What are the best drawing programs and apps for digital painting?

A
asked by Anonymous
15 solutions
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Written on March 19, 2019
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  1. 37

    #1Pixelmator

    Pixelmator

    Pixelmator is a tool wherein you can touch up photos or create your digital artworks from scratch using its wide range of tools, brushes, and effects. This is a great iPad alternative to Photoshop.

    Apps

    Mac, iOS

    $29.99

    Jason Stephens
    Written on January 22, 2017
    "I'm a photo editor  and digital painter from way back and wanted to find an app I could use on my iPad. Pixelmator has turned out to be a pretty good choice for my needs. I really like the way it easily opens my images through iCloud. Working with the layering and masking tools is fairly intuitive. There are some limitations when the size of the image gets to be too big for the iPad to handle, but for those bigger projects, I would prefer to use my laptop anyway."
    Jason Stephens
    Written on January 22, 2017
    "I'm a photo editor  and digital painter from way back and wanted to find an app I could use on my iPad. Pixelmator has turned out to be a pretty good choice for my needs. I really like the way it easily opens my images through iCloud. Working with the layering and masking tools is fairly intuitive. There are some limitations when the size of the image gets to be too big for the iPad to handle, but for those bigger projects, I would prefer to use my laptop anyway."
    Daniel Dean
    Written on January 9, 2019
    "I need a software to temporarily work in an old Mac which I borrowed after my previous laptop brokedown. I must say Pixelmator is among the very few drawing programs to work in that laptop smoothly compared to newer software during that time. I survived my projects becayse of this."
    Jose Douglas
    Written on May 4, 2017
    "This is a very good concept, but lacks certain features. I really enjoyed touching up my pictures; however, when I went to add a text box to my pictures, the app doesn't allow for it. But with that being said, it does an amazing job touching up pictures "
    Scott Richards
    Written on January 16, 2017
    "Drawing on the computer is hard for me - I use a mouse, and I don't have a tablet or anything of that sort. Pixelmator happened to be a perfect solution to my issues, just downloaded it on my ipad and I was ready to go!"
    Steven Bell
    Written on May 3, 2017
    "If you are looking for an app to draw with this seems like a great option. Or at the very least it is worth checking out."
  2. 31

    #2Corel Draw

    Corel Draw

    Corel Draw is a vector drawing tool that combined with LiveSketch ensures a more natural drawing experience. LiveSketch allows you to avoid sketching and scanning from paper and bring your ideas to life with ease.

    Software

    Windows

    $669

    Kathleen Reed
    Written on July 4, 2018
    " Well, I am never into paid applications or software, however for tools that involve my passion and my work (I am a vector illustrator in an advertising agency), I am more than willing to pay for the cost. For the price of $499, you can never go wrong as it goes with different tools like RAW photo editor, CorelDRAW vector illustrator (my fave), and high quality clip iamges. "
    Kathleen Reed
    Written on July 4, 2018
    " Well, I am never into paid applications or software, however for tools that involve my passion and my work (I am a vector illustrator in an advertising agency), I am more than willing to pay for the cost. For the price of $499, you can never go wrong as it goes with different tools like RAW photo editor, CorelDRAW vector illustrator (my fave), and high quality clip iamges. "
    Melissa Cook
    Written on January 9, 2019
    "I'm really into drawing animes so after trying out several digital art programs out there, I settled to Corel draw for my drawings and cartooning. It's just so easy to navigate, user friendly and intuitive yet I can product really good quality drawings here."
    Austin Guerrero
    Written on April 10, 2017
    "Most people just think that the only company selling creative programs is Adobe but those of us that have been around for long enough remember Corel, and Corel Draw is as good as ever. Don't take my word for it, download the free trial and try it out for yourself, I did and was impressed with how good Graphics Suite 2017 is."
    Benjamín Barragán
    Written on February 10, 2017
    "Corel Draw has helped me make a new start into the world of digital painting. As a novice, its easy to use and I'm not feeling overwhelmed by everything that is in the other programs out there. "
    Amanda Hart
    Written on May 4, 2017
    "I don't really think of this as a digital painting app. It's more just for drawing and sketches. There are much more feature rich apps out there for painting. I'll skip this one and keep looking."
  3. 28

    #3Procreate

    Procreate

    Procreate is a professional drawing app designed for mobile devices. Its wide range of brushes and tools, advanced layering system and finishing effects ensures a natural and fluid painting experience. 

