15 Best Clip Studio Paint Alternatives

Clip Studio Paint is an art application designed for comic creation, animation, and general illustration. There are two versions of Clip Studio Paint: Pro and Ex.

Clip Studio Pro allows you to create illustrations, concepts, and characters, while Clip Studio Ex is perfect for manga, animation, comics, and webtoons. As a result, the versions of this application have different prices.

Clip Studio Paint Pro and Ex offer a perpetual license or one-year subscription options after a free trial.

One of the most significant advantages of Clip Studio Paint is the access to an unlimited number of tools. And you can customize more than 1000 brushes to suit your style.

However, like any other digital product, there are drawbacks. First, the interface of this application can be overwhelming.

Another drawback is that it does not offer audio support in animation. For this, you’ll have to use another application.

And finally, there’s a massive price difference between the Pro and Ex version – which can be an issue if you only need some of the features in the Ex version.

Fortunately, there are alternatives for Clip Studio Paint, and some of them may even save you a couple of extra dollars despite offering the same features.

Best Clip Studio Paint Alternatives

1. Krita

One of the best alternatives to Clip Studio Paint is Krita – and the impressive bit is that it is FREE!

Krita is a free, open-source drawing application for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. However, the Android version is still a bit rough around the edges.

Krita offers various brushes, pencils, and other tools to help create your masterpiece. It also has an intuitive interface that’s easy to learn.

Compared to Clip Studio Paint, Krita has an animation and transition feature. This feature keeps users engaged while user interface (UI) state changes and objects are manipulated, making those changes feel more natural and less abrupt.

What’s more, Krita has a Categorization & Grouping feature that makes it possible to connect your objects – so you can move them around and organize them however you want.

Furthermore, Krita has a library of resources that can assist you in getting up and running.

Krita is an excellent platform for artists who want an alternative or more affordable alternative to Clip Studio Paint.

Explore the best alternatives to Krita in this post.

2. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer provides vector graphics editing functionality for macOS, iPad, and Windows versions. Its sister applications, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher, are part of the Affinity trinity.

Affinity Designer also offers a one-time fee similar to Clip Studio Paint. But the price varies across different operating systems and devices.

The subscription costs $60.54 for lifetime access to macOS and Windows platforms. It also has a version for iPadOS that costs $24.21. You can use the 10-day free trial to decide if you want to pay for the subscription or not.

Like Clip Studio Paint, Affinity Designer has solid vector tools for attaining perfect geometry like a comprehensive vector toolkit, pencil and brush stabilization, a contour tool, and the best node tools.

This software also has an unlimited artboard feature that allows you to view multiple canvases within a single document, which is useful when developing interfaces.

The UI is designed to give you the smoothest possible user experience. “Select Same” and “Select Object” are time-saving functions that let you quickly match attributes or select all objects of that type for quick editing.

In addition, you can save your favorite workspace settings for your different tasks and easily switch between them with predefined studio presets for the UI layout.

Another great thing about Affinity Designer is its scalability – it has a 1,000,0005 Zoom feature that lets you expand the size of your canvas to any extent you want without pixelation and distortion.

Finally, Affinity Designer features CAD tools that allow you to save a lot of time and increase productivity.

3. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for vector art editing and animation – and this Adobe product has been around for over 20 years! Illustrator allows you to create incredible illustrations and vector art using simple tools to facilitate the design process.

Adobe Illustrator also has a free trial with access to all the features for seven days. But unlike Clip Studio Paint, it adopts a monthly subscription model starting at $24.14 for individuals and $91.99 for a business plan.

Illustrator is more advanced than Clip Studio Paint in terms of tools and functions, although the latter offers more tutorials than Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator’s most considerable downside is that it does not provide animation support.

That function is available in other applications such as Flash, After Effects, and Photoshop.

Another reason Adobe Illustrator is so popular is its collaborative tools function. This makes it easier to work on projects with multiple people – essential for any professional illustrator and designer. Although, only asynchronous editing is available for free users.

Adobe Illustrator is also the go-to application for most professional artists and designers because it is compatible with other Adobe products, such as Photoshop and InDesign, and accessible on all platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.

Adobe Illustrator is the best option for professional artists who want more features than Clip Studio Paint can offer.

Check out the free alternatives to Illustrator here.

4. Inkscape

Inkscape is a free, open-source software for creating logos, icons, illustrations, and drawings with professional results.

Inkscape has an intuitive interface and a surprisingly high number of tools for a free application. Also, these tools are more than just fluff – they are useful and work well!

For instance, the application features tools that help you save time, like Ink to Text, which will convert your handwritten notes to text or doc formats. Ink to image and vector will help you synchronize and store your sketches in PNG, SVG, PDF, and JPG.

Incredibly, this app has been designed to recognize over 20 languages.

Do you need to collaborate on a project? Inkspace has you covered! You can share drawings and annotations digitally as you work on paper with the Inkspace app’s Live Mode.

The web app also allows you to collaborate with others in real-time. This is a function you cannot find on Clip Studio Paint now.

Inkscape also features CAD tools that can help you save time and increase productivity. But its biggest drawback is that it does not support animation (yet)!

