CorelDraw turns 21 this year making it the only adult drawing application in existence. CorelDRAW is also the only drawing program to draw TrueType fonts. Why am I throwing out my CorelDraw CD? Where does CorelDraw fit in the software market?
CorelDRAW is from the Canadian company Corel, corel.com. Corel sell a few applications developed by Corel plus some that Corel purchased from other companies, including Painter, PaintShopPro, WinZip, and WordPerfect. CorelDraw and Painter stand out in their field. WinZip is obsolete compared to 7-Zip. WordPerfect is obsolete compared to OpenOffice. PaintShop Pro used to stand out as better than the simple image editors without the massive complexity or cost of PhotoShop but today Gimp eats PaintShop Pro at the top end and ACDSee eats PaintShop Pro at the digital image management and editing entry point. That leaves Painter and CorelDraw as unique products.
CorelDraw creates vector graphics, a type of drawing where you can go back and adjust things easily compared to simply drawing in an image editing program. Use a simple example. You want to draw a title on a poster image. If you draw into the image using an image editing program, the classic raster graphics way, the title is fixed in size, font, colour, and style. When you use a vector graphics application, the title is all relative because the vector graphics files does not contain the drawing of the title, instead it contains the instructions for drawing the title. At any time in the future you can change any aspect of the title and the vector graphics program will automatically redraw the title using the new format.
CorelDraw is up to version 14, now called version X4, and my experience is with versions 8 and 9. CorelDraw initially had a lot of features you could not get anywhere else then the competition collectively developed most of the CorelDraw features but there was no one application with all the equivalent features.
One of the unique features I wanted to use at one stage is the ability to draw fonts and export them as TrueType fonts. Today the choice is between CorelDraw and one specialist program but the specialist program is too hard to learn just for one font and CorelDraw does not help you make all the fine adjustments you need to make when you want the font to reproduce at very small and very large sizes. You could learn to draw fronts in CorelDraw then migrate to the specialist program.
Inkscape does everything I want in vector graphics illustration. CorelDraw does more but nothing I need. I do not have time to learn everything in Inkscape so how would I have time to learn everything in CorelDraw?
CorelDraw is AU$800, assuming you do not have a student ID, and the upgrade is over $400. $400 to upgrade my old version so that I can do stuff I have not yet investigated in Inkscape? No. If I did hit the limits of Inkscape, I would have to revisit CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, and Freehand to decide which one offered whatever additional feature I need.
Most uses of illustration software are only as an adjunct to something else. Full time work as an illustrator using purely a software illustration tool is rare. You get a lot of illustration performed by people who do something else then finish off the work with some illustration. For the bulk of the part time illustrators, learning their other tools is more important and Inkscape can add the extra touch needed at the end.
If you are learning illustration from the start, start with Inkscape to learn vector graphics and Gimp to learn raster graphics plus image editing. If you hit the limit of Inkscape or become focused on full time pure illustration, look at CorelDraw using the trail period then look at Illustrator.