Home

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

Best Stylus-Friendly Apps for Chromebooks

Derek Walter
Derek Walter

Many Chromebook models offer styluses that, when used with some creative apps, offer convenience and flexibility. Here are some of the best Chromebook apps to use with a stylus.

Many Chromebooks come with a touchscreen and stylus, expanding the type of work that you can do. When you use a stylus with drawing apps for Chromebook, you're able to edit photos, draw, and complete other creative tasks more effectively compared to using a trackpad and mouse. 

As for which Chromebook is the best for drawing, there are many contenders. Asus, HP, Acer, Samsung, Dell, and Google all make models that come with a touchscreen and work with a stylus. Popular models include the HP Chromebook 14 x360 and the Asus Chromebook Flip C432. Google itself makes Chromebook hardware, with the Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go. 

In the end, however, it's all about the apps. Here are eight apps you can get creative with on your Chromebook, with several choices that work in the Chrome browser and the Google Play store.

Canvas

Why, yes, there is a paint program for Chromebooks. It's called Canvas, and it's a solid option for doing basic art with a Chromebook stylus. Canvas includes a virtual pen, pencil, marker and chalk as part of the design toolkit. There's a color palette so you can splash different colors of digital ink across the screen. 

Canvas is a good place to start if you want an app to casually paint, doodle or sketch in. Your creations are backed up to your Google account so you can access them on other devices. Teachers who use Chromebooks in the classroom who want a basic, introductory art application may find this to be a worthy choice given how simple it is to use.

Google Keep

Just like Canvas, Google Keep is one of Google's staple applications for the Chromebook. When you click the pen icon on a note, you can use your stylus or finger to write on the screen. There are also different types of digital paper to use: lined, square or dot. 

You can add an existing image to a note and append it with a drawing. Google Keep syncs to your Google account, so your notes are available in Chrome, Android and iOS. You don't need a Chromebook with a stylus to make the most of Keep – you can type out notes on any internet-connected device. Google Keep is a solid cross-platform app to add to your toolkit.

Concepts

Often, new Chromebook users want to know what is the best free computer art program. Concepts is another app at the top of our list. Concepts targets the more serious artist with its strong feature set. The app includes a strong set of drawing tools and design options to create powerful graphics. 

While there in-app purchase options, Concepts comes with a strong set of free features, including a batch of sketching brushes, color wheel and color palettes, five adjustable layers, basic JPG export, and an "infinite canvas." There are different upgrade packages, giving you different brushes, layers and the ability to export to vector graphics files.

Adobe Lightroom

For the serious photographer who wants a professional set of tools, Lightroom is a familiar name. It is not the exact same feature set as the desktop version, yet it still has a strong set of tools. You can edit the lighting, color, use the healing brush and back up images to your Creative Cloud account. 

The app is free, but the full feature set requires an in-app upgrade. You don't need a Chromebook Pen to use all of Lightroom's features, but having one will make the editing experience more refined for certain tasks. Creative Cloud users will recognize the features and be able to make powerful adjustments to their images. 

Along with Lightroom, Adobe offers Photoshop Express, which has a set of one-touch filters, a collage-maker and other editing tools. Additionally, Adobe Illustrator Draw is another good option for those who want a digital canvas.

Infinite Painter

For the budding artist, Infinite Painter is another good option. It's a step up from Canvas when it comes to features, with a more extensive set of artistic tools. For example, you can have fine-tuned control over the brush strokes and plenty of other ways to illustrate, such as chalk, charcoal and spray paint. 

A good set of tools are free, and additional features can be had with the in-app upgrades. There are small packages that have tools set around a particular theme, or if you want the entire set, you can buy the Get Everything package for $10. 

Infinite Painter is one of the many apps included with Google Play Pass. This subscription service costs $4.99 per month, removes advertising and grants you access to all in-app upgrades. Google Play Pass can be shared with up to five other family members and is supported by a number of different apps and games in the Play Store.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Autodesk is a longstanding software brand. The Android version of Sketchbook is available on the Play Store for Chromebooks, and it has an extensive set of studios. It works as a blank canvas with a customizable color palette and several different effects. You can import images and use Autodesk Sketchbook for image editing. For this purpose, it also has a strong set of tools to improve any of your images and add in other design elements. 

The app is free to download, with several in-app upgrades available for more advanced features. Users of other apps in the Autodesk suite will be familiar with its tools.

Pixaloop

With Pixaloop, you can create compelling images. In particular, you can use several movement techniques to bring images to life, giving you a truly original creation when finished. 

There are several tools to add movement, control the speed of the animation and fine-tune your image. Distort the perspective and make other adjustments to get creative. For example, you can drop in other images from a batch of included options. Place a bonfire, the moon or other objects into your creation. The background can be one of the images included with the app, or you can import your own. 

Pixeloop has several extensive demos, so even if you don't have experience with graphic design apps, you can get a feel for how Pixaloop works.

Flipaclip

Flipaclip is a very clever animation app that enables you to create frame-by-frame animations and then injects them with motion. It's great for the illustrator or someone who wants to dabble with the process of how animation is made. The app includes a fairly straightforward tutorial – those without any illustration experience can get some guidance on how to create pictures, animated GIFs and more. 

There is a general feature set that is free, along with an in-app upgrade for more extensive tools. Flipaclip is also part of Play Pass, so members get all the extras included.

Derek Walter
Derek Walter,
Business News Daily Writer
Derek Walter is the founder of Walter Media, which offers writing and content strategy services. He is also the author of Learning MIT App Inventor: A Hands-On Guide to Building Your Own Android Apps.