for up to 14 days. There is also Artweaver Free, which is what I used for this article. This (as its name suggests) is freeware. There are a few less features and a few more limitations with the free version, but it’s still very worthy of a download.

Complexity Of Choice

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Artweaver features choices galore. In fact there are so many choices available – from the type of medium to the specific type of instrument that it can be overwhelming when you’re first faced with all the available options. Thankfully there is a good help index included in the software with sections dedicated to textures, layers, colors, etc. Media ranges from airbrushes to sponges, with all the usual suspects included in between the two. Once selected, a whole new set of options opens up, with style, size, opacity, and other terms I don’t understand all available for customization.

If you’re using Artweaver seriously to create legitimate works of art then you should be happy with the numerous choices. If you’re using it for fun, as I was, you’ll likely never tire of mixing and matching the different options.

An Artist Never Blames Their Tools

free graphics editor

A true artist never blames their tools, and that maxim is true whether we’re talking about canvas and paints or art software and a mouse. However, unlike the physical process of painting with a brush and real paints, digital art software 5 Free Alternatives to Photoshop You Should Try 5 Free Alternatives to Photoshop You Should Try Read More can limit what an artist is capable of doing. The skill level needed to be good at either discipline is high, but software can limit the ability to transform creative thoughts into finished pieces.

This means that a certain level of competency with the tools available in Artweaver is needed before the masterpiece in your head can be translated to the screen in front of you This isn’t a problem limited to just Artweaver but it means tutorials such as these are important for beginners.

Photo Manipulation

free graphics editor

Artweaver Free (the paid-for version has more options on this score) is not the best program for manipulating or cleaning up old photos. Or creating a new piece entirely by combining elements from lots of different photos. Suffice to say the image embedded above would not be possible to create using Artweaver Free. But then given the startling results The Top 10 Photoshop Blunders Of All Time The Top 10 Photoshop Blunders Of All Time Over the past decade or two, Adobe’s Photoshop image editing software has become a staple in the world of graphics and media. In fact, Photoshop’s popularity and usage is so widespread that the word "photoshop"... Read More some ‘Photoshop jobs’ give this may not be a bad thing.

The Keyword Is….Fun

As you can see from the three examples below, I am anything but a digital artist. But that doesn’t matter. At least to me. Please feel free to laugh it up as you peruse my woeful efforts. I don’t actually mind because I had a lot of fun creating all three. As outlined above I would never blame the tools for these poor results of my labor. Instead I blame my inherent lack of talent.

Graffiti

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This was quick and simple to produce. And it shows. But it gives that sort of smudged effect most graffiti has, especially when it’s applied to the sides of buildings in a hurry.

Seascape

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It may be crap but I was actually really pleased with how my attempt to create a basic seascape turned out. It took me a while to find the correct medium, but by adding some smearing effects after applying the brush strokes I think it looks quite good. At least by my standards.

Modern Art

raster graphics editors

I’m not a fan of modern art. mainly because I think anyone can do it, and do it well. Start with a blank canvas and absolutely everybody in the world could create a piece of modern art which could hang on the wall and be admired.

Conclusions

Artweaver is a great tool that can be enjoyed by everyone, because it provides countless hours of entertainment. It won’t, however, turn you into a great artist if you don’t already possess the innate talent and a desire to learn the intricacies of the software.

What’s your favorite digital art software? Do you think digital art (not using mine as an example) ever bests physical art created using paint on canvas? Will it ever in the future?

Image Credits: Stepheye, NoiseCollusion

  1. Chris Hoffman
    February 26, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Amazing modern art, Dave! I think you've found your new calling.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      I sense a hint, just the merest of mere hints, of sarcasm ;)

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