20 Best Digital Art Programs for Drawing, Painting & Illustration: Free and Paid
September 29, 2023
Are you passionate about painting, sketching and creating digital art? If so, you know how important it is to have a reliable drawing app for your computer device.
The art drawing software can help any user effect stunning illustrations with a seemingly endless array of digital tools and tricks at your disposal.
They works seamlessly with pressure sensitive graphics tablets, and on multiple os and range of devices from large desktops to laptops, tablets and phones.
Digital art drawing software transforms your computer monitor or mobile device screen into a blank canvas. These fantastic programs can emulate a variety of mediums, modeling paint effects with great accuracy.
Unlike many general graphic design software, drawing programs tend to provide tools especially for artists and illustrators. Offering a vast array of brushes, tools, and color pallettes, artists will enjoy a realistic creative experience.
Furthermore, the drawing software allows you to break away from traditional pen-on-paper methods. Layers, effects, filters, and many other tools allow you to manipulate your art in ways not previously possible.
These days getting into digital painting is easier and more affordable. There are a variety of software available for both pc and mobile that allow you to draw and paint to your heart’s content.
But with so many drawing software available, how does one choose the right title for their needs? This is why we’ve rounded up some of the best drawing software that can can help you express your creativity.
Types of Drawing Software: Vector vs Bitmap
There are two types of digital images: bitmap and vector. Discover their main differences so you can make the optimal choice for your project.
Vector images are created using mathematical formulas that define geometric shapes, lines, and colors. They are composed of paths, curves, and points rather than pixels.
Deals more with shapes and lines to create smoother curves in images, allowing for resizing without losing resolution.
Vector formats include EPS, PICT, WMF, SVG, AI, PostScript, TrueType and PDF.
Vector programs are best suitable for technical drawings, printing, logos, illustrations, infographics, and creating animations.
Bitmap (also known as raster) is made up of a lot of pixels. You can clearly see this if you zoom in on the image, as you start to see that it’s made up of blocks.
Bitmap programs are best suitable for photo manipulation, general drawing, creation of a continuous toned image with soft color. However, you cannot resize images without losing image quality.
Graphic formats of Bitmap include: JPEG, GIF, PNG, XBM, TIFF, PCX and bitmap fonts.
Bitmap images are always use for websites featuring products, restaurants, travel, tourism, and e-commerce because the images are more visually appealing.
20 Best drawing software for digital artists
Here’s our list of the best drawing apps available in 2023, include both paid and free options, to assist you in deciding which is right for you. Whatever stage of your career, you can’t go wrong with any of these stunning art drawing apps.
Free drawing apps have come a long way over the years. Here have are some of the most feature-rich and intuitive drawing apps that are free to use to create stunning art.
Some options can be very pricey but they have the advantage in that you’re buying a high quality product right out of the box made by professional firms. They won’t suffer from a lack of updates or bugs like most opens source programs do.
1. Adobe Photoshop CC
Adobe Photoshop CC is absolutely a good drawing program. While its primary function is built around photo editing, it has the tools you need to draw.
One of its most impressive features is the ability to layer multiple pieces of artwork, allowing for more intricate designs and seamless edits.
The “Object Selection” tool makes it easy to select specific areas of a design, which can be used for making minor changes or creating composite images. It also allows for precise masking and selection to apply color or effects changes only to certain parts of an image.
Its numerous pen, marker, brush and pencil tools allow users to create realistic effects in their illustrations, from watercolor-style paintings to cartoon-style lines.
The default brush engine is not that good with lineart, but still, it’s can be considered the best in everything overall. You can also customise your own brushes to create wonderful textures and effects that can emulate traditional painting mediums.
Photoshop’s key perks include smart sharpen filters, colour correction tools, and photo retouching to help work look even better. With tools like the Eraser, Blur, and Smudge tools, users can easily produce creative effects on their photos while still preserving their original character.
Since it was designed to be picture editing programme, it is really good at changing colours. It also supports CMYK, the standard format for written works. Since Paint Tool SAI does not support CMYK, the two programmes are often used in tandem.
Photoshop also has a vast library of downloadable content; its ubiquity and limitless downloadable toolset make it a critical tool for digital artists to learn.
No matter how unique your illustrations, Adobe’s software can accommodate your style. Plus, additional features such as the Creative Cloud libraries make it easy to jump from one device to another and keep drawing.
Adobe is the standard for professional digital art, and much of the reason for that is Adobe’s seamless integration across its whole suite, which includes a host of creative tools for everything from print setup to design to video editing.
The program is updated all the time. You never have to wait long for new features to be introduced. And it keeps them ahead of the competition.
However, Photoshop comes with a steeper learning curve. It’s also somewhat expensive compared to other apps.
