23 Drawing Software Options to Become Digital Picasso

23 mind-blowingly good drawing software packages for all-purpose art and design. Includes free software.

Drawing software is an essential tool for an artist or illustrator, professional to novice wishing to create digital art. The drawing software packages available are as numerous as they are varied, from drawing and painting apps to 3D modeling, graphic illustration, or simulated hand sketching. Some drawing software is free, others only paid for, yet others have free versions and paid for upgrades. There are different features, special effects, drawing and painting tools, the choice is increasingly vast. There are drawing software packages that everybody has heard of -often for good reason, and others that are more niche. We’ve chosen a selection of 23 drawing software packages, from the well-known to the less so, from free to more expensive, from general to specific, from lightweight to powerful –  there is something for everyone. One thing they all have in common is they are top, top quality and will allow you to pull off some quite amazing digital art.

 

In this article:

The best free drawing software:

The best premium drawing software:

 

The Best Free Drawing Software

 

1. Adobe Fresco – New Drawing App by Adobe

Price: Free version for Individuals, paid premium version $9.99 per month (greater brushes, storage), for Business $19.99 per month
Student and teacher offers for complete Creative suite.

Runs on: Windows & iPad

Adobe Fresco has entered the Adode creative collection as an iPad specific drawing software app. Combining different brushes (pixel and vector) plus simulation tools for pencil, watercolors, oil paints it has the trademark Adobe quality.  The free version is good but the premium version expands your creative choices and offers cloud storage as well as useful flipping to other Adobe apps. The time-lapse video option is a great idea too.

Adobe Fresco Key features:

  • Adobe integration (Premium version)
  • Time-lapse video option
  • Cloud storage possibility.
Visit website

 

2. Sketchbook – Free Drawing Software

Price: Free for Individuals, $85 per year Business License
Runs on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

If you are looking for a drawing software package to digitalize your sketches then Autodesk’s specialist software might just be the place to look. Great for all drawing but especially for sketching (as the name suggests), it is simple to use but flexible and customizable enough to really put your own personality on the art. You can use it on your PC but it’s equally good on the move. And all of a sudden it’s free, the pro version features have been included in the free package, so you can create a superb professional look and really impress.

Sketchbook Key features:

  • Export options
  • Great customization
  • Focused on Sketching
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3. Art Weaver – Free Drawing Software Option

Price: Free for personal use (non-commercial or academic) or Plus version with more features for €34 one-off purchase
Runs on: Windows

Art Weaver is a feature-packed Painting & drawing software that is ideal for beginners and even children. Easy to use, friendly interface, customizable brushes, and intuitive drawing and painting tools all combine to allow you to create anything from simple to complex in a short time. A nice touch is the collaboration feature that let’s different people work on the same artwork. There is a free version but the relatively cheap pro version has more features and makes a real difference.

Art Weaver Key features:

  • Great collaboration features
  • Excellent for all ages, including children
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4. Paint 3D – Free Drawing & 3D Microsoft Software

Price: free (pre-installed on Windows 10)
Runs on: Windows

Microsoft’s 3D paint is a free child-friendly drawing software package for creating and painting, placing and finishing (gloss, matte metallic), and even animating 3D models. It is a simple way to create a 3D object (pre-built models or draw your own shape) to give beginners and youngsters a real feel for 3D modeling and animation, a great starter package to inspire. Yes, it’s quite basic but it’s fun and with a 3D printer you can really go to town.

Paint 3D Key features:

  • Child friendly
  • Creation process playback
  • Online sharing
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5. FireAlpaca – Free Painting and Drawing Software

Price: Free
Runs on: Windows & Mac (even older versions)

A little known entrant is our selection is FireAlpaca’s Painting and Drawing Software tool. It’s a relatively lightweight but powerful tool that is user-friendly and completely free. All the basic drawing tools, pencils, brushes are done well, navigation is clear and simple and one real plus is that it can run on less powerful older hardware. It can also be used to animate so for a free option that contains a bit of everything all done well FireAlpaca is definitely worth a look. Special features for Comic book art including templates. A no-risk option that is great for beginners and novices.

FireAlpaca Key features:

  • Lightweight traditional
  • Comic Book art features
  • Animation
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6. MediBang Paint – Great Free Drawing Software

Price: Free
Runs on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Another drawing software program that heavily focuses on Comic Book and Manga art and illustration, designed especially for beginner creatives in this sphere. It fast, simple and it’s all for free. Pre-installed backgrounds (over 800) and a large selection of other tools, serve to get you up and running immediately. There are comic creation panels and management, a group feature that allows collaboration and easy file transfer between devices. All in all -there is nothing bad about this free drawing design software if comic creation is your bag.

