Adobe Fresco 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started | Skillshare Blog (2022)

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Since launching,Adobe Fresco has upended the world of design. Its live brushes have obvious advantages over real paint brushes (no clean up, for one thing) while still providing users an experience that is remarkably close to analog. The entire application integrates seamlessly with other digital art software from Adobe, including Photoshop and Illustrator. Fresco was designed to make painting and drawing with the latest mobile tools accessible and enjoyable for both novices and seasoned pros, without the kind of learning curve that will hold you back or keep you from focusing on what matters most: your art.

If you’re ready to get started on your journey with mobile digital art, we’ve compiled this Adobe Fresco tutorialto help you on your way. We’ll cover how to get started with the app, explain how to draw shapes and use Adobe Fresco brushes, and offer helpful tips throughout. So let’s begin: a world of boundless creativity awaits!

Quick Links

  • Getting Started with Adobe Fresco
  • Adobe Fresco Brushes
  • Drawing Your First Sketch
  • How to Draw Shapes in Adobe Fresco
  • Painting and Blending
  • Returning to Your Artistic Roots
(Video) Beginners Adobe Fresco tricks that will surprise you

Getting Started with Adobe Fresco

Essential Equipment

Adobe Fresco is currently available for use on the Apple iPad.. The app supports iOS version 12.4 or later running on the following hardware: all models of iPad Pro; iPad Air 3rd generation; iPad 5th and 6th generations; and the iPad mini 5th generation.

You’ll want to use the 2nd generation Apple Pencil to make full use of Adobe Fresco brushes. This generation is only compatible with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch and iPad Pro 11-inch.

Using Adobe Fresco with Photoshop and Illustrator

While there’s some overlap in terms of functionality among existing digital art applications by Adobe, each program has specific capabilities that make the Creative Cloud suitethe toolkit of choice for many professional artists. Adobe Photoshop has long served as the industry standard for photo editing and pixel-level retouching. Many professionals use Adobe Illustrator for drawing. Adobe has positioned Fresco as its easy-to-use, wide-ranging mobile creativity tool that integrates with each.

You can use Fresco to create both raster (pixel-based) or vector (scalable line-based) art, mix the two in a single piece of art, and easily move your images back and forth among Fresco, Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe applications to enhance your work as needed.

Adobe Fresco for iPad App

Adobe Fresco is currently available as a try-before-you-buy “freemium” download. That means you can start using the app right away in a free, scaled-down version that you can keep indefinitely (no 30 day trials). But you must pay for access to all of the app’s capabilities. The starter version (found here using your iPad) includes 2 GB of cloud storage (as opposed to 100 GB of storage for the paid version), offers a limited set of brushes, and only lets you export your files at iPad resolution — not the high-res required for print. If you want to upgrade from the free version to the full version of Fresco, a standalone app purchase costs $9.99 per month.

Creating A New Drawing

After downloading and launching Fresco, get started on your first drawing by tapping the “Create New” button on the Home screen. Choose from one of the preset image sizes, or create your own custom size to open up a blank canvas.

Before we put Apple Pencil to digital paper, let’s take a look at some of the features that make Fresco so fun and easy to draw with.

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Adobe Fresco Brushes

If there’s one thing that truly sets Fresco apart from other illustration and paint applications, it’s the array and functionality of brushes available to users. There are three kinds of brushes: raster, vector, and live.

Live Brushes

For many users, live brushes provide Fresco’s defining characteristic, and serve as a source of creative inspiration. Live brushes are Fresco’s tools for oil painting and watercolor that recreate the experience and results of using real brushes to an extent that astonishes many users.

Using live brushes, digital paints interact with each other and with your screen’s virtual paper just as they might in real life. Fresco’s oil paints have the same rich, saturated texture and fluid brush strokes of their real-life counterparts, and they mix in a remarkably realistic way. The watercolors are a revelation, too: the paint blooms, darkens around the edges, and “stays wet” just like traditional watercolors

Fresco’s oil brushes include flat, round, filbert, detail, glaze, chunky, and short. Watercolor brushes are round detail, wash soft, wash flat, and wet splatter.

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Raster Brushes

Raster art is often used for websites, computer graphics — anything you don’t need to print. Adobe Photoshop is a raster-based application, and Fresco is not only designed to work seamlessly with Photoshop but also has a user interface that is very familiar to Photoshop users.

Fresco includes 10 categories of brushes: basic, comics, dry media, FX, ink, lettering, marker, painting, rakes, and sketching. (You can also easily import your existing Photoshop brushes directly into Fresco.) Pixel brush settings include hardness, blend mode, shape dynamics, scattering, and transfer.

Vector Brushes

Line-based vector art scales up and down in size and is widely used for anything that’s going to be printed, from brochures to T-shirts to product packaging. Fresco’s brushes offer endless possibilities for adding texture, style, and personality to vector paths and shapes.

