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Best Free and Paid Drawing Apps for Windows

Sep 28, 2020• Proven solutions

Digital painting may easily become the most dominant art form in the future since more and more artists are producing their art in the digital format. The widespread and accessibility of drawing apps for Windows also contributes to the popularity of digital painting.

However, such diversity of software products that can be used for drawing or painting may be confusing especially for someone who is just getting started. What’s more, the tools a drawing app offers can limit the scope of your options and ultimately lower the quality of your artwork.

We combed the Internet in search of best free and paid drawing apps for Windows and we’ve shortlisted those that have to offer the most to both skilled and unskilled users.   

Top 10 Drawing Apps for Windows

The purpose for which you will be using a drawing app is often the best guideline to follow while choosing a software you intend to use to create digital paintings and drawings since there isn’t much sense in spending a lot of money on a software product that offers advanced features you will never use.

Here’s what drawing apps for Windows have to offer.

1. Microsoft Paint 3D

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows 10

Best for: Digital art enthusiasts

All PC users can create digital drawings for free, and they don’t even need to install a third-party app. Microsoft Paint 3D is the Windows 10 native app that grants you access to all tools you need to create digital painting and drawings.

Besides an excellent collection of brushes, you also get access to a variety of 2D and 3D shapes, stickers, and text options. In addition, you can choose from a broad range of lighting options, and decide if you want to give your images gloss, matte, or some other type of finish. Microsoft Paint 3D is a great option if you are just starting to learn how to make digital drawings, but still want an app that offers at least some advanced options.

2. Microsoft Fresh Paint

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows 8.1, Windows 8.0, Windows 10

Best for: Experienced or aspiring artists

Anyone who has Windows 8.1, 8.0, or 10 installed on their computer can download Microsoft Fresh Paint from the Microsoft Store. The app enables you to create digital drawings and paintings from scratch or use a photograph as a basis for your artwork.

Switching between different brushes, using a sketchpad, or manipulating large numbers of layers are only a few among numerous options this app offers. Moreover, Fresh Paint gives you complete control over the intensity of the colors, while you can also choose if you want to clean your brush before you start using a new color or mix multiple colors. This drawing app has a lot to offer to seasoned digital artists and users who would like to learn the basics of digital drawing and painting.

3. MyPaint

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows 10 or earlier, macOS, Linux

Best for: Experienced digital painters

Some 15 years after the initial release, MyPaint is still one of the best digital drawing and painting apps for Windows. The app’s sketchpad enables you to create quick sketches that can be easily turned into paintings.

In addition, you can choose from a huge selection of paints and brushes to create highly detailed images. Learning how to use the app may take a while, even if you already have a considerable amount of experience as a digital painter, which is the reason why MyPaint can be overwhelming for newcomers to the world of digital art. The app provides support for pressure-sensitive graphics tablets and it features a dynamic brush library that can be extended through third-party app integrations.

4. PAINT.NET

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows 7 or later

Best for: Novice photo editors and digital artists

PAINT.NET is primarily a photo editing app that also features a standard set of pens and brushes that can be used to create digital paintings and drawings. Moreover, the app lets you switch between colors effortlessly and it allows you to choose the size or hardness of the brushes and pens you’re using.

Performing the basic photo editing tasks or creating a digital drawing with PAINT.NET isn’t difficult, but the app doesn’t offer any advanced features, which makes it ill-suited for professional use. Although somewhat similar to more powerful photo editors such as Gimp or Adobe Photoshop, PAINT.NET is equipped with only a fraction of the photo editing tools professional drawing and photo editing apps provide.

5. SKETCHABLE

Price: Free, but offers in-app purchases

Compatibility: Windows 10

Best for: Digital art enthusiasts, design students

If you would like to keep a visual diary and be able to create quick sketches, make notes, edit photos or make digital paintings, then SKETCHABLE is one of the best options you have at your disposal. Starting to work on a new project is easy, as you just have to pick a tool and start drawing or painting. The Brush Stabilization, Color Swatches, or Floating Point precision for painting operations are some of the features SKETCHABLE has to offer.

The app lets you customize pens and brushes in accordance with your needs while you can switch between colors with a single click. Although the free version of the app is available to all PC users, making in-app purchases is necessary if you want to perform more complex drawing or painting tasks.

6. Autodesk SketchBook

Price: Free trial, $85.00 per year

Compatibility: Windows 10

Best for: Professional digital artists

The amount of possibilities Autodesk SketchBook provides is simply staggering since it is hard to think of a task that cannot be completed with this drawing app. In addition to a huge collection of brushes, the app also enables you to add texture to a brush in order to create a particular visual effect. What’s more, you can also create and save your brushes and use them on each new project you start in this app.