MediBang Paint Key features:

  • Collaboration possibility
  • Sync work across devices
  • Huge number of tools (brushes, backgrounds, fonts etc)
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7. Krita – Free Multiplatform Drawing Software

Price: Free
Runs on: Windows, Mac or Linux

A completely free, open-source drawing Software package that is fantastic to get you started in this creative area created by artists for artists. A surprisingly powerful app for all kinds of drawings or illustrations, including Comic and Manga art. It’s beautifully designed, intuitive and offers a range of tools, right up to advanced level. Features include templates, perspective tools, smooth lines stabilizers, vanishing points, customizable brushes (save and reuse), and the genius selection wheel (right-click on canvas and select tool or color). Hard to believe it’s free really but it is.

Krita Key features:

  • Useful drawing aids
  • Support
  • Tool selection wheel
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8. YouiDraw Drawing – Free Simple Drawing Software

Price: Free
Runs on: Web

A Free drawing app for vector designs without the need to download software, simply add from Chrome Web Store or try it on the website. It’s an ideal starter app for artists who want to get used to digital art, with no risk you can play around on this app for fun. There are tips, ready-made slides, and templates and you save everything on google drive so no chance of storage issues. All the standard tools, brushes, etc but it is leaning towards graphic design rather than illustration. Still, it’s a top-class free app, that is well worth taking a look at.

YouiDraw Drawing Key features:

  • Beginners tips
  • Templates and ready-made slides
Visit website

 

 

The Best Premium Drawing Software

 

9. Rebelle 3 – Powerful Drawing Software

Price: One-off purchase normally $89.99, $71.99 latest offer price (30-day refund)
* Discounts for Students, Educators and Educational Institutions
Runs on: Windows & Mac

Rebelle 3 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. It’s easy to use, fun, feature-packed, and incredibly versatile. You can play around for hours with drip size, water diffusion levels, blowing, and running techniques, all to create something truly unique. 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. Rebelle succeeds in getting the real experimental fell of artistic creation onto the screen. It’s worth checking out for special discount prices for a real bargain.

Rebelle 3 Key features:

  • Great choice of traditional tools
  • Ultra-realistic paint effects (blurring, diffusion, blending etc.)
  • Tilt canvas option
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10. Art Rage – Great Multiplatform Painting Software

Price: ArtRage 6 – one-off purchase $39
Other versions; Lite $29.90, iOS $2.99, Android $2.99
Discounts for Educational Institutions
Discount for Upgrades from other older ArtRage packages
Runs on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android

ArtRage 6 is the latest version of this highly regarded drawing and painting software. It’s a flexible application, particularly good for artists focused on painting and drawing rather than photos. Realistic paint textures and colors, fantastic drawing and painting tools, customized brushes, and a really useful recordable action option. There is an excellent and helpful range of online tutorials with tips and advice as well as manuals to help you make the most out of this cutting edge package. It is also available at a really competitive price for such good drawing software.

Art Rage Key features:

  • Super drawing and painting tools
  • Recordable actions option
  • Excellent support
Visit website

 

You may also want to check out The Best Design Examples for 2020

 

11. Corel Painter – Corel’s Painting Solution

Price: $429 one-off purchase (30-day money-back guarantee), Upgrade version $229
Runs on: Windows, Mac

Well established Corel’s latest offering is the updated, up-graded Corel Painter 2020. It’s a time tested drawing software but this version is faster than ever, with a sleeker interface plus other improvements particularly in brushes and colors. However, it comes with a hefty price tag so you need to make the most of its quality features and functions. there’s plenty of options and styles from Manga and concept art to traditional illustration and fine art, and the brush, color, customization options are off the charts. It is also compatible with 3rd party software such as Photoshop. You can create something really special here, but you’ll need to justify the price.

