I am always on the lookout for cheap or free software that I can use for designing. Sketchup is great, but hard for me to get used to with my Autodesk background. Photoshop Elements is handy, but lacks some of the big tools found only in the full version of Photoshop. GIMP is pretty cool too, but it runs really slow on Windows (at least on mine it does), and I don't want to shut down and boot into Linux just so it runs faster. My point is there's pros and cons to everything in life.
I really want to start an online comic; I've always enjoyed drawing even though I was never good at it. So I have been practicing my drawing skills little by little. The problem is time and resources. Practicing on paper is good, I definitely want to learn how to draw on paper before I begin drawing something on the computer. But drawing on paper can be wasteful right now with my weak free handing skills. So, I found this program that Autodesk makes for sketching on a computer. It uses a tablet PC or a Tablet digitizer (hey, I have one of those!), and recreates fairly accurately what you are drawing within the application. It's called Alias Sketchbook Pro. It's a pretty sweet little App, but it costs almost $200. Yea... no. Remember I said cheap or free.
So I kept searching the "internets" (<--- Bush-ism, just in case you didn't know) for something cheap or free that worked well. I know, I want to have my cake and eat it too. Well, guess what? My perseverance paid off; I found Art Rage 2. It is very close to Alias, but is only $25! So far I am enjoying the many different tools like the oil paint brush, pens, and pencils. There are a few cons to the program, but for $25, I won't complain. The image above took me about 40 minutes to draw. I know, it looks like a kid drew it, right? Oh well, I did say my skill wasn't that great. But, it's not too bad either!
If anybody is looking for some cheap App for sketching, this is it. Find it at artrage.com/artrage.html.
You'll probably see more of my sketches in the future.