Drawing digitally with a drawing tablet can be a new fun way to explore your artistic capabilities but that’s not all you need to start drawing. You also need drawing software to bring life to your ideas but the default programs such as, Windows Paint or Apple’s Paintbrush aren’t up to par when it comes to drawing on your computer or laptop.
The option most artists opt for are programs such as, Clip Studio Paint, Corel Draw, or Adobe CC. However, these can be expensive which can be a problem for most beginners not wanting to spend a lot of money on these programs. Fortunately, for many of these individuals there are a few drawing tablets in the market that come with drawing software allowing you to start drawing the second you plug in your tablet.
However, you can expect some caveats when buying these tablets. These drawing programs usually come with a limited trial and aren’t fully free as you might expect. We’ll look into some of the drawing tablets that offer free drawing software, what software they offer and discuss whether or not you should buy a drawing tablet that comes with free software.
Which Drawing Tablets Come with Free Drawing Software?
Tablet manufacturers started offering free drawing software with their drawing tablets to compete with each other. Due to this increased competition some drawing tablets come with free drawing software. The most popular choices for a drawing tablet with free software are the:
- Wacom Intuos – budget tablet for beginners
- iPad Pro – professional grade tablet with advanced features
- Wacom One – professional level tablet with big software bundle
The above are good options for most individuals and would do you good in your career.
The Wacom Intuos is a great budget tablet for design students and beginners allowing you to do professional quality work within a decent price range. The Wacom Intuos comes with 3 drawing programs:
- Clip Studio Paint Pro for 2 years
- Corel Painter Essentials 8 for 90 days
- Corel AfterShot Pro 3 for 90 days
The above drawing programs are awesome and Wacom does a good job of keeping them updated with the most recent versions. This drawing software bundle should be more than enough for all your drawing needs as they are one of the best in the industry after Adobe CC.
Setting it up is pretty easy, all you have to do is register your Wacom tablet with your computer and you will get instructions on downloading the software.
The iPad Pro is a great standalone tablet and considered the gold-standard for many illustrators and graphic designers. The 12.9 inch iPad Pro is Apple’s flagship tablet which comes with its own specs and software and can be used without a computer. Since the iPad comes with the app store you can just go there and download the app of your choice – free or paid.
Be warned though the iPad Pro isn’t for beginners and might not be a worthwhile investment for many. I would suggest the Wacom Intuos to anyone who is a beginner. it comes with industry-standard software with a long trial allowing you to use it to earn some cash before your trial expires.
The Wacom One is an inexpensive tablet that is used and recommended by many professional artists and designers. It is a display drawing tablet with a screen which you can plug into your device and draw on. The Wacom One comes with a lot of software options:
- Bamboo Paper Pro
- Clip Studio Paint Pro (3-month license
- Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom (2-month license
- Adobe Fresco (6-month license)
- Magma Studio (3-month Pro license)
These are some amazing software to have as they are a great combination to complete any task from photo editing to complex drawings.
Should You Buy a Drawing Tablet with Free Drawing Software?
Even though buying a drawing tablet with free software seems like a smart choice it might not be for everyone. When it comes to design/drawing software Adobe tends to dominate the industry and getting free software – no matter how good it seems – might not be worth it.
You also don’t need to get a drawing tablet if you already have drawing software installed on your computer. Many first-timers think that their drawing tablet comes with some special storage of its own and won’t work without drawing software. This is far from the truth as you can use most drawing tablets with any program you have on your computer.
Free Alternatives for Your Drawing Tablet
In the midst of searching for a drawing tablet that comes with free drawing software people forget that there are other free alternatives to popular drawing programs. Although paid software such as Adobe’s creative suite and Clip Studio Paint Pro are usually much better than free programs it doesn’t hurt to give them a try – especially for learning purposes.
Below are 3 of the best free programs you can try as alternative to paid drawing software.
Krita is like a hub for most drawing projects as it includes a number of tools at your disposal with tons of customization options and is totally free. The interface is a bit complicated and it has a huge learning curve in the start.
You can download Krita here.
Inkscape is a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator as it is a vector-based illustration program. It is mostly for illustration work and even though it has a good interface and options it can be very laggy at times.
You can download Inkscape here.
GIMP is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, it includes a bunch of photo-editing tools, effects, and filters making it a great program for photo editors and retouchers. However, it is quite limited compared to Photoshop and isn’t as intuitive.
You can download GIMP here.
A drawing tablet is a great tool for drawing digitally but you need some good drawing software to go with it. Since many drawing programs can be expensive it makes sense to look for a tablet that comes with free drawing software. Unfortunately, no tablet comes with a life-time free package of drawing software but there are some tablets such as the Wacom Intuos iPad Pro and Wacom One that come with a free trial of Clip Studio Paint Pro and Corel programs.
Buying a drawing tablet with drawing software isn’t necessary if you already have a drawing program installed in your device and if you don’t require advanced features there are also many free alternatives to popular drawing programs that you can use.
Ibrahim Ahmed is the founder and CEO of Mediacaterer – an Art & Design blog covering the latest news, tips, guides, and product reviews for beginners, intermediates, and professionals. He’s a self-taught graphic designer and writer hoping to help aspiring artists and designers make it big in the industry