Corel Painter Key features:

  • Photo editing tools
  • Enormous range of styles and option.
  • High quality performance
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12. Adobe Photoshop – The Most Popular Digital Drawing Software

Price:$9.99 per month in  Creative Cloud, $20.99 per month as a single app
Runs on: Windows, macOS, iOS

If you don’t already know about PhotoShop you’ve been living under a rock. It stood out for years as the go-to app for digital art but it has had to up its game in recent years due to the competition. New improved PhotoShop, is just that. Loads of added features and improvement to established tools have moved it to the next level. It isn’t purely for photos either, as it can be used for illustrations, packaging, banners, websites, logos, and icons. There are fabulous customizable templates, loads of plugins for increased functionality, and of course, a whole range of tools and in-built effects.

Adobe Photoshop Key features:

  • Plugins for increased functionality
  • Fully customizable templates
  • Adobe integration
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13. Affinity Designer – Affinity’s Powerful Digital Drawing Solution

Price: $34.99
Runs on: Windows, macOS, iPad

Serif’s version of Illustrator is Affinity Designer. An all-round design, illustrator & drawing software package for vector art. A feature-full graphic design app solution used by professionals, artists, and creative designers for everything from illustrations, icons, branding, UI designs, typography, print projects, to mockups, web graphics, pattern designs, and concept arts. It has the advantage of being simple enough for beginners but powerful for advanced work and all at a good price. It also has photo editing features so it really is a comprehensive system.

Affinity Designer Key features:

  • Stabilization options
  • Advanced tools
  • Major zoom power
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14. Clip Studio – Great Manga Drawing Software

Price: $49.99/£38 (Pro); $219/£168 (Ex)
Runs on: Windows, macOS
We’ve mention Manga art and comic book art already but Clip Studio Paint is a real winner if this is your niche. There are two versions, the Ex version has more advanced features but is much more pricy. Pro is still good and there is a free trial offer. It manages to generate a real hand-drawn feel but with digital precision, quite an achievement. There are excellent tips and tutorials online to support you all the way. It’s recommended for animation and repeated tasks are capable, saving lots of time.

Clip Studio Key features:

  • Pen pressure detection
  • Mapable repeated task
  • Single click animation
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15. Leonardo – Great Tablet Drawing App

Price:$79.99
Runs on: Windows (older hardware no problem), Tablet

The Leonardo Painting App is another less well known but super art app for painting but also sketching, drawing, whiteboarding, and tracing. Leonardo is a specialist touch screen windows tablet software, which is very very fast and easy to use without the new for state-of-the-art hardware. It’s not heavy on features but has all the required drawing tools and an infinite canvas feature that stands out from its competitors. It’s still in the Beta stage, probably until late 2020 and there are special offers available.

Leonardo Key features:

  • Infinite Canvas
  • Custom brushes
  • Custom Short Cuts
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16. BlackInk – Specialized Brush Painting Software

Price: $59.99
Runs on: Windows

This superfast drawing software almost uniquely doesn’t even try to pretend you are doing art in the old fashioned physical way – it is digital all the way – and proud. Limitless customization of brushes, save and share features, a wild program for wild ideas, concepts, and experimentation. The latest features include a shading editor, new color options, and different effects. High-quality performance, high-quality speed, it’s better if you know what you are doing. Newbies might be confused by too many possibilities, or you might embrace them.

BlackInk Key features:

  • Complete freedom of brush creation
  • Effects
  • Shared customization, shared brushes
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Interested in color combinations? Take a look at The Best Color Combinations to Try in 2020

 

17. Procreate – iPad Drawing App

Price: $9.99/£9.99
Runs on: iPad (iOS 11.1+)

n iPad only digital art software that is a standard drawing software app and much more. Add special effects, custom brushes, layers, ability to export images to the more traditional tools and the result is an impressive piece of kit. Add text tools and it really becomes a versatile, flexible, powerful art app for all kinds of usage. This award-winning software is more for natural freestyle artists than those who want loads of features. Grab your inspiration on the move.

Procreate Key features:

  • Natural drawing
  • Range of tools and brushes
  • Text tools
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18. DrawPlus – Windows Software for Drawing and Painting

Price: $99.97
Runs on: Windows

Another Serif product (think Affinity) is DrawPlus X6 is a full-on graphic studio for 2D or 3D illustrations, painting, and animation. Fast, powerful, and easy to use is appropriate for all users from beginners (tutorials and template) to professionals (advanced high-end tools). There are ready-made templates, example designs, intuitive drawing tools, and everything flows from the simple clear interface. From simple illustrations and Social media graphics to full magazine productions DrawPlus X6 is pulling in some great reviews.

