Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ask The Mavens

It's Sunday once again and we had an interesting question from Sandy Spivey this week.

Do you use a software program for writing tutorials and if so which one?

Cindy (Jewelry Tales) "I use Photoshop."
Chris (GoodQuillHunting) "I use Paint Shop Pro X3, Powerpoint and Bead Tool 4"
Mikki (Mikki Ferrugiaro Designs) "I use Bead tool 4, CoreldrawX3, MS Digital  Pro10 and MS Office Publisher" 
Linda (WildWickedBeads) "I use beadtool, photos when necessary, and Paint Shop Pro for instructions and patterns."
Peter (Beadsage) "I don't use anything. I have a sketchbook and a lot of pencils." Nancy (NEDbeads) "I don't design? I used to, but it was all pencil and graph paper... sorry! Now I don't even sketch things, I just sort of go by ear and whatever happens to be in my head at the time... "

I think maybe we interpreted the question differently.
While I think most of us design without software when it comes to writing tutorials we all use some kind of software to either edit photos or write the words:)

As I haven't used anything except what I've listed I'll tell you a little about those.
This is an amazing program if you like to do flatwork. You can, and I have, design right with the program, you can import pictures and it will turn them in to picture charts, word charts and also tell you how many and what color Delicas you need.   This program literally saves me days of work.  It's also quite inexpensive.
GQH's Crazy Cat cuff (right) is something you'd create with this program.

This is a true graphics program. When I was looking for one I couldn't afford to pay a few hundred dollars so I went with this one for about $89 and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's very user friendly and I can draw the project from start to finish.  Though I have an Associates degree in Graphic Design I'm also old enough to have got that degree before computors were the only way to go...yes, I'm a dinosaur.  So I was starting from scratch and I haven't been too intimidated.

MS Digital Pro10
I bought this eons ago and it works fine for retouching, resizing and correcting photographs.  The clone tool is my friend :)  If you were to see what some of my photos look like before I edit them you wouldn't believe it. I got really good at using the clone tool after my divorce when my ex magically disappeared from many photographs <G>

MS Office Publisher
Once I have all my illustrations and photos done I put it all together with Publisher. I have a format for my tutorials so I can just add what I want and write it all up. I can import pictures and files from the other programs and turn them into PDFs.

Well, there you have it...a bit about software. It's just the bare bones and I would have loved to include more pictures but for some reason it wouldn't let me. it's as contrary as a muse.  If you have more specific questions head on over to our forum and we'll try and answer them for you.


  1. Thanks so much, this has been a standing question of mine. There's a tutorial waiting to be written, "how to create a bead tutorial". That's something I'd definitely buy. Love the information.

  2. Thanks so much Mikki for all the great info and to the rest of the Mavens as well. I am sure I am not the only one who will utilize it. You guys provide a great source for everything bead related, not to mention encouragement. You ROCK!!

  3. Thanks again for the info on your tutorial production tools. You would not believe how relieved I am to hear that Mikki struggled to understand computer programs. I just figured you mavens were all born with a mouse in your hands! That gives me hope and increases my determination to learn how to make the software tools work for me too. Invaluable information and encouragement!

  4. Did I really say that? :))) The bottom line is that it was only this year I learned how to use MS Word - I'm not the greatest technophile who ever lived! Pass the pencil sharpener!

  5. Erm, yes, I do write my patterns using Word!! I use Photoshop for the diagrams. ;)

  6. I have often thought of offering another service(as a biz) to do tutorials with diagrams/text to those who don't have programs and/or don't know how. Perhaps I should ;)

  7. Oh and I might add, Linda Roberts beaded the cuff from my pattern, her image with full credit to her is on my website.