What Is The Best Drawing Software For Artists In 2024?

best drawing software

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Want to skip having to try one digital art software after another in order to find the best drawing software for your needs?

You don’t have to look for solutions elsewhere!

Below, we’ve listed all of the most popular digital art software in 2024.

Which one suits you best? Take a look and find out!

Our Top 5 Picks

Program

Strength

Product Details

#1. Adobe Photoshop

adobe photoshop

Best Digital Art Software

  • Industry-standard drawing software, so you can rest your mind at ease when using it!
  • You will never encounter a situation where you have to struggle to find third-party software to fill in gaps in functions because it is 100% compatible with accompanying Creative Cloud Apps.
  • Offers a diverse set of excellent tools. With it, you can create your own preferred way of painting based on your unique digital art needs.

#2: Rebelle 7

rebelle 7

Most Affordable

  • Professional-grade digital art software sold to you at a cheap, beginner-friendly price!
  • Offers an authentic painting experience, which makes you feel as if you were painting on actual canvas.
  • You can have access to more than 240 brush presets that can mimic realistic painting upon installation. No need to go looking for brush packs anywhere else!

#3: Procreate

procreate

Best for iPad

  • The interface is very intuitive as it is a drawing app made specifically for iPad users. You’ll love the smooth drawing experience!
  • Considered the best out of all available drawing apps because it gives you built-in powerful tools (e.g., customizable brushes, advanced layers, etc.).
  • Offers you advanced features that caters to various digital media needs (e.g., 3D painting tools, animation functions, etc). So you don’t have to go looking for other third-party apps.

#4: Corel Painter

corel painter

Best for Traditional Painters

  • Very feature-rich, offering you a huge set of pre-set brushes and various AI tools for your convenience.
  • Intuitive design interface that is very responsive to your requirements.
  • Most recent version offers ‘Fluid Paint’ technology that you can use to create digital art mimicking the works of traditional painters.

Best FREE Drawing Software

  • FREE & Open Source program. So, you don’t have to make any costly commitments and can get started drawing immediately!
  • Offers free educational resources that can help you get started on digital art.
  • Comes with a lot of convenient preset packs (e.g., brushes, effects, etc.) that you can use to start painting upon installation.

#1 Best Overall: Adobe Photoshop CC | ★★★★★

adobe Photoshop

If you’re wondering why Adobe Photoshop is our pick for the best digital art software in the market, the answer is very simple — it’s just good at everything. Whether it’s drawing, digital painting, photo editing, etc.

It can do basically everything you want it to do. And, if there’s something that it really can’t do, then there are various Adobe Creative Cloud apps (e.g., Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Animate, etc.) offered with it that you can choose from to do what you want.

In any case, because of Adobe Photoshop’s proven excellence, it’s the go-to digital art software chosen by many professional artists and graphic designers, it’s very credible, so you can use it with ease of mind.

PRO TIP! If you’re a student or a teacher, you can purchase the package with all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps included at a significant discount! This has always been the case, so if you want to give Photoshop a try but are scared of the big price tag, it’s best to take advantage while you can if you’re a student or teacher!

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, macOS, iPad OS, Android

7-Day FREE Trial

Payment Plans: Subscription-based

Creative Cloud (All Apps): US$59.99/mo

Billing: Monthly, Annual, and Annual billed monthly

Photoshop: US$22.99/mo

Adobe Illustrator: US$22.99/mo

Adobe Photoshop CC Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Best digital art software, go-to for most professional digital painters
  • Compatible software included in Adobe Creative Cloud Plan
  • Comprehensive set of drawing, painting, and photo editing tools
  • Can be used to make 3D artwork for animation or printing purposes
  • Comes with a complementary iPad digital art app and an Android version

Cons

  • Expensive Creative Cloud Subscription ($59.99/mo or US$659.88/yr)
  • Steep learning curve (not suitable for beginners)
  • Limited support for vector graphics

#2 Most Affordable: Rebelle 7 | ★★★★★

rebelle 7

Tired of digital art software subscription packages?

Well, you’re not the only one! There are plenty of artists who sympathize. And Rebelle 7 came out to serve as a solution!

For a powerful, professional-grade digital art software that can be used to make authentic traditional digital artworks, Rebelle 7 can be considered very cheap! After all, unlike with most other options, you only have to pay once. After that, you’ll have access to all its features without having to worry about having money taken away every now and then.

