I'm looking for some Windows software that allows you to do drawing/sketching but more on the amateur level. Some specific features I am looking for:

  • Ability to make shapes (circles, squares and straight lines)
  • Change colour of your pen
  • Different pen types (brush, fine, spray paint etc)
  • Ability to save to a .PNG format
  • Easy "clear" button to clear your drawing surface without having to start a new file
  • Change the size of your drawing surface
  • If possible, auto incrementing file names (ex Untitled 1, Untitled 2 etc)

It shouldn't be to complicated to use and should be more centered around amateur drawing users.


7 Answers 7


There is Paint.net. It is a free image and photo editing software. It is easy to handle as MS Paint but contains a lot of advanced features. It supports different formats. Actually, it fulfills all your requirements.

  • Easy to handle software
  • Looks like MS Paint
  • Plugin Engine (support for several plugins)
  • Includes Effect for images
  • Forum and Community

Contra: No possibility to draw a polygon. It exists a plugin but did not work on my Paint.net

Paint.net Screenshot with loaded images

  • Nice!, I'd never heard of this before but it seems like a very good alternative for the more advanced programs like GIMP and Photoshop. And it is nice that the basic features look very similar to MS paint, to lower the 'getting started barier'
    – Michiel
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 6:13
  • It also has a plug-ins engine, so even if the default installation does not provide a specific feature, you might be able to get the feature from a plug-in.
    – yms
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 17:44
  • There are many plugins available. But sometimes they are not working. I was looking for one to draw polygons. But the plugin is not working. The software has an update function. Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 19:40
  • @IrgendwPointer Could you add the plugin abilities (and other pros and cons of this software) to the answer? Not everybody reads the comments. Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 18:42

I would recommend InkScape. I've used it both on Windows and on Linux (Ubuntu/SuSE) and I am really satisfied with the abilities of the program. The simple task of drawing lines and shapes are pretty straightforward. As can be seen from the figure below (from the InkScape website), you can select the drawing options on the left, and the pen color on the bottom.

Screen capture of InkScape

There is also a brush tool which can spray in any shape you want (just tried that, awesome feature). It will name new documents "New Document 1" etc, and you can clear a figure by "Select All (Cntl+A)", then "Delete". You can export to png, and select the size there, or determine the page size and export the full page (this is just what you want, I suppose).

There are many more complicated features with InkScape, however, those are not obvious, but hidden in menu's, so for your use, you can easily ignore them.

Other features that I like about InkScape (maybe for reference for future readers of the question)

  • Working with layers. Inevitable when making more complicated drawings
  • Latex support: include latex text and formula's right into the figure as an object
  • You can easily change/delete objects you drew earlier
  • 4
    I like Inkscape, though I would note that it can be infuriating to work with at first if you aren't used to vector graphics: it's a good drawing program, but very much not a "paint" program.
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 18:46

I love MyPaint -- a nice and easy tool for painting, with wonderful support for Wacom tablets.

MyPaint screenshot

On the site, it is described as:

a fast and easy open-source graphics application for digital painters. It lets you focus on the art instead of the program. You work on your canvas with minimum distractions, bringing up the interface only when you need it.

It has LOTS of nice brushes, a distraction-free interface, and, I think, a clear button.

Downside: It is more painting-orientated, and doesn't have things like circle, so it might not fit your requirements.

  • I downloaded this last night and its quite easy to pick up. I played with it for probably 2 hours and while it (like any software) has a few quirks it strikes a nice balance between functionality and complexity.
    – James
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 14:49

I like working with GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). It meets all your requirements (not sure about auto incrementing file names) and it is free. You can see a short description here or on Wikipedia.

It might be a little bit too advanced, but that is up to you. It is very powerful and I personally managed to understand the interface pretty quickly.