DrawPlus key features:

  • Over 4000 ready-made art & design options
  • Quick shapes tool
  • Wide ranging
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19. Adobe Illustrator – Vector Drawing Software

Price: Free trial, paid plans from $20.99 per month for single app to $33.99 per month for Business
Student and Teacher discounts on full creative cloud package including illustrator.
Runs on: Windows, Mac

Adobe illustrator has been slightly in the shade of the more well-known PhotoShop for a while but it is certainly on the rise. It prioritizes drawing and illustration editing over photo editing, particularly vector art for websites and print. Whilst it requires time to learn and certainly takes some patience getting used to if you are looking at creating scalable vector art for marketing, branding, logos, etc then Illustrator is a quality product, especially for Graphic Designers. Of course, if you get it as part of the Adobe Creative Suite then there are superb integration possibilities too.

Adobe Illustrator Key features:

  • Vector Graphics creation tools
  • Scalable illustrations
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20. PaintTool SAI – Software for Sketching and Drawing

Price:$50.81, Free 30-day trial
Runs on: Windows, Mac, Android

Paint Tool SAI is a lightweight raster graphics editor and painting software. Ideal for illustrations especially cartoons and anime, it has a straight forward interface, easy to use tools, and offers digital support to devices such as tablets and mobiles. A big plus here is the color tools including full-spectrum choices (light and darks) and luminescence. It’s a good idea to use the free trial offer to get used to it and see if it’s the one for you. A lot of people believe it is just right for them.

PaintTool SAI Key features:

  • Great color spectrum tool
  • Layers and locking of layers (for combined movement)
  • Mini version view
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21. MyBrushes Paint for Mac – Simple With Big Brush Library

Price: $9.99
Runs on: Mac

MyBrush Paint has already got a reputation amongst Mac users as being remarkably easy to learn, easy to navigate, drawing, painting, and photo editing software. It’s full-featured and appropriate for a wide range of projects for digital or visual art. There are over 100 preset realistic brushes to simulate different paint effects such as Watercolor painting, Oil painting, Chinese painting, Drawing, and even Calligraphy. It’s fast and multifunctional, easy enough for beginners (templates, backgrounds), even children, and flexible enough for more advanced users. There is text input and lots of file format support, so overall a very classy flexible package.

MyBrushes Paint for Mac Key features:

  • Infinite canvas
  • Record and Playback feature
  • Unlimtied undo and redo
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22. Flame Painter – Digital Art Software

Price: $89.99 or $39.99 for upgrade, add-ons are extra
Runs on: Windows

The latest version of Flame Painter is an even better version of what was already a top-class drawing software package. Improvements established tools, additions to filters plus new canvas selection and color tools make this a real leader in the field for all artists from illustrators to graphic designers and photographers. Create great visual effects, realistic brush strokes, add light effects, choose from an enormous color selection including gradients (in different styles), it is tough to imagine what you can’t do. The Particle System is what makes the difference, and what a difference it is. Highly recommended to really bring your creative spirit out.

Flame Painter Key features:

  • Symmetry Tool
  • Advanced Palette Panel
  • PhotoShop Plugin
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23. Paintstorm Studio – Professional Digital Drawing Software

Price:$19 (desktop); $12.99 (iPad), free trial available
Runs on: Windows, macOS, Linux, iPad

Paintstorm is a professional software for digital painting and drawing. Very versatile drawing software that allows for great brush control, options, and customization for 2d graphics and illustrations. It’s not recommended for beginners or starters as there are so many changeable parameters that it can confuse. Having said that, that’s a big, big for complete control if you really know what you are doing.

Paintstorm Studio Key features:

  • Fully customizable including panels
  • Hotkeys
  • Cool brush settings
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Final words

There are more and more drawing software packages, even more than we have here. There are similarities galore and certainly, a huge amount of overlap. It’s well worth taking the time to think about the reasons for wanting to go into digital art, what you are trying to achieve, what you are working with, what kind of project you envision, and how capable are you. Build up slowly, there are great free packages to experiment with. These will give you a greater chance to realize exactly what you are searching for. You may decide the free ones are enough, they are definitely flexible and capable of producing outstanding results, or in time you may wish to push on to a different level. That’s the thing with such a choice, it’s not easy but it can be fun choosing the right drawing software for you.

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Lyudmil Enchev

Lyudmil is an avid movie fan which influences his passion for video editing. You will often see him making animations and video tutorials for GraphicMama. Lyudmil is also passionate for photography, video making, and writing scripts.

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