Furthermore, Rebelle 7 comes with a 30-day free trial, so you can give it a good try before deciding to commit to it. Such a deal is especially suitable for beginners who want to give digital art a serious try before deciding whether traditional or digital art is more suited for them.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, macOS, iOS

30-Day FREE Trial

Payment Plans: License

Rebelle 7 Full License: US$89.99 (one-time payment)

Billing: One-time payment

Rebelle 7 Pro Full License: $149.99 (one-time payment)

Rebelle 7 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Drawing software with excellent value, one of the most affordable digital painting software
  • Real-media drawing software that mimics traditional media
  • Comprehensive real-media tools (e.g., watercolor drop engine, acrylic impasto, etc.)
  • Advanced drawing tools for ultimate precision

Cons

  • High-hardware requirements
  • Slow and laggy when requirements are not met

#3 Best for iPad: Procreate | ★★★★★

procreate
By the way, if you’re looking for other drawing software like Rebelle 7 with one-time payment options, you can consider Procreate! Although, it’s best to look at Procreate from another view.

That is, if you want to find a reliable drawing app to use on your iPad, you really don’t have to look anywhere else!

Procreate is our top pick for the best drawing app in the market. With Procreate, you can start drawing on your iPad wherever and whenever you want without having to be stuck on a computer table because of the limitations of your chosen pen tablet.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: iPad (iOS 11.1+)

Full License: US$9.99 (one-time payment)

Payment Plans: License

Billing: One-time payment

Procreate Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Our pick for the best drawing apps on the market
  • Comes with a wide range of tools (e.g., highly-configurable brush system, advanced color control, multi-touch gestures, etc.)
  • Intuitive interface that is suitable for beginners

Cons

  • As a drawing app, it lacks the support of CP hardware and has a tendency to lag when the app storage is filled with paintings or when working on a painting that is too big

#4 Best for Traditional Painters: Corel Painter | ★★★★★

corel painter

Although significantly more expensive than Rebelle 7, Corel Painter 2023 is another drawing software that you can purchase an unlimited-use license for if you like it!

The price can also be said to be worth it. Especially for those who are a fan of real media. Basically, with Corel Painter, you can build up layers of paint as you would on any canvas or paper, almost completely mimicking the effect of painting in reality.

With previous versions, these advanced features were a bit of a double-edged sword as they had very high hardware requirements. But the latest 2023 version has been proven to provide a very smooth performance, allowing you to paint as willfully as you want!

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, macOS

30-Day FREE Trial

Payment Plans: License, Subscription (billed annually)

Full License: US$429 (one-time payment)

Billing: One-time payment

Annual Subscription: US$199/year

Corel Painter Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Our pick for the best digital art software for real-media digital artists
  • Comprehensive tools (i.e., library of brush pre-sets, fluid painting, etc.)
  • Various AI tools with photo editing support

Cons

  • No accompanying drawing apps for either iOS or Android
  • Serious performance issues on PCs with weaker hardware

#5 Best FREE Software: Krita | ★★★★☆

krita

If you’re an ultimate beginner and you’re just looking to give digital art a bit of a try, then it’s recommended that you choose a FREE, open-source art software like Krita.

Krita has a long history, it belongs to the same generations as Paint Tool Sai, Medibang Paint, etc. Also, just like Paint Tool Sai and Medibang Paint, Krita is more popular for digital artists who prefer to paint or draw in a semi-realistic or anime/cartoon style.

As a FREE digital art software, it can’t be said to be very comprehensive in terms of tools. In other words, you can’t expect it to have the same advanced features as the other options we introduced before. BUT! That doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to create high-quality art.

It just takes a little effort and isn’t as convenient. Which is what you can expect from open-source software.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, macOS, Linux

Cost: FREE

Krita Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Free and open-source digital art app
  • User-friendly software (very suitable for beginner digital artists)
  • Comprehensive toolbox with all the basic drawing tools needed

Cons

  • Not as advanced or feature-rich as paid options

#6 Affinity Photo | ★★★★☆

affinity photo
Affinity Photo is a powerful drawing software that was built to be as close to Adobe Photoshop as possible. Digital artists who like Photoshop but are not a fan of its high prices can choose Affinity Photo as a lower-end alternative.

Having said that, despite lacking some of Photoshops’ higher-end features, Affinity Photo still has a large volume of powerful tools and provides excellent performance.

