Yes, it’s finally here! Longtime Canva users like myself have been asking this question since the tool was first discovered years ago, and now – while still in beta – you have the ability to draw with Canva!
If you’re a reader of this blog, you know I’ve always touted Canva for its many bells and whistles, but have also brought up the fact that some of the seemingly easiest things required a workaround (remember how to make a table in Canva?)
Anyway, freehand drawing was definitely on that list of things, but with a few simple clicks, you can be on your way to doodling and drawing on Canva with the best of them.
1. Add the Draw App
To access drawing functionality, look to your lefthand toolbar and click “more” at the bottom. From there, you’ll see a tile labeled as “Draw (Beta).” Click that tile and you’ll be shown some intro text about what the tool is capable of (“Create simple sketches and drawings” as shown below). Click “Use” to finally add the Draw app.
2. Select a Drawing Tool
Once you’ve added the drawing app on Canva, you’ll immediately see options to begin doodling, which include selecting a brush (pen, marker, glow pen, or highlighter), size, transparency, and color.
To explain, the pen tool gives you the ability to create straightforward and solid marks, as you’d expect from a normal writing or drawing utensil. The marker is more or less the same as the pen, but thicker, and the highlighter is more or less the marker, but with less transparency. Glow pen, though, is pretty cool, and essentially “carves out” the canvas while applying a highlighted glow around it.
In the example below, I used the pen to draw the pen, and then the glow pen to write “draw” above it.
From the above, you’ll also see the “eraser” which pops up as an option once you’ve added a drawing to the canvas.
3. Explore Capabilities
Really, that’s it; all you need to draw on Canva can be summed up in the two easy steps above. Beyond that, though, here are some “extras” to keep in mind to take your drawing to the next level.
Connect a Wacom Tablet
That’s right, if drawing with your mouse is tedious and unsuccessful, you can always connect something like a Wacom Pen Tablet to simulate the drawing experience. For example, I bought this Wacom One for about $40 off Amazon.
With a USB connection, I can simply hook it up to my laptop and begin drawing. Now, I’m terrible, but with practice (or skill) it should be a lot easier to draw on Canva. Here is me being terrible, but drawing quickly at least.
Trace an Object
If you are in fact terrible at drawing like me, or, want to be able to put your own creative spin on an existing element, tracing is always a fun option to get you started. For example, let’s say I wanted to draw a dog but didn’t know were to begin. I can simply add an dog graphic and then trace it using the drawing option to come up with my own creation.
Of course, at this point, there isn’t much value added as you’ve simply traced a nice element and made it look worse, but you can take the next step by adding the dog’s features, a bowl, leash, fur, and much more to make it your own.