If you never tried digital painting, or you just dabbled, or even you do paint digitally and you're curious to try something different and see what new programs you might benefit from, this time of isolation could be the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
There are tons of digital art programs and you may want to skip the enormous task of searching, so here I'm giving you a nice selection for you to choose from. These are some of my favorite, and even wrote reviews for some of them, so I'll give you those links in case you want to read a bit more about them before you download them. In this list, I'll tell you briefly what I like about each one, in no particular order of preference.
What I love about Rebelle is that it is simple enough for you to not feel overwhelmed while trying to figure it out, and it's complex enough for you to achieve anything your digital painting heart desires, with good behaving tools and just the right aids, focusing on translating traditional media onto the digital realm. Here's my review of Rebelle 3, highlighting the latest additions, and here's my review of Rebelle 2, which was when I first tried it (you might find my first look interesting).
As of the writing of this article, Escape Motions (the maker of Rebelle) is having a huge sale, so you can take advantage of their software for a big discount here: https://www.escapemotions.com/shop
Flame Painter is a painting software in which brushes are made with particle systems. It opens a whole new world of possibilities, that other painting software lacks. This is a great program to paint powerful and beautiful effects onto existing images, and a great addition for those who like experimenting while having fun.
Here's my review for version 3 (my first time trying it), here's Nick's review for version 4, and a tutorial to embellish a photograph.
As of the writing of this article, Escape Motions (the maker of Flame Painter) is having a big sale, so you can take advantage of their software for a big discount here: https://www.escapemotions.com/shop
This is an entry level program for digital painting, but only compared to the full Corel Painter, which is a behemoth of an app. If you're wondering about Corel Painter but you're not ready to commit yet, this is a wonderful option, which will give you a good taste of what you can do with Corel Painter's brush engines and other technologies, minus the overwhelming feeling of such a complex program as Corel Painter. Here's my review of Painter Essentials 7 and, in case you're curious, here's the review for Corel Painter 2020.
SketchBook is not intended to be the monster piece of graphics software that does it all (it's implied in its name), but its strength resides in its amazing usability and attention to detail when it comes to user friendliness. I've tried a lot of graphic programs and I can tell you without a doubt I found this one by far the most comfortable to work in. If you're looking for a true digital sketchbook, you will definitely love this one. Even better, it's now free for everyone! Here's my review of SketchBook in case you want to know more about it.
Krita is a free and open source digital painting and graphics software that -unlike others- is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It has nothing to envy more established (and pricey) programs, and it is in constant development, so it keeps getting better and better. It is by far the best free digital painting software there is and it can compete with the best of the paid ones. I highly recommend you give it a try.
Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links:
Barbara Din YouTube Channel