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A friend and I are using our former commute time and some of our corona-cash to start a business selling bjj rash guards. Neither of us has done graphic design for close to a decade, and are trying to figure out what software to start with. Here are our requirements:

  • free
  • easy to learn
  • strong community to help learn & trouble shoot
  • ability to import and use hand drawn images
  • no pixelated prints

Scramble & Tatami are two of my favorite brands, to give you a flavor of what we are designing.

After an hour of searching yesterday I've figured out their are a ton of options, and we probably want to create vector art. Any resources or software recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

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    All open source and free: GIMP (raster), Inkscape (vector), Krita (digital painting), Scribus (page layout), Blender (3D). This question is a bit broad. It might help if you were to say what kind/style of artwork you'd like to make. Can you edit it and provide an example of what you'd like to do? – Billy Kerr Mar 31 at 10:16
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    @GerardFalla thank you for the feedback. Hopefully my edits put my post in line with community guidelines. – Carlo J Mar 31 at 17:33
  • @BillyKerr thank you for the feedback as well. I've included a couple links to show the styles we are looking at. – Carlo J Mar 31 at 17:34
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    All of the free vector software mentioned can do what you want... I'm affraid your question is just too generic. – Luciano Apr 1 at 10:01
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It is good that you want to have your business... But I am worried that you do not even know the basic software.

I am pretty sure that creative people can do Tshirt design using crayons directly on the silk for silk print, or they can do an amazing digital paint in a ton of programs out there, even free ones https://duckduckgo.com/?q=free+painting+program or can make an awesome 3D image https://duckduckgo.com/?q=free+3d+program or any kind of imagery, based on photos, or taken from real-life images, photographic composition, etc. Some even can use spray directly on the shirt...


In the end, you probably need to work them on a vector-based program, which is a bit more limited.

Corel Draw, Illustrator, Affinity Design, Xara Design, Inkscape, Indesign or Scribus.

But if you do not make some effort to limit the scope of your project, you will lose money.

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  • thank you for your answer and feedback. We're only spending a few hundred dollars to get the shirts made, and are going to spend little to nothing on marketing. It's our first time designing rash guards, but we've both started other businesses. – Carlo J Mar 31 at 17:43
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A few options:

1) If you're good with drawing on a physical medium, keep at it, then scan/take a camera pic to be transferred into the PC for printing (check out "direct to garment printers"). You might use any word/image processing software.

2) As per @Billy Kerr, If you have some experience with an image processing software before. Try GIMP (gimp.org) / Krita (krita.org). It should be quite easy to pick-up. Plus, they're free to use!

I completely agree with @Rafael. Limit your scope, limit your risk when starting out.

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