Clip Studio Paint is my illustration software of choice. The main reason is because it’s a great program for drawing and painting, with a particularly sweet brush engine. But there’s a huge bonus that it comes with: easy access to a ton of free brushes, textures and other materials.
CSP is an oddly named program. Both Comic Studio and Manga Studio, two of CSP’s former names, make sense. Clip Studio Paint, on the other hand, is just a little off.
It’s actually two separate programs that work together:
- Clip Studio is where you can download & upload free brushes etc. for the program. They recently added a place to upload files as well
- Clip Studio Paint is the actual digital art program itself.
I didn’t believe the Clip Studo portion existed when it was called Manga Studio – I just noticed it at the bottom of the file menu sometime after the named changed to CSP. Once I checked it out I was shocked at the amount of good free stuff that’s available in CS. Check out the video for a taste.
I’m so used to its existence that I take it for granted, but I was reminded of how much good shit is available after Dylan Meconis caught my eye on Twitter:
If you haven’t tried CSP, you definitely should. Unlike the Adobe products, it’s a one-time cost on desktop (often on sale for $27). There are two versions – regular ($50) and EX ($219). The EX version adds comic page management and animation features but all of the illustration features are identical.
It’s also available on iPad for a subscription fee ($5/mo or $25/y), which is well worth it. People bitch and moan about the subscription but don’t think twice about overpaying for coffee or booze when they’re galavanting about. Perspective, folks – $5/mo for the best portable drawing experience is worth skipping one latte a month.
There are also plenty of free brushes available outside of Clip Studio – just Google and you’ll see.
If you don’t mind paying a little (and you shouldn’t, unless you’re totally skint), there are two amazing brush sets by Daub Brushes and Ray Frenden that I use in all of my illustrations. Just get their super bundles of all their brushes for ~$15, you’ll get a ton of great brushes, including all the new ones they add every few months.