If you want to make your own T-shirt design then you need some kind of program to do it. Most designers use the Adobe Creative software, but that can get quite expensive and it might not be all that worth it. Especially if you only need one picture and nothing else.
So, which design tools should you use if you want to spare yourself 25,39€ per month?
This tool is very similar to Photoshop, so if that’s what you defaulted to then you will love this program. You can just use it online, so you don’t even need to download anything. With that, you can also skip the regular updates that come up when you want to work. But if you prefer working offline and with an installed program then Photopea can give you that as well. You can use it both on Windows and Mac.
Photopea is great for 3 main things.
The first one is photo editing. It’s best at altering already existing photos that only need a bit of retouching or some color change. And of course, you can create filters with it as well, so if you want your pictures to have a specific color palette then you can have presets.
The second is its’ ability to help you create simple designs. Ones that are kind of minimalist in regards to their art style. These pictures look great on T-shirts, but of course, some people would rather have more detailed and better-looking images. In that case, this really isn’t the program for you.
And the last great quality of this tool is its interface. Because of the fact that it’s a Photoshop clone, it basically has all the same keyboard shortcuts and tools. You don’t need to get used to something completely new, as a lot of these things will come as second nature.
Unfortunately, there are some very severe problems with Photopea. But if you can deal with them then it’s going to be perfect for you.
The biggest con is that the brush tool has small delays. This can result in more mistakes while drawing and a ton of annoyance because of that. It can get really hard to draw anything with a brush if you want to be precise.
Besides that, there is only one other thing. The lack of common font families. Ariel, Verdana, and Georgia are not included, for example. So, you will need to download them separately and add them into the font library.
But… You might count this as a con as well. The ruler can only measure in pixels. Although, you can easily get used to this if you learn how many pixels are a centimeter or an inch.
Yes, we really are suggesting a program that used to be a default on every computer. Nowadays it’s not as common and fewer people use it. But its usefulness has stayed the same over the years. It can also be used on all types of operating systems, so you don’t need to worry about that either.
Gimp is very versatile and is compatible with a lot of things, so you have a wide range of things you can create. For example, you can use it along with Scribus, Inkscape, and SwatchBooker. These are all the free softwares that can help you enhance your design.
You can also add plugins that the community creates. These can help you make your art faster or easier, but will most definitely improve your overall experience.
The main kind of art style you can follow is minimalist, once again. They are easy to make and look great on T-shirts. But if you have the right equipment then Gimp also allows you to create more detailed work. Although, it’s not that easy to make because…
The brush tool is sometimes awful. It lags or stays behind the cursor and it can really mess your art up. This is very annoying and usually deters people from using Gimp, because if you want to create detailed pieces then a lagging brush tool is not a good thing to have.
The interface is pretty difficult to handle as well. Most of the shortcuts aren’t what you may be used to, as they are older than the mainstream ones from Adobe. This usually results in users needing a lot of time to get used to the program. But once that’s done it’s just fine.
Besides that, backgrounds can be really difficult to remove. And in most cases, you will have another layer of color around your outlines, because the program just isn’t precise. This is especially bad if you want to put smaller and more detailed characters on a shirt because these layers are very visible and look awful.
Inkscape is one of the best design tools for Linux, Windows, and iOS. Inkscape has a signature saying. “Draw freely“. Which is exactly what they provide you with.
The vector graphics are the best part of this program. They make it easier to create designs that are supposed to be printed on physical items (like T-shirts). If you don’t know how that works, then let us explain simply. Vector graphics will prevent your file from losing quality when resized. So you can use the same picture for different T-shirt sizes and you won’t need to worry about pixelation. You can also set a DPI, which will determine the final quality.
Inkscape is the best at text art. You can create very complex designs with it because it has the tools to help you create interesting looking text. Because of this, it works best for logos and abbreviations.
And finally, this program is for detailed pieces of art. You can create minimalist works, but this tool is not for that. It’s here to help you create pictures that have a ton of small parts and tiny details.
The interface is really hard to handle and isn’t anything like you are used to. You will likely need to watch a lot of guides and tutorial videos to get the hang of it, and even then there will be things you won’t be able to do without hours of practice. It’s the price you pay for such a great open source program.
But because of the interface, you need to spend a lot of time learning. There’s no such thing as being talented at Inkscape, it’s simple studying. And the learning curve is pretty steep, so be prepared for it.
It doesn’t matter if you want to sell your T-shirt designs or if you just want something unique for yourself. The best choice is always using open source tools that don’t cost anything. And we hope we were able to provide you with the right ones that will help you create your art.
Have you designed T-shirts before? What tool did you use for it? Tell us down in the comments below!