Compatibility: Windows and Mac OS
Pricing: There are several Creative Cloud plans that include Photoshop. You can purchase it as a standalone app for US$20.99/month or opt for annual billing at US$239.88/yr.
With a Photoshop free trial, you get 7 days to use the full version of the software, at absolutely no cost, which gives you access to all the latest features and updates.
Adobe Illustrator CC is a great drawing app for illustrators, graphic designers, and artists.
The vector based nature of Illustrator means that it’s perfect for creating graphics that need to be resized without losing quality. This makes Adobe Illustrator ideal for creating logos, icons, and text effects since they will look equally good at any size.
It’s capable of producing designs with pixel-perfect accuracy. Professional artists and graphic designers can easily create stunning designs through easily accessible templates and presets.
In fact, it provides over 80 million in-built templates, graphics, videos, and images to make online drawing and graphic design easier.
This software offers hundreds of advanced drawing tools that can help you save time when creating vector artwork.
Adobe Illustrator lets you take an image and use it as a guide to drawing an object or element. That could be used to recolor or give a photograph a sketchy look.
If you’re looking to create illustrations with a bit more personality, use the blob brush tool to draw freehand. This tool creates a vector path that can be edited just like any other path.
The smartpen feature reduces the need to use a keyboard and you can only work with your mouse.
The Sensei tool can extract colors from photos instantly, apply them to your layout, convert hand-drawn drawings to vector graphics, and much more.
If you need to create detailed illustrations that can be scaled indefinitely, then Illustrator is the software for you.
Illustrator comes with a bunch of useful features, some of the best features include advanced glyph snapping, team collaboration tools, and cloud storage.
Illustrator is designed to work seamlessly with other creative software suites from Adobe such as Photoshop and InDesign. It allows you to send your drawings in editable format to Photoshop, Adobe Fresco, or InDesign.
It is part of a common workflow for a graphic designer to design a vector image in Illustrator to then export it over to Photoshop to manipulate it or apply some visual effects, or to bring it over to InDesign to get it ready for print.
Illustrator is a professional tool that requires a lot of practice to master. If you are serious about illustrations, you should definitely learn how to use a professional tool like Illustrator. Just be prepared for it to take some time. Remember to be patient!
Compatibility: Windows and Mac
Pricing: Single App costs US$20.99/month for individuals and US$52.99/month per license for Adobe Creative Suite All Apps plan.
There’s a 7-day free trial version of Adobe Illustrator available to anyone. If you’re a teacher or a student, you can get the same All Apps plan at a discount.
Corel Painter is a favorite for many professionals due to it’s power to emulate real life tools/ traditional media. If you come from a traditional background this one is the very best bet.
Regardless of what medium you want to capture, whether watercolors, acrylic, or oils, Corel Painter can do it all.
The specific brush engine’s long and smooth strokes enable you to draw intuitively with practical drawing strokes as though you were painting on canvas.
The brush library feature allows users to choose from hundreds of different brush types (pencils, pastels, charcoals, markers, chalk and other painting tools ), allowing them to create unique textures and effects on their artwork.
If you can’t find what you need, you can make your own brushes. Or import them from other artists.
The brush accelerator tool helps make painting more responsive, enabling users to create smoother strokes without lag or stuttering.
The Layers tool in Corel Painter makes adding multiple elements to a piece of art easy. Users can easily adjust individual layers using opacity settings or blend modes, allowing them to build up complex illustrations easily.
You can use flow maps, stencils, patterns, and even various papers textures. There are also AI-powered set filters for fast editing will easily transform any photo you want into a painting.
We may freely mix colors and experiment with a large selection of brushes, materials, and textures in this powerful application, combining them until we obtain the desired outcome.
It features sections for controlling palettes, retouching, cropping, and vector alteration, as well as compatibility for the majority of the most popular and widely used picture formats.
It also uses guides and grids based on classical image composition techniques, allowing you to create digital artworks that have a unique sense of proportion.
Using mirror painting and kaleidoscope tools, you can easily design symmetrical illustrations by reproducing brushstrokes on the opposite sides of the canvas and by having multiple reflections of mirror planes.
Just like photoshop, profesional love it but– It’s very complex and it has a high learning curve so it can be incredibly confusing specially for people that don’t know anything about digital painting.
Compatibility: Windows and MacOS.
Pricing: This tool costs $19.99/month. If you don’t like the monthly subscription, you can purchase the software for $429.00 as a one-time payment. They offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
You can get a free 30-day trial to demo the software and see if it’s right for you.
CorelDRAW is a vector based drawing program similar to Adobe Illustrator CC, but unlike Illustrator it also has powerful text capability and built in raster image tools.