All in all, for the price of US$69.99 for the FULL license, you get what you pay for — and more! It’s of great value. Very suitable for professional artists who are looking for a reliable drawing app that won’t be too big of a burden on their budget.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, macOS, iPad

Affinity Photo Full License: $69.99 (one-time payment)

Payment Plans: License

Affinity Photo iPad Full License: $18.49 (one-time payment)

Billing: One-time payment

Affinity V2 Universal License: $164.99 (one-time payment)

Affinity Photo Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Drawing app with FULL license, no subscription plans
  • Low hardware requirements — works well even with older PCs
  • Photoshop-esque interface

Cons

  • Lacks some of Photoshop’s more advanced features

#7 Adobe Fresco | ★★★★☆

adobe fresco
If you’re looking for other drawing apps that can be used on iPad or other iOS devices, then the next one to consider besides Procreate is Adobe Fresco!

As you might have guessed from the name, Adobe Fresco is the accompanying iOS app we mentioned earlier. It can be used on iPad and other iOS devices and is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and other cloud services.

Adobe Fresco is definitely not as advanced or as easy-to-use as Procreate, but the performance is definitely a lot better than most other drawing apps in the market. The main reason you might choose Adobe Fresco over the more advanced Procreate is because it is highly compatible with the best digital art software for PC (AKA, Photoshop).

That is, you might find it worth it to give up Procreate’s extra features for the convenience of being able to automatically sync projects on the Adobe Fresco on iPad to the desktop version of Adobe Fresco.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, iPad, and iOS devices

30-Day FREE Trial

Payment Plans: License

Adobe Fresco App: $9.99/mo

Billing: One-time payment

Adobe Design Mobile Plan: $14.99/mo

Adobe Fresco Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 30-Day FREE Trial available
  • Has more advanced tools (e.g., vector brushes) than most drawing apps
  • 100% Compatible with Adobe Fresco (desktop version), Photoshop, and other Creative Cloud Software

Cons

  • No full License available for purchase must pay for drawing apps plan (US$9.99/mo)
  • Not as intuitive as other painting apps and has a weaker performance

#8 Clip Studio Paint | ★★★★☆

clip paint
Are you more interested in drawing manga or comics? Then Clip Studio Paint may be the one for you!

Note, there are two versions of this software. One is Clip Studio Paint PRO, which is more basic. The other is called Clip Studio Paint EX and it has all sorts of additional bells and whistles — mainly for creating webtoons and animations.

The best thing about Clip Studio Paint Pro and EX is that it is compatible with Windows, macOS, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Chromebook. You can use it almost anywhere with the right license, the performance is also quite stable.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, MacOS, Chromebook, iPad, iOS, and Android

30-Day FREE Trial

Payment Plans: License and Subscription (annual)

CSP PRO Full License: $54 (one-time payment)

Billing: One-time payment and Annual

CSP EX Full License: $237 (one-time payment)

CSP PRO Subscription: $26.99/yr

CSP EX Subscription: $76.99/yr

Clip Studio Paint Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Available cross-platform, includes drawing apps for iOS and Android
  • Highly affordable

Cons

  • Interface is not very intuitive
  • Not as advanced as other alternatives

#9 Art Rage | ★★★★☆

art rage
Art Rage, like Corel Painter, prides itself on being a digital art software for those interested in real-media digital art. The custom brushes provided focus mostly on the type of fluid mark-making that replicates traditional art.

Drawing and painting with Art Rage is quite simple. You can get started almost immediately after launching it, which is great.

Of course, this comes at the cost of some of the more advanced drawing and painting tools provided by the other digital art software on this list. BUT! It has most of the basics and can get the job done just as well.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS

Unlimited Demo Version: FREE

Payment Plans: Licensel)

Art Rage Full License: $79.99 (one-time payment)

Billing: One-time payment

Art Rage Lite: $29.99 (one-time payment)

Art Rage App: $4.99 (one-time payment)

Art Rage Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Real-media pre-set brushes for realistic-looking digital art
  • Full-time license available for purchase
  • Intuitive interface, very easy to use

Cons

  • Performance is not the best, may lag when doing larger paintings

#10. Artweaver | ★★★☆☆

artweaver
Looking for an alternative free drawing tool? You can consider Artweaver!

It’s a bit lacking in certain areas (e.g., maximum image size support is smaller than most, no precise brush control for fine drawing, etc.). But it includes most of the basics and can get the job done, which is what you might expect from a FREE drawing tool.