If you need training or want to shop for more tools, the application has an education and store feature, respectively. Not bad for a free application.

Interesting Comparison: Inkscape vs Illustrator

5. Vector Magic

Another alternative to Clip Studio Paint is Vector Magic. This software turns raster images into vector images. It converts PNG, JPG, and GIF bitmap image formats to AI, PDF, SVG, and DXF vectors.

Vector Magic is available in a stand-alone desktop application and as a service on the website. The prices are $295 and $6.49 monthly, respectively.

The software automatically analyzes your image, detects the appropriate settings to vectorize it, and then traces out the underlying shapes in full color. It is easy to get started: upload your image, and your results are ready for evaluation!

If necessary, you can adjust the auto-detected settings. Vector Magic provides meaningful configurations that are easy to change and comprehensible to humans, not just machines.

Vector Magic transforms your bitmap into a vector image by carefully tracing the underlying shapes and providing you with all the benefits of vector images.

Vector Magic has a notable disadvantage: it can be difficult to adjust settings to eliminate auto-aliasing and other artifacts when complex images are not.

6. Procreate

Procreate is a creative tool used for making digital paintings. An iPhone app is available, but most creators use the original iPad program.

Thanks to Apple pencil, amateurs and professionals can get an authentic pencil-on-paper feel. You can customize how the app responds to your touches, pinches, and swipes on any number of fingers.

As you would in Clip Studio Paint, you’ll also be able to customize unique brushes for future projects.

Procreate is an app that processes raster graphics (bitmaps). You work with pixels in Procreate, which explains the application’s ability to support an array of tools and effects for illustrations.

In contrast, Clip Studio Paint mainly focuses on vector editing. As a result, you don’t work with pixels in Clip Studio. Rasterizing a vector layer only allows you to work with pixels. A vector illustration becomes a bitmap when rasterized.

Procreate has a minimalist interface that is simple to navigate. It’s also not too difficult to learn the app’s functions.

The Procreate app costs $9.99. If you’re looking for an illustrator cheaper than Clip Studio Paint, or you need an app for a portable device like an iPad or iPhone, Procreate is an excellent alternative for creating digital art on the go.

All in all, Procreate is a solid alternative to Clip Studio.

7. SketchBook

SketchBook is an app by Autodesk that allows you to create beautiful sketches and illustrations with an intuitive interface and a wide variety of tools and features. The easy-to-use interface lets users create drawings of any complexity in a few taps.

SketchBook is available on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Unlike Clip Studio Paint, there is no free trial for the PC versions, but the Android version is free to use. Windows and Mac are paid.

SketchBook offers all the features you’d expect from a high-end: pencils, customizable brushes supported by guides, erasers, color pickers, and more – all accessible from a toolbar above the canvas.

In addition, SketchBook has plenty of tools to add artistic effects to your drawings: patterns, textures, and gradients, to name a few.

The major drawback of SketchBook is that it takes some getting used to for people who aren’t already familiar with professional-level digital art programs.

SketchBook is an excellent alternative to Clip Studio Paint for professionals who want to work within a specific budget.

Check Out: Procreate vs Sketchbook

8. PaintTool SAI

If you are looking for a lightweight alternative to Clip Studio Paint for your digital art creation, PaintTool SAI is an excellent choice.

PaintTool SAI is an easy-to-use raster graphics editor and painting solution for creating and editing digital art. Among the features of PaintTool SAI are anti-aliasing, a fully automatic digitizer, 16bit RGBA channels for precise composition, selection tools, raster drawing tools, and layering.

Even though Clip Studio Paint is loaded with more features, you’d still be able to get things done with this program. Plus, illustration-wise, they’re pretty much the same.

I’d even recommend PaintTool SAI if all you want to do is paint because the navigation and appearance are more appealing. However, it is only compatible with Windows.

You can try PaintTool SAI free for 31 days. Then, you’ll need to purchase the software license that costs 5500 JPY.

Explore more tools like Paint Tool Sai here.

9. SVGator

Animators who want to take their creativity to the next level will love this software. It is the best-known SVG animation tool that enables you to turn any SVG into an animated GIF or a WebGL animation with a few clicks.

SVGator lets you create SVG animations without having to know code. Thanks to SVGator’s intuitive interface, creating high-quality animations is a breeze.

For beginners and professionals alike, SVGator’s animation editor is intuitive and easy to use. You can drag and drop SVG images into the SVGator interface and edit the animation with a few clicks and drag-and-drop gestures.

A preview panel on the right allows you to test the animation in real-time. This application outshines Clip Studio Paint’s animation and transition feature, ensuring that your output feels smoother, natural, and more engaging.

SVGator is packed with even more features. There is a content library for saving your favorite frames and animation elements for later use.

Pre-built templates, a search/filter tool, and third-party integration make SVGator a powerful application that gives Clip Studio Paint a run for its money.

Regarding pricing, SVGator has a free trial but for 14 days. After, you can choose to remain on the free version (with limited features), switch to lite for $14 monthly, or Pro at $25 monthly.

The main drawback of this software is the price point. There is no one-time fee like Clip Studio Paint and other alternatives, but the monthly charge isn’t unreasonable if you’re committed to animating your ideas.

