Whether you are a budding digital artist or a seasoned professional looking to upgrade your available toolsets, locating the best artwork apps for Windows can sometimes seem overwhelming. With all the different techniques for artwork like drawing, composition, and the all-important medium, the capabilities of your artwork app will significantly determine the result of your efforts. Though digital paintings have the advantage of being much easier to alter or delete, you deserve to know which Windows-friendly apps will best meet your needs and skill level.
For example, you may be interested in digitally recreating complex art techniques, including charcoal rendering, detailed pencil drawings, oil painting, watercolor and so on. Other important considerations include whether you are attempting to alter an existing photograph, illustration, graphic design, or even replicating the experience of paint on canvas.
It's also worth noting while virtually all artwork apps are compatible with a mouse and PC, a tablet or touchscreen monitor paired with a stylus are required to unlock an application’s full potential. In addition to achieving far more delicate details, the stylus can also offer thousands of levels of pressure sensitivity so your art can have all the realism of physical mediums.
So if you’re in the market for some new design apps, check out our look at five outstanding options for your Windows PC.
Primarily designed for use on Microsoft Surface tablets and PCs, Windows Ink Workspace offers an excellent app that provides the versatility to use your mouse, a stylus, or even your finger to create artwork. Even if you prefer finger painting, the last thing you want is a large handprint spoiling the lines of your latest creation. Windows Ink Workspace offers an impressive level of palm recognition so you can lean into your drawing without worrying about suddenly ruining hours of careful work. Users can also enjoy more than simple notetaking functions. They can even write equations and have the app display the completed answer immediately.
It should also be noted that if you are the type of person who prefers simplicity in operating your PC, Windows Ink Workspace is compatible with several built-in Windows 10 apps, including the Microsoft Edge browser, Cards, and Photos and Videos. So, when it comes to creating excellent artwork or allowing easy navigation between programs, Windows Ink Workspace fits the bill.
For professional artists looking to purchase an application bursting with almost 200 fully customizable brushes, Sketchbook Pro is calling their name. Favored by professionals including building planners, graphic designers, and artists of all kinds, this app offers a clean, minimalist interface that allows users to select and deselect assets, including toolbars and palette sets, which lets you give your artwork the attention it deserves.
While the app does come with an annual subscription, users can install Sketchbook Pro across multiple devices and platforms for ease and convenience. Premium features include the ability to create artwork on a 100-megapixel digital canvas, support for various file formats such as BMP, JPG, PNG, and TIFF, uploading images via camera scan, and predictive stroke technology, to name a few. It should be noted that Sketchbook Pro is entirely free to use for both individual students and educational institutions.
If you find yourself having difficulty deciding between an app for artwork and one for journaling, Sketchable presents an ideal middle ground.
In addition to the highly convenient autosave function, so you can resume drawing exactly where you left off, you can create an organized series of artworks using Journals. Users can customize each Journal and adjust font type, resolution, and cover page as desired. Journals can also be easily shared on social media and exported to other programs.
Though Sketchable does offer some decent features in the free version of its app, including user symmetry and ad-hoc brush stabilization tools, users must purchase each premium feature individually. But the investment in such outstanding capabilities is well worth it.
Krita is an excellent option for creating artwork using Windows PCs or tablet devices well suited for aspiring and professional digital artists.
Not only is the app entirely free for anyone to use, but it also offers an awe-inspiring array of techniques, mediums, and tools to create your best artwork ever. Krita users are fully capable of creating digital works of art based on physical methods, including charcoal, oil paint, watercolors, and pastel chalk.
Krita is compatible with KRA, ORA, TIFF, JPEG and PNG, PSD, and CXF, among other file types. The app is designed with a clean and easy-to-use interface and even offers a customizable layout so you can access the features you care about most. And with support for vector and text content, you can create and annotate your creations with ease.
Not to be confused with the much-loved MS Paint or the retouching-focused Fresh Paint, Paint 3D is an often underutilized program that comes bundled for free on every Windows PC.
Despite the name implying that its primary purpose is to create three-dimensional designs and artwork, this program is excellent for learning the basics of video game character design, including z-axis visual design, which is an extremely desirable skill in today’s job market.
Another essential tool that Paint 3D includes is removing white backgrounds, creating fully transparent images, and turning any image into a sticker. Users can also create traditional 2D art and provide a robust library of filters and textures to add realism and make your art truly pop. Paint 3D is an ideal choice for anyone who wants an easy, out-of-the-box solution for simple and sometimes complex artistic needs.
So if you’re ready to get started with art on your Windows machine, be sure to check out the apps above. Each offers its unique blend of features and simplicity and can put you well on the path to crafting the artwork that inspires you and those you share it with.