10+ best painting apps for Windows 10 [Drawing, Sketching]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
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Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and driver troubleshooting. When he's not tackling... Read more
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  • Beginner or pro, you still need a great set of drawing apps for PC, that provide various painting modes and HDR support.
  • Upgrade you pictures by adding intricate features like 3D objects, or just make some basic editing.
  • Check our guide if you want a free app that can help you restore old pictures, and more.
  • Create wonderful visuals with features like like the calligraphy pen, and refine the result with a great filter.
Painting apps for Windows 10
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With PC displays increasingly becoming pixel-rich, it is only natural for companies to also respond with more advanced painting software to make the best of the stunning displays that today’s PCs boast of.

Gone are the days when you could scribble heavily pixelated shapes and figures with Microsoft Paint.

In contrast, today’s painting apps provide almost the same feel as the art form in real life. What’s more, most of them are free and compatible with Windows 10.

Read on to find out the best drawing apps for Windows 10 PCs and pick the one that suits your work needs.


What are the best drawing apps for PC to exercise your talent?

Adobe Photoshop CC

One of the most popular and reliable digital painting software available right now is Adobe Photoshop CC. It is widely used by artists, designers, and photographers for good reasons. 

Although in the last couple of years its supremacy as the best painting app has been challenged, the tide has shifted with the new update.

This massive update has brought some long-awaited features like the new re-imagined filters powered by Adobe Sensei.

Photoshop should not only be viewed as a tool that makes you skinnier or brushes up the acne. Besides photo editing, it has a large usage in the creation of banners, logos, icons, apparel, and of course painting.

You can easily switch to a painting mode and adjust the brushes, pencils, and pens for your liking.

If you are passionate about abstract art, you will love the Paint Symmetry feature that lets you duplicate patterns across a line.

Another important reason to consider is the ability to download thousands of pre-made brushes created by experienced artists. You can also create your own patterns and publish them.

Not to mention that it is fully compatible with XP-Pen which has gained a lot of popularity lately.

Some of the best features that make Adobe Photoshop a perfect digital painting software:

  • Duplicate patterns across a line using Paint Simmetry
  • Download thousands of pre-made brushes created by experienced artists
  • Re-imagined filters powered by Adobe Sensei
  • Easy creation of banners, logos, icons, apparel, and painting
  • Simple interface but limitless options
Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC is the best digital canvas that you can build your art on!

Free trialVisit website

Autodesk Sketchbook

First things first, the app isn’t exactly free though there always is a free version available which again is comprehensive enough to warrant its inclusion in this list.

The Autodesk Sketchbook app can also be seen as a nice replacement for MS Paint though perhaps somewhat more advanced.

There are a whole lot of brushes and tools along with so much more to help you get started right away in the free version itself.

And the best thing is that you can access all the drawing and sketching tools whether you’re working on a desktop or on a mobile platform.

That includes the steady stroke, symmetry tools, perspective guides, and many other tools, no matter how complex.

And if you’re worried about security issues, there’s a 2-step verification process that you can set up and there’s also access to the Autodesk Drive that you can use to store, preview, and share design data.

And if you find it addictive enough, there is always the pro version that you can subscribe to.

Check out Sketchbook’s most important features at a glance:

  • 1, 2, and 3-point perspective guides with snapping toggle, vanishing point lock, and horizon line visibility
  • Friendly and simple interface across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • Over 140 standard brushes on top of which you can create your own or import others
  • Add unlimited layers with blending modes and layer grouping
  • Predictive stroke to smooth line work and correct basic shapes
Autodesk Sketchbook

Autodesk Sketchbook

Sketchbook is more than its name suggests. It can be a true digital canvas, so take a closer look!

Paint.net

Paint.net can easily be considered as a stripped-down version of Photoshop, one that is a lot user-friendly but still can do a great job with any photos.

That said, there is no stopping you from doodling away anything you like while you can also work wonders on any image that you wish to work on.

There is the usual assortment of paintbrushes that are common to nearly all painting apps.

Paint.NET uses a tabbed document interface to handle multiple images easily so switching between projects is as simple as clicking on its tab.

Even, more, the tab will display a live image, not a text, so there’s no way of messing up about which one to access.

