8 Best Digital Drawing Tools for Comic Makers

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Whether you want to draw on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, there are many graphic design software and apps to choose from.  

Some programs are only compatible with specific devices and operating systems, so the functionalities they offer may differ from one device to the next. That’s why it’s important to make sure right from the start that the drawing tool of your choice is compatible with your operating system to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

When deciding on design software, you should also think about what you want to create and your level of expertise. If you’re just starting out and need to, for instance, learn how to draw a person you’re going to need a different drawing tool than a professional artist.

Also, think about whether you want to print your finished work or publish it on the web — the software features you’ll need for those actions will differ.

In this article, we’re going to list the eight best digital drawing tools and apps. We’ll discuss software functions, how user-friendly they are, their price, and mention if a test version is available or not.

Let’s dive right in!

 

ibisPaint (iPad/iPhone/Android)

 ibisPaint is a free app for smartphones and tablets you can use to draw illustrations, comics, and manga. To keep up with the needs of contemporary artists, developers are  onstantly improving the app.

ibisPaint is a free smartphone and tablet app with over 2500 different textures and grid layers, panel layout options and other comic features. Unfortunately, there are limitations regarding the canvas size you can use, so the 600 dpi resolution required for printing black and white comics is not available in B5 or A5 formats.

The free version of the app has a limited brush selection, but watching the promotional videos included in the app will give you access to the paid features for a limited time. If you become an ibisPaint Premium member, you’ll unlock additional materials, fonts and filters.

 

Procreate (iPad)

 Procreate is an Apple Design Award-winning iPad app for intuitive painting on a large canvas with a clean interface.

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Procreate comes with numerous features for creating professional illustrations. However, the simple design of the app and the easy-to-find tools make Procreate appealing to beginners. Plus, there’s also an introductory video that helps you understand the benefits of the app, encouraging you to start drawing immediately. However, since there is currently no trial version, one can only try the app after purchase. But his app is worth the money. It includes many handy features, like brush adjustment and the possibility to use perspective rulers. In addition, the app includes the possibility to add clipping masks, enhance the appearance of your text and experiment with many animation styles.

 

Paintstorm Studio (Windows/macOS/iPad)

 

Paintstorm Studio is an inexpensive but powerful drawing software that includes numerous brushes and customizable settings.  

A highly functional yet relatively inexpensive drawing program, Paintstorm Studio offers a wide range of brushes with finely adjustable settings you can use to create both traditional results and computer graphics.  

The color mixer palette option is particularly convenient because you can use it to mix the colors as if you were using a real-life color palette. The PC and iPad versions of the Paintstorm Studio have almost the same range of functions, but no data transfer is possible between different operating systems. 

Furthermore, you should adjust the settings depending on what you wish to do — draw a comic or an anime. 

In terms of usability, this software is more suitable for people who already have some experience in digital creation. Another thing worth mentioning is that Paintstorm Studio is currently only available in English.

 

MediBang Paint (Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Android)

 MediBang Paint has many functions, but it is primarily made for comic and manga artists. As a free painting and drawing program, MediBang Paint offers less customization than other apps on our list, but it does include all the essential functions any comic book creator may need, including the option to create panels, use various brushes and materials, and add grids.  

We also recommend you try the JUMP PAINT and MangaName apps by the same developer. By registering and logging in as a user, you can get access to more than 1000 types of grid foils and over 20 different fonts on the manufacturer’s cloud. Whenever you create something on your own, you can transfer your saved works to other devices. 

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Although you can use MediBang individually for computers, iPods, iPhones, and Androids, you can’t copy settings for pens and brushes from a Windows computer to an iPad and vice versa. This option is available only for Windows and Mac computers. 

Overall, MediBang Paint is more suitable for drawing comics and manga than illustrations. This app is a particularly good choice for making black and white comics. 

Comic Makers

CLIP STUDIO PAINT (Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Android)

CLIP STUDIO Paint is a painting and drawing software and an iPad/iPhone/Galaxy/Android/Chromebook app. You can use it to create illustrations, comics, manga, and animations. The app includes extensive painting and drawing functions, allowing you to turn your imagination into reality.

Because of its ease of use, this software is a favorite among many professional illustrators, comic and manga artists, and animation designers.

CLIP STUDIO PAINT program can be used for both print and digital purposes. In addition, you can freely manipulate images and text to create all types of designs.

This software is also suitable for creating webtoons because it allows you to select appropriate canvas sizes as well as to split and export vertically long works.

Moreover, you can easily record your process on a canvas in a time-lapse mode and share the video on social media.

Handling a myriad of CLIP STUDIO PAINT’s functions requires some practice, but there are many supporting features for beginners as well, such as 3D characters with freely adjustable poses and angles.

Aside from experimenting with a wide range of pens, brushes and textures in color and black and white, you can also try a variety of painting and drawing styles to create comics exactly the way you imagined them.

 

 

Adobe Fresco (iPad/Windows)

 Adobe released this drawing software in 2019. 

Like Procreate, Adobe Fresco is tailored for devices that support pen and touch gestures. The unique feature this software offers are its live brushes that allow you to create natural-looking colors. For example, when you mix yellow with blue, you will get a green shade that looks and feels like the natural one. And no other drawing software allows you that. 

With Adobe Fresco, you can use both raster and vector brushes on the same canvas. It’s similar to CLIP STUDIO PAINT because it lets you recreate the look of traditional watercolor and oil paintings and customize them with vectors.

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If you wish to modify images and tweak your design and animations, you’d have to combine Adobe Fresco with other Adobe products through Adobe’s cloud service. When you do that, you can, for example, use the brushes from Photoshop for your Adobe Fresco works. 

PaintTool SAI (Windows)

 

PaintTool SAI is a drawing program with a straightforward user interface that allows for simple brush handling, but it doesn’t have as many features as other software we discussed. Due to its ease of use and simple functionalities, PaintTool SAI is more suitable for beginners. 

Although this drawing program allows you to use, many of its drawing brushes and easily apply corrections, it doesn’t include text, shape, or color gradient tools. 

However, this program isn’t suitable for professional illustration creation or printing, as it includes only a few color-adjustment functions.

PaintTool SAI is a good starter program for people who want to take a shot at digital illustration. However, we don’t recommend it for creating comics and manga. 

SAI users can access an improved beta version of the software — it’s called “SAI Ver. 2,” and it includes more features and customization options than the original version.

 Photoshop CC (Windows/Mac)

Photoshop CC is probably the best-known program for professional image editing. Thanks to its massive range of functions, this software is also used for digital drawing and painting. However, since handling this software requires some practice, Photoshop is more suitable for advanced users and professionals.

Photoshop is considered the industry standard for professional photo editing in design and is also used in most design schools. This software offers extremely versatile image editing options, allowing you to, for example, easily create content. 

Photoshop is not specifically geared toward drawing illustrations or comics. Adjusting the pen settings can be time-consuming since standard settings, such as adjusting the pen pressure, are disabled. However, Photoshop offers extensive options for custom pen settings and auto-stabilization features, allowing you to experiment in your work. 

As an image editor, Photoshop is excellent for color adjustments and compatible with the CMYK color model for printing (as opposed to SAI). 

 

 

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