You’ll enjoy hundreds of brushes tools, vectors, photo editing filters, and typography tools, where you can Illustrate/Draw/Design – Printable Materials (Brochures, Business Cards and more…)/Vector Art and more…
CorelDRAW has a customizable interface, this allows you to personalize your work environment and optimize your workflow.
It provides professional-level design tools, like Bezier curves, color management, and advanced typography, enabling you to create high-quality graphics and layouts.
As well as simple tools for creating geometric shapes and freehand drawing, the program includes a variety of more sophisticated tools for drawing interconnected lines and curves. You can create vector-based brush strokes and effects that mimic traditional paint media,.
CorelDraw has an intuitive tool that Illustrator does not have, this is called LiveSketch. This tool is useful to draw vector graphics with a graphics tablet, taking advantage of the pressure sensitivity to vary the type of line as you draw.
CorelDRAW also includes Corel PHOTO-PAINT which lets you apply filters and effects to both vector graphics and imported bitmap images, with each effect stored in a series of non-destructive layers so that you can retrace your steps or create different versions of a single image.
CorelDRAW is compatible with other graphic design software, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, which means you can easily share and edit your files with other designers.
Additionally, it has an interface that is compatible with touch screens, which makes it easy to work with when you are using a pen display tablet or an actual tablet computer for graphic design.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a full-fledged graphic design suite that offers an impressive range of advanced tools and features to help you create stunning visuals. The main star, of course, is CorelDRAW itself.
Compatibility: Windows and MacOS.
Pricing: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite comes with two pricing plans. The first is for the annual subscription and costs $249. It also has lifetime licence comes in at a one-time payment of $499.
You can try it free for 15 days to see if the $500 price tag is worth the investment.
Clip Studio paint is a specific software to use for digital painting and comic drawing. Any professional artist use this software usually have manga style drawing.
There’s a powerful brush engine, thousands of customizable brushes, vector lines, decoration brushes to help with repetitive design elements, photo to line art conversion, lettering features, panel creation, fast coloring, etc.
Users can select from a pre-made brushes library or create custom ones. for example, the watercolor and gouache effects for realistic digital painting. The brushes range from sharp to lush. And they give you the same flexibility as actual watercolor paintings.
The most notable drawing difference between Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop is the brush tool. In CSP the brush tool instantly corrects any minor wobble you make while drawing on a tablet, leaving you with smooth clean linework.
The software supports raster and vector graphics to get the best quality for online and print publishing needs. The pen tool lets you to work in a versatile vector format which means your creations can be scalable without quality loss.
The software also includes layers and blending modes that allow for more complex layering of colors and textures. which provides powerful possibilities for artists to build up their compositions quickly and easily.
In addition, several effects are available, such as gradients, stamping, blurring, erasing, shadows, and highlights, allowing artists to add subtle details or completely transform their artwork.
Pressure sensitivity is a supported feature, so you can draw with your graphics tablet and achieve thicker or thinner lines based on the pressure you apply.
This software offer a lot of easy method to drawing comic. These include panel tools, customizable speech balloons, effect lines, and rulers to draw a variety of lines and shapes.
You can also add perspective and realistic depth to backgrounds, position 3D figures (with adjustable body shapes and camera angles) directly on the canvas, and do a lot more.
Once complete, the finished manga/comic can be previewed in 3D and even published directly in popular formats such as EPUB.
Clip Studio Paint comes in two versions: PRO(standard) and EX(full-featured). Unless you’re planning on putting all of your projects through Clip Studio Paint and creating various manga & comic books, you’ll probably be happy with the PRO version. The EX edition has only a few extra features that would benefit expert users.
Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS.
Pricing: The PC Version (Windows/macOS) can be purchased as a one-time payment. The PRO edition is an affordable option at only $49 flat fee, while EX comes at a premium of $219.
From 2023, clip studio paint moves to a monthly subscription for updates to the service. Users can keep the perpetual license, but will not get any official updates after that.
The iPhone, iPad, and Android version are available as monthly usage plans only. The number of units used for monthly usage plans varies depending on the plan.
Affinity Designer is among the best affordable tools for digital art and illustrations. If you want to replace the expensive Adobe illustrator CC with a cheaper professional tool, Affinity is the way to go!
Sure its missing a few features like Mesh Warp, Mesh Gradients and possibly the scripting capabilities but you can get away by not having them and yet accomplish most of your design work.
Features of Affinity Designer include vector drawing tools, bitmap editing, live effects, web graphics export and more.
Affinity Designer’s engine can easily handle even the most complex of documents and lets you organize objects with layer groups and color tags.
An interesting feature of the program is its ability to switch between vector and raster workspaces with one click. This means that you can create scalable artworks and enhance them with detailed textures, seamlessly.
In addition to RGB and LAB color spaces (with up to 32 bits per channel), Designer supports Pantone, as well as end-to-end CMYK and ICC color management functions.