And the best part about Paint.NET is its versatility. It works well whether you’re running it on an old Windows 7 system or on a top-of-the-line Windows 11 rig with high configuration.

Like on other, more complex software, you can use this tool’s layered capabilities to structure your painting like a professional.

Get Paint.net


Microsoft Paint 3D

This formed part of the Windows 10 Creator’s Update and is billed as the modern-day version of the ubiquitous MS Paint.

While Paint has since survived and will continue to be available via Microsoft Store, it is Paint 3D that will henceforth be the official coloring app on all Windows 10 PC now.

As for the app itself, there are new brushes and tools to choose from for drawing on the display.

However, you get the real taste once you tap on the 3D Object tab that lets you introduce 3D objects and animals onto your canvas or turn your own creations into 3D.

Then there are other options to further spice up your creation in the form of lighting effects or apply different finishes such as matte, polished metal, glass, and so on.

Also, of course, you can paint the surface the way you wish to. On the whole, a fun app to while away your time while also getting along with some serious painting job as well when needed.

In the newest version, you can use a new Tube brush to create long ribbons or short dollops of volume like a pro. Try it out!

Get Microsoft Paint 3D


Krita

Krita is as good as it can get for a serious painting app on your PC, and much of that owes to its origins given that it has been designed by artists in the first place.

It’s interesting that this tool is an open-source project developed by an international community of enthusiasts and it’s never wrong to add passion to work.

The app can be perfect for any kind of drawing though it seems to be better tuned for comics and manga.

Also, the artistic lineage is evident in almost every aspect of the Krita app, be it its customizable brushes with the option to save the bespoke brushes for later use or the plethora of pens and fills that you have at your disposal.

Then there are also panel templates, halftone filters to aid in your artistic endeavors. Mention must also be made of the intuitive method of launching the color palette or other tools.

For this, you only got to do a simple right-click anywhere on the app and there will be a selection wheel offering various tools and color options.

Besides, the app also offers a variety of masks and layers as well, including HDR support for exceptional quality pictures. This is one of the best apps to have for serious painting, one that is completely free as well.

Get Krita

Artweaver

Artweaver can be great for both serious paintings and a fun app for kids. It has a great collection of pens that range from cone brushes, airbrush, and calligraphy pens, while there also are a range of patterns to choose from.

The app is also layer-based, which means you can let loose your creativity in stages with the option to go back and change anything that you wish to without hampering the entire artwork.

The app also allows the creation of even complex images very effortlessly, so be sure to try it out.

You now have an enhanced brush editor at your hands which provides all settings of a brush including a scratchpad to try them out.

If you’re done with the work on one day, you can still retrace your steps because the brush selector will show you a preview of the brush stroke and a history of recently used brushes.

Artweaver even has support for the Windows Ink Pen interface to get the perfect pen pressure information and translate it to your digital canvas.

Get Artweaver

Microsoft Fresh Paint

Microsoft Fresh Paint is another free painting app from Microsoft that offers the closest feeling you can have of a pen or brush touching real paper.

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In fact, so life-like the app is that the colors also tend to splatter when you dip your brush into the palette.

You have the option to wash the brush before you start using another color, or directly smear the brush with a different color if you intend to make a color blend, just as you would have done in the real life.

In fact, skeuomorphism happens to be the keyword with the app as the canvas also tends to take some time to dry, offering you to smear any other color while it is still wet and so on.

You will also discover a feature that you can use to transform your photos into paintings.

No, you will not fool anyone that you became a Van Gogh descendant overnight, but nevertheless, you will get some nice results.

Overall, this is a nice app for experienced artists or for unveiling the artist in just about anybody.

Get Microsoft Fresh Paint


MyPaint

MyPaint is another great painting app, but it is also one that is unique in its own way.

And much of it owes to the app’s Linux origins. That also makes it befitting only artists or those who don’t mind picking up new skills just to use the app.

That having been said, there is certainly an assortment of brushes to add color to your creations. Then there are layers, while a notepad lets you create sketches.

Also, with the app being open source, other artists have more varied brush packages on offer which you can download and install in your application.

Lastly, for those who’d like to know, the credit for the creation of the MyPaint app goes to artist Martin Renold.

