Since Bitstrips disappeared back in 2016 or so, I’ve continued my search for an easy-to-use comics creation tool for those of the, uh, drawing inability persuasion. They still seem popular in the educational community and sometimes in the enterprise industry — where you might have talented people who know how to write but don’t know what to draw.
There are still a few of those tools around. Currently, my favourite one is Pixton, which has a free version with horrible avatars (and uses Flash, which will be discontinued later this year) as well as a new-generation tool with vector graphics that has contemporary-looking cartoon characters — in fact, these are very similar to the style used by the last incarnation of Bitstrips, shortly when they shut down their comic-drawing tool and replaced it with Bitmoji. To be honest, I like the look of Pixton’s characters slightly more, but obviously it’s all a question of personal taste…
Sadly for me, though, the non-free Pixton version is… well, not free! It allows you to do a few trials with limited content to get you going and drooling for more; unlike Bitstrips, which allowed you access to all content and all character poses and expressions, as well as design your own (inside the tool itself) and share it with others, Pixton is much more limited, although the fully unlocked version will come pretty close to what Bitstrips offered. Unfortunately, it will set you back some US$99 per year, which is more than I can afford for casually doing the odd comic strip when I’m in the mood. There is only the free version left — the one with the ugly avatars.
I have no clue what ‘pricing model’ I’d be willing to accept (probably none, at this stage); in any case, Pixton is also changing the way their free version is going to work — because it also uses Flash and it looks like they’re not going to replace it by something else and keep offering it for free. Instead, after replying to one of their surveys, it seems that they’ll use only the vector-based, non-Flash editor version around, but somehow limit even more how people can use it for free. We’ll see. In the case of webcomics, I’d say that visual impact is important, thus the move from ugly characters with a Flash engine behind them to a visually more contemporary look using vector technology (SVG) with a non-Flash editor is the way to go.
Here is a sample of what you can do with Pixton. It should be super-sharp both on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Yay for vector graphics! 🙂