Procreate is a powerful app designed to help you sketch, draw, and paint digitally, especially if you’re using an iPad.
The award-winning app offers an elegant user interface, exceptional performance, stunning filters, powerful layer support, hundreds of brush presets, and the ability to create, import, and share custom brushes.
Plus, Procreate helps you take your device’s creative potential to the next level as you create illustrations, sketches, and more anywhere and anytime.
While Procreate offers many features and benefits like automatic saving in the background, support for large canvas sizes, and various file formats, there are some downsides to it.
To begin with, there’s no free version to sample the app, it’s only available for iPad and iPhone, and you have to read the handbook in order to optimize the use of the app.
If you’re looking for the best apps like Procreate for Android, Windows, and Mac, we’ve compiled a list of software that you can use to create the best drawings and designs.
For more than thirty years now, Adobe Photoshop has held the top position as the gold standard of image editing programs.
The powerful, advanced and reliable image editor allows you to work with complex 3D artwork, basic designs, and simple retouches, and in a short period of time, you can learn how it works so as to create stunning visuals.
The program is one of the best digital art software that allows you to create stunning illustrations, from banners and posters to entire websites, mobile apps, or anything you want.
Unlike Procreate, which only works with iOS devices, Adobe Photoshop CC works with desktop and mobile devices. You get access to professional-grade tools like the paintbrush tool for painting symmetrical patterns, which let you unleash your innate creativity.
Plus, you can create with a whole slew of pens, pencils, brushes, and markers that feel as authentic as using real-life stationery and artwork tools.
The newest Photoshop version includes even more advanced features including Paint Symmetry mode and an interactive editing experience through its content-aware fill workspace.
Other features you can use to enhance your artwork include the live blend mode preview, multiple undo levels, and a frame tool for easy masking. In addition, you get to access new enhancements with each update because Photoshop is now part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
While MediBang Paint may not be as popular as Procreate or Adobe Photoshop CC, it’s still a solid and great alternative.
For newbies, MediBang Paint is a great tool to get started with your digital art creation as it’s not as overwhelming as Procreate and other similar drawing tools that come with multiple customization options and dozens of icons.
The lightweight, multi-platform app is easy to use, doesn’t have a steep learning curve, and is still powerful enough to create great-looking digital artwork.
Not only that, but MediBang Paint is popular with comic and manga creators, as it comes with features like multi-page management and easy panel slicing designed specifically for such purposes.
However, any kind of design or graphic artist can still use the app and use its wide range of fonts and brushes, plus tutorials in articles or video formats for further assistance.
MediBang Paint is available on Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS, unlike Procreate, which works only on iOS devices.
Plus, it comes with native cloud syncing so you can work on any device and pick up seamlessly on another. This is particularly rare even with highly-priced graphic design software.
If you don’t mind the ads and signing up for an account to access all the features, MediBang Paint is worth considering.
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Corel Painter is an established digital art software like Adobe Photoshop and is regarded among the foremost in the industry. This latest release of the program is just as powerful with the right blend of features and performance for Windows users.
The digital art software has a vast collection of brushes organized into more than 30 categories, including everything from pattern pens, dab stencils, texture brushes, and blenders. You can also create your own brushes or import them from other artists.
Corel Painter has intuitive guides that help you convert a photo into a digital painting or use the photo as a cloning source to paint the canvas. The program has six new color harmonies that you can save as sets for effortless color selection.
Guides and grids are available that let you create digital, proportionate artwork based on classical image composition techniques.
You also get kaleidoscope tools and mirror painting for easy designing of symmetrical illustrations, which you can do by having multiple mirror plane reflections and reproducing brushstrokes on the canvas.
You can also use the Brush Accelerator for faster painting by optimizing your GPU and CPU settings.
Unlike Procreate, which has no free version and doesn’t work on desktop devices, Corel Painter is available on desktop devices and comes with a free 30-day trial. This way, you can test run it to make sure it’s right for you. A low-cost, cut-down version is also available to help you get started.
Corel Painter comes with many creative effects, plugins for extending its features, a fresh and modern user interface, and lots of other professional features.
However, the app only works with 8-bit images, is less intuitive compared to other paint apps, and you may experience brush lag owing to thick paint categories.
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Clip Studio Paint is an ideal digital art software designed for those whose artistic focus leans more towards manga and comical art, compared to paintings and watercolors.
The software, developed in Japan, comes in the Ex and Pro versions. The Ex version adds conversion of 3D models into line art, proper animation support, and multi-page projects, while the Pro version has all the features necessary for creating individual static images.
