Top Image Editing Programs for Cover Art


@Sanguine reviews top photo editing programs, plus some you didn't expect


I have tried many different programs to make my covers, and while some have not been very flexible, nor the most user-friendly, they all can do what we need them to do: make covers. In this blog I will be reviewing each program I have used so you users can get an idea of what they can and cannot do.


Microsoft Paint

Paint is a simple program that is very easy to use. It can’t do much, but if you spend enough time with it, it is possible to create some great covers. Some of the best covers I have ever made were done on Paint, but that was more due to the images I used paired with the fonts than how great the program was.

Pros: It’s free, simple and can do more than it lets on. For basic images and covers, it’s good. Not great, but good.

Cons: It’s very limited in what it can do. It’s not something that you would expect any professional cover maker to use, and the text sometimes pixelates when it’s placed on the canvas. Once an image has been placed down, it’s not editable unless you have a straight colour underneath.

My rating: ♥ ♥ ♡ ♡ ♡

Here’s an example of what you can do with Microsoft Paint:



Microsoft Word/PowerPoint

This is generally where the laughs come in. And yes, I can see where those people are coming from. After all, it’s not like Microsoft Office is the most sophisticated of options – it’s not even a photo editor – but when you’re a cover maker who doesn’t want to spend money, you have to grab on to whatever is available.  

Pros: It’s free to students, but only if their school has signed a deal with Microsoft. Fun fact: Every school in New Zealand has done so. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint also have built in image presets that can look great on covers. Also, when you are trying to line something up to be exactly the same distance from one object, it gives an indication when you are at the exact distance. This is great for lining up drawn borders.

Cons: I don’t know if it is like this on all versions of Office, but it can’t let you choose the image size in pixels. However, it can let you choose centimetres, so if you simple Google a conversion, you should be fine (because of this, it’s good to pair Word/PowerPoint with Paint).

My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡ ♡

Here’s an example of what you can do with Microsoft Word/PowerPoint:




PicMonkey is probably the program that I am the least experienced with in this list. It’s good, but I wasn’t very comfortable with using it. It was not my style, but I am simply one person among thousands. You might find that it exactly suits your needs.

Pros: It’s free, has a lot of great features, and is very easy to pick up. There is a free version and a paid membership, but you don’t need to pay to make fantastic covers with it.

Cons: If you have a very laggy computer, this editor is not good. The ads slow down the experience a lot, and if you’re like me and have a very laggy computer, this website is likely to crash often.

My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡ ♡

Here’s an example of what you can do with PicMonkey:




Pixlr is quite possibly my favourite free editing program of the lot. It’s fun to use because of how much it can do, and it’s very easy to pick up.

Pros: It’s free, easy to use, has a lot of presets and overlays that make covers look professional, and has a downloadable option so there is no website lag to battle with.

Cons: The text is rasterised as soon as you click ‘okay’, so the only way to edit the text is to remove it and start again. Pixlr doesn’t save the font size that was being used in the last piece and instead has a default of 60, which means that to redo text you need to memorise the details of it. Also, there aren’t many editing options for the text – all you can do is change the font, rotate, bold, italics, underline and make the text transparent. That may not seem like a lot now, but when you use it and want to create a shadow behind the text, you can’t.

My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡

Here’s an example of what you can do with Pixlr:




Ah yes, Photoshop. The editor of all editors. My favourite of all editors, free and paid, because of how flexible it is. I’m not very experienced with it, because I have only had it for around a month, but I have learned that it is very easy to use.

Pros: It’s easy to learn, especially with the hundreds of tutorials on the internet. It can do everything that all of the editors above can do and then heaps more. There are hundreds of new brushes that can be downloaded from the internet, and it’s so good in what it does. You have the option to rasterise or keep as-is, and there are advanced editing options that are very easy to understand.

Cons: It’s expensive.

My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Here’s an example of something that can be done with Photoshop:



And that is the end of that! These are just my opinions of the programs, so naturally you will all have different opinions on the types of programs used. I only did five programs, so I apologise if I missed out your favourite one.

So what do you think of these different editing programs?

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