    Apps

    iOS

    $9.99- with in-app purchases

    Teresa Murray
    Written on July 4, 2018
    "Whoa there, I must say this one is a good steal for every professional digital artist. I swear, the resolution is very high definition that you could really differentiate the hues in an artwork. It also features dual-texture brushes which makes it even more unique and the best  part is it autosaves your work so you'll never get to re-do everything from the top again. I am trying time-lapse feature this weekend."
    Teresa Murray
    Written on July 4, 2018
    "Whoa there, I must say this one is a good steal for every professional digital artist. I swear, the resolution is very high definition that you could really differentiate the hues in an artwork. It also features dual-texture brushes which makes it even more unique and the best  part is it autosaves your work so you'll never get to re-do everything from the top again. I am trying time-lapse feature this weekend."
    Rachel Crawford
    Written on January 9, 2019
    "I just love the versatility of this app when it comes to making my digital drawings. Being an app, this made my work a lot mroe portable and quick. "
    Yu Qiao
    Written on March 26, 2017
    "I really like using this app. It's very easy to choose what brush strokes you want to use, and the color swatches are easy to choose from as well. The app feels fast and responsive when I'm drawing."
    Randy Hanson
    Written on January 20, 2017
    "Procreate has changed the way I work with digital media, and made it a lot simpler than what I'm used to with photoshop. It still has everything I love from prior experiences in digital media!"
    Jessica Sandoval
    Written on March 17, 2017
    "Great digital drawing app. Easy to use and the graphics turn out beautifully."

DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that drawing a horse digitally is no different than drawing a horse traditionally? By traditional, it means using a pen and a paper. People think drawing digitally is way easier than doing it the traditional way. Well, it's not, but one thing is certain--they both have pros and cons. Perhaps, one of the most frustrating moments is when you have to crumple your paper because you messed up a line. Using the pen and paper is never fun for perfectionist artists. That's where the beauty of digital art comes in. A graphics tablet allows you to revise your layers without tearing or smudging a paper. To be fair, traditional artwork is one of a kind. For instance, even if an artist tries to go through the same process of creating a copy of an artwork, he will never produce the same. This is the reason why an artwork possesses a certain value. This is especially true for paintings made by the legendary artists. Unlike a digital painting, once traditional artwork is destroyed, it is destroyed--forever!

Indeed, technology has taken over almost all the realms of life. And in the field of art, digital drawing and digital painting are only two of the emerging trends. Looking back, drawing pads and graphics tablets used to be an expensive luxury. In fact, even the emerging artists back then could hardly afford one. It has only become more accessible to all because of the decreasing price of graphics tools. In fact, aside from graphic designers and artists, architects and engineers now use it. Thanks to some free digital drawing software, anybody could now become an aspiring digital artist!

  1. 28

    #4Inkscape

    Inkscape

    Inkscape is an illustration tool for illustrators, designers, hobbyists or anyone who needs to draw or create vectorial images. With its flexible drawing tools and broad file format compatibility, a text tool that can help you create beautiful texts and bezier and spiro curves.



    Software

    Windows, Mac

    Free

    Jason Martinez
    Written on July 4, 2018
    "While I agree with the other comment that it doesn't provide much tool for animation, I like the freehand feature and the calligraphy tool that comes with it. Also, it supports PNG file which is very useful for tarpaulin prints. I own a tarpaulin-printing shop so this is a good software for me."
    Jason Martinez
    Written on July 4, 2018
    "While I agree with the other comment that it doesn't provide much tool for animation, I like the freehand feature and the calligraphy tool that comes with it. Also, it supports PNG file which is very useful for tarpaulin prints. I own a tarpaulin-printing shop so this is a good software for me."
    Sai Chavan
    Written on January 9, 2019
    "Inkscape for me is the best free drawing software. I'm a marketing student and I use this all the time to create my deck themes. It's so easy to use IMO."
    Wayne Nichols
    Written on January 9, 2017
    "I sometimes have a need to use basic vector graphics for flyers and website illustrations, and Inkscape fits the bill. While it does not directly do animation, which I also need on an occasional basis, it is easy to install plug-ins or export graphics to other programs to animate them."
    Frank May
    Written on March 13, 2017
    "Free and open source, so always updating and improving. Inkscape can do illustrations, vector graphics, charts, logos, paintings and more. Free and runs on almost every operating system imaginable."
    Dylan Nichols
    Written on January 15, 2017
    "If you need a digital app to help you draw this is an option that you should look into. At the very least it looks decent enough to work for most people. "
  2. 24