Other notable features include unlimited artboards, comprehensive vector tools, live pixel preview, one million percent zoom, advanced grid (standard and isometric) controls, and custom typography styles.
Affinity Designer works with all major image/vector file types, such as EPS, SVG, and fully-layered PSD. especially as it can import .ai files.
Affinity Designer have added support for pressure sensitive pens, which allows you to have more control over the thickness of your lines. If you’re using a professional drawing tablet, you can taking advantage of pressure, tilt, and angle sensitivity.
You’ll have the best pen, pencil, corner, curve editing, geometry operations, and smart shape tools available at your disposal, and the pressure sensitive stylus means incredible accuracy.
Once you get spoiled by the speed, fluidity and the overall joy of using a fast, performing, beautiful and satisfying UI, there is NO way you are going back to Illustrator.
Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, iOS.
Pricing: You can purchase a license to the tool based on the platform: Windows or Mac: $54.99; iPad: $21.99 . It’s a one-off payment rather than a recurring subscription.
There is also a 30-day free trial to Affinity Design.
Krita is a totally free digital drawing, painting and illustrating software program which can be used for creating drawings, designing patterns, editing pictures and adding effects to existing art work.
Krita provides an intuitive interface which can be customized according to your workflow. with the menu bar, toolbar and dockers allowing you to access all of its features.
Krita imitates real canvases and emulates various drawing tools. Its library includes many artistic effects. Therefore, the process of creating digital drawings is as realistic as possible.
Krita has layer management similar to Photoshop, which enables you to customize the content of each layer through masks or filters.
Krita has a rich set of filters that help you create beautiful images. For example, you can use the Gaussian blur filter to blur a layer or a selection. Or you can use the Color to Alpha filter to make an image transparent in only the areas you want.
It also supports both vector graphics and raster images, allowing you to easily switch between different types of artwork easily.
One of the strengths of Krita is its brush engine architecture. There are brush engines for creating particles, for painting with soft brushes and hard brushes, for painting with textured brushes and for painting with smudge or blur tools.
The dynamic brush tool in Krita can be used to create drag and mass and you can smoothen and stabilize your brush strokes. Each brush may be completely customized, and you can save your customized brushes to use in the future.
A pop-up palette lets you quickly pick colors and brushes while the resource manager makes it easy to import brush and texture packs from other artists.
And there’s a ton of freebies online like free brush packs that mimic everything from charcoal to watercolors and so much more. The beauty of Krita is the free price tag and the immensely supportive community around this software.
Krita features a “Wrap-around” mode that allows you to create seamless textures and patterns, whereas the “Multibrush” tool can be used to mirror illustrations about multiple axes to achieve a kaleidoscopic effect.
Krita supports 2D animation functions, including audio, and comes with premade templates. You can create keyframes and tween animations to bring your art to life. And it is also useful for creating comic art with premade panels.
It features an in-built video recorder that will help you to document all the steps of creating a drawing. If you are a digital artist, you can record your drawing sessions and share useful tips with your followers.
Krita works well with graphics tablets with pressure sensitivity, and it is powerful enough to allow you to create really breath-taking digital illustrations.
Krita supports PSD files so that you can switch between Photoshop and Krita with ease. HDR support feature is also available.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional, Krita has all the tools you need to make stunning art.
Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android.
Pricing: You can choose to use Krita for free, but you can also pay for premium options via Steam and the Microsoft Store. The paid version includes the same features, but it provides automatic updates and support.
Inkscape is a free and open source vector graphics editor. it’s a great free professional-grade alternative to Adobe Illustrator CC.
Just like Illustrator, Inkscape has everything a digital artist needs to create near-photo quality illustrations.
Your basic toolset includes creating straight lines, freehand lines, shapes, 3D boxes, Bezier curves, spirals, and so much more.
You can add layers, color fills, and even effects to your drawing such as blurs, bevels, shadows, textures, glows, and so on.
You have the option to draw free-hand with your pen or you can use the shape tools to get a just-right look to your drawings. You can render as you draw, too, and watch your drawings come alive.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that Inkscape is better for pen, pencil, or calligraphic illustrations. There are paint tools, but they’re less exciting than what these other programs offer.
Users love it for creating clip art, banner, logo, typography, flowcharts, diagrams, and infographics, as well as simple cartoons. Basically, you can do almost anything with Inkscape that you can do with Illustrator or any other vector tool.
The items you create in Inkscape are in the SVG file format, but you can also export in PNG, OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS, and PostScript.
Because Inkscape is compatible with several formats, and you can transform your designs with 3D effects, filters, pixelation, blurring and more.
Inkscape offers a stable, transparent, consistent and easy-to-customize user interface, along with several tips and tutorials, to efficiently use the software.