Fresco features five types of vector brushes: basic round, basic taper, basic flat, basic chisel, and basic terminal. Fresco’s vector brush settings are roundness, angle, taper, pressure dynamics, and velocity dynamics, plus a smoothing option.

Eraser Tool

The eraser does a great deal more than simply fix mistakes in Fresco; it’s a tool that can help you easily enhance your drawing. Like brushes, there are different types of erasers at your disposal: pixel and vector. Pixel eraser types include hard round variable, brush tilt, gritty circle, and rectangle opacity, to name a few. Vector erasers mirror vector brushes: basic round, basic taper, basic flat, basic chisel, and basic terminal.

The eraser tool functions more like a brush in Fresco, which means the distinctive edges and characteristics of a specific brush type can be used to remove lines and color from your drawing, too. The Touch Shortcut makes accessing and using this feature incredibly easy.

Drawing Your First Sketch

Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to draw! Open a new layer by clicking on the plus sign in the right side bar. This separates your line work from the background canvas, so you can easily edit as you work on your drawing. Choose a brush and brush size from the left side bar — and start sketching! It’s that simple to begin.

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How to Draw Shapes in Adobe Fresco

The app comes with a feature that allows you to quickly create basic shapes that will elevate your drawing. Access the Shapes tool by clicking on the overlapping triangle and circle icon in the left side bar. A menu will pop up listing “Basic” shapes — circle, polygon and square — or “Library” shapes, which allows you to create and capture your own shapes and save them directly in the app for future use.

After choosing a shape from the menu, simply tap the location where you’d like it to appear on your canvas. You can change the size, fill the shape in with a color, and use the erase, mask and select actions that pop up in the shape menu on the bottom of the screen.

Painting and Blending

One of the coolest things about Adobe Fresco live brushes is the ability to paint and blend as if you’re using real watercolor and oil paints. To try these features, first add another layer from the right side menu; this is where you’ll paint. Choose a watercolor or oil brush from the brush menu, then pick a color by clicking on the circle icon in the left side bar.

The bottom three icons in the left side bar — Flow, Paint Mix and Brush Settings — allow you to control how much paint shows up on the canvas, how much a new brushstroke blends with existing paint on the canvas, and how angle and pressure dynamics affect your brushstroke. You can even choose the “Reload color” function in Settings, which will load your digital brush with fresh paint before every brushstroke. Play around with the different options as you color in your sketch.

Returning to Your Artistic Roots

For all the new creative possibilities represented by Adobe Fresco, many professional artists have reported that using the application helps them reconnect with their early experiences drawing and painting with traditional tools — and allows them to incorporate those skills back into their daily routines. This may be the true legacy of advanced digital art applications — to disappear almost entirely and help bring artists full circle, to a place of pure creativity.

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This original version of this article was published on October 23, 2019. It’s since been updated.


Is Fresco better than Photoshop? ›

When comparing Adobe Fresco vs. Adobe Photoshop, there is some overlap in functionality, but there are also some major differences. Adobe Fresco is primarily a drawing and painting app built for stylus and touch devices. Adobe Photoshop, on the other hand, is a robust platform designed for image editing.

Which is better procreate or Fresco? ›

Both have similar interfaces and purposes; while Fresco can offer more platform options, Procreate has more of a focused Apple compatibility. But if you don't like its pricing, Fresco is your best option as its free version still packs a punch. And of course, you'd need to use Fresco if you don't have an iPad.

Is Adobe Fresco free forever? ›

Is Adobe Fresco free? Adobe Fresco is available in a freemium model - you can start with a free starter plan and then upgrade to a paid version to get the premium features. If you subscribe to any of the following plans, you will get access to Adobe Fresco's premium offering: Adobe Design Mobile Bundle plan.

How do I get started with Adobe Fresco? ›

Get Started with Adobe Fresco on your iPad
  1. Get to know Fresco. Watch, 5 min.
  2. Create your first illustration. Watch, 6 min.
  3. Change parts of a drawing. Watch, 6 min.
  4. Paint with realistic oils. Watch, 5 min.
  5. Paint with watercolors that stay wet. Watch, 5 min.

Is Fresco hard to use? ›

The tough part about fresco is that the paint you apply is just pigment suspended in water, and it's very transparent. You basically build layers one on top of another, but you cannot make mistakes. These lines were too heavy, and I couldn't cover them up when it came time to fill in the colour.

Is Fresco or Illustrator better? ›

Adobe Fresco is a drawing and painting app where you can draw both with vectors and pixels. Illustrator is a more comprehensive vector design app where you can create everything from logos to illustrations and graphics.

Is Adobe Fresco replacing Illustrator? ›

What happened to Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw? Adobe Fresco replaced the previous mobile drawing apps from Adobe, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, and Adobe Illustrator Draw. Vector and raster drawing features from both of these apps have been incorporated into Adobe Fresco.