Note, however, Artweaver is not a completely free app. There is a FREE version available, and it has most of the basic painting and drawing functions. BUT, if you want more advanced functions, you’ll have to get the paid version, Artweaver Plus, which costs €34.

Specifications

Pricing

Operating System: Windows

Basic Version: FREE

Payment Plans: Licensel)

Artweaver Plus License: €34 (one-time payment)

Billing: One-time payment

Artweaver Pros and Cons

Pros

  • FREE version and paid version available
  • Easy-to-Use

Cons

  • Only available for Windows OS
  • Lacking in functions
  • Outdated interface

How to Choose The Right Drawing Software?

Now that we’ve finished the list of relevant painting tools, it’s time to talk about which digital art software is most suitable for you.

For that, let’s first break down the criteria for choosing the right drawing software:

Pricing & Payment Method

One of the main concerns people have when choosing between digital art software is the pricing and payment method. For the former, it’s not just a question of whether you can afford it or not, but also, is it worth it?

These questions, you can answer for yourself. But as for payment methods…

We introduced two different payment methods for software earlier as well as their advantages and disadvantages. But, to review, you can usually choose one of the following:

  • Subscription: Choose subscriptions if you don’t have a big budget. It’s most suitable for short-term use of a program because the costs will add up over time.
  • License: If you can afford it, you can save a lot of costs in the long run by choosing to purchase a license. This is cheaper because you have full ownership of the drawing software after payment. BUT, it’s best to buy only after you’re sure this is the program you want to use, otherwise, it might be wasted.

Note that even some of the best software offer only one of the options mentioned above. Only a few of the more versatile software offers both options.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is a criterion that most people actually don’t take into account when looking for drawing software. After all, given enough time, you can master just about any drawing tool. It may just take more or less effort.

However this kind of thinking has led to many artists encountering problems in the digital drawing process — mainly because they end up using incompatible painting tools.

ease of use

Just like how you might find a certain type of pencil more suitable for you to create artwork than another type of pencil, digital painting tools are the same.

For example, professional-grade drawing software like Photoshop has a higher learning threshold when compared to other drawing programs. If you’re the impatient type, using it may suck the enthusiasm for digital art completely from you. Not only because it’s hard to get started, but also because it can be a bit confusing with all its fancy, advanced functions.

In that case, wouldn’t it be better to use a simpler tool like Procreate or Krita from the start? At least then, you can start creating art almost immediately. Fueling your passion for digital art more and more.

Features

Each drawing software has its own unique set of features, so it’s a bit difficult to judge which is better based on what they have or don’t have.

It’s better to decide based on your own needs. For example, each artist has their own unique drawing style and requirements for their chosen drawing program.

For that, we can give you some recommendations:

Digital Art Software for Drawing Professional Illustration and Painting

If what you want is a drawing or painting program with powerful features like fluid mark-making for controlling paint flow, advanced layers control, customizable brush settings, etc. You can consider the following software.

  • Photoshop CC
  • Corel Painter 2023
  • Clip Studio
  • Rebelle 7
  • Affinity Photo
  • Procreate
  • ArtRage

Each can be used to create illustrations and paintings of the level of fine art. They also offer many customizable features that will enable you to flexibly incorporate your creative ideas into your painting.

Drawing Software for Creating Comics, Manga, and Webtoons

Prefer comics, manga, or webtoons? Then you’ll need typography tools for annotating text, texture packs for expressing movement and emphasis, custom brushes, pen brushes with stabilizers for linework, etc.

drawing software

As for where to look for these features, you can check the following:

  • Krita
  • Procreate
  • Photoshop CC
  • Art Rage

Graphics Designer for Vector Drawing Design

Do you need vector support for your designs? Then you’ll need vector brushes and features that will allow you to naturally scale your designs up or down without harming the integrity of the illustration.

Examples of digital art software with this extra function include:

  • Clip Studio
  • Adobe Fresco
  • Affinity Designer
  • Adobe Illustrator

This can be considered an extra function and is not provided by most painting programs. So, if you really need such features, make sure to confirm whether or not the drawing software has it before making your final purchase!

affinity designer

Digital Art Software for Animation

If you want to bring your illustrations to life in the form of animation, then you’ll need even more powerful features than the ones mentioned before. Such features are not rare, per se, but it’s still not available in each drawing program.