But the UI of InkScape is not among the friendliest UIs in the market. To start using this tool, it helps if you have some background in other illustration software.
The main disadvantage of Inkscape is that it does not support CMYK colours for print, hence if you want to prepare a document for print you will have to export it across to another image editing program that supports CMYK colours for print.
Because Inkscape is a big community project, so there are great guides and resources at your disposal. There is always someone who wants to help you out if you run into trouble.
Sketchbook Pro is a award-winning raster graphics program that allows everything from simple sketches to professional artwork. Great for all drawing but especially for sketching.
It has all the features a digital artist might need, including layers, blend modes, hundreds of brushes, guides, rulers and stroke tools. It can also generate flipbooks or animations.
With Sketchbook, you can download additional brushes if the default brushes aren’t enough. The brushes can also be heavily customized with the brush properties button on the brush dock. This allows you to change the pressure sensitivity, opacity and spacing of your brushes, among other things.
And it also benefits from a clean and unobtrusive interface which allows you to tuck tools and palettes out of sight until you need them and focus on drawing. Feels like drawing on paper.
Something that only SketchBook has is the Copic Colours library. So you can use the colours of all real life Copic markers, so you can draw with Copic markers on your computers as you would do on paper.
One incredible feature of this program is its ability to scan paper drawings and import them to the app with a transparent background.
It’s not meant for photo editing or other tasks, so the program focuses on just what you need to draw on your tablet easily. Also, the tool lacks some crucial features like advanced layers or saving colors for reuse.
With SketchBook you can use PSD files (the native format of Photoshop) keeping all layers intact. So you can export your project to Photoshop when you’re done without losing layer data.
You can use it on your PC but it’s equally good on the move. It creates effects comparable to traditional materials by using pressure-sensitive characteristics of digital drawing tablets, tablet computers, and mobile phones.
Because of Sketchbook’s simplicity, anyone can pick it up and know pretty much everything about it in a few minutes. It’s perfect for someone who is just getting into drawing or someone who wants to emulate the simplicity of traditional mediums.
Compatibility: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Pricing: The licences for Windows and macOS is $19.99/One-Time. Free for Android and iOS devices, and there have no ads.
Paint Tool SAI is a lightweight raster graphics editor and painting software. Ideal for illustrations especially cartoons and anime.
it has a straightforward interface, fully digitizer support, amazing anti-aliased paintings, provide easy and stable operation, which makes digital art more enjoyable and comfortable.
The program provides a wide range of easy-to-use tools necessary for basic image editing: tools such as the magic wand, lasso, brushes of different shapes and sizes, pencils, text tool, eraser and others.
In addition to standard tools for drawing lines and filling areas with color, PaintTool SAI has an arsenal of instruments that are indispensable for creating realistic drawings.
Paint Tool SAI supports layers, canvas rotation and custom brush sizes up to 3000×3000 pixels. you can also import textures to merge with brush styles and create totally new brushes.
Many artists use SAI to achieve a digital watercolor effect where the blending modes can mimic watercolor, but the overall feel is smooth and sleek. Others use it primarily for lineart, or for creating a ton of anime.
Artist love it for it’s lack of lag, great paint feeling and it’s superior linear to even photoshop’s.
Many people use Paint Tool SAI as their preferred drawing program to start a piece, and then switch over to Photoshop to do the final touches to their image such as filters and advanced effects.
Its main limitation is that it has a more reduced number of layer “modes” than Photoshop, less options to export files to different formats, etc. The new projects are limited to 256 layers per canvas.
Princing: SAI is a Japanese program and is priced in JPY(Japanese Yen). It costs one-time payment of ¥5400 which roughly equates to $49. There is also a great 31-day trial.
Touted as “natural painting” software, ArtRage is a sketch art app renowned for its amazing quality and realistic painting tools. ArtRage 6 is the latest version of this highly regarded drawing and painting software.
It’s available on pc and mobile devices, and comes in a Lite version with limited features for those desiring a more basic approach, as well.
ArtRage 6 offers built-in color mixing, custom brushes, layers and all the other tools you would expect from advanced painting software. It’s also compatible with Photoshop filters, so you can easily add effects to your work.
The interface and some of the tools may seem more basic than other programs, but the software simulates the look and feel of painting and drawing so well, that you almost forget you’re at the computer!
It comes with a full range of creative tools that do a great job of simulating their real-world counterparts.
For example, It provides various natural media styles, such as oils, chalk, crayons, markers, glitter, and watercolor.
You can customize the look of your canvas by using layer masks or blend modes to mimic different real-life paper or canvas.
You can paint using thick oils, delicate watercolors, and even experiment with textures by blending and smearing the paint.
