Proprietary software can be crazy expensive. Do you know how much Photoshop costs? Dreamweaver? Yikes! If you don’t have the buckage to drop on these kinds of tools, how can you draw or edit graphics and code WordPress theme files on the cheap? Well, read on my friends.

Graphics on the Cheap

  • Instead of Photoshop, try GIMP. This funny-sounding program is open source free software. It is a robust and deep application for editing and creating images. It has a learning curve, as does Photoshop, but it costs a wee bit less. With GIMP, not only can you edit and manipulate photos, you can also draw and create graphics from scratch.
  • You could also try Picasa, Google’s desktop software for image editing. Picasa can take your digital photos and perform basic editing functions such as cropping, color correction, resizing, and more.
  • For an online photo editor, try Fauxto.
  • My Cool Button Maker does what it says on the tin.
  • Stripe Generator creates backgrounds for CSS layouts with a striped component (very popular with the kids, these days, I hear). Doing these yourself in a graphics program is a pain in the you-know-what. This tool is super-easy.


  • Notepad++: Man, do I love this program! This one is my personal favorite, and the reason why I stopped using Dreamweaver years ago. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s highly customizable.
  • NVU: pronounced “N-view,” this free, open source software has built-in FTP capabilities. Think of this as a free, open source alternative to Dreamweaver.
  • FileZilla: is a powerful, free, open source FTP client, which I use in together with Notepad++.

Your Suggestions?

There are many more choices out there for this… your suggestions are welcome!