If you need them, you can try the following software:

  • Photoshop CC
  • Clip Studio Paint EX
  • Procreate

Note, the animation tools provided by this software are not as good as those provided by professional animation software, but they should be able to help you get your career in animations started without a problem!

procreate

Platforms Supported

One last thing to consider is whether or not your favorite drawing software is supported by your preferred Operating System (OS).

If you’re a Windows user, then you can start from the following:

  • Photoshop
  • Clip Studio Paint
  • Rebelle 7
  • Corel Painter 2023
  • Krita

If you prefer MacOS, the previously listed digital art software still applies. However, some drawing apps, like Artweaver and Paint Tool Sai do not have MacOS support.

As for Linux and Chromebooks, the options are very limited. Still, for Linux, you can check out Krita, and for Chromebook, Clip Studio Paint.

As for mobile and tablet devices, there’s of course Procreate! And, if you want to give other alternatives a try, there’s Adobe Fresco, Rebelle 7, Corel Painter 2023, and Clip Studio Paint.

Which is the Right One for You?

Program

Recomended for

#1. Adobe Photoshop

adobe photoshop

Looking for digital art software for professional work? 

No need to look any further. Photoshop is the industry standard for all digital art software. It’s packed with all sorts of powerful features and can be used to explore endless creative possibilities.

Note, however, that using it long-term may be a bit hard on the budget, and it’s not very user-friendly.

Subscribe to Photoshop Today!

#2: Rebelle 7

rebelle 7

Low in budget? Don’t want to pay subscription fees for the rest of your life?

Rebelle 7 offers a good professional solution with its permanent license available for purchase as a one-time payment.

In short, it’s cheap, versatile, and reliable! BUT, it’s not as powerful as the more costly options.

Buy Rebelle 7 Now!

#3: Procreate

procreate

Want a painting program that you can use to paint-on-the go? 

Procreate is the best drawing app on the market. It has many powerful features, allowing you to start drawing on your iPad whenever and wherever.

Purchase Procreate on iPad!

#4: Corel Painter

corel painter

Are you a traditional painter who wants to give digital art a try? OR, maybe, you prefer the painterly style?

Corel Painter is a good option for you! It’s rich in real-media features, and it even offers AI-based tools to make it more convenient for you to create realistic paint effects.

It’s a solid choice. You just have to make sure you’ve got good hardware support. Otherwise, you may experience lags and shutdowns!

Get Corel Painter!

#5: Krita

krita

Not sure whether you’ll like digital art? OR, are you just not a fan of spending money on software?

Krita is a FREE, open-source drawing software suitable for those who like to draw manga and comics!

It’s not as powerful as the other recommended programs we’ve mentioned thus far. BUT, it has withstood the test of time and maintained a good standing in the eyes of many modern artists.

Give Krita a Try for FREE!

FAQs

What Device Do Most Digital Artists Use?

Digital artists need to use a pen tablet — also called, ‘drawing tablet’ or ‘digital tablet’ — in order to start creating digital art. The only exceptions are those who prefer to draw with a mouse, those who want to use an iPad, etc.

If you’re wondering which drawing tablet is most suitable for your needs, you can check out this article on the most popular drawing tablets to find one that matches you.

What Do I Need to Start Digital Art?

Generally, outside of the digital art software, you’ll need a digital tablet, a computer with middle-to-high-grade hardware to run the drawing program, and a durable keyboard and mouse to use as shortcuts whilst drawing.

If you want to use an iPad instead, all you’ll need is a stylus and a digital art app. Most digital drawing apps have built-in touch gestures, so a keyboard and mouse is optional.

What Drawing Software Do Professionals Use for Drawing?

Most professionals use Photoshop CC as their favorite drawing software. Although better known as photo editing software, it is actually packed with abundant features for working on illustrations and painting.

Which Painting Software is Best for Comic Art?

If you want to create comics, the painting software we recommend is Clip Studio or Krita. Both are very popular with artists who prefer to draw or paint comics, webtoons, or manga.

Which Digital Art Software is Best for Android?

The digital art software recommended for Android is Clip Studio Paint. You can also try Sketchbook and ArtFlow.

The Bottom Line: The Right Digital Art Software

As a final piece of advice, the only way to find the right digital art software is through experimentation and practice.

So, go ahead and pick a few favorites from our list and brush up on your drawing skills!

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