ArtRage supports unlimited layers and is compatible with all industry-standard blending modes. Using the “Metallic Tinting” feature, you can also add reflectivity to pigments.
If you want to use an existing photo as a guide for painting, the same can be done by importing it as a tracing image.
The app even samples colors from the tracing image automatically, allowing you to focus on brush strokes.
It also offers a range of transformation tools, cloning capabilities, selection options, gradient, and patterns fill features.
Artrage offers a collaborative painting option so you can create artwork with your friends where you can see their changes and vice-versa.
However, one drawback to ArtRage 6 is that it lacks advanced editing features available in professional software like Photoshop and Corel Painter.
Additionally, ArtRage requires powerful computers to work efficiently at larger print sizes since complex images tend to cause strain on system resources.
Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Princing: ArtRage Lite – $29.90 (one-time payment); ArtRage 6 – $59 (one-time payment); ArtRage Vitae Mobile for iOS and Android Devices- $4.99 (one-time payment).
Procreate is one of the most popular drawing apps for iPad available and has won an Apple Design Award twice in a row. There’s also a version for the iPhone called Procreate Pocket.
Drawing with the app, which you can do with both your finger and apple pencil, feels super-smooth and intuitive.
Procreate has incredibly high-resolution canvases that allow you to print out your work in massive sizes, without ever skipping a beat.
Other goodies include a full-featured layering system, 250 levels of undo/redo, continuous autosave, clipping masks to blend mode and alpha lock. Further, the animation tools are easy to use, perfect for beginners.
You can choose from more than 200 handcrafted brushes (include brushes, charcoals, ink, and more), import custom ones, and even make your own using the powerful brush engine.
The ability of customise brushes allows you Set the shape, grain, dynamics and wet mix ability of the brush to create something a completely unique digital drawing tool.
The integrated color wheel in Procreate makes it easy for beginners to experiment with color palettes, which allows you to paint or draw with any color. The app allows digital artists to manipulate layers and blend colors to create realistic digital art and illustrations.
Procreate includes many features that have been developed exclusively for iPads. For example, “ColorDrop” quickly fills your artwork with seamless color. Then there’s “Drawing Assist,” which automatically corrects your brush strokes in real-time.
You can also add vector text, as well as a wide array of dramatic finishing effects and filters (e.g. Warp, Symmetry, and Liquify) to your illustrations.
The new 3D Painting feature enable you to create realistic three-dimensional art with ease directly from within the app.
All of your work in Procreate can come out as PSD ( can open in Photoshop), native .procreate, TIFF, transparent PNG, multi-page PDF, or even web-ready JPEG file formats.
Procreate supports time-lapse replays, so you can send it directly to your favorite social media networks.
Pricing: You can purchase Procreate exclusively on AppStore for $12.99 (one-time payment).
Originally designed for iOS devices, Adobe Fresco is also available for Windows tablet devices such as microsoft surface pro. It is most functional for users who will integrate it with stylus and touch devices.
Created by Adobe specifically for digital artists, Fresco provides many of the same features you’ll find in Photoshop and Illustrator, with extras to meet artists’ specific needs.
The application is more streamlined than Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. And you won’t get lost in a maze of tools. It’s simple and easy to use.
You can fix up a great-looking digital image in no time. And if you do need more, you can move your image to one of the more advanced programs. And with Fresco, you can easily transfer your files to Photoshop and Illustrator.
There are three types of brushes available – live, pixel, and vector – to help you create exactly the type of lines and marks that you want. And it allows you to customize the toolbar to keep only those brushes you like.
The painting features are excellent. The brush tools have realistic effects. And the paints can blend and bleed on your page. The oil paint simulations swirl and mix just like they would on a real canvas.
There are also essential tools for illustrators, selection, and masking tools, and the UI is flexible to work with your needs, not the other way around.
Overall, there are thousands of options for you to choose from. When you are done, enjoy easy Photoshop integration, plus extra creative cloud storage when you upgrade to premium.
Also, one of its best features is the ability to record timelapse videos of your work, which is handy for sharing on social media.
Adobe Fresco may not have text or animation options, and we missed the option to use paper or canvas textures, but it is still one of the best digital art apps available.
It has a user-friendly interface and is optimized for use with a stylus, making it a good option for artists who prefer to work digitally with a pen and tablet.
Compatibility: Windows, iOS.
Pricing: Free version for Individuals, paid premium version $9.99 per month (greater brushes, cloud storage), for Business $19.99 per month.
Rebelle 6 is a superb real media paint software that aims, rather successfully, to be as realistic and true to life as physically painting. It has drawing options too, but it is in paint techniques that it really hits the mark.
The program comes with a wide range of tools (e.g. Wet, Dry, Blend, and Smudge), and uses a new “DropEngine” to emulate watercolor drips.