    #5Painter

    Painter

    Painter is a complete solution for professional graphics designers and artists looking for realistic results. This software offers a wide range of progressive drawing tools, natural brushes, making it a great complement to Adobe Photoshop.

    Software

    Windows

    $429

    Philip Walters
    Written on January 8, 2017
    "I've always wanted to get into digital art, but honestly had no way of being able to do it. All the programs I had used were hard to figure out and you had to pay for the software and the add ons. I found Painter 2017, and used it and within a week I was HOOKED! I enjoy the program because it offers so much more than just the standard, there are added add ons already and for the cost, it's so worth it!"
    Philip Walters
    Written on January 8, 2017
    "I've always wanted to get into digital art, but honestly had no way of being able to do it. All the programs I had used were hard to figure out and you had to pay for the software and the add ons. I found Painter 2017, and used it and within a week I was HOOKED! I enjoy the program because it offers so much more than just the standard, there are added add ons already and for the cost, it's so worth it!"
    Kyle Murray
    Written on January 9, 2019
    "I have a convertible laptop which I use more as a tablet than a laptop. No wonder, because I draw my digital painting designs on the go. Painter makes it easy for me to do drawings on my tablet so I really prefeer using this."
    Marilyn Rivera
    Written on July 4, 2018
    "They have the latest version of tthe software on their website. This app is not free (that is the sad part) however I got what I paid for. I aam slowly transitioning from traditional art to digital ones and this software really helps me cope. As an ilustrator, I need to keep up with the trends in photography, graphics design, and painting, and I always get them through this. Thanks devs!"
    Shaurya Verma
    Written on May 23, 2017
    "If you are looking for an app that has a wide range of capabilities, it looks like this would fit your needs. The things people are doing with Painter 2017 are jaw dropping! Definitely check it out."
    Joseph Richardson
    Written on April 27, 2017
    "This looks like a great product for amazing digital art however its very expensive, anyone I know would not be able to afford such a expensive product, a lot of america these days is poor."
    Samuel Washington
    Written on February 17, 2017
    "Painter 2017 is just amazing! The possibilities are endless! Painting on a computer? I never imagined this was even possible, awesome!"
    Edward Powell
    Written on January 19, 2017
    "This is a good solution as it is a digital painting program"
  3. 21

    #6MyPaint

    MyPaint
    MyPaint is a free and easy-to-use app that artists can use on their Wacom-style graphic tablets. Users can create sketches very quickly or more complex digital creations from scratch.
    Software

    Windows

    Free

    Thomas Hughes
    Written on May 9, 2017
    "This is a great piece of software if you are a digital artist or just interested in the topic as a hobby. Not only is it free and open source, but it has features that are usually available on products that cost in the triple digits. The documentation is very clear and easy to understand to get yourself started painting right away. I really cannot say enough good things about MyPaint. It is a great solution for any of your digital painting needs. You have to give it a shot yourself and its free, so you really have nothing to lose."
    Thomas Hughes
    Written on May 9, 2017
    "This is a great piece of software if you are a digital artist or just interested in the topic as a hobby. Not only is it free and open source, but it has features that are usually available on products that cost in the triple digits. The documentation is very clear and easy to understand to get yourself started painting right away. I really cannot say enough good things about MyPaint. It is a great solution for any of your digital painting needs. You have to give it a shot yourself and its free, so you really have nothing to lose."
    Joyce Andrews
    Written on January 9, 2019
    "MyPaint is a pretty decent free drawing software for my sketches which I transfer later on to PS."
    Raymond Olson
    Written on July 4, 2018
    "I am a wacom tablet user and I think this works well for me.  The interface is very minimalist when you are on full screen mode because you will be left with only your drawing tool. I love that charcoal-like brush and tools are also available in this app. "
    William Bishop
    Written on April 11, 2017
    "Fun app and program to play around with. I like the features it has for drawing and painting."
    Russell Ruiz
    Written on March 13, 2017
    "easy to use software and it is also very useful for artists"
  4. 21