Which is better sketchbook or Fresco? ›

based on preference data from user reviews. Adobe Fresco rates 4.5/5 stars with 29 reviews. By contrast, Sketchbook rates 4.4/5 stars with 151 reviews.

Can you add vector brushes to Fresco? ›

Use vector brushes to create graphics in Fresco that resemble hand-drawn paintings and artwork that can scale infinitely without losing fidelity. You can even export artwork from Fresco to Illustrator and take advantage of the improved vector editing capabilities in Illustrator to make your designs stand out.

How much does Adobe Fresco cost per month? ›

Adobe Fresco is available on with these subscription plans: Adobe Design Mobile Plan for $14.99/month. Adobe Photoshop Single App Plan for $20.99/month. Adobe Fresco Single App Plan for $9.99/month.

How much RAM do I need for Adobe Fresco? ›

5GB is required to install and run Fresco. 16GB of available storage is recommended for best performance. Internet connection and registration are necessary for required software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services. To identify your iPad model, see Apple's support documentation.

How long can you use Adobe without paying? ›

After 30 days, you could lose access to some or all of your files saved on the Creative Cloud servers. You can resume your subscription at any time. Go to the Creative Cloud Plans page, sign in to your Adobe account, and purchase the plan that suits your needs.

Can you use Fresco offline? ›

In Fresco, you can work on your artworks even when you are offline. Similarly, you can work offline in Photoshop on iPad and Photoshop on desktop as well. All the changes you made to the cloud documents in Fresco and Photoshop will sync to the Creative Cloud when you are back online.

How much does Adobe Fresco cost? ›

As mentioned the fully functional Fresco for iOS and Windows desktop (which includes 2GB Creative Cloud storage) is free, which is a fantastic deal. For $9.99 per year, you can subscribe to Fresco Solo, a new iPadOS offering that adds access to thousands of premium brushes and shapes, Adobe fonts, and 5GB storage.

Can I use Adobe Fresco on my phone? ›

They announce the end of Adobe Draw and Adobe Sketch, two of my favorite mobile apps for creative work. And in the same pop-up text they recommend to switch to Fresco, WHICH IS NOT AVAILABLE ON ANDROID!

How long do frescoes last? ›

It varies slightly from the pure fresco technique in that it also contains a mild binding agent or glue. This gives the painting added durability, as clearly demonstrated by the fact that they have survived, exposed to the elements, for over 1,500 years.

Can you freeze fresco? ›

Yes, you can freeze queso fresco.

The problem is, it will lose its distinct soft texture and mild flavor because of the same. Merely by freezing and defrosting queso fresco, it won't get spoiled. Before I dig deeper into this, it is important to know more about queso fresco.

Can I add text to Fresco? ›

To add text, tap the Type tool and start typing text using the virtual keyboard.

Why do artists use Fresco? ›

Fresco painting is ideal for making murals because it lends itself to a monumental style, is durable, and has a matte surface. Buon, or “true,” fresco is the most durable technique and consists of the following process.

Is Fresco vector or raster? ›

You can use Fresco to create both raster (pixel-based) or vector (scalable line-based) art, mix the two in a single piece of art, and easily move your images back and forth among Fresco, Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe applications to enhance your work as needed.

What is Adobe Fresco good for? ›

Adobe Fresco is a drawing and painting app built for touch and stylus devices to help artists unleash their creativity wherever inspiration strikes. With Adobe Fresco on your iPhone, the world is your studio. Adobe Fresco is also available on iPad and Windows.

Can Canva replace Adobe? ›

The main difference between Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly Adobe Spark) is that Canva offers more features for businesses while Creative Cloud Express caters more to creatives. In this comparison guide for 2022, we compare the two popular online design tools.

Which paper type is best for sketching? ›

Drawing paper is a heavier, and better-quality paper than sketching paper. It is commonly used for sketching and finished work. The ideal mediums used with drawing paper are graphite, charcoal, dry monochromes, soft pastel, oil pastel, markers and pen and ink.

What is the best quality art paper? ›

Here's Our List of the Best Paper for Printing Art
  • 60lb Polar Matte.
  • 47lb Premium Matte.
  • 60lb River Linen.
  • Aurora Art White 250.
  • Aurora Art Natural 250.
  • Palo Duro Etching 315.
  • 68lb Ultrapro Satin 4.0.

Is Fresco a vector or pixel? ›

Adobe Fresco is a vector and raster graphics editor developed by Adobe primarily for digital painting. Originally designed for the Apple iPad with Pencil support, development for Adobe Fresco began in late 2019.