You get a great toolkit, complete with elaborate brushes and painting features. You can sketch, blend, layer, and even tilt your canvas to let the colors flow.
You can also create your own brush sets, mix your paint type, alter the texture, and tilt the canvas to allow runs and drips. No limits on your creativity.
You get smooth brush strokes with thick impasto effects that look almost indistinguishable from traditional paintings.
The software also uses smart color pigment mixing algorithms, which help you easily achieve true-to-life colors.
Rebelle 6 features over 100 different canvas, stone, and paper presets including paper styles such as Cold Pressed, Washi Fine, Kenaf, Lokta, and Bamboo Soft.
The software also included in the package are plethora of creative stencils, color filters, masking tools, and a Photoshop plug-in.
Rebelle 6 sports a customizable user interface and supports multi-touch gestures. It’s compatible with all standard file types, such as PNG, BMP, TIF, and layered PSD.
This award-winning software allows you to experiment with oils, watercolour, acrylics, and a variety of other media types, along with plenty of paper finishes. You can even blow paint, use a palette knife to create 3D effects, and take advantage of stencils for a more consistent look.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune but still need good drawing tools for digital illustrations, Rebelle 6 by Escape Motions might be perfect for you.
Compatibility: Windows and MacOS.
Pricing: You can buy the standard version for $89.99 or opt for the “state-of-the-art” Pro edition for $149.99.
MediBang Paint Pro is designed for digital artists on a budget. If you want to draw manga art and comic books, MediBang offers free digital art software for you.
It’s available for free for PC, iPad, iPhone, and Android. The mobile version is a little different from the desktop release. It’s better adapted for small screens but still packed with tools.
It’s lightweight and handles comic art and manga as beautifully as it does painting, sketching, and digital design. It’s a perfect choice that can run on limited pc specs.
The interface is straightforward and makes the entire package a joy to experiment with. It also sports numerous features that provide control over your brushes and layers.
Drawing straight lines and curves is made simpler with MediBang Paint’s predictive stroke feature, which employs artificial intelligence to foretell the course of your brushstrokes.
MediBang also works great with .PSD files, which is non-typical for free paint programs. Numerous built-in filters that can be used to alter the appearance of your paintings.
You will also like the fact it comes with a variety of blending features: Soft Light, Hard Light, Hue, Saturation, Color and Brightness.
MediBang Paint is great for speeding up your workflow since it has a library with over 800 pre-installed backgrounds and anime-themed templates. Besides, there are about 50 brushes and a big choice of free fonts.
Another cool feature is that it actually has cloud saving which is a feature you can’t always find in most digital art softwares. What that means is that you can very easily transfer work between different platforms without any hassle.
There are so many tools and features that you can use to create everything from illustrations to comics and paintings.
Very similar to the medibang paint, minus the cloud services. If you want a free lightweight digital painting tool then you’re covered with this one.
This free digital painting program is available in up to 10 different languages and runs smoothly on MacOS and Windows PCs.
It’s incredibly easy to use, with a simple user interface that has a layers panel, filter panel and tools panel.
Some of the basic features that FireAlpaca has to offer are the selection tool, brushes, pan tool, eyedropper (colour picker), shapes, gradient and paint.
Drawing tools include pencil, airbrush and watercolor tools. Pens are also customizable. There are also some brush effects to play with.
It comes with a pen stabilizer tool included, which is great for beginners who haven’t experienced this style of design just yet, as well as experienced professional artists who want to refine their artwork to perfection.
FireAlpaca supports multiple pressure levels and has an adjustable smoothing feature that aids the linework. Lineart can be easily created using the rectangular shape tool which is included in the FireAlpaca drawing program.
And you can also apply an array of colors such as red, blue, green and yellow to mix up the colors.
This program also offers some more interesting tools and features, such as perspective view, 3D perspective and comic template.
It has an onion skin mode. Which can can be used to create frame by frame animation/gifs. With it, you can create illustrations, comics, and even animations.
The biggest con of this software, compared to others, is the lack of customization of tools. This means that you’re a bit more limited in the style you go for, so it’s probably more suitable for simpler styles.
However, the software itself provides a big number of extra materials that you can import into your list of brushes. These materials can be very useful when creating certain objects such as ropes, chains, hair, stamps, and many others!
FireAlpaca is very easy to learn and use. It’s also a light program so it runs fast even on older computers.
MyPaint is an excellent free and open source art program which helps you improve your inner talents at drawing and graphic designing.
MyPaint supports layers and basic color adjustments. You also use multiple layers for creating shadows and lighting effects in your image. It also has cool features, like symmetry mode, connected lines, and curves.
Mypaint allows you to adjust and fine-tune your images or paintings for exact blending and layering of details without losing quality.
