Looking for the best digital drawing apps? You’ve come to the right place. The transition from paper to digital art comes with many benefits.
While the joy of painting and drawing on physical paper is unparalleled, it has its limitations. For instance, deleting or reversing a wrong charcoal stroke is impossible on paper. Digital drawing apps make this possible with a keystroke.
From producing stunning graphics to making quick changes, digital apps let you create a world of art more effortlessly by using its vast expanse of tools and features.
However, with the plethora of options available in the market today, narrowing down which app to use can be difficult. This list of the best and most popular graphics software will let you fast-track and choose the best app for your creative journey quickly and effortlessly.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Drawing App
How can you tell which is the best graphics application for you? Here are some factors to consider when reviewing different software to feed your creative needs.
Color consistency varies on paper and canvas, hence it’s no surprise that it matters in digital art too. Sometimes artwork created in certain apps can differ in color contrast and brightness across different formats like EPS, PDF, and JPG. You should therefore pick an app that offers faithful color consistency and calibration regardless of the file format.
Right Toolset for You
What functionalities are you looking for when creating your designs? An important aspect to review is if the software you’re considering can perform the function you’re looking for. The toolset/s is often the right place to start.
Basic drawing and painting software contain features like an eraser, paint brushes, marker, dedicated drawing area, and an assortment of shapes and lines to name a few. You should also have an expansive range of colors available in the palette.
Depending on your needs, you can also look for software that allows you to use wet tools like acrylic and watercolor.
While there are great drawing tools and software that are only compatible with one platform, it’s always best to choose an app that comes with multi-platform compatibility. That way, even if you have to transfer your work to another device running on a different operating system, it won’t cause you any trouble.
Other great features to look for are seamless real-time collaboration and compatibility with PCs, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. In today’s world where many have more than one gadget, multi-platform accessibility can greatly enhance your ability to work on your designs.
Raster vs Vector Drawing Apps
Images like JPG and PNG photographs are examples of raster images. These images are expressed by pixel aspect ratio. Whenever they’re enlarged or zoomed in, blurring always occurs if it crosses the image pixel size.
In the same way that you’re limited in physical drawings by the size of the paper you’re drawing on, raster-based apps limit you in terms of pixels. In comparison, drawing with raster apps is simple and reasonably intuitive.
Though vector-based drawing apps solve this limitation, they are more complex to manipulate compared to raster apps. With vector apps, drawings and images are made of lines and shapes and come in AI and EPS formats. If you don’t mind the slightly longer learning curve, however, they’re well worth learning.
Pattern recognition is an important feature in engineering drawings as it offers you an opportunity to recreate your art by recording and repeating all your strokes and processes.
A discussion on online drawing apps can never be complete without mentioning three-dimensional drawing apps. Whether it’s 3D modeling or simple drawings, 3D effects give an added dimension to your artwork. If you’re a 3D artist, 3D capabilities are an invaluable and critical feature that you should be looking for.
What Are the Best Drawing Apps on the Computer?
Wondering what are the best drawing apps for android? Here’s a list of the best drawing software and applications that can fulfill various creative needs.
Aimed at artists, designers, students, and other creative professionals, Corel Painter is one of the best apps for creating realistic paintings. Highly customizable and multi-functional, this graphics software is suitable for a variety of creative projects.
Though expensive, its vast collection of assorted brushes with options to create custom brushes and palettes makes it one of the best tools for design and illustration.
If you use graphic design software for painting, Corel Painter is the ideal tool for you as its features are focused on digital painting and are relatively easy to learn. However, photo manipulation is not its key strength.
Available for Mac and Windows, Corel Painter also has an android-compatible app called Painter Mobile which has paid and free versions.
Procreate is one of the best drawing apps for iPhones and iPads, and there's very little you can’t do using this multi-functional app. While it can be slightly daunting for newcomers, with some trial-and-error you’ll be able to get going and start designing.
It has several multi-layered features that let you create, modify and enhance illustrations and designs with an animation feature that you can use to bring your work to life. Moreover, there’s a dedicated Procreate Community page filled with artists and designers who upload tutorials and blogs to support digital artists of any skill level.
Adobe has dominated the creative landscape for decades. If you’ve wondered what Adobe apps are best for drawing, then Adobe Illustrator for Mac and Windows definitely belongs on that list.
The go-to drawing app for vector-based artwork, Adobe Illustrator is packed with features that allow you to create professional artwork with ease. From retouching portrait photos to creating professional graphic design for logos and banners to producing beautiful and elaborate landscapes, you can convert almost everything into vector art using Illustrator.
