Microsoft is updating its Fresh Paint drawing app for Windows 8.1 with some significant changes. The latest update will go live on October 18th alongside the Windows 8.1 release, and it includes a new watercolor mode, graphite pencil set, and a fresh user interface. Microsoft is also improving stylus pressure and rendering of watercolors, and plans to bring a "large refresh" to the Fresh Paint Windows Phone version on October 14th.

Fresh Paint was originally introduced alongside Windows 8 and it lets users draw original pieces, color in built-in templates, or even trace over any image. The app mimics the real effects of paint brushes and the results are impressive. To help with the tracing element, Microsoft is adding a "Inspire Me" option to the Windows 8.1. Effectively, it allows you to quick search Bing images and import photos and apply filters to them. A new filter is also available to transform images into watercolor versions.

You can now print your painting to real canvas

While Fresh Paint works with keyboard / mouse and touch, it really comes to life if you've got a Windows 8 tablet with a stylus. Microsoft says it has improved pen and stylus input to better work with pressure and the eraser. The pressure sensing and pen support is what really sets Fresh Paint apart from other drawing apps available on rival platforms. Once you're finished with a painting, Microsoft is now letting users print high-quality canvas versions of their paintings through CanvasPop. Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1 has integrated CanvasPop's new printing API, letting users simply "print" from the app to have a physical copy framed and shipped.

On the Windows Phone side, next week's app update will introduce the ability to draw with a pencil. It's the same graphite pencil as the Windows 8.1 version, and it will debut alongside new photo filters and an updated user interface. Perhaps the biggest improvement between the Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 versions is the introduction of SkyDrive syncing. You'll be able to start a painting on a phone and then finish it on a tablet. The Windows Phone update will be released on October 14th, followed by the Windows 8.1 version of Fresh Paint on October 18th.