The software program offers a wide variety of features with its wonderful collection of brushes being a real stand-out.
It is easy to create an expressive artwork with mypaint’s brushes as it emulates the effects of pencils, paints, ink, and charcoal.
Apart from the existing bunch of brush options, the brush engine of the software allows you to customize the brushes too if you want to create something different and unique.
MyPaint has an interesting tool called Notepad, where you can try different brushes before actually using them to paint.
The fullscreen mode on MyPaint lets you paint in peace. You work on your canvas with minimum distractions, bringing up the interface only when you need it.
The program comes bundled with a virtual canvas which you can rotate, resize, edit, and stretch as needed.
This program is easy to use, lightweight and well-optimized for working with Wacom and other graphics tablets, so the brush flow is smooth and glitch-free.
Being an open-source software and having an active community helps in its favor, as you can have all the different drawing tools created by artists at your disposal.
With this free drawing software, you’ll be creating masterpieces in no time! Simply sketch using a pen or pencil tool and fill your sketch with colour.
ArtWeaver 7 is a free raster (bitmap) graphics editor, offers a logical approach to photo editing and digital painting, making it ideal for both beginners and professional artists.
Artweaver’s straightforward interface makes it easy to get started, even for beginners. Its intuitive design resembles popular image-editing software such as Photoshop, making it easier for users familiar with such programs to use.
It contains all the tools you’d expect to find in an advanced graphics editor including selection tools, layers, filters, blending options and more. The use of layers allows you to experiment freely without worrying about ruining your work.
Artweaver has a wide range of brushes such as pencils, airbrushes, pastels, acrylics, and many more. The brushes are realistic and powered to emulate any brush type. They are customizable as well.
Another notable feature of Artweaver is the seamless collaboration that enables you to work with your teammates on a project in sync.
On top of all, the software also allows you to record your work, so you can take a close look at how you go about your drawing and figure out the flaws that need to be eradicated.
ArtWeaaver is compatible with graphics tablets and it supports all the usual graphic tablet features such as pressure sensitivity.
With Artweaver, you can open various graphic file formats such as JPEGs, PNG, TIFF, BMP or PSD, allowing you to work with a wide range of art files.
Compatibility: Windows, macOS and Linux.
Pricing: ArtWeaver comes in two versions, one is the free version and the other is the Plus version which is paid but quite cheap (around 34$) and it gives you more advanced tools, compatibility with Photoshop filters, the possibility to work with larger images, etc.
GIMP is a free and open source alternative to Photoshop that allows you to do many of the same things as Photoshop does. of course it doesn’t have quite as many features as Photoshop does.
GIMP has many tools that are available in Photoshop: layers, masks, color grading, smart selection, brushes, filters, channels, and tons of other features.
You’ll have everything you need to import vector-based artwork for added realism and effects, plus everything you need to successfully edit your photographs.
It’s mainly use as an image editing software, but it has brushes and tools that digital painters can use.
You can find plenty of free GIMP brushes all made for digital drawing & painting. Because GIMP is a popular software and has a big community of active users and tutorials.
The software’s toolbox offers more opportunities. Use tools to blur, smudge, erase, and manipulate your drawing in numerous ways.
You can use GIMP to do professional drawing using features like color correction and enhancement.
You don’t even need to install a supplemental program to draw lines; the GIMP’s Paths tool does the job.
The GIMP also has various visual effects and supports different plugins to enhance your experience. If you’re skilled at coding, you’ll be able to customize scripts and plug-ins.
Although GIMP is free, it has the essential features every professional illustration tool needs. It’s a great option for those who can’t afford Photoshop or are just starting out with digital art.
The older Gimp version was a bit complicated with functions that were hard to understand and use. However, the most recent version is easy to use and it comes with a great deal of tutorials that can be found on its website that make using the software extremely easy.
These software’s have their pros and cons, it depends what you want to achieve, your skill level, style, and what your budget is.
Whether you are a professional artist or a casual doodler, you’ll find something to suit your needs in our list of the 20 best drawing apps.
With these apps, you can easily turn your mobile or pc device into a powerful drawing tool that lets you create beautiful artwork.
To get the best results with these apps, We recommend using drawing tablet or stylus with your computer device.
A graphics tablet can be used with drawing softwrae to allow for greater control over the tools provided, and completed projects can be saved in a variety of popular formats.
They are designed to create a more realistic drawing experience so you can create artwork that looks like it was made with traditional media like paper and pen.
We hope this article has been useful to you for discussing some options available for digital painting. We also advise you look at the software’s websites and weigh up the options for yourself depending on what you need.
About the author : Clinton Kane
A technical content writer, passionate about sharing high-quality knowledge of pc technology, software, and creative workflows.