Updated: December 13, 2021
Photo editing comes in many shapes and forms. Shapes and forms, geddit? Now, sometimes, you need a full-blown suite to get things done, and sometimes, you just need a few tiny annotations and markings on an image. Believe or not, doing the latter isn't as trivial as one would expect.
For heavy tasks, one can rely on the likes of GIMP or Krita (if we're talking about freeware), perhaps IrfanView. If you struggle with these, you could load LibreOffice Impress and use text boxes and arrows and shapes to get the desired effect. Dedicated programs intended for lightweight image styling are far and few in between. But I've found a nice little tool, and it's called Ksnip. Follow me.
Commence to edit
Ksnip is a Qt-based screenshot tool with rather decent annotations and image touchup capabilities. It lets you take screenshots, of course, but then, you can also upload these to various online repositories, add watermarks, blur or pixilate regions, add arrows and numbers, mark and highlight areas, and more. Lovely jubbly.
I tested the program in Linux, and as it happens, it best works under X11 or Gnome Wayland, but not so much under Plasma Wayland. The usage is quite simple. Load an image, one or more, and they will be shown in a tabbed interface. Now, you can start annotating and whatnot.
The usage is fairly simple. You have the effect sidebar on the left, and you can pick elements from there, and then apply them onto your loaded screenshots (or any image you load into the program). For instance, both number arrows and text arrows are extremely useful. You can use them to "explain" screenshots, draw focus to specific elements, and such. You have the option to change the arrow type, size and color, as well as customize the font you use. With numbers, you can also decide the starting value, so the annotations do not have to always start with number 1. This is useful if you have a series of screenshots, each describing a different step.
I found KSnip quite easy to use. You can duplicate images, and there's infinite undo, so if you mess something up, you can always go back. What normally takes a lot of planning and delicate work in fully featured suites becomes a matter of seconds in KSnip.
On top of what you can do with the work canvas, KSnip also comes with a lot of options. You can auto-resize content, change the interface theme, copy new captures to clipboard, upload to Imgur, FTP, or custom locations with your own scripts, generate your own stickers and watermarks, and then some. Very elegant, and does not require that you understand layers, masks or special filters to get things working.
I am quite pleased with this almost accidental discovery. KSnip is a solid program, managing to balance simplicity and power quite well. You have lots of options available, without going overboard or making the usage slow and difficult. It makes for an excellent educational tool, allowing you to create visual guides and presentations with ease.
And so, if you need to mark your images with text and some arrows, and perhaps add a small effect here or there, KSnip is the perfect software for the task. You can always do more with the big programs, if you need to, but for ordinary needs and quick editing, it delivers. The usage is intuitive, there were no quirks or bugs, and I was able to make my modifications without having to read hours of tutorials on how to generate a speech balloon or create an arrow. Fast 'n' furious, JPEG style. Mission accomplished.