Corel Painter Lite

Easy Artistic Software for Beginning Digital Artists

Corel Painter Lite
Corel Painter Lite. © Corel

Corel Painter Lite is the limited version of the professional Corel Painter 12. Because it has less, it is easy to learn and simpler to use, making it perfect for art students and traditional artist who are now starting to make digital art. With it, you can manipulate photographs or start a painting or illustration from scratch, using a nice cross-section of brushes, such as airbrushes, acrylics, oils, pastels, pencils, pens, blenders and mixers, sponges, and more.


  • A simple-to-use interface and navigation with built-in help makes it easy to quickly become familiar with the Corel Painter Lite software.
  • Corel Painter Lite is an easy program to learn and use, which makes it perfect for those beginning to learn digital painting.
  • Traditional artists will recognize tools and features that are familiar to them, such as the brushes, eraser, Color Wheel, Mixer Pads, and Paper Textures.
  • Support for the Wacom tablets, which means that artists can experience pressure-sensitive brush control for a natural feel.
  • Corel Painter Lite has a nice cross section of brush variants to choose from, 97 to be exact, with 16 brush categories.
  • The page is resizable and rotatable.
  • The color palettes are resizable.
  • Corel Painter Lite has some Artists Inspired Color Palettes.
  • Better Color matches with color profiles for each document.
  • Color recognition for files imported from Adobe Photoshop.
  • Files can be saved in various file formats, such as Painter RIFF, Photoshop, TIFF, PNG and JPEG.
  • Those who use Photoshop will be right at home with Corel Painter Lite, where it has many of the same or similar features, including Layers functionality and various Effects, and some familiar tools.
  • Corel Painter Lite has Mirror Painting and Kaleidoscope tools.
  • Corel Painter Lite is less expensive than Painter 12.
  • Though Corel Painter Lite is meant for entry-level digital artists, some professional artists may find it to have just enough tools and features to satisfy.
  • Corel Painter Lite customers who want more can upgrade to Painter 12 for 30% of the list price by contacting Customer Support with promotion code 4934 and proof of purchase.
  • Installation of Corel Painter Lite is easy. Just grab it on the Mac App Store, or on the Corel Official Storefor the PC version.


  • Brush Sets, Color Sets, and other customizations remain, unless you hold down the shift key when launching the software, which restores Painter Lite to it's factory-default settings. So, you can't remove the Brush Sets without also removing the Color Sets, for example.
  • Corel Painter Lite is missing some tools and features that would be nice to have, but you can get them by upgrading to Painter 12. Painter 12 has hundreds of brushes, more Layer options, loads of customization options for brushes and workspaces, and the ability to create Paper, Patterns, Gradients and more.

Corel Painter Lite Description

  • Corel Painter Lite is a great way to easily create digital artwork. The Property bar at top allows you to easily choose a Brush, adjust the Stroke size, and change the Opacity. If you've used Adobe Photoshop, you'll notice that Corel Painter Lite has some of the same or similar features, such as layer functionality; some tonal, surface, and focus effects; and various tools such as the Dropper tool, Paint Bucket tool, Selection tools, Eraser, Grabber, Magnifier, Doge, Crop tool, and more. Painter Lite also has a nifty Mirror Painting tool and Kaleidoscope tool.
  • With Corel Painter Lite, you can choose the Paper Texture that you want to paint on, with a limited amount of choices that won't leave you overwhelmed.
  • Choosing and adjusting colors is made simple with the aid of Palettes, where you'll find a Color Sets Library, Color Wheel with Color Info, and Mixer Pads. You can even choose from Mixer Pads created by some professional artists.

Working with Corel Painter Lite

I have very few complaints about Corel Painter Lite; I felt right at home with it, even from the start. It's geared toward fine artists, illustrators, and photo touch-up artists, as is Painter 12. But, there's less to learn with Corel Painter Lite, which makes it easy to get accustomed to. To get started, you can just experiment with the tools to figure them out, or connect to the website for Online Training and Help Documents.

I like that I can use my Wacom tablet with the software, which makes drawing a breeze. And, the Rotate Page tool is nice, which allows me to angle the page just as I would if using traditional materials.

I find the Mirror Painting tool interesting. With it, whatever marks I place on one side of the page appear on the opposite side, as if mirrored. This allows me to make perfectly symmetrical drawings, such as a vase, or portrait.

The Kaleidoscope tool is fun to use. I made some colorful designs with it that reminded me of tie-dyed shirts. I also used it to make the snowflake graphic, shown here. To give my snowflake some pizzazz, I applied a Surface-Texture and added a glow with use of the F-X Glow Brush.

When making the snowflake, I decided to make a gradated background. Only, Corel Painter Lite doesn't offer a Gradient tool. So, to make the gradient, I had to add various tones of a color, from dark to light and from top to bottom, then choose Effects > Focus > Soften. Creating a gradation in this way takes longer, but it's obviously doable. If I thought I would be making gradients often, I would upgrade to Painter 12, which has a gradient control panel that would allow me to create and save custom gradients.

What I like best about Corel Painter Lite is how it allows me to easily turn a photograph into the appearance of a painting, simply by adding brush strokes while sampling colors directly from the photograph with the Dropper tool. This is how I created the above painting of my cat. By creating additional layers, I was able to paint loosely over the photograph with the aid of my Wacom tablet and pen, then use the Eraser with a changed opacity to bring back some of details. I was even able to quickly add my signature with the Arcylics Opaque Detail Brush.

Overall, I find the software enjoyable to use with tools and features that make it easy to create whatever I imagine.

Whether you're a student or transitioning from traditional to digital, you'll find all you need in Corel Painter Lite to get started.

Even long-time digital artist may find that the software offers enough to create amazing art. But, you don't have to take my word for it; look at some inspiring examples by professional artists, which are showcased when you start-up Corel Painter Lite, or visit the Painter Lite Art Galleryon YouTube. Some Painter 12 artwork is thrown into the mix, but it tells you which ones were created in Painter Lite and which ones were created in Painter 12.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.