Drawing software has come a long way in recent years. Now there are great programs available completely free of charge that provide realistic simulations for watercolor, oil, pastels, compressed charcoal (for use in fine arts) and more.
These free tools work well with a mouse, but even better with a stylus or touchscreen for direct control of virtual brushes and brushes.
Some of the latest painting software also allow you to create 3D works, then apply your own paint and texture effects. You can combine them with 2D sketch elements to create scenes and even print them in 3D.
Here, the article has selected the best drawing software for Windows. Some of these tools are designed for professional painters, while others are suitable for giving kids the freedom to be creative without the mess of tools like real painting. Everyone will find the right choice – the only limit is their imagination and skills.
1. Krita – Top quality painting software, free for all artists
- Well designed brushes and tools
- Easy-to-access interface
- Handy drawing tools
Krita is professional quality painting software, created by a group of artists with the lofty aim of putting top creative tools within the reach of everyone.
You can use Krita for any type of drawing and illustration, but it’s especially great for comics and manga. Krita has panel templates, halftone effects filters (halftone), and perspective tools, in addition to the usual brushes, pens, and coloring tools. Each brush is fully customizable, and you can save your custom brushes for reuse later.
Right-clicking anywhere on the canvas in Krita brings up the wheel, allowing you to select new tools and colors in seconds – a system that’s much easier than browsing through menus and settings.
Krita is created by the artists themselves, for like-minded people, so it possesses a lot of thoughtful little highlights, making it easier to create great pictures. There are handy drawing aids for creating lines, virtual points (the point where all parallel lines in a plane seem to meet in perspective), and smoothing out the shape. You also get layers, masks, transitions, HDR support, and many advanced selection functions.
Krita is an extremely powerful drawing program. Krita is completely free to download and use.
2. Artweaver Free – Realistic traditional medium, with a variety of brush options
- Realistic means
- Supports layers
- Child-friendly interface
Artweaver Free lets you create beautifully realistic digital paintings, by taking input – from a mouse, a stylus or, whatever you touch, if you have a touchscreen PC – and apply surreal brush effect.
In addition to the familiar brushes, you also get a variety of pen patterns and tools, allowing you to create very intricate images without too much effort. Artweaver Free is also layer-based, so you can build your masterpiece layer by layer, without losing the ability to change anything.
Artweaver Free is designed for artists of all ages, but many users find it especially useful for children. Kids love to experiment with all the different brushes and parents certainly don’t like having to clean up any mess after that, right?
Download Artweaver Free
3. Microsoft Paint 3D – Child-friendly 3D modeling software
- Converts drawing into 3D model
- Various drawing effects available
- 3D effects are quite basic
Like the classic version of Microsoft Pain, Paint 3D provides tools to freely doodle on a flat canvas. However, the real fun begins when you click the button 3D Objects. Here you can choose a model to import (current selections include people and animals) or better yet, draw your own shape, then change it to a three-dimensional model, yes can be rotated and viewed from different angles.
You can choose effects, color surfaces, and apply lighting effects to your shapes. There’s no way to control the 3D effect, so your subject will always look like something created with Puff Paints, but it’s fun for kids of all ages.
Multiple models can be positioned at different depths and combined to create scenes. You can even bring the model into the real world, if you have a 3D printer.
Download Microsoft Paint 3D
4. Microsoft Fresh Paint – Another kid-friendly application from Microsoft
- Realistic blending effects
- Easy for children to use
Fresh Paint is another drawing app from Microsoft – this time designed to recreate the feeling of placing a brush or brush on paper.
Fresh Paint’s interface is quite diverse, with a sparkling plastic color palette when you dip a virtual brush, showing what color you’re using and creating a nice icon. You can wash the bristles in a glass of water before choosing another color, or use two colors in succession to blend them together right on the virtual brush.
Fresh Paint can simulate watercolors, pigments and all sorts of other materials. As its name implies, you can interact with your artwork, like blurring details and mixing colors together on canvas, etc.
Experienced artists can achieve great results, thanks to tools that work exactly like real-life materials, while kids and beginners can create an equally mess in reality.
Download Microsoft Fresh Paint
5. MyPaint – Open source software for artists to have time to learn a new tool
- Highly customizable
- Designed for graphics tablets
- It takes a long time to master and master this tool
MyPaint is the brainchild of painter Martin Renold, who was frustrated by the limitations of the proprietary software on his Wacom tablet and decided to work on it. Today, open source software is the perfect tool for artists.
MyPaint’s platform is a Linux application, meaning MyPaint works a little differently than most Windows apps and it will take some time to master its interface, but it’s worth it, if you are an illustrator and Krita does not suit your needs
MyPaint works best when used with graphics tablets, but you can also use it with any other input device, including touchscreen displays.
There’s a usual option of custom brushes, plus support for layers and a handy scratchpad for creating sketches. You can also download and install additional brush packages created by other users – a feature of those software with publicly available source code.
6. Clip Studio Paint – Ideal for inking and rendering
- Brush can be customized
- Great vector tool
- Excellent color options
- Large user and community base
- There is a lot of content to download for free
This is one of the most popular professional drawing applications available for PC. The program is designed to create illustrations, cartoons, manga and comics. Currently, more than 4 million people are using this application.
Many professional artists and illustrators like Clip Studio Paint because it offers exceptional flexibility and freedom. When you want to create a manga or comic book, you can do the same things on paper, but digital technology offers many advantages. The program has lots of great drawing tools. The updated version also includes features for drawing animation, making Clip Studio Paint one of the best free drawing programs.
This program can be considered a worthy competitor to classic Photoshop. Currently, many artists choose Clip Studio Paint because it is more popular in many respects.
Download Clip Studio Paint (Free Trial)
7. Paint.NET – Updated version of the standard Windows Paint
- Convenient and simple to use
- Lots of functions and effects
- The interface is well organized
- Online support and helpful guide
- The brushwork is limited
- Burn & Dodge is not available
- You cannot edit text after applying other effects
As the name suggests, the program’s interface resembles a standard drawing tool integrated into the operating system. But in terms of functionality, Paint.NET goes beyond that. This free digital painting software perfectly satisfies the task of drawing volumetric models, moving objects and transparent structures.
Paint.NET can work quickly even on low-powered devices. Paint.NET supports layers and has a large number of effects. There are tools for blurring, styling, sharpening, and reducing noise. If you wish, the program’s features can be extended using plug-ins. In addition, this free drawing program allows you to take an image from your scanner and enhance it.
8. GIMP – Top quality open source drawing software with free plug-ins
- Graphics tablet support
- Single file storage format “.xcf” to store text, texture, layer
- Ability to open PSD files
- Create plug-ins
- GIMP is a bit difficult to use
- The user interface is not well organized
- Has fewer features than similar paid options
This free painting software has a large number of tools available in Photoshop: Layers, masks, color grading, smart selections, brushes, filters, and many more. More tools can be added using third-party extensions. However, the interface and hotkeys here are very special. If you are familiar with Photoshop, you will have to learn again.
This product was originally created as a free alternative to Photoshop. However, the app’s functionality also allows you to create the drawing from scratch. This best free drawing software includes various “soft” and “hard” brushes with diverse features, the ability to process drawings by layer, smoothing and many other effects, as well as several large amount of additional tools.
Wish you find the right choice!
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