I am a Java programmer who likes to create own programs/web pages/games which look nice. I am not a front-end guy even though I am willing to dedicated effort to produce good looking apps with original design.

My focus is in areas of smaller web & mobile apps and games with custom graphics.

Here I am mostly addressing drawing of images. I use GIMP to modify the free images I get from internet. However I would like to produce/draw my own images based on my ideas.

My question is, what tools are suited for this? (I assume that as very least I need some sort of graphic tablet as I cannot imagine drawing by mouse.)

  • You didn't specify what kind of images. Either way, in most cases: pencil, piece of paper and a scanner is cheaper than getting a drawing tablet.
    – Joonas
    Aug 17, 2014 at 12:11
  • @Joonas only marginally tough. Unless you want the monitor embedded with the digitizer offcourse.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 6:05
  • @joojaa I guess I have no statistics to back up my claim: "in most cases" ...I based that assumption on my belief that people who do these things for living probably have access to a scanner. In which case it is $0 to do this with a scanner or $50+ to buy a drawing tablet ( or how ever much the low end drawing tablets cost ). It's a different story if you have to go buy a scanner.
    – Joonas
    Aug 19, 2014 at 6:53
  • @joonas a scanner is common in the office but not neccesery available for a developer in all circumstances. Generally they dont need scanners. Anyway a phone camera might do the trick. PS: ainaki wacomin halvin on noin 100 egee verkkokaupassa.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


Oh, this is partly personal preference, but here are my two pennies:

Rough ideas are (to many/often) quicker and better to sketch out on paper. Faster, easier. Do not underestimate the power of post-its and the back of envelopes :) Then you could either redraw them entirely, or scan and draw "over".

I would suggest you use Inkscape instead of Gimp, as this is vector based and definitely the most sustainable.

As for tablets and such, personally I use a simple (wacom) pen tablet and I am very happy with that. Seeing as you are starting out, it is cheaper and easier to test if that will suit you.


Here's a general idea of what you need in terms of image editing/creation ......

  • A vector editing application (Inkscape, Illustrator)
  • A raster editing application (Gimp, Photoshop)
  • Paper, pencils (colored or graphite), pen, markers, straightedges, triangles, etc. (for sketching)
  • A scanner
  • Knowledge or experience to know when to use what.
  • (Optional) a light table or light box.
  • (Optional) Paints, brushes, etc. - if you plan on painting rather than drawing.

Beyond those, it's all a matter of preference. Sure you could invest in a tablet, but there are thousands of designers who don't use tablets. Some even dislike tablets. There's no way for us to know what will work best for you.

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