Clip Studio Paint Review

Clip Studio Paint is a painting application for digital creation of Concept Art & Painting, Character Art & Drawing, Illustration, Animation and Comics & Manga.

Clip Studio Paint was first released in Japan in 2001 as “Comic Studio”. In the Western Market is was sold as “Manga Studio” until 2007. Since 2017 it is sold and supported by Celsys, a Japanese graphics software company.

From origin the application was specifically designed for black and white art with one spot color, which is a typical format for Manga Art. Since then it has evolved to an impressive and powerful digital painting application which is used and loved by Concept Artists and Illustrators like Derrick Chew, Sam Nassour and Mirka Andolfo, but also by Comic Artist Sam Nassour and Director & Producer Juaco Garin.

Clip Studio Paint can be an alternative to Adobe Photoshop if your focus is to use it for digital painting.

What features does Clip Studio Paint has?

Custom Brushes & Styles

Clip Studio Paint comes with tons of features. One of the great things is it’s flexibility. Clip Studio Paint comes with unlimited painting styles. It’s perfect for oil painting, watercolor painting, cel-shading and so on. You can customize the brushes to paint in your style and add textures to the brushes for an even more tradition look and feel.

Unlimited painting styles in Clip Studio Paint
Unlimited painting styles

According to Dylan Teague, a professional illustrator from the UK with 20 years of experience: “The brushes are just amazing too and feel extremely life-like. I also really like how you can customize everything to suit your own needs perfectly. The iPad version is brilliant too making Clip Studio Paint totally portable so I can easily work on print-ready files anywhere.”

User Favorite Brushes in Clip Studio Paint
User Favorite Brushes

The brush customization is one of the favorite functions of Amei Zhao, a BG Paint & Design Artist for Animation from Australia. She says “The painting brushes are highly customizable, and easy to use. There’s a thriving community of users who constantly contribute to the online materials library. Clip Studio Paint is also ideal for illustrators who specialize in linework. The smoothness of lines, lack of lag while drawing, as well as the vector output make drawing very fun and efficient.”.

Vector lines

The Vector Lines feature is one of the favourite features of Derrick Chew (DCWJ). Derrick is a freelance artist that is fascinated and inspired by Japanese anime. According to Derrick Clip Studio Paint is “perfect for drawing smooth and precise lines”, especially since you are “able to edit the linework with easy to get that perfect curve you want”.

Vector Lines make your life easier

Perspective Ruler

A very useful feature of Clip Studio Paint is the Perspective Ruler. If you use perspective a lot in your work then you know how difficult it is to setup guidelines and to mark up the vanishing points, because they often are off canvas. With this software you can draw accurate perspective lines freehand using the Perspective Ruler. It’s also possible to add grids or add 3D objects and match them to the perspective.

Perspective Ruler - Clip Studio Paint
The Perspective Ruler

Freehand Perspective Ruler

Another useful feature is that you can draw freehand along the perspective rulers to create believable depth for buildings, rooms and other environments. With the symmetric ruler you can create intricate patterns or draw cylindrical objects with the concentric circle ruler.

Freehand Perspective Ruler

Customizable 3D references

Some really unique features are the possibility to use 3D in Clip Studio Paint. It even comes with 3D figures that you can use for character posing. Another impressive feature is the ability to use the software to make the 3D character automatically match a photo reference.

Coloring with AI support & Complex Gradients

The AI-created coloring is an awesome feature to quickly try out different color combinations on your line art. Use it to experiment with color variation by using color hints without spending much time on coloring the whole illustration.

You can create gradients with multiple dedicated tools. You can use the Gradient Tool to create your basic gradient and you can control the shape of the gradient with the Contour Line Paint Tool or apply colors based on values with gradient maps.

Complex gradients made simple in Clip Studio Paint
Complex gradients made simple

Color Selection & Blending

Clip Studio Paint offers six color palettes to help you select the best color for your project. It doesn’t only include the typical circles and sliders, but it also offers palettes for similar colors, midrange colors or to show the color history.

Easy color selection in Clip Studio Paint
Easy color selection

The Blending of the software feels natural and realistic. Visual Development Artist Sam Nassour likes how the colors blend “…when I’m painting, I like the way colors blend together by using the Mix function in the brush customization menu”. Amei Zhao is also impressed with the blending functionality in Clip Studio Paint “The blending of the brush gives the image mood a softness which is difficult to achieve in other programs.”.


Clip Studio Paint is an all in one Animation Studio. From still images to camerawork and audio tracks, you can carry out every stage of the animation process in one piece of software. You can export the animations as an animated GIF, image sequence or as a video.
Clip Studio Sample Animation


If you purchase Clip Studio Paint then you are not on your own. According to our personal experience and the experience of many other creatives it’s very intuitive and easy to use.

But it’s good to know that they offer a huge section with Official Tips & Tutorials. There are ‘official’ tutorials created by the Clip Studio Paint team, but there are also in depth tutorials created by community members.

You can find tutorials for Character Art, Comics/Manga, Animation, Traditional Style Art, Concept Art, Design and for new features.

Dozens of Tutorials for Clip Studio Paint
Dozens of Tutorials for Clip Studio Paint


Besides the awesome and unique features of Clip Studio Paint another one of the strengths is the active community. You can search the forum for questions already asked or ask your own questions or help others.


Here’s some of the amazing artworks that have been created with Clip Studio Paint.

Portraits made with Clip Studio Paint
Portraits made with Clip Studio Paint
Anthropomorphic Home Electronics Clip Studio Paint
Anthropomorphic Home Electronics Clip Studio Paint
Snow Illustration made with Clip Studio Paint
Snow Illustration made with Clip Studio Paint

Cross Platform & Pricing

Clip Studio Paint is cross platform. It can be used for Windows, macOS, iPad, iPhone, Android, Chromebook and Galaxy.

There are two kind of licenses. The cheapest license is for Clip Studio Paint Pro ($ 25), which is perfect for character art, concept art and illustration. If you need more features, like animations and special features to create Manga & Comics then you need to purchase the Clip Studio Paint Ex plan ($ 109). It’s kind of hidden, but there’s also a monthly usage plan where you can chose for which devices you want Clip Studio Paint to work. Pricing starts from just $ 0.99/month.

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