Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you were blessed with both the “creative gene” and the “tech gene,” go ahead and pat yourself on the back as you are part of an elite group – the select few who are both artists and computer whizzes. Very few people make it to the middle of that Venn diagram, as most are either carefree artistic types who struggle to operate a smartphone or IT wonks who find it difficult to think outside the keyboard or paint outside the lines.
That said, there IS a market for technology that caters to the needs of artists. Our smart devices have actually given us a whole new creative world to explore, with new drawing apps and drawing tablet options pushing our creative options.
Every new generation finds a way to push the boundaries of what can be done in the world of art. After all, the same species who started out etching pictures on the walls of caves eventually brought a cartoon mouse to life on a video screen. When computer technology entered our everyday lives, the way we look at art and entertainment would never be the same.
While there is no substitute for the feeling of a brush against canvas, or the glorious mess of hands working a pottery wheel, art has intersected with computers in ways big and small. From hobbyists to those who create art for a living, people are device shopping with artistic function in mind more than ever before.
And let’s not forget the term “starving artist” exists for a reason, and the average consumer does not have an unlimited technology budget. This is why durable and affordable Chromebooks are such an incredibly popular choice among personal devices.
What Is a Chromebook and How Does It Work?
Some people use the term Chromebook interchangeably with “laptop.” Technically, a Chromebook is indeed a laptop when simply defined as a portable computer you can use on your lap. However, when you get into the specifics, there are some differences between Chromebooks and what we think of as “traditional” laptops.
A laptop will utilize a PC operating system (think Windows) and have internal storage drives, and in some cases, they may even have DVD/CD drives, too. Additional accessories can be connected by ports, with laptops designed to mimic your desktop setup, only in an “on the go” format.
Chromebooks, on the other hand, use the lightweight Google Chrome operating system, and their entire functionality is almost exclusively online. This makes them not only lighter, but it improves their efficiency, too. Chromebooks are built for the web, relying on cloud storage and applications, rather than software and built-in storage like a traditional laptop.
Software is the main reason some people will not make the switch to Chromebook. These machines just cannot compete (yet) with traditional laptops when it comes to certain software programs people rely on for work. However, for those primarily interested in a device for entertainment purposes (streaming content, playing games, and creating art), you cannot go wrong with a Chromebook.
How Can I Use a Chromebook to Create Art?
There are a wide variety of Android app options available that will enable you to create art on your Chromebook, and many users swear by the Google Chrome Canvas app.
Canvas allows you to create drawings that automatically link to your Google account. It has an easy and user-friendly setup, with tools on the left side of the touch screen. There you will find a pencil and eraser, a marker, a fountain pen, and even chalk.
When you choose one of these tools, you can also choose its color from an existing palette, or you can even create a custom one. Additionally, this program allows you to edit the opacity and the size of your drawing tool. Paired with a stylus pen, this app is perfect for digital art!
In Google Chrome Canvas, you will also have the option to export your masterpiece elsewhere! Plus, all of your saved drawings will always be within easy reach because it is linked to your Google account.
But Google Chrome Canvas really is just the tip of the artistic iceberg when it comes to apps you will love. Once you purchase your Chromebook, you will be able to try a wide variety of apps until you find the ones that best suit your needs.
What Features Should I Look for When Shopping for a Chromebook?
It has been almost a decade since Chromebooks came on to the market, and it was a bumpy start by all accounts. Chromebooks were initially met with skepticism, especially from those used to traditional laptops that relied on software and built-in memory systems. The leap to an internet-based operating system was a big leap of faith, and it ultimately paid off.
As with any new device, manufacturers had to spend time reworking and redesigning the product once consumers had their chance to voice their complaints. If you are shopping for a Chromebook today, you have the benefit of a decade of “tinkering” that has already taken place, and you can thank the early users of Chromebooks as the “guinea pigs” who made them better.
Chromebooks have some price variation, but they are often more affordable than traditional laptops, so budget concerns will not be your main issue when shopping for one. Instead, you will likely make your decision about the best Chromebook for artists based on these two items:
Processor. The processor in the Chromebook is what determines its running speeds and whether it lags and crashes or whether it keeps you drawing with ease. The best Chromebooks for artists will typically have an Intel Core i7 processor or the i5 or i3 models.
Display. It goes without saying that the best Chromebooks for artists need to have the best displays/touchscreens. You will want good pressure sensitivity on the screen and vivid clarity in your drawings and designs, so you will need a display with a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080 pixels.
For artists who prefer to use a stylus (a writing tool) to draw on a touch screen, you need to look at whether the Chromebook comes with one or if it will need to be purchased separately. If you already have a favorite stylus, you will want to be sure it works well with the touch screen model you choose.
Here are some of the best Chromebooks for artists for you to consider:
If finding the best Chromebook for artists is a test, you will have aced it by purchasing this one. (Come on! We could not resist.) The Acer Chromebook is a popular choice for artists and anyone looking for a portable device at a great price.