Furthermore, you can create flipbook animations with Autodesk SketchBook, while the size of the canvas can be extended up to 64 MPX. The Advanced Perspective Guides and Distort Transform options enable you to create realistic images that look like they are hand-painted. The only downside is that you must purchase the annual subscription in order to create digital drawings and paintings with Autodesk SketchBook on a constant basis.

7. Adobe Photoshop CC

Price: $20.99 as a single app

Compatibility: Windows 10 or earlier

Best for: Professional digital artists

Besides being one of the best drawing apps for Windows ever created, Adobe Photoshop is also one of the oldest drawing and painting software products on the market. In addition to powerful photo editing tools, the app also features all the tools you’ll need to create a professional drawing or a digital painting.

Adjusting the size or the hardness of the brushes, working with multiple layers or the ability to undo any mistake you make are just a few advantages of using Adobe Photoshop CC to create drawings and paintings. The app is also compatible with the XP-Pen tablet that gives you more precision while you are creating highly detailed drawings. Mastering Adobe Photoshop CC can take years of hard work, and aspiring digital artists shouldn’t get discouraged if at first, they fail to achieve great results.

8. Clip Studio Paint

Price: Free trial, $49.99 one-time purchase

Compatibility: Windows 10

Best for: Manga and comic artists

This versatile drawing app is equipped with a broad range of features that enable the user to visualize any idea regardless of how complex that idea may be. Besides comics and manga, Clip Studio Paint can also be used to create concept art, digital paintings, different types of characters, animations, or design illustrations.

Each line you draw is converted into a vector that can be easily adjusted even after they are moved or transformed. The Perspective Ruler enables you to create realistic backgrounds by setting multiple vanishing points within the same canvas. What’s more, Clip Studio Paint grants you access to a broad range of tools that make the painting process quicker and easier. You can choose between less expensive Clip Studio Paint Pro and pricier Clip Studio Paint EX versions of the app. 

9. Leonardo

Price: 14-day free trial, $39.99 one-time purchase

Compatibility: Windows 10

Best for: Aspiring and accomplished digital artists

If you are in need of a drawing app for Windows that is stacked with powerful sketching, drawing, whiteboarding, tracing and painting features, then Leonardo is one of the best options you can find on the market. Despite still being in the beta stage, the software ensures a smooth workflow even on demanding projects and performs all tasks at a lightning speed. Moreover, the app features an endless canvas which ensures that you’ll never run out of space.  

The large selection of brushes and powerful perspective tools Leonardo offers enables you to create visually stunning images that meet the highest professional standards. The app’s compatibility with Surface Pro, Wacom, and other tablets makes it a great option for all digital artists who prefer to create their images with a stylus pen.

10. MediBang Paint

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows 10

Best for: Novice manga and comic artists

Fans of manga-style cartoons are going to love using MediBang Paint because it offers hundreds of different backgrounds, as well as more than 50 brushes. In addition, you can choose from 20 font styles or make new brushes in just a few clicks.

Switching between different layers is easy, while you can also generate a new comic panel by simply dragging the mouse in any direction. The snap guides enable you to draw perfect straight and curved lines, while the app makes it easy to keep track of all comic pages you create. The collaboration tools make MediBang Paint a good fit for teams of artists who are working on the same project.

Frequently Asked Questions about Drawing Apps for Windows

1. Does Windows10 have a drawing program?

Yes, Paint 3D and Paint are available on all versions of Windows 10, which means that you can create drawings on your PC without having to install a third-party app.

2. Is there a free drawing software on Windows 10?

There are a number of drawing apps for Windows 10 you can use for free. MediBang Paint, PAINT.NET, or Microsoft Fresh Paint are just a few among countless drawing apps you can use to create digital drawings or paintings without having to purchase a subscription or making a one-time payment.

Conclusion

All of the drawing apps for Windows we featured in this article enable you to create digital artwork, but the tools they offer vary. Novice or aspiring digital artists should try using PAINT.NET or Microsoft Paint 3D, although opting for a more complex software product like Adobe Photoshop CC may be a good decision if you want to develop your digital drawing or painting skills.

Autodesk SkectchBook or Clip Studio Paint are best suited for seasoned digital artists in need of an app that enables them to perform complex drawing or painting operations with ease. Which drawing app for Windows are you going to choose? Leave a comment and let us know.

Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.