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From Photoshop to Krita: an invitation for digital illustrators

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When you name Photoshop, you are naming a term that has become part of the culture. It is so universal, That for people not related to digital imaging, is synonymous of retouched photo in the mass media . Even today there are a number of popular neologisms like “photoshoped face“.

The truth is that Photoshop is just an application, but not just any application.

It’s the standard of the industry, and it has a huge community of illustrators, designers, photographers, etc. around it. There are a lot of magazines, websites, tutorials, blogs, youtube channels, and even resources (shapes, brushes, actions) created by the community.

Photoshop is an amazing app for everything related with the image world. His extraordinary versatility makes it the preferred tool of professionals from diverse fields like advertising, film, web design, textiles, publishing, comics, and of course the illustration.

Personally, I believe and affirm all of the above regarding Photoshop … However, despite having a wide experience and knowledge, I left the use of Photoshop in my professional work, by Krita.

So the question is: why to change? Why to leave a tool that I have successfully managed for years, in exchange for a little known tool?

from Photoshop to Krita

Let me explain you…

First, I have to say Photoshop is not the only commercial application for digital illustrators: ArtRage and Corel Painter are good elections (also, Krita use to be compared with Painter instead Photoshop). However, I chose Krita … Why?

Krita is free

The first reason (not the most important for me) is related to the price: Krita is 100% free. Meanwhile Adobe (owner of Photoshop) today provides a subscription model since U$S 19.90 per month, for a year. The option of using a pirated copy of Photoshop must be discarded in the professional field.

Regarding the price, I would like to make a difference: I talk about cost, not value. With cost I mean the strictly economic aspect of the word. The value, meanwhile, has a subjective aspect that depends on the efficiency and pleasure in using the application. The costs issue is especially important if you need more than one license, and in addition to having to pay extra for every new updated version.

Krita is open source

This is even more important to me. Krita is open source, and this brings a great consequence: Krita has no owner, or better say all Krita community is the “owner”. Both developers and illustrators, who create resources, write tutorials or just give the necessary feedback, all contribute to the maintenance and growth of the application.

From this we conclude the second huge reason to choose Krita: the application always going to be there, since its existence is not subject to the decisions of a single owner, and meanwhile the application updates are not dependent on the economic decisions market: the opinion of the community shows where the application should go.

All right but.. Is Krita better than Photoshop?

Uff.. The question involves a prejudice: to suppose we choose an application simply because it is better than another, when in fact it is not always true. Better in what? ease to use, ease to learn? number of tools available?

I don’t know if Krita is better than Photoshop, but I could tell you why I choose to use Krita:

I prefer Krita for…

These are just some aspects that I like about Krita.

Brush Engine:

Photoshop has an excellent brush engine, but the Krita brush engine / s meets the expectations of almost any style of illustration: Natural and digital media, comic, technical, etc. The tablet graphic integration is superior, with level curves for almost every trace attribute. But the best in Krita is that it has not a single brush engine, but many, with different properties and use modes.

Paint Tools:

Related with brush engine, something that I really love: unlike Photoshop, which has different tools to clone, dodge, burn, eraser, blur, sharpen, etc.. Krita considers all these tools like custom subtypes of brush tool, integrating as a property of brush.

Transform Tool:

The Krita transform tool integrates with great simplicity and efficiency all possibilities (scale, rotation, skew, 3D transformation). Also, the warp tool is so easy to use and with good results.

Grids & measuring tools:

The variety and quality of this kind of tools is far superior. Includes perspective grids, assistant and measuring tool.

Color selector:

Krita offer a lot of color selectors: wheel color, history, swatches, art color, mixer, context color… All configurable according to the needs of each illustrator.

Symetry tool:

Very useful when you paint a character face, conceptual sketches for creatures, costumes, etc

Reference Image palette:

The ability to have image references inside workspace is essential for illustrator. This greatly speeds up the workflow.


If you are a digital artist with years of experience, or you are taking the first steps in the illustration, I invite you to try Krita. There are very good reasons to do it.

Go to Download page of Krita

You can download Krita for Windows and Linux (Mac, coming soon). And if you don’t like it, you can always return to the old known 🙂



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