For diagrams that require a thread path illustration in order to see how to create a design, you may want to try a vector drawing program. These programs are not automated like the graphing programs in that you have to create and place bead shapes, choose generic colors (rather than colors associated with specific beads), and draw and edit thread paths manually. However, because you are basically using an electronic drawing program, you really have unlimited options for what you create. You can use standard geometric shapes or create any form you want, and once you learn how the program works, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of copying, rotating, sizing, moving, layering, etc.
Windows and Mac; $19.99/month; www.adobe.com
In the professional world, Adobe Illustrator is the go-to program of this type, for good reason (in fact, the figures in Bead&Button
are created in Illustrator), but it is probably a more powerful tool than you are likely to need. It is also pricey, as Adobe has converted to a monthly fee for use of the program in the Creative Cloud. However, if you are planning on selling tutorials and have an aptitude for technical software, don’t be frightened off. Adobe Illustrator will be able to handle your most complex bead illustration needs.
Windows, Mac, and Linux; Free; www.inkscape.org
By all accounts, InkScape is very similar to Adobe Illustrator, and therefore may have more functions than you need. However, it is reported to be easier to learn and since it is free, there may not be any downside to trying this program.
Mac only; $20–139; www.eazydraw.com
For Mac users, EazyDraw is a good basic program for creating relatively simple drawings, like beading diagrams. Our editors here at Bead&Button
actually use EazyDraw to create “starter” drawings for our in-house illustrator, who then uses her deep knowledge of Illustrator to refine them and make them professional quality. In most cases, EazyDraw figures would probably be more than adequate for most people selling tutorials. The program is pretty easy to learn, so if you find InkScape to be more than you need or find it difficult to use, you might consider giving EazyDraw a try.