This week I’ll once again take the time to answer a question recently sent to me by a Click reader.

I’m a student doing art studies and also a regular reader of your column ‘Click’ in the Heard Express. To assist me with my course I’m currently looking for a good quality colouring program that I can download for free. Whilst I have downloaded programs in the past which were excellent they are all limited by 30 day trials and as a schoolgirl I don’t have enough money to buy to buy the full versions.

I was wondering if you would be able to recommend a good program that is available free of charge?

Lisa Penny, Torquay

When you say ‘colouring program’ I’m assuming that you’re after a drawing package which is capable of handling basic functions such as line, text and fill tools as well as more advanced features such as layering and if this is the case then there are two programs that I can confidently recommend.They are both completely free of charge and are very compact in size which will result in you having to spend little time on the Internet downloading them.

The first application goes under the name of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) which I actually reviewed a couple of months back so won’t go into great detail here but to summerise my previous review, GIMP is quite a capable drawing program which is completely free of charge.It can be easily downloaded by heading to and remember that if you do happen to miss any of my Click articles they can always be read online at

An alternative I discovered just recently is Inkscape which again can be downloaded free of charge from application, like GIMP is open source meaning that members of the public rather than big companies are responsible for its development and for adding new features

The first thing that you notice about Inkscape is the user interface which is very well laid out making the program extremely easy to use.When you first start up the program it looks very much different to the standard Windows application with many icons unique to Inkscape and they are used to great effect to clearly indicate their respective functions and the relation to similar functions present in the application.The user interface also relies a great deal on you learning keyboard and mouse combinations which whilst making the process of using the application faster also results in a fairly steep learning curve.

If we look at the features of the application they include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping.Whilst these are all fairly basic functions which are standard on most drawing applications, Inkscape sets itself apart from the competition by making them very easy to use and manipulate.

Inkscape is currently running at revision 0.43 and as this version number suggests is very much a work in progress application but nevertheless it is very capable and of course completely free of charge.Both applications I have mentioned here are extremely competent and as I am reluctant to recommend one over the other I would recommend that readers who have an interest in drawing should download them both and then pick the one that suits their particular needs best.


About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.