Applications that come with a drawing tablet

Most drawing tablets come with a limited-time trial license to some applications. Usually these trials last anywhere from 3 to 6 months. After this time, you'll have to pay for the app. Some are subscription and some are one-time-purchases.

Applications and how they work with pens

  • pen-aware apps - these apps know about pens, pressure, tilt, etc. and can take advantage of those features

  • other apps - these apps don't know about pens. So when you use a pen with them, the application treats them just like a mouse. In fact the app has no idea you are using a pen. The pen will work for basic tasks. For example the pen can move the operating system pointer, you can press down with the pen to draw or click, the buttons may work. However, the app won't do anything special with pen capabilities like tilt, or pressure sensitivity.


If you are interested in the apps I use and personally recommend: recommended apps

Pen-aware applications

Creative 2D


  • Concepts (Windows, Android, iOS, ChromeOS)

  • Sketchbook Pro (MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS)


  • Affinity Designer (Windows, MacOS)

  • Adobe Illustrator (Windows, MacOS)

  • Inkscape (Windows, MacOS, Linux) FREE

  • VectorInk (Online, Android) (Google app link)


Photo editing



Roundups & reviews

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