How to Draw in Canva (2023 Guide)

How to draw in Canva (image of the Canva logo plus a pencil)

In this post I’m going to show you how to draw in Canva — in just a few simple steps.

Canva is an increasingly popular design tool and one that is often turned to as an easy-to-use alternative to Photoshop.

However, one thing that often surprises new Canva users is the apparent lack of a pen tool for drawing freehand (something that you find as standard in most graphic design tools, Photoshop included).

But in fact getting your hands on such a tool for Canva is perfectly possible and in the steps below, I show you how to access this feature and draw freehand on any Canva project you like.

1. Install the Draw app

Most key Canva features are provided ‘out of the box’ — but some, like Canva’s drawing tool, are provided as add-on apps.

To add the drawing app, log into Canva and then click the ‘apps’ option on the left-hand menu.

Accessing apps in Canva
Accessing apps in Canva — an add-on is required to draw lines

This will return a large number of apps — but you can use the search box provided to find the drawing one.

Canva apps
Canva apps

Just type ‘Draw’ into the box provided.

Searching for the 'Draw' app in Canva
Searching for the Canva Draw tool in its app library

This will return a few search results — click on the ‘Draw (Beta)’ icon to install the drawing tool.

The 'Draw (Beta)' app
The ‘Draw (Beta)’ app

You’ll then get the option to install the app and use it on an existing design or a new one. Just choose which one you’d prefer.

Installing the 'Draw' app
Installing the Canva drawing tool

2. Choose your brush settings

Once the ‘Draw’ app is installed, you’ll see it as an option in the set of icons that appear on the left hand side of any Canva design.

Accessing the draw app in a Canva design
Accessing the draw app in a Canva design

To add drawings with the app, you first need to select a ‘brush’ (or pen) type. Four are currently available: pen, marker, glow pen and highlighter.

Selecting a brush in Canva
Selecting a brush type in Canva

Then, select a brush size. This governs how thick the line used in your freehand drawings is going to be.

Selecting brush size
Selecting a brush size

The next thing to choose is a is transparency setting — this lets you define how opaque or ‘see through’ you’d like your freehand drawing to be.

Adjusting brush transparency settings
Brush transparency settings

And finally, it’s time to pick a color for your drawing. This is easily done using the color palette provided.

Selecting brush color
Selecting brush color

3. Start drawing

With the Draw app added, and your brush settings decided upon, it’s time to start drawing!

You just use your mouse (and its left-hand button) to do so — it’s a fairly intuitive process.

Drawing in Canva
Using Canva’s drawing tool (with the glow pen effect in use)

One thing to note is that as you draw, an eraser tool becomes available — as its name suggests, you can use this to rub out any mistakes you make while drawing.

The eraser tool in Canva's drawing app
The eraser tool in Canva’s drawing app — this appears when you start to add hand drawn elements in Canva

And that’s pretty much all there is to it! I hope this guide to drawing in Canva has proved useful — do leave any feedback or questions in the comments section below.

How to draw in Canva — FAQ

Is there a drawing tool in Canva?

Yes, but it has to be installed as a separate app. You can do this by going to the apps section of Canva and selecting the ‘Draw (Beta)’ app.

Can you draw with pen on Canva?

So long as you’ve installed the ‘Draw’ app, you can draw with pen in Canva. Four pens are available: pen, marker, glow pen and highlighter.

Is there a paintbrush tool in Canva?

Out of the box, there isn’t a paintbrush tool in Canva — but you can add one by installing the ‘Draw’ app. This will give you four pens (or brushes) that you can use to draw freehand with on your Canva projects.

How do I draw freehand in Canva?

To draw freehand in Canva, you’ll need to install the ‘Draw’ app. You’ll then be able to pick a pen type, brush thickness and color — and start drawing freehand.

How do I add shapes in Canva?

To add a shape to a Canva design, go to the ‘Elements’ section on the left-hand side of the screen and then search a relevant shape type.

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