To make the creation of your manga and comics easier, the software has tools like vector-based word balloons, realistic pen strokes, and advanced pressure detection for more natural strokes using your stylus and tablet. This is the best way to use Clip Studio Paint, but you can still use it your way.
The software is available on Windows, macOS, and iPad, unlike Procreate, which is only available on iOS devices. Plus, you get a vast library of 3D models, brushes, and other free downloadable content, besides similar hotkeys as Photoshop.
Clip Studio Paint also comes loaded with lots of illustration tools and is much more affordable than advanced apps like Procreate and Photoshop. However, the Pro version doesn’t come with story functions, and upgrading to the Ex-version is quite costly.
The Clip Studio can also be difficult to use, and it has a steep learning curve like Photoshop before you can get used to it to create stunning visuals.
If you want real-world tools for digital painters and illustrators, ArtRage is a great Procreate alternative. The tool’s main focus is to help you create real media paintings with tools that act and look like they would in the physical world.
You can layer and texture oil paint or wash away watercolors with water, while felt pens blend into each other effortlessly.
The software offers multiple types of brushes, which you can customize endlessly and move paint around or alter with a flexible palette knife to create realistic yet incredible-looking artwork in a short time.
ArtRage comes with a supportive community and extensive tutorials if you want to get the most out of the software. Plus, it works with Android devices, macOS and Windows, and is much more affordable than Procreate and other similar tools. It’s also compatible with S-Pen and Wacom styluses.
You can illustrate on the go from your desktop or mobile device, using ArtRage’s full range of creative tools that simulate their real-world counterparts very well. You can also sketch and draw as you would on paper.
Other cool ArtRage features include Metallic Tinting for adding reflectivity, or you can let the app automatically sample colors from the tracing image so you can focus on brush strokes.
The full version of the software is reasonably priced and you get a 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as a Lite version with fewer tools and iOS or Android apps for a few extra bucks.
While ArtRage is more affordable than Procreate, has mobile app versions, and enough features to satisfy advanced designers or illustrators, most features are non-intuitive. Plus, advanced brush use can lead to lagging and the app isn’t fully optimized for touch screens.
If you’re a beginner and want the best digital art software to launch out that also comes with cross-platform creativity, Autodesk SketchBook is worth considering.
The powerful creation tool is easy to learn and use compared to Procreate, which has a steep learning curve. Plus, Autodesk SketchBook has a seamless workflow, and rich features including textured brushes, multiple perspectives and blending options, and drawing assistance functions.
You can bring your physical designs into the digital space, share your creations with others, and work across desktop and mobile devices.
Whether you have a flash of inspiration as you draw something or have a printed design someone gave to you, Autodesk SketchBook allows you to scan any art using your phone or tablet’s camera and use the image on a transparent background.
The app also works on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, unlike Procreate, which works on iPhone and iPad. Plus, you can work on any device and collaborate with others. The designs can be exported as layered PSD files with common file formats including PNG, JPG, and TIFF.
While Procreate is a paid app with no free version, SketchBook, which was once a paid app, is now completely free. A paid Enterprise edition is available for larger organizations though.
The software also has a simple and straightforward design and interface making it easy and ideal for newbies unlike Procreate, which has a steep learning curve. SketchBook also supports layered PSD files that come with layer names, blending modes, and other useful information.
Autodesk SketchBook is free, feature-loaded with professional quality tools, and easy to learn, but it lacks many features in more advanced tools like Procreate and Photoshop.
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Krita is a completely free image editing program with wide platform support, unlike Procreate.
The software runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you can use the feature-rich software to create stunning graphics.
Krita also has a desktop version that is always free and a specific version, Krita Gemini for convertibles and Windows tablets.
Among its features include a user interface made up of movable panels that let you create and set up a custom workspace.
You also get shortcuts that you can configure for commonly used tools, nine unique brush engines, which you can tweak extensively and use its unique tagging system to organize them.
A popup palette is also included so you can pick brushes and colors. If you need to import texture packs and brushes from other artists, you can do that using the resource manager.
On top of that, Krita has a Wrap-around mode, which you can use to create seamless patterns and textures. You can also mirror illustrations to achieve a kaleidoscopic effect using the multi-brush tool.
Other noteworthy features include brush stabilizers, PSD compatibility, full-color management support, and more that you’d also find in Procreate.
The open-source software has a loyal community of graphic artists, which has made the software grow into a viable rival to Procreate, Painter, and Photoshop especially for users who can’t afford more advanced alternatives.