    #7SketchBook

    SketchBook

    Sketchbook, also known as Autodesk SketchBook is a drawing and sketching mobile app offering numerous useful tools for a realistic drawing experience.  Its full set of features have been made available for free with the last update.

    Apps

    iOS, Android

    Free

    Alexander Peters
    Written on March 7, 2017
    "As an architecture student in a university, this Autodesk Sketchbook made creating on-the-go visual art on my tablet easier than ever. It was filled with art supplies that gave me total control of how I could draw without having to get out a physical sketchbook. I especially liked the ability to scan in my sketches using my devices such as my camera."
    Alexander Peters
    Written on March 7, 2017
    "As an architecture student in a university, this Autodesk Sketchbook made creating on-the-go visual art on my tablet easier than ever. It was filled with art supplies that gave me total control of how I could draw without having to get out a physical sketchbook. I especially liked the ability to scan in my sketches using my devices such as my camera."
    Jack Wells
    Written on April 12, 2017
    "A friend wanted to start getting into digital painting and I did some research and found Autodesk Sketchbook. After I suggested this to him, he said it was an easy transition from paper to digital."
    Wayne Richards
    Written on April 9, 2017
    "Works great for my needs, it's got a good selection of brushes and tools. Being able to use it on my phone is also useful sometimes."
    Esteban Contreras
    Written on March 18, 2017
    "What an amazing program. This transformed my paper doodles into digital drawings in the time it takes to snap a finger!"
    Larry Harrison
    Written on March 8, 2017
    "Turns all my sketches into digital copies almost instantly! Sketching has never been so easy. "
  5. 19

    #8Krita

    Krita
    Krita is a free and open source painting software for artists and illustrators. Is a great alternative to Photoshop, built and designed by artists who needed a fast and free tool to create original digital art or enhance print artworks.
    Software

    Windows, Mac

    Free

    Amit Patel
    Written on May 24, 2017
    "Krita is free and open source, so it is constantly being updated and improved by members of the community. I must say it has a genuinely unbelievable amount of features for absolutely no charge - brush stabilizers, customized brushes and more. An essential for digital artists."
    Amit Patel
    Written on May 24, 2017
    "Krita is free and open source, so it is constantly being updated and improved by members of the community. I must say it has a genuinely unbelievable amount of features for absolutely no charge - brush stabilizers, customized brushes and more. An essential for digital artists."
    Paul Harrison
    Written on March 1, 2017
    "I was happily surprised to find a full-featured program that is focused on creating art, rather than editing photos. The new addition of frame-by-frame animation is a major plus. I plan to use Krita extensively on my websites."
    John Bates
    Written on April 9, 2017
    "Krita is a good application for basic digital editing or painting, but it is not intended to be a replacement for photoshop. Most photoshop programs will have more features than Krita."
  6. 18

    #9Clip Studio Paint

    Clip Studio Paint
    Clip Studio Paint (formerly Manga studio) is a great alternative to Photoshop, and one of the most popular programs for comic and manga artists. This tool allows artists to enhance their paper illustrations or create digital artworks from scratch.
    Software

    Windows, Mac, iOS

    Free

    José Angel Herrera
    Written on May 26, 2017
    "Decent program at $90 but if you don't get it at that nice sale price then its definitely not worth $300. There are a ton of free programs and less legitimate means of getting a program you need to accomplish your goals without plunking down the price of a console for software. However, they offer a software that allows user to paint using natural watercolors. If you wanna try it out, it has the same price."
    José Angel Herrera
    Written on May 26, 2017
    "Decent program at $90 but if you don't get it at that nice sale price then its definitely not worth $300. There are a ton of free programs and less legitimate means of getting a program you need to accomplish your goals without plunking down the price of a console for software. However, they offer a software that allows user to paint using natural watercolors. If you wanna try it out, it has the same price."
    Chirag Mehra
    Written on March 1, 2017
    "I wasn't particularly impressed with the features here. I don't really see much improvement over the tools I was already using. Looks sleek, though."
    Ye Wu
    Written on April 13, 2017
    "Clip Studio Paint was very engaging and helped me to draw."
  7. 17

