Corel Painter 2019 review

The leading traditional media painting program is now faster than ever, but what else is new under the hood?

Our Verdict

Improvements to performance and usability in Corel Painter 2019 help the programme maintain its position as the leading traditional media painting program.


  • Improved performance
  • New Brushes options
  • Clearer, cleaner interface


  • Not the cheapest

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Here’s what everyone has been waiting for: Corel Painter 2019 is here. It has long been a leading option in digital art software, but a renewed focus on performance and usability helps keep Painter 2019 ahead of the pack. 

Corel Painter 2019: Updated tools and UI

The expanded Brushes options includes new Pattern Pens, which produce strokes that make use of five new patterns. These can be based on an existing pattern library, but you can also create your own – essential when making original concept art. Elsewhere, the updated and enhanced version of the Real Watercolor wet brushes are able to realistically interact with your chosen paper’s texture and grain. Your colours will flow, mix and be absorbed by the paper, making your art look more natural than ever.

Opener artwork by Stefano Pistonatto

artwork in Corel Painter 2019

The new stamps brushes will certainly make an impact (artwork by Ajmal Mohammed)

Another update is the Color Selection tool. The colour choices are clearer and you can pin the Temporal Color Selector wherever you need it on your in-progress artwork, and use shortcuts to take samples with the Eyedropper. This is handy, especially when creating complex illustrations.

The program’s interface has also been revamped. Its darker tone makes it possible to see colours more clearly, and also helps you to focus on the canvas when painting – particularly useful when illustrating dark objects. However, if you miss the old grey interface, you can easily change it back.

Previous versions of Painter had a cluttered interface. Corel must have been listening to feedback from its customers, because version 2019 now features over 650 redesigned icons that bring a welcome simplicity to the workspace. This clean and responsive environment makes Painter 2019 easier to understand for newcomers, while seasoned users will benefit from a more efficient painting experience.

Corel Painter 2019: Performance updates

Corel Painter 2019

An updated and enhanced Pattern library offers more creative opportunities

The key update of Painter 2019 is the improvement in the application’s performance. Previously, the program had a reputation for running slowly on older machines. This is certainly not the case with the new version. Corel is to be congratulated for eliminating many speed bumps while retaining the feeling of painting traditionally. 

For example, one of the problems with the old version was the noticeable lag that occurred when using the brushes, but now the brush engine works as smoothly as silk. There are still some little quirks – sometimes it slows up on multi-touch operations, and there are a few bugs that need to be addressed – but overall the program has come on a long way since version 2018. What a difference a year makes…

We think that Painter is still the leading traditional media painting program, and the improvements make it look even more appealing. Yes, there are cheaper alternatives such as Rebelle 3 and ArtRage 5, but neither program has the painting power that Painter wields.

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine. Buy issue 166 or subscribe

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The Verdict

out of 10

Corel Painter 2019

Improvements to performance and usability in Corel Painter 2019 help the programme maintain its position as the leading traditional media painting program.

ImagineFX staff

ImagineFX is the No.1 selling digital art magazine for fantasy and sci-fi enthusiasts! Featuring digital and traditional drawing skills, game design, manga and film art each issue is crammed with training and inspiration from leading artists in their fields. Whether it's learning from comic art's Adam Hughes, fantasy art's John Howe, or digital painting's Loish, ImagineFX has you covered. ImagineFX has been inspiring artists for 15 years!