Suggestion for drawing App

Hi All,

I’m new to laser engraving and in general producing art with a Computer. I have an artistic background so I’m able to draw hand free. I would like to hear some suggestion about the app/apps you are using and their purpose and in general your creative setup.

I bought Simbans-PicassoTab to start drawing (before buying the Glowforge). I found it quite easy with Autodesk Sketch Book.

Once I bough the Glowforge I started importing my designs into the Glowforge web app. Here I noticed they where full of noise, mostly because I sometimes erase using the white color instead of the rubber (it is more precise).

Now the questions:

  1. What do you use to cleanup your non-vector pictures?
  2. Does it make any sense to keep creating non-vector images or should I just switch to vector apps?
  3. Does it make any sense to keep using the tablet or should I just switch to the computer+drawing tab? Is any of you successful using a tablet?
  4. Do you have any suggestions for good vector app for mobile? (I really like using the tablet) If not what about computer? (I know the existence of Inkscape but it doesn’t look really user friendly)

Sorry for the long post :grin:



There is a place for raster images but yes you should go mostly to vectors.
I’m big on free so GIMP for your rasters.

Your best tools are always the ones you’re most familiar with. I favor my PC have any but I have to admit the iPad has quit a few good raster tools.


What are you going to do with your art? Raster is good for engraves, but if you draw line art without shading, etc., I’d switch to vector.

I don’t have any good suggestions for an Android tablet, but you might find something via search.

Hi Samantha! I also favor a PC.
My Wacom tablet came with Artrage Lite it is pressure sensitive and pretty easy to learn. IMO.

The answer so depends on what you want to do. I have a long history in drawing straight lines to make things, but when it comes to any sort of free hand drawing I am hopeless. I often run into situations where I need to decorate an object with a raster image and while I know what I want I cannot do it myself. So I have to search the Internet and make compromises. But enough about me.

So if you are going to do anything beyond engraving found items (like white ceramic tiles) you will need to at least learn the basics of vector design software. Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw and Affinity Designer (Mac only I think) are your choices as I recall. I use Inkscape. Maybe one of them is intuitive to you, but personally I doubt it. Between watching tutorials on YouTube and becoming frustrated and making mistakes you’ll probably pick up a lot fairly quickly.

If your goal is to design and assemble 3D objects, you can do it with only vector design software, but it is much easier using a 3D design program. Once you learn it. I use OpenSCAD to make pieces and see how they fit together, but unless you’re a programmer that draws I highly recommend against OpenSCAD.

If you tell us what you are interested in making, it would be easier to make suggestions.

To answer your questions:

  1. Paint and GIMP
  2. It depends on what you want to do, but most likely you will do a mix of both.
  3. For creating raster images you could do it on paper and use a flat bed scanner so I really don’t think it matters. At some point you’ll probably need to use a computer to create the files you upload to the glowforge app.
  4. I can’t imagine using a tablet for a vector program, but I could be wrong and it may be possible.

One last story. I have a friend who draws, paints, does some fabric pieces and then learned tattooing. She explained to me how she had to relearn how to draw: skin is not paper or canvas. I’ve heard similar comments here about touching up photos for engraving: people do the opposite of what they would do for print. If you want to engrave your art, do an engrave, see what you learn, tweak and do it again. If you want to do inlay on boxes, learn a vector program. If you want to make a steampunk installation piece consider 3D design software.


Inkscape works great.

If you want to paint first then cleaning up with Gimp so your issues with “almost the same color” can be addressed and made the same color.

Every computer program will cost. For Inkscape, Gimp, and Blender the cost is very light on the financial end, but a bit harder in the “effort to learn” end, But any program that is sold will have a process that it is easy to do “something” but in the end you still have to learn it to do well.

You can pay a lot of money (and pay more every year of few months.
you can get the “same program” that is maimed or limited to private use for “free”( but you still have ti invest learning time) and then you are married to them.
Or you can just invest that learning time with something that the attention is the long term user and not sales or marketing,.


Hello Everyone,

Wow, Glowforge community is awesome!

I’ll try to summarize for teh next readers:

  1. I’ll keep creating raster image using the tablet and clean them up with GIMP. I’ll try, little by little, to switch to it as final tool (or any other desktop app).
  2. For vector images there seems to be not good options for tablet. Inkscape seems like a good free option, otherwise Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw and Affinity Designer seems like good payed options. Affinity Designer seems being the cheaper one yet pretty advanced.
  3. In general Raster vs Vector depends on what you are trying to achieve (something I still have to figure out, trying many things now).



With Glowforge, the vector methods are necessary if you want to cut anything, and in general that cutting of shapes at least in outline is needed at least. You can do vector without raster but not Raster without vector unless you are marking on something pre-cut.

1 Like

Looks like I may be wrong about a vector program and a tablet, at least if you have an iPad Pro: mobile design

There are options for creating vector images on tablets. I am really only familiar with iPad. There have been several discussions, including:

Searching the forum on “iPad” may reveal more.

Edit: Google says there are multiple vector apps for Android in the Play store, too.

Can we give a special forum badge just for this whole reply? A model of helpful and useful.


I noticed that, it is why I started looking into Vector programs.

I do have Android and I tried a bunch of apps but none of them seems being particular advanced. With advanced I mean something like Autodesk Sketchbook for Android, I really love it (it seems they’ll introduce a Vector version).

Couldn’t agree more, I was honestly moved buy the answer :grin:


I’m not an artist but I prefer drawing freehand rather than manipulate nodes, plus I like to laser cut from drawings of my kids. my workflow for that is pencil drawing on white paper, go over the final design with a black pigma micron, erase well any pencil mark, scan or take a picture of the drawing, touch up in photoshop, then convert to raster in inkscape, clean up, scale etc. LASER CUT!!
this however is more complicated when you need fades or multiple shades…

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.