He went out to develop something more convincing painting solution to suit his needs, something that he wasn’t getting with the other painting apps available then.

Get MyPaint

Zen: Coloring book for adults

Zen: Coloring book for adults is a great app, more to pass the time than anything else.

This coloring book app is nevertheless designed to breathe new life into your creativity with a new design every time.

As you might have guessed already, there would be a series of intricate designs presented to you.

All that you need to do is let loose your creative instincts in filling up the patterns with the colors of your choice. Needless to say, the results can be stunning if done with care and passion.

However, it’s a painting app that anybody can take on without any real painting skills because you only need to fill the designated spaces with the indicated colors.

So the only skill you need is a little bit of patience and the result will be guaranteed to be stunning.

Get Zen: Coloring book for adults

Sketchable

Sketchable is a great app to put your stylus to the best use and it’s completely free, which makes it even more interesting.

The free version will let you have everything to put your artistic creativity to good use though, for a few other niceties like layer support for the more serious artists, you need to go for in-app purchases.

The app can also be a great asset for design students or officials who can get along with their creative work with the Sketchable app with utmost ease.

With this tool, you can create high-resolution journals with personalized names, covers, and sizes ranging from common screen sizes up to 4k.

You can be as precise as you want because you can make adjustments to hue, value, and saturation to get to the desired color or you can use a dropper to select one.

Sketchable is both like a journal and a canvas as it allows you to scribble a note, snap and edit a pic, import and augment an image, or paint a masterpiece easily and then sharing it with your friends.

Get Sketchable

inPixio Photo Studio Pro 11

inPixio Photo Studio Pro 11 is the software you need if you want to enhance your visuals and add the refined touch of a true professional.

You can customize pictures by cropping or changing the background thanks to the Cutter function.

Enhance your photos by removing imperfections with the Erase feature, or make old photographs look like new and restore them to their actual aesthetic value.

Remove unnecessary objects and smooth the edges of your photos in order to give them a softer look.

Take your favorite photos and create a wonderful montage in just a few easy steps and add a dash of extra excitement by using one of the awesome backgrounds.

And if you have old photos, there’s nothing easier than to repair them with just a few clicks using this software.

Don’t worry about learning about using it because you will benefit from an interactive assistant, a lot of tutorials, and an interactive step-by-step tutorial guide that will get you through the photo editor.

Let’s see some of its top features:

  • Correct errors on photos with just a few clicks
  • Remove objects with a single click
  • Create amazing new images
  • Simple and friendly interface
  • Countless backgrounds available for photomontages
  • Share button for Facebook, Twitter

Get InPixio Photo Studio Pro 11

How to get the best digital paint app

The best art expression you can have is certainly the canvas, the real brush, and your unlimited talent.

However, we all know that paint, brushes, and canvases cost plenty of money and the digital realm comes in all too handy in providing the perfect environment for practice.

As you have already seen, there are plenty of apps for everyone and we provided a selection for all budgets, skills and needs but here are a few tips on how to pick the right one for yourself.

Determine the purpose of the app

In other words, what do you need the app for? If you just want to take some sketches that you will use later for inspiration, there is no point in committing to a complex app.

But if you’re a skilled digital artist or you’re planning on working as one, such an investment is actually an investment in your craftsmanship.

You will also find some apps in our list that can satisfy the basic needs of coloring on a canvas so you have to determine your needs first.

Think about the tools needed for digital drawing

As with any other app, it’s important to have the right tools to work on it. As you already know or will find out, for painting, you will need a digital pen.

Of course, you can’t really draw with a mouse so you will also need a graphics tablet or a good multi-touch screen so you can use a pressure-sensitive stylus.

And the software you will use has to support those devices match the characteristics as well as possible.

Tips for beginners

If you just started drawing, also get a good drawing course or a book and start with the basic shapes and techniques.

You won’t need the most advanced drawing app but one to support the minimum requirements to support your progress in time.

These are our top recommendations of the best drawing apps for PC, whether you choose a free tool or decide to go for a more complex set of features, you’ll be delighted with the result.

Once you get to create the best digital creations, you should also consider the best browser-based animation tools for Windows 10 PCs and create outstanding works.

We’d like to hear more from you on this subject so drop us a comment in the section below.

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