While Krita is free to download and use and comes with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that’s highly customizable, it is resource-intensive and its frequent updates are often unstable.
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Tayasui Sketches is another free drawing tool that works with desktop and mobile devices such as Android tablets, iPhone, iPad, and macOS. The tool has a standard set of drawing features that allows you to access brushes and pens for drawing stunning designs.
Plus, it’s easy to use, elegantly designed, and perfect for taking notes, quick sketches, illustrations, cartoons, and watercolor painting.
You can use the software to draw, doodle, paint, sketch, and add special effects using its expressive inks and natural color mixing. Plus, you get natural and smooth pen tools and brushes, and superb watercolor effects with blending and wet-in-wet washes.
The app is available in a freemium version, unlike Procreate’s fully premium version. However, you can upgrade to its one-time purchase Pro version and get more controls for each tool, a fill tool, unlimited layers, and more palette and color controls.
Tayasui Sketches’ tools are more realistic with enhanced and advanced functions, a zen-like, intuitive and minimalist interface, and stylus support. The drawing tools and controls are easy to select and visible, while the Zen mode hides controls when you want to focus on drawing.
However, Tayasui Sketches has a glitchy zoom-in and out feature, and you may have to buy some features like stylus pressure, extra coloring books, and layers.
9. Rebelle 3
If you’re into watercolor art, Rebelle 3 is a unique digital art software that does just that.
The award-winning and hyper-realistic digital art software mimics the way natural media interacts with itself and with the canvas. It’s designed for anyone who wants to use digital technology to explore their artistic skills regardless of their proficiency level.
Rebelle 3 comes with state-of-the-art tools that will change how you do your graphic designs and digital painting. It was created by Peter Blaskovic, an artist who experimented with unique watercolor simulation as one of his experimental drawing projects.
The artist’s vision was to create a versatile tool that provides the most natural painting tools so you can explore all kinds of realistic drawing and painting techniques while working with a variety of mediums.
The program helps you create modern designs but still replicate old-school traditional artwork like watercolor paintings. The software does this using simulation techniques like wet diffusion and color blending for realistic watercolor and acrylic artwork with little or no effort on your part.
Rebelle 3 comes with a wide variety of features including a new DropEngine for emulating watercolor drips, wet, dry, smudge, and blend tools. You can even reproduce flow effects by tilting the canvas and use the powerful brush creator to design custom brushes.
The software comes with a whole slew of creative stencils and masking tools, plus 22 different paper styles like Lokta, Kenaf, Cold-Pressed, Bamboo Soft, and Washi Fine. You also get new color filters, 23 Photoshop blending modes, and a Masking Fluid layer.
Other features include a customizable user interface, support for Windows and macOS, unlike Procreate, which limits you to iOS, and multi-touch gesture support. Rebelle 3 is also compatible with all standard file types like layered PSD, PNG, TIF, and BMP.
Pixelmator is a full-featured, powerful, and layer-based digital art software that allows you to enhance and touch up images, paint, sketch, and create advanced image compositions on iOS and macOS devices.
Unlike Procreate, which works on iOS and isn’t available for free, Pixelmator comes in a free version with everything you need to use, whether you’re a mobile painter, photographer, or graphic designer.
You get advanced photo editing features including beautifully designed templates, tonal range, and a repair tool to remove imperfections on the image like blemishes or unwanted objects.
You also get to pick from dozens of breathtaking effects to change or improve the look of the image, open and edit images of up to 100 megapixels, pinch, bump, warp, or twirl areas of an image with distortion tools, and more.
The app is compatible with PSD, PNG, and JPEG among other popular image formats, and you can import HEIF images, save them directly to your Photos app or iCloud Drive. You can also share your images with others via email or use iCloud to create, edit, and keep them up to date on all your devices.
With the Pixelmator Pro version, you can edit colors however you want, and turn good-looking photos into spectacular ones using full RAW photo support, retouching tools, and a collection of stunning adjustment presets.
Pro also gives you access to a full set of vector tools you can use to create resolution-independent designs. Smart shapes that are easily customizable are included in the Pro version along with support for SVG vector file format and a large collection of pre-designed shapes.
Digital art is trending and increasingly popular these days thanks in part to digital art software like Procreate and others that come in handy when sketching or painting.
These tools offer a straightforward and fast way for you to express your artistic talent while accessing the various tools and features you need to improve your craft.
Whether you’re a hobbyist, newbie, or professional artist, these 10 best apps like Procreate will help you change the way you work. Some have been in the ring since the beginning, while others are fairly new with selections that span a wide range of needs.