This cemetery piece is my first full digital illustration created in 1990 using Photoshop 2.1 and drawn with a mouse.

After decades of using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as my primary creative tools, I'm ditching them.

I first discovered digital art in high school using Photoshop 1.0. From there, I kept experimenting and learning more. Through art school, I used Adobe's apps as they grew, and I grew with them. In the years I worked in animation, I used Photoshop and Illustrator less frequently. However, when I later became a professional freelance illustrator, I embraced them and became heavily steeped in Adobe's Creative Suite. It was my means to creating art.

Recently, Adobe switched their business model to a subscription service now called Creative Cloud. You subscribe to monthly access to the apps instead of purchasing them. The pros and cons of this move can be found in debates across the web.

For me, I agree with some of the arguments against it. I believe Adobe overprices themselves. The apps are bloated with features and can be slow. I've faced some serious technical issues. But mainly, I want to own the tools I use to do my most important work, not rent them. It's as simple as that.


Pixelmator is my replacement for Photoshop.

Pixelmator 3


Sketch is my replacement for Illustrator.

Sketch 2

It took research and experimentation with free trials of many apps before I settled on these two. Neither is as feature rich as Photoshop or Illustrator, but I didn't use most of what Adobe offered. In some places, Pixelmator and Sketch lack tools or shortcuts I'm used to having. However, they are not just capable apps, but in several areas offer much more efficient ways of working.

It's also a good feeling to support the underdog software developers going up against the big Adobe. I don't dislike Adobe, rather I found solutions that nowadays work better for me. Sketch in particular is such a vast departure from Illustrator, that it really shows where they've improved upon usability.

I'm just starting out but I look forward to becoming more fluent with these powerful tools. I will create great artwork with them!