Can You Do Graphic Design Without a Computer?

Getting into graphic design is something many people are interested in. However, if you don’t have access to a computer, it might seem hard to get started. That’s why some people ask, “Can you do graphic design without a computer?”

There are several ways to begin your graphic design journey without a computer. You can use your smartphone, tablet, or even plain old pencil and paper to learn the basics. While a computer will be necessary to become a full-time, professional graphic designer, learning and mastering the basics without one is simple. Online graphic design software like allow you to create professional graphic designs from any device.

Below, we’ll discuss all the ways to get started with graphic design without using a computer. Keep reading to learn about all your options!

Can I Do Graphic Design Without a Computer?

There are a few different ways to start graphic design without using a computer. These include:

  • Pencil and paper
  • A tablet application
  • A smartphone application

Below, we’ll discuss how you can use these mediums to begin your graphic designing journey.

Pencil and Paper

At its core, graphic design is all about drawing different shapes and figures. What better way to get started than by practicing the old-fashioned way?! Using a pencil and paper is one of the best ways to learn to draw or brush up on your drawing skills.

Start your journey by picking up some tracing paper. Take a look at a magazine, graphic novel, or newspaper, then find some shapes or fonts you like. Use your tracing paper to trace the shapes, then try replicating them freehanded.

Doing this will help you become familiar with the different hand movements involved with drawing different shapes and figures. After some practice, you’ll be much more comfortable and precise with drawing, a skill that’s absolutely necessary for graphic design.

Tablet Applications

In some ways, tablets are even better for graphic design than computers! There are some very advanced tablets on the market today, some of which are made specifically for drawing and graphic design.

Depending on which tablet you own, there will be a variety of drawing applications available on the app store that you can use to create your graphic designs. Below, we’ll discuss a couple of the best ways to practice graphic design using a tablet.

Apple iPad Pro

The Apple iPad Pro is one of the newest versions of the iPad. It comes with Procreate, an easy-to-use drawing platform that makes it simple to create high-quality graphics. However, you’ll need to purchase the Apple Pencil, their version of a stylus, separately to enjoy Procreate’s full drawing experience.

In addition to drawing capabilities, the Apple iPad Pro features all the benefits of your typical iPad. This allows you to browse the internet for design tips, download additional graphic design apps, or even upload your designs to a marketplace! It’s perfect if you’d like a drawing tablet/computer hybrid.

Samsung Galaxy S7+

If you prefer Samsung products over Apple products, you might want to try the Samsung Galaxy S7+ instead. This is a bit less expensive than the iPad Pro, and the S Pen stylus is included in the box.

The Galaxy Tablet comes with Clip Studio Paint pre-installed. However, if this isn’t your cup of tea, there are several other drawing applications available. A couple of these include:

  • Infinite Painter
  • Adobe Illustrator Draw
  • Adobe Autodesk SketchBook

This is another tablet computer, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy all the usual features of a tablet along with drawing capabilities. Like the iPad Pro, you can even upload your designs to an online marketplace without a computer.

If you already have a basic tablet and aren’t looking to upgrade, there are still ways for you to use your tablet to create graphics. There are tons of online resources that allow you to create unique graphics right in your browser window, no downloads required.

One of these websites is Placeit features thousands of graphic design templates you can edit on the site, then download to your device for later use. While you will not be able to draw your own designs, you can use their huge library of royalty-free graphics, effects, and typography to create logos, designs, mockups, videos, and more, all from a smartphone or tablet.

Smartphone Applications

While it might seem far-fetched or even impossible, there are a couple of ways to do graphic design right from your mobile phone! Whether you have an iOS or Android device, tons of free apps are available that will help you get started with graphic design.


While Picsart will not allow you to create unique graphics, it will let you add some cool effects and overlays to existing pictures or videos. You can do things like:

  • Add text.
  • Retouch photos.
  • Change the background.
  • Remove objects or people.
  • Place stickers and overlays.

If you’re more interested in the photo manipulation side of graphic design, Picsart is a great mobile application to start with.

Photoshop Express Photo Editor

Like Picsart, Photoshop Express is more about image manipulation than actual graphic design. You can do all of the same things you can with Picsart, plus all of the following:

  • Correct red or closed eyes.
  • Cut out one or more objects.
  • Use different makeup overlays.

You will need an Adobe subscription to enjoy the full features, but downloading the app comes with a free trial.

Here’s Placeit again because you can still use from your smartphone’s mobile browser. Just choose a template, open it on their on-site editing tool, then save to your photos when you’re done! If you’re particularly proud of a design, you can sell it elsewhere because everything you create on their website comes with full commercial usage rights.

Final Thoughts

Many graphic designs with tons of potential are held back due to a lack of access to a computer. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to get started with, or even perfect, graphic design without using a traditional computer! You can use a tablet, mobile phone, or even just a pencil and paper to start your graphic design journey.

Consider using online tools and apps for graphic design, like, as they will allow you to create designs on the go, from any device with internet.