The art of design is revolutionizing and creators, in their eagerness to leave pencil and paper behind, explore the benefits of drawing programs with a graphics tablet.
In this post you will find several app options that will allow you to carry out work digitally without the need to transfer paper. You will also see how much faster everything is when editing even individual pixels and groups of pixels, especially for raster images.
What software to use with the graphics tablet?
There are those who want a free program, while others would not mind paying. This is a factor that would condition the choice. For my part, I prefer to use the entire Adobe suite. It is the one that has best adapted to the market by offering more universal export options.
I usually work with Illustrator or Photoshop. If we talk about free software, I have had a good experience using the GIMP program, which is very similar to Photoshop.
Programs for drawing on a graphic tablet
I have tried many over the years: Krita, Paint Tool Sai, Mypaint, Corel Painter, and Paintstorm Studio, so I want to tell you about my experience so you can easily choose.
Let’s look at some interesting options:
1. Krita: one of the best programs to draw with a free graphic tablet
Krita has been designed for digital artists to create and edit illustrations. It includes simulations for all kinds of media, including watercolour, oil paint, charcoal, and chalk pastel.
By default, you have all kinds of customizable brushes, pencils and pens. There are tools for panel templates, perspective, halftone filters, and layers.
- Animation and transitions
- Drag and drop
- 2D drawing
- Image edition
- design management
- Import of media files
- Data import and export
It can process vector and bitmap files and supports various file formats. It can be deployed on Cloud, SaaS, Web, Mac (desktop), Windows (desktop), or Linux (desktop).
2. Paint Tool Sai: easy and stable operation painting software
PaintTool SAI is a high-quality, lightweight, fully digitizer-compatible painting software with incredible anti-aliasing paints.
Providing easy and stable operation, this software makes digital art more enjoyable and comfortable.
- Digitizer support with pressure.
- Amazing anti-aliasing drawings.
- High-precision compositing with 16-bit ARGB channels.
- The simple yet powerful user interface, easy to learn.
- Fully compatible with Intel MMX technology.
- Data protection function to prevent abnormal termination such as errors.
- You can use this full-featured software without paying for the first 31 days.
3. Mypaint: what you need to create great works of art
MyPaint has simplicity, yet it provides all the tools you need to create great illustrations.
It started in 2004 when Martin Renold bought a Wacom graphics tablet, realizing that the program he was using would sometimes drop a hit when he doodled too fast. He thought it might be more expressive if his brush reacted differently to pressure and speed.
This tool is compatible with Wacom graphics tablets and many similar devices.
- Its brush engine is versatile and configurable, providing useful and productive tools.
- Standard brushes can emulate traditional media such as charcoal, pencils, ink, or paint.
- It’s easy to create expressive and artistic new brushes that don’t respond to anything conventional.
- Full-screen mode shrinks the interface, leaving you with just your brush and creativity.
- MyPaint is simple, but it gives you all the tools you need to create great works of art. It comes from the Linux art world, but also has ports for Mac OS X and Windows.
4. Corel Painter: The Veteran
Corel Painter is an excellent option for those looking for an app that isn’t as basic or as complex as Photoshop.
It enables digital artists to access an AI-based style transfer workflow that offers the customization, control, and realism of Natural-Media™.
- It has good tools for drawing lines, it is compatible with graphic tablets and its behaviour does not disappoint.
- It incorporates more than 900 brushes and paths.
- Its price, unfortunately, is not very affordable.
- Extensive canvas control, with the ability to pan, zoom, rotate, and apply lighting and textures with ease.
- It allows you to control the brush by modifying its size, shape, angle, and flow thanks to its depth control panels.
- With this powerful application, we will be able to mix colours freely and experiment with a wide variety of brushes, materials, and textures, making combinations with each other until we achieve the desired result.
It includes support for most of the most popular and used image formats, as well as sections for palette management, retouching, cropping, and vector modification.
5. Paintstorm studio: intuitive and functionally powerful
Paintstorm Studio is an indispensable software tool for artists, created for works of any complexity, genre and technique.
Creating digital artwork has never been so mobile and accessible. It is intuitive and functionally powerful, taking the digital painting process to a new level of quality and making it even more comfortable.
- Incredible opportunities in the adjustment of brushes,
- post-correction of the strokes (not only for thickness but for any brush parameter),
- perspective brush settings link,
- dynamic interface (Possibility of changing the global scale, as well as the colour, transparency and size of some panels),
- wide variety of standard tools (Lasso, Magic Wand, Crop, Fill, Gradient, Clone, Guides, Work with Layers, Free Transform and many more).
Paintstorm Studio software for the iPad is a completely analogue version of the Macintosh version: this means that absolutely all the functionality of the desktop version has been carefully and precisely translated and adapted to the gestures of the iPad screen.