    #10Animation Desk

    Animation Desk
    Animation Desk is an animation app designed by Kdan Mobile Software Company. It's a great drawing application that helps us flesh out every creative idea into animated figures, animated movies and e-cards.
    Apps

    Windows, iOS, Android

    Free- with in-app purchases

    Chiao Shan Lo
    Written on April 9, 2018
    "Animation Desk is my first choice. I like its high-quality brushes and colored onion skinning features. They are very helpful for my painting."
    Chiao Shan Lo
    Written on April 9, 2018
    "Animation Desk is my first choice. I like its high-quality brushes and colored onion skinning features. They are very helpful for my painting."
  8. 13

    #11Leonardo

    Leonardo

    Leonardo is a useful tool specially designed for those who love to paint! It's an easy-to-use application that lets you paint lines, shapes, and much more!

    Software

    Windows

    $79

    Carl Hasselskog
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "Leonardo works amazing on my Surface! It's so fast and I love the infinite canvas! I like that it also has some tutorials readily available on the website if you are a beginner like me. However, i am taking forever to learn the perspective tool. Ugh, smebody teach me pls hehe"
    Carl Hasselskog
    Written on May 2, 2018
    "Leonardo works amazing on my Surface! It's so fast and I love the infinite canvas! I like that it also has some tutorials readily available on the website if you are a beginner like me. However, i am taking forever to learn the perspective tool. Ugh, smebody teach me pls hehe"
    Henning Tegen
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "Leonardo is a new drawing program for Windows that works exceptionally well on the Surface and similar PC tablets. It has an infinite canvas, it's super fast, have great line tools, brushes and layers."
  9. 12

    #12Artweaver

    Artweaver
    Artweaver is a graphics editor illustration program developed by Boris Eyrich for amateur painters and illustrators. This program was developed for Microsoft Windows OS.
    Software

    Windows

    $39.17- Varies by plan

    Jeffrey Hamilton
    Written on May 17, 2017
    "I got bored with MS Paint and I Wanted something thats a bit more in depth. I did and I researched Artweaver. Using your own creativity and imagination, this tool helps turn your mind into your canvas. It claims to be a full-packed painting tool and i think its core strength is their set of realistic pre-defined brushes."
    Jeffrey Hamilton
    Written on May 17, 2017
    "I got bored with MS Paint and I Wanted something thats a bit more in depth. I did and I researched Artweaver. Using your own creativity and imagination, this tool helps turn your mind into your canvas. It claims to be a full-packed painting tool and i think its core strength is their set of realistic pre-defined brushes."
    Marilyn Collins
    Written on September 28, 2017
    "This program is very enjoyable. I am not the best painter, however, this program makes me feel like I can paint beautiful pictures."
    Scott Kim
    Written on May 22, 2017
    "Oh this looks really cool! I'm going to download this and try it. Even has realistic brushes to paint with."
    Linda Robinson
    Written on January 9, 2018
    "Artweaver is an okay digital program, but it lacks a lot of options that other apps do have."
    Kelly Diaz
    Written on January 6, 2018
    "I tried out Artweaver to draw and it doesn't work well. The controls are super janky."
  10. 10

    #13Gimp

    Gimp

    GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is an illustrative digital freeware which serves as a photo-retouching program, image compositor, and image authoring. This program was created in 1996.

