Krita vs. PaintTool SAI: In-Depth Comparison for Artists

If you’re an artist searching for a drawing app, Krita and PaintTool SAI are usually among the most popular choices. 

They are popular among comic and manga artists and heavily recommended by Art communities on Reddit and YouTube. Deciding between these two can be a challenge because each has its strengths.

Krita is highly regarded for its versatile capabilities in both digital art creation and photo editing features, making it a powerful choice for beginner and professional artists alike. 

PaintToolSAI is a lightweight, user-friendly drawing app with only essential digital art features.

In this article, we’ll compare Krita and PaintTool SAI by looking at their differences, features, pros, and cons so you can select the drawing app that suits your needs.

Krita vs. PaintTool SAI Overview

Let’s compare Krita and PaintToo as a drawing app. They both offer a range of features that can help artists create digital art.

Here’s a brief comparison table highlighting key differences between Krita and PaintTool SAI:

FeatureKritaPaintTool SAI
PriceFreeOne-time payment of  $52
Animation CapabilitiesYesNo
Layer ManagementAdvancedBasic
Brush EnginePowerful, with custom brushesMore limited
User InterfaceFeature-rich, but may be complexSimple, beginner-friendly
CommunityActive Forum and Reddit communityInactive Forum and Reddit community

For a more detailed look at Krita, check out our in-depth Krita review for digital artists.

Comparing Krita and PaintTool SAI Features

Let’s dive into the features of both software. There’s plenty to discuss here.

  • Krita stands out with its open-source nature. That means it’s free for anyone to use or modify as they please. 

Krita has a wide variety of brushes and tools, from basic shapes to complex textures. Krita also supports animation, a feature many similar drawing apps do not offer.

  • PaintTool SAI shines in its simplicity. While it may not boast an extensive toolset like Krita, it offers more than enough for most artists. 

Its smooth brushes and blending make digital drawing feel easy and natural, helping artists make awesome artwork.

Ease of Use: Krita Vs. PaintTool SAI

Ease of use is another crucial factor when choosing between these two platforms.

  • If you’re new to digital art or prefer keeping things simple, you might find PaintTool SAI more user-friendly because of its clean interface and straightforward functionality.
  • However, Krita could be your best bet if you want to explore deeper settings or need advanced customization options for your artwork. 

Due to its extensive features, Krita has a steeper learning curve than PaintTool SAI.

Platform compatibility: Krita Vs. Paint Tool SAI

Regarding platform compatibility, Krita is available on various platforms. You can use Krita on Windows, Linux, and macOS computers. 

Krita also supports Android tablet devices, making it suitable for artists who prefer drawing on a tablet. 

PaintTool SAI is primarily designed for Windows. Its compatibility is limited. PaintTool SAI does not offer dedicated support for macOS and Linux.

However, some artists have reported running PaintTool SAI on macOS or Linux using virtual machines or compatibility layers like Parallels and Wine.

To sum up the compatibility aspect:

SoftwareWindowsmacOSLinuxAndroid Tablet
Paint Tool SAI✕ (via Parallels)✕ (via Wine)

Cost: Krita Vs. PaintTool SAI

Considering the cost of drawing apps is crucial, especially for artists on a tight budget

Krita is free. This is a huge plus if you don’t want to spend money on a drawing app. 

Beginner artists usually don’t need the extra features offered by paid drawing apps, so Krita’s basic features are typically enough.

PaintTool SAI is not free. It cost $52. Indeed, it’s relatively affordable compared to other digital painting software. But if we compare it to Krita, which offers more free features, Krita is better in terms of affordability.

Performance: Krita Vs. PaintTool SAI

Lastly, let’s touch on performance. How well do these drawing apps run, especially on the average computer?

Features Comparison: Krita vs. PaintTool SAI


Krita Brush

Krita provides a highly customizable brush, with over 144 different brushes to choose from. These include basic shapes, textures, patterns, and even more complex elements like hair or vegetation.

If you’re unsatisfied with the default brush, you can import brush from different software like Photoshop and Procreate.

PaintTool SAI provides a simpler yet more efficient set of brush tools. Its interface is more straightforward, which some artists find easier to navigate than Krita’s extensive options.

Canvas and Layers

Both Krita and PaintTool SAI support multiple formats and offer pan and zoom features. They also provide an easy-to-use layer system for organizing and adjusting individual elements of your artwork. 

You can resize your canvas and work with vector or raster drawing options in both programs.

Text and Shapes

Krita has built-in tools for adding text and various shapes to your artwork. This is important if you want to create comics and manga.

PaintTool SAI also offers a variety of shapes, although it has limited options for text manipulation compared to Krita. But you can still use PaintTool SAI to create manga utilizing the text features.

Selection and Mirroring Tools

Selection is a tool to select specific areas of your artwork for editing or transformation. 