6. Clip Studio Paint: software and app to draw on a graphics tablet
Clip Studio Paint is the perfect tool for drawing manga and comics with your graphics tablet or on your tablet. Many animation professionals use this app to draw their characters.
The main objective of this app is to take drawing, painting and digital tools to new heights of naturalness, ones that hardly show any difference compared to traditional paper and canvas.
- The interface is customizable and can be adapted to anyone’s drawing style.
- It has a free trial.
- Every month they incorporate new brushes and extras.
- Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, iPad, iOS, Galaxy, Android, and Chromebook.
If you have this Galaxy app installed on your smartphone, you can connect it to other devices via Remote Control Mode to use it as a one-handed controller to further enhance your productivity.
7. Gravit Designer: for working with vector graphics files
Gravit Designer is a free and complete design application available to everyone. Excellent if you want to work with vector graphics files.
It allows you to import sketches, design models and transformations, and even export to PDF, SVG and high-quality images using slices and various resources available.
- It has unparalleled precision in any unit ( pixels, mm, cm, etc. ) from creation to export.
- It offers anchors and auto-layouts designed for pixel-perfect screen layouts, as well as multiple fills/edges, effects, and blending modes, along with shared styles.
- It has support for layers, pages and objects.
In the program interface, we will find a toolbar, which will change depending on the selected tool.
Gravit is stable, we can even use it directly from the browser.
8. GIMP: Open source software for tablets of all kinds
GIMP emulates Photoshop and is totally free. You just have to get used to some changes in the way you work and voila, start retouching photos or drawing.
It provides you with sophisticated tools to get your work done. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to the numerous customization options and third-party plugins.
- Improvements in digital painting with canvas flipping and rotation,
- support MyPaint brushes, symmetry painting, etc.,
- enables high bit depth rendering, hardware acceleration, and multithreaded pixel rendering,
- preview in the canvas itself when using the filters ported to GEGL.
- incorporates new themes such as: Gray, Light, System and Dark, as well as new icons to change the focus to the content itself and to dim the environment.
It is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows, and more operating systems. It is free software, you can modify its source code and distribute your changes.
9. Autodesk Sketchbook – Good Graphics Tablet Software on Windows
If you’re looking to draw in a simplistic, distraction-free way, then Autodesk Sketchbook is the program for you. Working with this app is like drawing on paper.
- Brushes and pens behave like their physical counterparts (without cluttering your desk or drying out),
- the interface is clean and unobtrusive; plus, you can hide tools and palettes until you need them and focus on drawing,
- traditional rulers, curved rulers, ellipse and french curve tools are available to guide you,
- You can also use the Predictive Stroke tool to draw perfectly smooth strokes.
For those looking for precision, or for those who just want a little help while drawing, Sketchbook has the tools you need.
10. Adobe Creative Cloud: The quintessential Wacom tablet software
Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of applications and services from Adobe Inc. Considered by many to be the most complete suite in graphic design, web development, and video and podcast creation, it is Procreate’s competitor on the graphic design side.
- Adobe offers four levels of Creative Cloud membership service for individuals (there are other types for businesses and schools).
- Photography, which contains some Adobe Creative Cloud features related to photography and access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.
- Single App, which contains all the functions of Creative Cloud plus access to a single application of the suite chosen by the user from a list of 11 selected applications.
- All Apps, the main tier of Creative Cloud that contains all Creative Cloud features plus access to all apps in the suite.
All Apps + Adobe Stock, which contains all the standard Creative Cloud features plus features for Adobe Stock.
It gives subscribers access to a collection of software used for graphic design, video editing, web development, and photography, along with a suite of mobile apps and some optional cloud services as well.
I hope this information has been useful to you, leave us in the comments how your experience has been. I suggest you try at least three and choose the one that suits you best.
To finish, we have gathered the questions that are most frequently asked by users, and that is in some way linked to the topic:
What is the best program to draw on a tablet?
The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for, for example, I can tell you that I have had a very good experience with Krita because I love their brushes.Still, some tablets have their own programs, for example, Huion has its own programs for Huion graphic tablets, such as Huion Sketch.
How to draw well on a graphics tablet?
To work optimally with your graphics tablet, we leave you some suggestions:
1. Make your hand movements match those on the screen.
2. If you draw on the wrist, the average length of the stroke is about ten centimetres.
3. Place the tablet right in front of the monitor.
4. Check the friction between the graphics tablet and the stylus.
5. Check the thickness of the pencil. For example, the design of the pens included with the Wacom Intuos Pro tablets is slightly thick.
6. Adjust the pen pressure in the setup software that is installed when you download the drivers.
What program to use with Wacom?
What I consider to be the best Wacom tablet software is GIMP, as it honorably emulates Photoshop, or Autodesk Sketchbook, due to the precision it offers.