Can you make gifs on Fresco? ›

With the latest MAX update, you can now animate artwork and objects in Fresco using the Frame by Frame or Motion Paths techniques. In addition, your final creation can be exported in MP4, GIF, or PNG formats for sharing or use within other applications.

Can I use Photoshop brushes in Fresco? ›

Adobe Fresco supports Photoshop brushes in . abr format, however, in many cases key functions such as texture scaling are missing, and some brushes will become glitchy or completely unusable compared to Photoshop. We do not recommend any of our brushes be purchased solely for use in Fresco.

What is free in Adobe Fresco? ›

Learn how to upgrade from the free, starter plan of Adobe Fresco to a paid plan. If you are using the free, starter plan of Fresco, you can access 100+ brushes including Live, Pixel, Vector and Smudge brushes but you won't have access to the premium features.

Do I have to pay every month for Adobe? ›

Are Adobe creative apps available without a subscription? No, all the latest versions of Adobe creative apps are only available with a Creative Cloud month-to-month or annual plan.

Are Adobe stock images royalty free? ›

Adobe Stock is a service that provides designers and businesses with access to millions of high-quality curated and royalty-free photos, videos, illustrations, vector graphics, 3D assets, and templates for all their creative projects. You can purchase Adobe Stock as a multi-asset subscription.

Does Adobe use a lot of RAM? ›

The amount of RAM is very crucial when using Adobe Creative Cloud. Without a minimum amount of RAM, Adobe CC applications won't even load let alone run smoothly. In order to run Adobe Creative Suite, your laptop needs a minimum of 8 GB RAM.

Is 16GB RAM enough for Adobe? ›

Bottom line - 16GB will do just fine.

Is 8GB enough for Adobe? ›

8GB of RAM should be enough for the average user doing some light Photoshop work. I've worked on laptops with just 4GB RAM, and Photoshop worked ok with some A3 size images. If you are just doing regular photo editing, or creating modest size video game textures (say 2K or 4K) you should be ok.

What happens if I stop paying my Adobe? ›

If a payment fails, additional payment attempts are made after the due date. If payment continues to fail, your Creative Cloud account becomes inactive and the paid features of your account are deactivated.

Why am I being charged for Cancelling Adobe? ›

Should you cancel after 14 days, you'll be charged a lump sum amount of 50% of your remaining contract obligation and your service will continue until the end of that month's billing period. * Specific countries require cancellations to be made only by contacting Customer Support. See the list of countries here.

What happens when Adobe expires? ›

Access to all Creative Cloud apps & services will stop when your subscription ends. That includes cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio website, etc...

Is there anything better than Adobe Photoshop? ›

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a professional, open-source photography powerhouse that works on Linux, Windows, and macOS. So, it's both the best Adobe Photoshop alternative overall, and an excellent free alternative, too.

Is Fresco part of Photoshop? ›

The Adobe Photoshop Single App plan includes Photoshop, Adobe Fresco, and 100 GB of Creative Cloud storage. Adobe Photoshop for iPad has made a lot of strides since its initial release in late 2019.

Is Fresco included with Photoshop? ›

As you might expect, Creative Cloud subscribers will have the fastest access, and Fresco is included in the All Apps plan, the Photoshop-only plan and education plans. If that's not you, there's an option to purchase it separately for $9.99/month with six months for free if you sign up by December 31st.

What is replacing Photoshop? ›


Designed to be an advanced editor with pro tools, it bears a distinct resemblance to Photoshop and features most of the tools you'll need for everyday image work. It'll open most standard file formats such as JPG, PNG and RAW, and it'll accept Sketch, GIMP and even Photoshop PSD files.

What software is better than Adobe? ›

What are the best free alternatives to Adobe? The best free Adobe alternatives are Pixlr, Inkscape, Raw Therapee, Scribus, PDF-XChange and PDF expert, HitFilm Express, Blender, and InVision Studio.

Can you use Fresco without Internet? ›

Want to work offline? In Fresco, you can work on your artworks even when you are offline. Similarly, you can work offline in Photoshop on iPad and Photoshop on desktop as well. All the changes you made to the cloud documents in Fresco and Photoshop will sync to the Creative Cloud when you are back online.

Is sketchbook better than Fresco? ›

For feature updates and roadmaps, our reviewers preferred the direction of Adobe Fresco over Sketchbook.

Can you trace an image in Fresco? ›

Choose an Outline Color

To start working with the drawings to trace over Adobe Fresco, I recommend selecting the standard black color as an outline. If you draw over a bitmap image, you will see where you match the shapes, and where you need to correct something.

Can you animate in Fresco? ›

Fresco supports animated GIF and WebP images. We support WebP animations, even in the extended WebP format, on versions of Android going back to 2.3, even those that don't have built-in native support.

How expensive is Adobe Fresco? ›

Your favorite drawing and painting space. Now anyplace. Premium version just US$9. 99/mo after a 30-day trial.


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