5 Best Drawing Apps For Surface Pro Using Surface Pen

The Surface Pro is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that transforms into a digital canvas when paired with the Surface Pen. As a graphic designer, illustrator or artist looking to take your creativity mobile, having the right drawing app is essential.

With hundreds of options available, it can be tricky finding Surface Pro drawing apps that truly unlock the potential of the Surface Pen. You need an app with robust tools, intuitive controls and seamless support for pressure sensitivity and tilt.

After testing the top contenders, these 5 drawing apps rose above the rest. Read on to discover the best options for creating art, drafting designs or just doodling on your Surface Pro.

1. Adobe Illustrator – Best For Vector Art

When it comes to professional vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator remains the gold standard. This industry-leading app provides an unmatched toolset for drawing smooth, scalable illustrations and logos.

Key Features:

  • Powerful vector drawing tools like the Pen, Pencil and Curvature tools
  • Canvas rotation and drawing assist features
  • Fully customizable brushes with control over shape, scattering, pressure and more
  • Robust type tools for working with fonts
  • Ability to import and refine bitmap images
  • Seamless integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps

Illustrator delivers precise control over anchor points and paths to craft accurate shapes and lines. The drawing experience truly comes alive when using Illustrator with the Surface Pen. Pressure sensitivity, tilt and shading effects allow you to mimic the feel of sketching with traditional drawing tools.

Comprehensive features like align, distribute and transform make it easy to perfect technical illustrations. For creative work, paint stylus brushes, artistic text and effects like blends give your art a hand-drawn look.

With its vast capabilities, Illustrator does have a steep learning curve. But for vector drawing, nothing beats this app. Illustrator is available by subscription from Adobe.

2. Corel Painter – Best For Digital Painting

Corel Painter is the premier app for creating stunning digital paintings on a Surface Pro. Its expansive tools transform your Surface Pen into everything from oils and acrylics to watercolors and pastels.

Key Features:

  • Over 900 realistic brushes like pencils, pens, chalk, airbrushes and more
  • Customizable brush controls for opacity, wetness, smearing, dab profiles and more
  • Paint color palette with color harmonies and mixing
  • Natural media brushes loaded with particles and physics for ultra-realism
  • Built-in reference images and tutorials
  • Workspaces optimized for drawing, painting, photo art and more

The variety of brushes in Painter is simply unparalleled. Fan favorites like the Wide Splatter Airbrush and Real Watercolor make paintings come alive with realistic, responsive effects. Brush tracking and surface texturing allow your strokes to interact with the digital canvas as they would on paper.

Painter 2023 introduces groundbreaking AI-powered tools like ML Noise Reduction and ML Upscale to refine scanned sketches or expand your compositions. There are even AI Style Transfers to lend different art styles to your work with one click.

As a digital painting solution, Painter leverages the tactile precision of the Surface Pen beautifully. Aspiring artists can produce gallery-worthy paintings. Painter 2023 is available as a one-time purchase from Corel.

3. Clip Studio Paint – Best For Comic And Animation Artists

For storyboard artists, comic creators and animators, no app compares to Clip Studio Paint. Its animation and comic tools make it easy to bring your characters to life on a Surface Pro.

Key Features:

  • Animation timeline for frame-by-frame animation
  • Onion skinning to preview previous frames
  • Speech and thought text bubbles
  • Panel tools for laying out webtoons, manga and comics
  • 3D perspective rulers and poseable mannequins
  • Vector and raster drawing modes
  • Over 10,000 downloadable brushes, fonts, 3D models and more

Clip Studio delivers the most natural inking experience. Their G Pen gives you exquisite control over tapering, opacity and nib texture when drawing lines. Combined with the tilt and pressure sensitivity of the Surface Pen, inking feels remarkably fluid.

Painting is a joy with brushes engineered to mimic fan favorites like watercolors, airbrushes and colored pencils. Clip Studio’s animation workflow streamlines creating animatics and 2D animation scenes. An affordable subscription plan makes it easy to get started.

4. Adobe Photoshop – Best For Mixed Media And Photo Editing

For mixed media illustrations, concept art or photo manipulation, Adobe Photoshop reigns supreme. As the industry standard in digital art, its robust toolset empowers limitless creativity.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive layers system for working with multiple elements
  • Mix vector shapes, text and bitmap painting
  • Manipulate photos with selections, masks and filters
  • Cinema 4D integration for stunning 3D composites
  • Content-aware tools like Subject Select and Object Select
  • Brush stabilization for perfectly smooth strokes

While renowned for editing photos, Photoshop is equally adept at illustration. You can paint with realistic bristle brushes loaded with color profiles and textures. Mix vector shapes into painted scenes using smart objects. Comic and manga artists will love the powerful text tools.

Photoshop’s brush stabilization produces graceful lines free of jitters. The smoothing paired with the Surface Pen makes this a top choice for inking. Adjust brush settings to control scatter, shape dynamics, transfer and more.

With practice, you can master Photoshop’s vast feature set. An Adobe Creative Cloud subscription provides access to this legendary app and 20+ others.

5. Autodesk Sketchbook – Best For Beginners

Easy to pick up yet packed with professional tools, Autodesk Sketchbook is the best Surface Pro drawing app for beginners. Its intuitive interface helps artists of all skill levels bring ideas to life.

Key Features:

  • Over 250 customizable brushes
  • Layer blending modes and grouping
  • Perspective, symmetry and ruler tools
  • Brush studios for Charcoal, Marker, Pencil and more
  • Copic color picker with hundreds of colors
  • Record timelapse videos of the drawing process

Sketchbook delivers natural drawing without overwhelming you. Core tools like layers, blend modes and symmetry are clearly accessible upfront. More advanced features like rulers, guides and brush studios add depth as you need them.

The responsiveness of the brushes paired with the Surface Pen brings sketches to life. Sketch flowing markerRendering shapes, blending colors and shading feel effortless.

Plus, Sketchbook is 100% free including future updates. For a feature-packed app accessible to artists of all levels, Sketchbook can’t be beat.

Choosing Your Surface Pro Drawing App

When selecting your ideal Surface Pro drawing app, reflect on the type of art you want to create. Illustrators may gravitate towards vector art apps like Illustrator. For realistic paintings, Corel Painter provides the strongest toolset. Animators and comic artists will find their workflow simplified in Clip Studio Paint.

Photoshop remains the most versatile option for combining vector, text and bitmap elements into mixed media compositions. Beginners will appreciate Sketchbook’s intuitive interface and approachable learning curve.

The Surface Pen empowers artists to sketch, paint and draw anywhere – from the couch to the cafe. Pairing this agile stylus with a robust drawing app unlocks new avenues of mobile creativity. Use this guide to find your perfect artistic match.

Now pick up your Pen, launch your new app and start creating your next masterpiece! The digital canvas awaits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *