Many creative talents choose Apple over Microsoft under the false impression that the drawing apps for Windows aren’t as polished and easy to use. The truth is that Windows isn’t just a rough around the edges workhorse. It offers many drawing, sketching, and design apps for amateurs and professionals alike.
Whether you prefer a drawing tablet or a pen display, Windows comes with a wide range of free and premium programs to choose from. In this article, you’re going to learn about the best drawing apps for Windows.
The Best Drawing Apps for Windows
Here are the best drawing apps for Windows that will help you take your art to the next level.
Photoshop is the Jack-of-all-trades in the professional digital art world for a reason. It can handle everything from photo editing to digital painting, drawing, and more. The only downside is the lack of vector editing, but you can use Adobe Illustrator to cover that blind spot.
Photoshop comes with a library of brushes and pens to get you started on creating any custom digital art you can imagine. You can even expand this library by installing third-party brush packages. There are countless unique brushes to choose from and they range from simple textures to premade objects.
Photoshop is versatile and you can’t go wrong by choosing it over other drawing apps for Windows.
Adobe Illustrator was designed specifically for drawing and it is a standard in the digital art industry. No matter what kind of art you’re drawing and what type of drawing tablet you’re using, Illustrator offers all the tools an artist needs. This app is a complete drawing package that lets you create complex art fit for print.
As mentioned earlier, Photoshop isn’t a vector editor but Illustrator is. Vectors are scalable. This means you can change the size of your shapes whenever you want without losing quality. Vector editing is particularly important if you’re drawing logos and various design elements.
Illustrator goes best together with Photoshop and you can get them both by subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Krita is a professional drawing app developed by artists for artists. And it’s free! This open-source program can replace most drawing apps because it offers high-end features that we see in premium apps like Photoshop and Illustrator.
There’s a large variety of brushes and pens, you get halftone filters, perspective tools, HDR support, advanced transform tools, and much more. You can even create your own custom brushes. Krita is great for all types of drawings and illustrations, including comics.
That said, the most interesting feature is the selection wheel.
Right-click, or use your stylus’ shortcut button, and this selection tool will pop up. You can quickly switch between drawing tools, colors, and other tools as you draw without shifting your attention elsewhere.
4. Corel Painter
Corel Painter is one of the top drawing apps for professionals and it comes with a steep price tag to prove it. Once your trial expires, you can opt for a one-time purchase for $430 or an annual subscription for $199. However, if you dig deep you can find great offers on Amazon and other stores. Sometimes you might find Corel Painter as part of a $30 humble bundle.
That said, Corel Painter excels at digital painting. Its tools are designed to get rid of the “digital” part as much as possible and make your digital brush strokes look as real as those on the actual canvas. You’ll have control over the brush’s dab effect like nowhere else.
If you’re into digital painting as your main drawing style, you should give Corel Painter a shot despite the scary-looking price tag.
As the name of the app suggests, Sketchbook is the best for sketching your ideas. It’s designed to feel like sketching with a pen and piece of paper, so using a stylus is heavily recommended to get the best experience.
Enable Sketchbook’s full-screen mode to have a large canvas in front of your eyes and nothing else that can distract you. Then draw your designs using the wide range of brushes and tools at your disposal. You can even customize everything you need.
That said, the best thing about Sketchbook is the Predictive Stroke feature. Sketching is imperfect, but Sketchbook manages to eliminate many imperfections for you by automatically correcting the lines and shapes you draw.
6. Rebelle 4
If you’re looking to create hyper-realistic digital paintings, Rebelle 4 might be exactly what you need. This program mimics the way oil paints and watercolors interact with each other and with the canvas or paper. Choose between hundreds of brushes, types of paper, and canvas to enjoy the way painting feels in the real world without making a mess.
Rebelle 4 also includes some cool features, such as the DropEngine and Blow Tool.
You can make the paint drip on your canvas or manipulate its flow in different directions to get some interesting effects.
Rebelle 4 is one of the best drawing apps for Windows for artists that want to switch from traditional painting to digital painting.
7. Clip Studio Paint Pro
For comics, character art, and concept art, Clip Studio Paint Pro is hard to beat. It provides the traditional feel of drawing with highly accurate pen pressure detection and all the painting features you need. It is optimized for Wacom drawing tablets, so if you’re using one, you have to try this app. However, other tablets are supported as well.
There are thousands of customizable brushes available and new drawing materials are being added monthly by the developers to help you create the best art you can. Other users also contribute to the materials library, so there’s no shortage of tools to work with. In essence, Clip Studio Paint Pro is a sort of budget-friendly Corel Painter.
That said, if you’re not a fan of subscriptions, you’ll be happy to learn that you can buy Clip Studio Paint Pro for $49.99. This is a one-time purchase only and later you can upgrade to the Ex version of the software to unlock more exciting features.
Create with Windows
Windows doesn’t have the best reputation among artists, but there are so many amazing drawing apps that you shouldn’t skip. All the digital painting and drawing apps on our list work great with drawing tablets, touch screens, and even a mouse (not recommended). Give them a try and let us know in the comments below which app is your favorite.