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apps for drawing on pc

10 Best Apps for Drawing on a PC

When it comes to digital drawing, there are ample choices of apps for drawing on PC available.

Finding the right software for you is arguably the most challenging part.

Worry no more!

This list of 10 applications breaks down some of the most popular software out there.

Each of these applications is current.

Most of them are on par with 2020/2021 standards of digital art and hold a stable place in the creative industry. 

Some of these applications are designed for illustrators or professionals, whereas others are for the general public. 

It’s best to consider your comfort along with performance.

Thankfully, these apps for drawing on PC have your illustration needs in mind. 

1. Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud)

Adobe Photoshop CC is an advanced version of Photoshop, incorporating finer accessibility, variety, and availability.

Nowadays, CC is in high demand by illustrators, editors, students, and photographers alike. 

Design schools often use CC as a staple when teaching students and within the industry.

It’s undoubtedly the standard software. 

Unlike Photoshop, Photoshop CC heavily emphasizes illustration, making your creative endeavors smoother and the outcome of your drawings what you envisioned them to be. 

The positives of CC in comparison to Photoshop are massive for illustrators.

These are a few of the added features, such as:

  • upgraded tools
  • a curvature pen
  • ten different shadow styles per layer
  • over a thousand brushes
  • brushstroke smoothening

With CC’s extensive drawing-friendly updates, the software is constantly coming out with new and improved features. 

Some of these features include:

  • tooltips
  • stroke smoothening
  • paint symmetry
  • brush organization
  • properties panel

Most artists are in demand of an application that will establish clarity in their work.

With distinctive lines, effortless brush strokes, and smoothing control – Photoshop CC offers all of this.

This software is typically recommended to intermediate or expert users that are already familiar with Photoshop. 

As the interface provides great customization, newer users may go through some obstacles in becoming familiar with the interface itself. 

A huge customization factor in the use of color management.

It supports CMYK, giving users a much wider variety of colors and a helpful format for printed works.

No matter what your art style is, CC has every tool to make your creations come to life and look exactly as you imagined. 

It’s undeniably one of the most favored applications for drawing in general. 

If you’re shopping individually, CC is $19.99 per month for introductory pricing.

At the end of your offer term, the subscription rate will go to $29.99 per month.

2. Clip Studio Paint (Pro and EX)

Clip Studio Paint (CSP) is a reliable program that’s used to create:

  • fantastical concept artwork
  • eccentric paintings
  • detailed character art
  • comics and manga
  • colorful design illustration
  • 2D animation

CSP has made its mark in mainstream art applications, known for being a staple for creating comics and manga primarily. 

CSP is heavily tailored for those who enjoy drawing and painting regardless of preference, technique, or style. 

Although innovative and reimagined for a better drawing experience, CSP utilizes pen pressure.

The pen pressure enables a fine spectrum of hardness and softness, creating a natural look reminiscent of traditional art. 

The customization of your pen when drawing on CSP is quite broad.

With stable line weight, texture, analog feel, and a wide range of custom brushes. 

CSP provides stability to both you and your creations.

Built-in functions allow the user to draw cleanly without worrying about shakiness.

Moreover, the software offers 3D figures to start with drawings, giving you the freedom to change their poses and proportions.

This is very helpful for those on a tight deadline or those who’d prefer a basic reference. 

No matter your taste in art style or preferred medium, there are brushes, advanced tools, and materials for any project.

This application is $25 for Pro, best for character art, concept art, and illustration. 

While you can get the EX version for $109, best for manga, comics, and animation.

3. Paint Tool SAI

Paint Tool SAI, or “SAI” for short, is known for its simple interface suitable for those wanting to create exclusive illustrations.

SAI is a smooth and lightweight software with highly stable functionality that makes drawing enjoyable. 

Although the interface is quite basic, SAI is powerful and very easy to learn, especially if you’re familiar with Windows. 

Along with knowledge of Windows, keyboard shortcuts can be essential, enabling users to tweak brush sizes.

One of the many features SAI offers is a stabilizer tool.

This tool’s typically fundamental when creating illustrations as it helps users control lines for a smoother outcome. 

There’s a decent variety of paint textures, tools, and brushes – incorporating layers, shading, blending, and highlighting to create a nice final piece. 

SAI’s lightweight program prevents your computer from crashing, lagging, and buffering.

A recovery mode is also enabled so that if you lose power, your artwork is cached.

SAI is typically recommended for those wanting to create drawings involving line art, cell shading, and flat coloring using the bucket tool. 

This software is also recommended for those new to the digital art scene.

Moreover, it is known for being a great gateway program. 

SAI balances speed and stability while maintaining an advanced and powerful interface that anyone who can get around a Windows operating system can use. 

You can use Paint Tool SAI for a 31-day free trial to test the water.

And for a one-time purchase, you can get it for $50.81. 

4. Paintstorm Studio

Paintstorm Studio offers a significant variety of tools for professional digital painting and drawing. 

The most prominent tool in Paintstorm are brushes, which offer a plethora of room to create anything based on any art style you deem fit. 

Paintstorm accentuates the power and importance of the accuracy of its tools and how every detail is significant, making this software very reliable for those wanting an accurate result. 

If you love to tinker, experiment, all while having full control, the brush customization gives you the ability to find what works for you.

There are seemingly endless possibilities for brush settings and options.

There’s even room to customize panels, color mixing, and a stroke stabilizer. 

Paintstorm allows complete user control.

It enables customization and personalization to any tool (i.e., panels, correcting, bristle forms, and mask-brush).

The software is an excellent application with a user-friendly interface that allows a lot of control.

It’s easy to navigate and has helpful tools such as stroke post correction to fix any mistakes along the way. 

This application features full customization, so if you’re not too keen on certain features, fear not. 

Overall, Paintstorm is predictable with no hidden surprises.

This application is highly accessible to those who desire a simple interface that’ll get the job done accurately yet easily.

This software is also inexpensive, being $19 on desktop!

5. Artweaver

Artweaver is exclusively a drawing application that feels comfortable almost immediately. 

If you’re an artist willing to experiment, Artweaver is a great place to start.  

Whether you enjoy control or you’d rather go with the flow, Artweaver has built-in brushes and customizable configuration settings to choose from.

If you’ve ever made a mistake while drawing but can’t quite pinpoint where you went wrong, Artweaver’s software allows you to record your work as you go so that you can find flaws.  

Artweaver keeps your best interests in mind, featuring a highly intuitive collaboration component.

This notable feature is pretty popular with those who use the app.

It is pretty helpful in group projects, work, and leisurely with friends.

Users who use Artweaver typically create highly detailed, realistic works.

Although, even minimalists and modern artists can create anything they’d like.

Artweaver features different brush types and built-in canvases such as plain paper, dry cracks, handwork, irregular linen, and pavement.

If your drawing of a courtyard could use some extra detail, there’s additional object placement so that your bushes can acquire some berries or extra grass.

If you’re interested in getting Artweaver, there’s a free version (with limited functionality) or the Plus version that’s $47.

6. Corel Painter

Corel Painter is one of the best applications out there for fine art for many reasons.

With over 900 brushes and a spectrum of paper textures, Corel offers a fully customizable workspace layout so that you can enjoy creating anything you desire comfortably. 

When it comes to Corel, there are endless possibilities.

Whether you’re sketching a muse, drawing from your imagination, painting a peaceful scene by a lake, or using watercolor to create a vibrant landscape, Corel has every tool in its wide selection to make it happen. 

Unlike other applications, Corel offers numerous digital mediums such as oils, acrylic, chalk, pastels, charcoal, watercolor, and much more. 

Corel highly emphasizes traditional fine art.

It helps creates digital pieces that truly look as if they were made on actual paper with real tools rather than digital.

If you look at their website, you’ll encounter many creations by different artists.

Their creations of different mediums and styles look like they belong in a fine arts exhibit.

For more information on various creations done using Corel Painter, you can go here.

With this innovative application, the variety of different built-in textures will help to mix your color palette.

Thus, creating the perfect color and tone for your artwork much easier.

Corel Painter is $429 in full or $16.58 monthly if you buy the subscription. 

If you’d prefer to try Corel first before considering purchasing, you may try the application free for 30 days.

7. Medibang Paint Pro

MediBang Paint Pro is excellent for digital drawing, painting, and manga creation software.

This application has a wide variety of tools compatible with any style of art you choose to create. 

There are over fifty brushes to choose from.

So, you can create anything from a brilliant watercolor painting to an ethereal backdrop for a manga you’re drawing.

Each brush has various customizable settings, along with ongoing software updates that add more brushes, or users can create their own.

Moreover, snap guides are available to users who’d like to draw in perspective or create more elaborate action scenes, great for manga or comic art. 

