Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Digital technology to support learning & teaching

Paint like Picasso or Draw like Da Vinci? Online artpads


There are a number of free online tools which let users create artworks on screen as if using paper, brush or pencil.


ArtPad is a simple to use free tool which lets you choose the size of brush or pencil, the colour of choice, and then to create an artwork of your own. For what looks like a basic tool there are quite a number of options available from a simple interface. In addition, once you have completed your artwork you can click on the replay button to see an animation of how you created the artwork – great as a demonstration tool for teachers or pupils to show how an effect was achieved. You can control the speed of the replay and pause it as required if highlighting a particular aspect of the artwork. You can save the work for later editing, and copy the link to the created artwork for sharing elsewhere. As a collaborative art creation tool you can share a link to your work with others and they can continue working on a painting – there are also undo options. There is a help page with tips and hints for creating artwork, with additional links to ideas for working in the style of famous artists.


Sumopaint is a  free online art package with a comprehensive set of creation tools. While it is able to be used at a basic level with ease, Sumo Paint also offers a wide selection of brushes, all of which can be used either with a computer mouse, tablet, or interactive whiteboard. The brush tool’s option bar has controls for setting the brush diameter, opacity and flow, and also includes scattering, random rotation, gravity (the gravity option smoothes the drawn line to curves). The option is available in Symmetry and Brush tools., blend modes and brush effects including smoothing, bevel, wet edges and ink. The eraser tool also has a wide selection of brushes which supports scattering, random rotation and gravity effects  (the gravity option smoothes the drawn line to curves). There are also controls for the eraser tool for diameter, opacity and hardness for adjusting the level and size. The ink mode lets the user adjust ink wetness with the mode value slider. The ink mode can be applied to the brush, ink, pen, symmetry and all the shape tools. Sumopaint’s smudge tool has a big selection of brushes and a possibility to use the following blending modes: Normal, Lighten, Darken. For primary teachers using this tool in a mathematics setting the symmetry tool and its multiple properties lets users experiment with the symmetry points, gravity and modes. While Sumopaint is a very comprehensive, yet easy to use tool, there is a comprehensive series of tutorials, including a wide range of video tutorials which serve to explain how each tool is used, as well as inspire users to explore possibilities to develop their artwork. Sumopaint can be used to create artworks from scratch or can open existing images in many formats, which can then have effects applied or elements added or edited. And everything created can be saved in several image formats. [kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /] Sumopaint has a gallery of artworks created by users, and there are links to a huge number of videos by users showing how they created their artworks.

Aviary Education Phoenix Art Package Image Editor

Aviary Education Phoenix art package (image editor) is part of the Aviary suite of creative tools. This image editor is aimed specifically at schools (so teachers can create a private class area if desired, or the tools can be used entirely without registering – either way it is all free). The education version of Aviary has a gallery of creations only added by other education users. Features of this tool include a Move Tool letting users Move items, especially Text objects, Clone Stamp Tool which lets users Clone selected parts of an image, Liquify Tool to let you reshape the image by dragging the cursor, blur Tool, Sharpen Tool, Dodge and Burn Tool (controlling exposure in selected areas), Smudge Tool, Colour Replacement Tool to anable changing one colour to another in selected areas or across the entire image, Eraser Tool, Shape Brush, Paint Brush Tool, Gradient Tool to Fill an area with a customizable gradient, Fill Tool, Shape Tools, line tools,  Transformation Tool, Magic Wand Tool, Resize, stretch or rotate the current selection, Distortion Tool, and more. There is a wealth of tutorials and video guides which can be sorted by difficulty level.


Sketchfu is a very simple art tool which lets users draw or paint with a limited set of tools. The facility to undo and to replay the process of how an image was created (and at choice of different speeds) makes this a neat tool for classroom use to demonstrate a process in creating a particular effect in an artwork.

Draw Island

DrawIsland is an online drawing tool with a basic range of tools, simple to use, yet from which quite complex pictures can be created. There is no gallery of creations by other users. Users have a range of tools from which to choose, with choices for these to refine their appearance. created images can also be downloaded to a PC. 

Primary Paint

Primary Paint is a paint pad which can be used by one user alone but is specifically set up to encourage and enable real time collaboration in creating a piece of art by a teacher and pupils. That means that with pupils on several PCs or devices they can all be working on the same creation at the same time, each pupil able to see immediately any change that another pupil makes. When you create a Primary Paint pad a unique workspace is generated which is then shared with the pupils thus ensuring only your pupils can work on the image. When each pupil enters the work area they simply add their first name and Primary Pad then assigns them a colour against their name so that changes made by that pupil can be readily identified. There is a collaborative area for sharing messages so that pupils can suggest ideas, or a teacher might guide the process by typing steps or suggestions.

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Kerpoof Make a Drawing or Picture

Kerpoof Make a Drawing or picture – two tools which are specifically aimed at children where a teacher can create an account along with pupil login details to save their work in a safer environment. The Drawing tool is suitable for all ages while the Painting tool is targeted at younger pupils where pre-made shapes or images can be included and adapted within creations. The suite of tools has lesson plans and teacher notes to support teachers in using these tools in a classroom setting.

Shawn Avery has created video introductions to both of these tools here.

So at whatever level of artist you are now there are free online tools to help bring out that artwork.

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