This is a screenshot of the program in action:

GIMP Screenshot with a loaded image

  • 5
    Gimp is a great image editor, but I wouldn't recommend it for amateurs. It is a alternative to photoshop (but is IMO harder to used). Its not "My first image editor." It's got better that it once was, but there are much better alternitives Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 3:16
  • I learned to use The GIMP as an amateur, way back around version 0.54. It wasn't hard then, and frankly the UI and tools available have improved immensely over the years, not to mention the various tools available. I don't think folks give determined amateurs enough credit.
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 18:43
  • 1
    It's pretty awkward to create basic shapes like squares and circles in GIMP. You either need to use the select tool + bucket or use some hard-to-find filter that allows for placement of geometric objects. It's a excellent program but I think it's a little more complicated than what the OP's looking for. Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 21:34
  • 2
    Downvoted because (IMO) it is a Gimp is a poor tool for the job. There is nothing wrong with how your answer has been written. I just disagree with it. (And that is a valid criteria for a downvote here.) Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 1:18

Based on the requirements that you give I would just use MS Paint. It has all the features you want and is extremely simple to use. Anything more versatile than Paint (like GIMP) quickly becomes complicated to use. If you are running Linux you can go for Gpaint which is extremely similar. I don't have experience with Mac, but I am sure some similar solution exists.

MS Paint UI

I often use Paint to do a quick sketch or make a schematic for which it is fine. If you would, however, want drawings that also scale well, i.e. vector graphics, then you quickly run out of simple options. I would recommend Adobe Illustrator because in my opinion it is fairly easy to use, in particular for your purposes. Plus it has tons of additional options such that you can stick with the same program once you want to go to more advanced drawings.

  • 1
    There is tool called Inkscape (inkscape.org), which is Illustrator Open-Source brother.
    – Vestel
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 17:55
  • @Vestel I wouldn't call Inkscape the Open-Source brother of Illustrator, sure it is a decent vector drawing program as well, but the user-friendliness in my opinion is miles behind that of Illustrator
    – Michiel
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 17:57
  • 2
    I like InkScape a lot, and in my opinion it is easy to use, so I added an answer. Probably experience helps with all tools.
    – Bernhard
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 18:42
  • @Bernhard +1, you can take away the 'Probably'
    – MadTux
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:25
  • I'd add a screenshot for the sheer hillarity of it. I'd also note that more 'modern' versions of paint are nicer than the XP era varient. Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 8:25

Krita is an open source drawing application available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

It features:

  • drawing rectangle, ellipse, and polygons shapes (outline or filled)
  • fills can be colours, gradients or patterns/textures
  • drawing lines and curves
  • eyedropper, recently used colours, choice of 15 colour selectors
  • 112 pen types, the 10 most common are available on a handy right-click menu
  • Large range of image formats supported including .bmp, .jpg, .png & .psd
  • Custom image sizes, and colour depths
  • Incremental save (name_001.ext) and incremental backup (name_001~001.ext)

It lacks a one-step option to clear the image:

  • However this command sequence would work
    1. Ctrl+Shift+E Flatten Image
    2. Ctrl+A Select all
    3. Del Delete
  • Or alternatively File - New then select (or create) a template.
  • It supports macros so I'm sure either could be automated if required.

One caveat I should raise is that it is intended to support Digital Painters and, as such it's interface is rich enough to support complex workflows; much of it is not required by a light user.

Less demanding users could hide all of the dockable panels (called "Dockers") except "Tool Options" and "Layers" and have a very productive and minimalist interface. Note right-clicking on the canvas will open a pop-up menu that allows brush and/or colour selection (shown below).

It has full tablet support if you have one available but has plenty of pens/tools that don't require one if not.

It has quiet good documentation including tutorials and a wiki manual.

Krita Window Screenshot with a loaded hand drawn image of a pig


I stumbled upon Sketchbook Express and Sketchbook Pro today and it looks very promising.

Autodesk® SketchBook® Pro sketching software for Windows® or Mac® computers is a professional-grade painting app that is easy to use for every artist. This intuitive sketching and painting software can transform your computer into a complete toolkit for professional artists, illustrators, and designers.

The pro version is $59 but it does come with a 30 day free trial. It is also available for Android and iOS tablets and phones.

The sketchbook express version features less brushes/tools that the sketchbook pro version.


  • Over 100 different brush tools
  • An easy "colour wheel" to change your pen/brush to a different colour
  • Support for drawing tablets
  • Customization of drawing/brush tools (create-your-own)
  • Easy to use interface, everything it out in the open
  • Customization of the screen/canvas size
  • Simply hit "delete" to get rid of your page and start over, assuming that you only have one layer
  • Square, line, and circle shapes
  • Auto incrementing file names
  • Saves in a variety of formats (png, jpeg, jpg etc)

Screenshot 1

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.