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

asked by Anonymous
302 contributors
15 solutions
  1. 37



    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.


    Mac, iOS


    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."
  2. 31



    CorelDRAW is an illustration tool compatible to both Windows and Mac computers that helps users in designing either for print or web. The software also enables users to edit photos, layout multi-page designs, and more.


    Windows, Mac

    $669- Free trial available

    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. "
  3. 28



    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. 



    $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."


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



    Inkscape is an illustration tool for users who needs to draw or create vectorial images. With its drawing tools and file format compatibilities, it can give help to users to create texts and bezier and spiro curves.


    Windows, Mac, Linux


    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."
  2. 24



    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.




    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!"
  3. 21


    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.



    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."
  4. 21



    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.


    iOS, Android


    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."
  5. 19


    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.

    Windows, Mac


    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."
  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.

    Windows, Mac, iOS


    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."
  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.

    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."
  8. 13



    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!




    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


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


    $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."
  10. 10



    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.


    Windows, Mac, Linux


    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."
  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.



    $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."
  12. 1



    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.




    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."


Best What are the best drawing programs and apps for digital painting
1PixelmatorApps 37 Paid
2CorelDRAWSoftware 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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