Its comic panel creation and comic page management enable users to have total freedom and control over each manga or comic page’s placement, size, shape, and overall look.

They can always be tweaked later on. 

MediBang offers 800 premade backgrounds that are available to toggle and resize if needed. 

With this, your drawings will pop more with a tone-setting background.

Although MediBang is compact with dozens of functionalities, the entire program is lightweight and doesn’t slow down your computer. 

If you’re keen on making manga or comics, MediBang has every tool you need to create anything and everything.

On Medibang’s website here, they offer a variety of drawing tutorials using their program.

MediBang Paint Pro is totally FREE.

8. Krita

Krita is an open-source application that specializes in:

  • painting
  • digital drawing
  • animation
  • a graphics editor with an OpenGL canvas interface

Moreover, there are excellent color management, an advanced brush engine, customizable layers and masks, and vector artwork support. 

Speaking of color management, this software supports RGBA, Grey, CMYKA, Law, YCbCr, and Xyz.

You can visit Krita’s Top Artwork topics to see unique pieces of artwork done by various artists.

Using Krita on a computer has numerous benefits.

It includes keyboard commands to customize brush size, choosing a color, panning through the canvas, zooming, and rotating.

Krita also uses vector tools for editing the following: Path, Selection, Text (fonts), Vector art, Fill, and Gradient. 

Its application mechanics are highly reliable with its accelerated framerate, quick pen actions in real-time, zero delay, and quick response time.

Krita has built-in filters with a default installation, which offer a wide variety to choose from.

Among some of the filters Krita offers, there’s: brightness, inverting, pixelized, oil paint, embossing, sharpening, and more.

Krita’s strong focus on digital drawing and powerful brush engine is probably the biggest features you’ll encounter when you first use it.

9. Gimp

Gimp is a free application that helps draw like in Photoshop!

It is a fantastic substitute that gets the job done. 

Although Gimp has always been known for being an image editing program, functionality and performance are nearly on par with Photoshop or Photoshop CC. 

Some of the features Gimp has in store for photo editing can also be used for artwork, such as filters, color management, and adjustment modes. 

Gimp is one of the oldest programs out there for editing and digital drawing.

Moreover, it is constantly being updated as of late 2020 with new and improved features.

Gimp’s sophisticated tools offer high-quality outcomes for any art style while being flexible.

It indeed offers exceptionally customizable UI to digital artists.

To those new artists planning to use Gimp, there are few things you have to take note of.

First, the wide range of customization is usually daunting and overwhelming.

So, some practice and experimentation are probably required to become accustomed to the interface.

Although, using Gimp’s default program rather than relying on 3rd party plugins or customization is typically easy for new users.

This is highly suggested, which doesn’t require much practice.

Although Gimp has always specialized in photo-editing, digital drawing has become more popular and mainstream.

Therefore, you’ll find Gimp’s updates to be increasingly keen on the drawing side of the app. 

10. Autodesk Sketchbook

Also known as Sketchbook, this innovative program has a minimalistic interface that doesn’t distract you from your creative flow. 

Sketchbook emphasizes the importance of focus as you delve into your artwork without being bombarded by menus or needing to collapse windows.

Using Sketchbook is reminiscent of traditional drawing.

As its tools precisely and accurately display themselves onto the seemingly real canvas. 

Doodling, sketching, and creating rough drafts through Sketchbook is capable of being transformed into actualized masterpieces.

Sketchbook features a Predictive Stroke.

A feature which is used to smoothen lines and manipulates objects or shapes within your artwork.

The Predictive Stroke is highly helpful for those wanting to resize eyes, manipulating a torso structure, and adding stability to your work.

Sketchbook has a reputation for users to draw with symmetry freely.

The symmetry tool allows users to create perfectly mirrored subjects.

In addition to the tool, artists typically use this feature for flowers, tile designs, portraits, and character studies. 

While using Sketchbook, both simplistic and elaborate drawings are possible as you have a wide range of choices. 

This application is meant for anybody, no matter your history on drawing/digital drawing, and it’s also FREE.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, each of these apps for drawing on PC has multiple perks to every art style you can think of.

The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to you to find out their unique features.

Each of these has its communities, sharing their artwork and tips, tricks, tutorials, and chat forums.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, each of these apps for drawing on PC offers enough flexibility.

Thus, your artistic goals are the top priority.

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