10. Pencil2D

Pencil2D is another free alternative to Clip Studio Paint. It is an open-source program designed for creating 2D animations and drawings that allows you to create bitmaps and vector graphics.

Paint2D has an interface that is clean and simple to navigate for beginners and professionals alike. You can effortlessly alternate between raster and vector modes, so you can sketch, ink, and paint from anywhere.

Like Clip Studio Paint, there is a tutorial and online community to help new users get started. The learning curve is shallow, and there’s a decent selection of tutorials on the website to get you started.

Furthermore, Pencil2D has video editing features that let you create professional-looking videos on the fly. It also supports third-party integration so that you can add even more features to your project.

Pencil2D is free and available for all operating systems. However, as you’d expect from a free application, Pencil2D doesn’t have as many features.

But for an application you download and use for free, this is a pretty good option that beginners and people who don’t want to fork out money for Clip Studio Paint should try.

11. GIMP

Speaking of saving money, GIMP is an open-source alternative to Clip Studio Paint that costs nothing to download and install on your computer.

GIMP is a cross-platform application that lets you edit images, raster graphics, create freeform drawings, and transcode between image formats without requiring a license like Clip Studio Paint or Adobe Illustrator.

GIMP is a feature-rich application equipped with editing tools to edit images with layers and for blending and photo retouching.

Reviewers have called it the most feature-rich free commercial photo editing software available – so it’s no wonder it’s one of the best alternatives for Clip Studio Paint.

Also, it is lightweight and doesn’t take up much disk space. Therefore, if you need to edit and upload images for free, GIMP is worth checking out.

And don’t worry if you’re a beginner – the application comes with plenty of tutorials to help you get acquainted.

GIMP is an open-source project, so expect it not to have as much functionality as Clip Studio Paint. But for what it lacks in features, GIMP makes up for it with plugins.

Find out more tools like GIMP in this post.

12. Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer is a cloud-based tool for creating illustrations, mock-ups, and wireframes. It is a relatively new player compared to Clip Studio Paint. Yet, it offers enough features to make it worth exploring.

It has a free and paid version (Gravit Designer Pro) to access the application’s full power.

The paid version costs $49.99/month and comes with additional features such as unlimited cloud storage, fully adopted for touch-enabled devices, and an offline mode.

The learning curve for Gravit Designer is a bit steep for beginner users. However, Gravit Designer is a handy tool for creating illustrations once you get the hang of it.

13. CorelDRAW

I couldn’t finish this list without adding CorelDRAW to this list of alternatives to Clip Studio Paint. And its 13th place ranking is no indication of its importance to the field of art and design.

CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor with advanced features and an interface that is user-friendly and reasonably simple to navigate for first-time users.

CorelDRAW features advanced vector-drawing tools such as drawing templates and preset lettering styles to create your vector designs without having to learn a complicated interface.

Collaboration is easy with real-time file exchange and commenting support so team members can work together.

For beginner users, there’s a getting started tutorial and video tutorials demonstrating how to work with the program.

The major con for CorelDRAW is that animation and motion graphics aren’t supported.

Similar to Clip Studio Paint, there is a free trial for 15 days. Pricing starts at $55/month. You can also opt for the yearly plan at $439 or pay a one-time fee of $859.

Explore the free alternatives to CorelDRAW here.

14. Lunacy

Lunacy is a 100% FREE vector graphics editor that boasts an uncluttered interface for UI/UX and web design. It keeps your flow with AI and built-in graphics.

It is faster than Sketch and Figma! It provides thousands of free graphics and UI elements so you can design apps without limit and with pleasure.

Upscale a picture or remove the background with AI tools.

There are no distractions. It works fast on both fancy computers and old machines.

There’s more. You can collaborate with team members in real-time and work offline. There are no integration boundaries, and it is super simple to use. It also works across devices and operating systems — Mac, Windows, and Linux.

All these and more await you as you download Lunacy. It’s not madness; it’s Lunacy.

This is an excellent and affordable alternative to Clip Studio Paint for vector art creation.

15. Sketch

Sketch is another industry leader and an excellent alternative to Clip Studio Paint. With Sketch, you have all the tools you need to collaborate and work smoothly with your teams.

It provides vector editing tools, shared libraries, color variables, and layouts that help businesses create website mock-ups, prototypes, icons, illustrations, and more.

Sketch has a great UI that is intuitive and easy to use and a resource library for learning, plugins, and connecting with a community.

Sketch’s workspace is highly customizable with several tools that help you create vector graphics with ease and speed.

The downside of this program is that it is exclusive to Mac users only.

It also has a free trial like Clip Studio Paint. Afterward, you need to subscribe to a Starter plan for $9 and get in touch with them for a Business Plan.

Wrap Up

I found GIMP to be the best alternative to Clip Studio Paint. It’s free, packed with many features, and compatible with most operating systems.

It also supports third-party plugins, which give you access to more features than Clip Studio Paint itself offers.

Furthermore, it is a lightweight program that doesn’t take up too much space on your hard drive and comes with tutorials that will get you up to speed in no time.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.