    Software

    Windows, Mac, Linux

    Free

    Mildred Cole
    Written on February 20, 2017
    "I've tried quite a few different programs for my digital painting and drawing. All of the free programs I have tried are missing key elements and the paid for programs are so pricey. Finally I found exactly what I was looking for in Gimp. This program has everything I need to create amazing works of art. Best part,  the interface is customizable, and it's free. But i dont think this app specializzes in painting."
    Mildred Cole
    Written on February 20, 2017
    "I've tried quite a few different programs for my digital painting and drawing. All of the free programs I have tried are missing key elements and the paid for programs are so pricey. Finally I found exactly what I was looking for in Gimp. This program has everything I need to create amazing works of art. Best part,  the interface is customizable, and it's free. But i dont think this app specializzes in painting."
    Justin Hopkins
    Written on June 26, 2017
    "GIMP has a lot of the same functionalities of Photoshop. It's a great free program for digital drawing and painting. It is simple to download and use, and has tools for basic to advanced use."
    Olivia Little
    Written on October 2, 2017
    "I have been using GIMP for years and I love it. It can be hard to navigate at first but it's easy to get used to. I love items that are free but let you do so much, and this is one of those."
    Albert Munoz
    Written on September 23, 2017
    "A great alternative to Photoshop, Gimp is easy to use and fun to explore. Takes a little while to get use to, but once you do the possibilities are endless. "
  11. 7

    #14Photoshop CS6

    Photoshop CS6

    Photoshop CS6, added new creative design tools and provided a redesigned interface with a focus on enhanced performance. This program is compatible with a computer, laptop, smartphone, and tablet devices.

    Software

    Windows

    $29.99- Varies by plan

    William McDonald
    Written on March 28, 2017
    "Photoshop is expensive, but it's  one of the best program out there, well, at least for photo manipulation and post-processing and adding textures and layers to your photos. I havent tried it on working on my digital paintings tho, I nthink i will need a vector illustrator software for those. The improvements to the magic fill tools are amazing. It does most of the work for you! It takes a while to learn but once you get the hang of it you can do a lot of really amazing things."
    William McDonald
    Written on March 28, 2017
    "Photoshop is expensive, but it's  one of the best program out there, well, at least for photo manipulation and post-processing and adding textures and layers to your photos. I havent tried it on working on my digital paintings tho, I nthink i will need a vector illustrator software for those. The improvements to the magic fill tools are amazing. It does most of the work for you! It takes a while to learn but once you get the hang of it you can do a lot of really amazing things."
    Henry Duncan
    Written on March 26, 2017
    "Photoshop is a great program for drawing. You can transfer different things on your pictures and even erase things off. Very fun program."
    Chan Jiang
    Written on May 1, 2017
    "this is a great software to have and it is also easy to use"
  12. 1

    #15Pixia

    Pixia

    Pixia is the English version of a famous Japanese free painting and retouch software for full-color graphic, with masks and layer functions. This program also allows users to customize their own brush tips for desired effects.

    Software

    Windows

    Free

    Will Gu
    Written on September 24, 2017
    "This program is pretty good for free software, but there is a lot that it isn't capable of. I reminds me of drawing on the computer in the late 90's. If you're looking for an older look I'd recommend it. It's sort of like a cross between earlier versions of Photoshop and Microsoft Paint. It has basic gradient mixing tools, textures, and transparecny adjustments. Good for newbies."
    Will Gu
    Written on September 24, 2017
    "This program is pretty good for free software, but there is a lot that it isn't capable of. I reminds me of drawing on the computer in the late 90's. If you're looking for an older look I'd recommend it. It's sort of like a cross between earlier versions of Photoshop and Microsoft Paint. It has basic gradient mixing tools, textures, and transparecny adjustments. Good for newbies."
    Craig Wilson
    Written on September 18, 2017
    "This is a very interesting choice and not what I thought it would be but still overall good choice. Better than expected."
    Louis Patterson
    Written on September 28, 2017
    "Pretty good program with plenty of features. Its not the best out there but it does the job well."

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Summary

Best drawing programs and apps for digital painting
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1PixelmatorApps 37 Paid
2Corel DrawSoftware 31 Paid
3ProcreateApps 28 Paid
4InkscapeSoftware 28 Free
5PainterSoftware 24 Paid
6MyPaintSoftware 21 Free
7SketchBookApps 21 Free
8KritaSoftware 19 Free
9Clip Studio PaintSoftware 18 Free
10Animation DeskApps 17 Free
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