Like most starving artists, I hang out at the neighborhood park in my raincoat with a tin cup for donations. So when I found a program that does virtually everything my trusty CorelDraw does that is free, I was excited. Well not that excited but pretty excited.
I’ve just discovered an open source (i.e. Free) program called InkScape (Inkscape.org), which appears to be an excellent tool for creating covers. It looks like a clone of CorelDraw, which I’ve used for years as a layout program for creating covers, ads, etc.
The nice type about these programs are is that everything is an object, which can be individually moved, grouped, deleted, etc. The problem with a graphics program such as PhotoShop or Gimp is that once you flatten the image, it becomes a single layer. With CorelDraw (~$150) or InkScape (free) everything is an object on a layer this is always available to you.
In my case, I create covers for my eStories and once I get a basic design that I like, I can just copy it for a new cover. Then it’s simply replacing the graphic, changing a little text and then exporting the final image. This saves you the trouble of setting up the margins and the common text such as my name.
I’ve used CorelDraw for years and while most people have never heard of it, it is a standard in the backrooms of advertising companies, graphics artists studios, and commercial ad shops. My first copy of CorelDraw was about $800 and now you can get a copy on Amazon for about $150 for the X5 release that runs on Windows 7. It takes a little effort to learn it like QuarkXpress but once you get over the hump, you can create any type of artwork you need.
That’s why I’m really interested in learning to use InkScape to see if I can do the same things in it as I’ve done in CorelDraw.
I haven’t done much with it yet beyond importing an existing cover that I created in CorelDraw and then changing it a little in InkScape. It didn’t import perfectly but only required a little dragging and moving to get everything like the original. It was certainly easier than having to start over from scratch. And you can’t beat the price. The program is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I haven’t tried it on my MacBook Air but will do so shortly.