If you purchase this Chromebook, you will quickly fall in love with the 360-degree hinge, which allows you to use it as a notebook, stand-up display, tent, or tablet. It has up to 10 hours of battery life, and the Acer Chromebook Spin also boasts an antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen. It is durable enough to withstand all of your swiping, scrolling, sketching, and drawing.
If you prefer a mouse over a touchscreen, the Chromebook Acer Spin can do both.
The Acer Chromebook Spin at a Glance
- Screen Size: 11.6 inch HD touchscreen display
- 8GB ram, 64 GB storage
- Display Resolution: 1366 x 768
- CPU Speed: 2.80 GHz
- Weight: 2.65 pounds
Artists will flip out over the ASUS Chromebook Flip! Bad puns aside, this Chromebook is a top convertible laptop choice for users thanks to many outstanding features.
One of the main reasons this is a great Chromebook for artists is the display. A 14-inch Nano Edge display was designed with narrow bezels so that you can get a 14-inch screen on a 13-inch laptop footprint. Like the Acer, it also comes with a 360-degree hinge so you can use the display in tent, stand, or tablet mode.
For charging or connecting to other devices, there are two USB Type-C ports; plus, there is one Type-A USB port, a MicroSD card slot, and an audio jack, which comes in handy when streaming content.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip can run all of the art applications you need to keep you sketching and drawing on a durable touchscreen, and it is a great all-around device for streaming entertainment as well.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip at a Glance
- Screen Size: 14 inch Full HD touchscreen
- Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
- CPU Speed: 3.4 GHz
- Weight: 3.30 pounds
Any artist will be inspired to create on the Dell Inspiron. (Okay, that is the last one. We promise.) This Chromebook from Dell, a longtime leader in technology, comes with a beautiful 14-inch HD display. If you run out of steam when it comes to your creative project, you can hop on over to Netflix and stream your favorite shows in stunning clarity on this screen.
A backlit keyboard, built-in webcam, HDMI output, and USB ports are included, keeping you charged and connected any time you are ready to tackle a new project (or just stream entertainment). With almost five decades of experience building and improving personal computers, Dell makes a product consumers can count on, and the Inspiron is a great choice among Chromebooks for artists.
The Dell Inspiron at a Glance
- Screen Size: 14-inch LED-lit touchscreen
- Display Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- CPU Speed: 2.2GHz
- Weight: 4 lbs
This list would be incomplete without an offering from Google! After all, chances are pretty high; it was Google that brought you to this article in the first place.
The Google Pixelbook Go M3 is one of our favorite picks for the Chromebook user who is an artist. The 12-hour battery life is one of its best-selling points, as is its sleek and lightweight design (this is the lightest pick among our choices, weighing in at a dainty 2.33 pounds). The screen is a dream for artists: eight million pixels to bring your projects to life in vivid detail.
And the Pixelbook is not only good for art; it’s a great all-around choice as well. For a reliable Chromebook with a sturdy yet lightweight design, a backlit keyboard, and a climate-friendly EPEAT certification.
Google Pixelbook Go M3 at a Glance
- Screen Size: 13.3 inches
- Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- CPU Speed: 0 GHz
- Weight: 2.33 pounds
HP is another trusted name in personal computers, and they have a Chromebook with a 14-inch display and a 9-hour battery life that will certainly meet the needs of artists without breaking the bank.
While this device does not boast the 360-hinge design of some of the other choices we have included (the HP Chromebook has a 180-degree hinge), it does come with the EPEAT certification for environmentally-minded shoppers. A TrueVision HD camera means users can video chat with great clarity, and this device is an easy three pounds to carry for artists on the go.
HP Chromebook at a Glance
- Screen Size: 14-inch LED-backlit touchscreen
- Display Resolution: 1366 x 768
- CPU Speed: 2.5 GHz
- Weight: 3 pounds
Last but certainly not least is the Lenovo Chromebook, our final pick for the best Chromebook for artists. If it’s screen size you are after, Lenovo really delivers with a 15.6-inch HD touchscreen. You will be able to see your art come to life on this brilliant screen, and with up to 10 hours of battery life, you will be able to work for long stretches without interruptions.
The stunning Lenovo display is not just great for art; you will enjoy using it to stream entertainment as well. Dual 2W stereo speakers ensure a great sound, and three USB ports enable you to stay connected and charged.
This is a heftier choice than the others we have recommended, but 4.4 pounds is still incredibly lightweight for something as sturdy and powerful as the Lenovo Chromebook. Additionally, this is another Chromebook with the 360-hinge design for ultimate versatility.
Lenovo Chromebook at a Glance
- Screen Size: 15.6 inches
- Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- CPU Speed: 2.3 GHz
- Weight: 4.4 pounds