Here is the list of selection tools you can use in Krita

Bezier curve selection tool in Krita
  • Rectangular Selection Tool
  • Elliptical Selection Tool
  • Freehand Selection Tool
  • Polygonal Selection Tool
  • Path Selection Tool
  • Similar Color Selection Tool
  • Contiguous Selection Tool
  • Magnetic Selection Tool

PaintTool SAI only provide basic selection tools, like freehand, rectangular and polygonal selection tool. 

Additionally, they both offer mirroring tools to create symmetrical art easily.

Color and Texture Functions

Color palettes are crucial for artists, and both Krita and PaintTool SAI offer various color options. 

Krita comes with a more extensive collection of brushes and texture options. You can adjust brush color and texture options to suit your style. 

For example, if you want to mimic a watercolor brush in Krita, you can adjust the brush setting. This flexibility allows artists to experiment and achieve their desired effects.

PaintTool SAI, on the other hand, provides a simpler and more user-friendly interface for beginners regarding color and texture functions. 

Customization Options 

Customizability is key when it comes to digital art software.

Krita also excels here, offering flexible workspace layouts that can be tailored according to individual user preferences. 

Krita’s user interface is similar to Photoshop. The interface allows dockers and panels to be moved around freely, enabling artists to create an environment that best suits their workflow.

PaintTool SAI isn’t far behind, though! It also provides several customization options, allowing users to change colors, layout aspects, or add personalized shortcuts for an improved drawing experience.

To give you an idea about their strengths and weaknesses, let’s list them out:

  • Krita:
    • Highly customizable interface
    • Offers touchscreen support
    • Extensive tutorials available
    • Support Shortcuts 
  • PaintTool SAI:
    • Simpler, more compact layout
    • Beginner-friendly interface
    • Lacks some advanced features found in Krita

Learning Curve in Krita vs. PaintTool SAI

While Krita may seem overwhelming due to its wide array of features, tutorials on its website make acclimatizing much easier! There are extensive guides, from simple sketching techniques to advanced animation tutorials.

As long you stick to it, drawing and painting in Krita is easy.

PaintTool SAI might feel more accessible initially because of its relatively more straightforward interface. But remember that this simplicity means it lacks some advanced capabilities experienced artists may desire.

Sooner or later, you will outgrow PaintTool SAI and switch to a more advanced drawing app.

For another comparison, check out Krita vs. Medibang

Best Art Types for Krita vs. PaintTool SAI


Krita excels at creating digital art across various styles. It suits digital painting, concept art, pixel art, manga, comics, and animation.

Krita timeline feature

Krita also offers a dedicated animation workspace, Timeline and Onion skin features. These features can help artists create animation in Krita.

Paint Tool SAI

PaintTool SAI focuses more on creating comic artwork. Some of these features include:

  • Pre-made manga templates
  • Various specialized brushes designed for manga
  • Simple UI that beginners quickly master
  • Panel layouts and rulers for a streamlined panel creation process

When it comes to creating digital art, Krita is a better choice. PaintTool SAI is only good at creating manga content.

Community and Resources

Templates and Tutorials

Krita offers numerous resources for your learning and creativity, including templates and tutorials. In Krita’s built-in resources and official website, you can find tutorials that cater to beginners and advanced users. 

On the other hand, you can find PaintTool SAI documentation and tutorials on YouTube. But they might be harder to find due to the less active community.

Support and Forums

Both Krita and PaintTool SAI have community support and forums where you can seek help, advice, or inspiration.

Here is the list of Krita communities you can follow:

  • Krita Artist Forum: The main forum for Krita users to discuss, share, and seek advice about their art.
  • KDE Forum: The primary platform for KDE, which developed Krita among other open-source software.
  • Krita Reddit Community: A Reddit community about Krita and digital art, with 75 thousand members.

The community surrounding Krita is quite active and helpful. The forum offers numerous online tutorials, guides and social media groups where users can share tips and learn from each other.

Meanwhile, PaintTool SAI’s official forum is not actively updated and maintained by the developers.

PainTool SAI Reddit community

The only active PaintTool SAI community is their Reddit community,  with only around 10,000 members. 

Compared to Krita, where you can contact the developers to give feedback and ask about new features, PaintTool SAI lacks such open communication channels, limiting user input.

Wrapping Up

Krita is a free drawing app offering more function and capability value than PaintTool SAI. You can use Krita even if you’re an experienced artist.

PaintTool SAI offers a smooth user experience with less complexity compared to Krita. 

Its simple user interface makes it an ideal choice for beginners or those who prefer simplicity over extensive features. However, unlike Krita, PaintTool SAI isn’t free. 

Ultimately, it’s all about what works best for you as an artist. Try out both programs to give you a better idea of which one suits you best.  

Relying on your personal experience is the best way to make an informed decision. Don’t worry, there is no such thing as a bad drawing app. It’s all about how you use it.

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Kenny HD
Hi, I’m Kenny. I’m a digital artist who began learning art at the age of 21. I enjoy drawing cartoons and fan art.

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