However, since you need an Adobe Cloud subscription to use this software (which is expensive), it’s best for professionals rather than hobbyists.
Can a list of the best software for drawing apps ever be complete without Adobe Photoshop? Popular among photographers, graphic designers, and other creative professionals, Adobe Photoshop is one of the best drawing apps in the market. Its features include a photo to painting converter, great brush controls, and color correction functionalities to name a few.
Whether it’s creating an illustration from scratch for logos and banners, editing photos, or making 3D designs, Adobe Photoshop’s bundle of cloud-based tools will fulfill most of your creative needs.
Adobe offers various pricing options depending on the apps and features you’d like to use. Adobe Photoshop is compatible with Windows and Mac and has apps for tablets and mobile devices. However, there is a slight learning curve involved. Hence, it's best for intermediate users instead of absolute beginners.
Full of stunning shape packs that are built-in for easy use, Assembly is a vector graphics app designed for creating illustrations, logos, and stickers. Assembly is a high-quality drawing app that lets you create eye-catching graphic designs and artwork. This is an iPhone drawing app that allows you to save your file in any format whether PNG, JPEG, or even PDF, and export them as SVGs.
Affinity Designer is a full-featured vector graphics app that gives your creativity free reign by providing a real-time preview of art as you work on your design. From creating complex drawings to pixel graphics, and raster images, Affinity Designer offers unlimited functionalities for creatives.
Despite its high learning curve, it provides access to a vast library of tutorials and a growing community of creatives who are constantly offering tips and tricks to help budding digital artists.
One of the best digital drawing apps on the market, Designer is Affinity’s answer to Adobe Illustrator. It involves a one-time purchase and is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and android.
Intuitive, rich, and full of advanced features, ArtRage is one of the most popular drawing apps that’s compatible with most platforms. Renowned for its astounding functionality and realistic painting tools, ArtRage lets you create delicate and precise watercolor strokes that closely resemble a real canvas texture.
Using its wide selection of transformational tools, cloning abilities, gradient changer, and pattern-fill features, you can create stunning painting-like designs effortlessly.
Owing to its loyal users, you can find fantastic inspiration, tutorials, and videos online to help you hone and advance your skills. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android with a free version called ArtRage Lite for Mac and Windows.
If drawing comics is your forte, you don’t need to look beyond Comic Draw. With intuitive and robust features, it offers sketching capabilities, lettering aids, and panel layout functionalities. This digital app for Mac and Windows is tailor-made for comic artists.
Adobe Spark is one of the best digital art apps in the market today and an excellent tool for drawing, painting, website building, graphic design, and other creative tasks. Suitable for professionals and beginners alike, you don’t need any design or technical experience to use this app. It has a short learning curve and comes equipped with several pre-designed templates, themes, icons, and images.
It also promotes seamless collaboration between multiple users and simplifies your work. Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and android, Adobe Spark can be an excellent software for social media marketers as it offers widespread integration with many social media platforms.
Inspire Pro is the ultimate iPad painting canvas. Despite an intuitive user interface that is easy to use, Inspire Pro is capable of producing stunning artwork thanks to its ultra-realistic brushes. The brush strokes also let you blend colors quickly with ease.
Though not as robust as other apps, Inspire Pro is one of the best drawing apps since it’s easy to learn. The only drawback is it’s only compatible with iOS.
Almost like a pocket notebook gone digital, Concepts is a vector drawing app that stores ideas. Suitable for professional designers and artists, Concepts lets you do anything — from sketches and scribbles to rough mockups and finished designs.
From sketching architectural blueprints to designing building interiors, Concepts lets you carry out a lot of tasks seamlessly. Not all software offers the same level of functionality when it comes to brainstorming ideas and engaging in experiments.
You can install this on Apple, Windows, or Google devices.
Free Drawing Software
Though the above-mentioned software and apps come with a wide range of features and functionalities, beginners and novices might find some of them heavy on the pocket. What are the best free drawing apps? Here’s a list of some of the best ones.
One of the best drawing apps for windows, Artweaver is among the oldest painting tools out there. This photo editing software offers advanced editing tools along with an assortment of pencils and brushes that you can use to create great designs effortlessly. Suitable for beginners and advanced users alike, this full-fledged painting tool offers easy-to-use and intuitive software. You can choose from its pre-existing brushes or alter them to match your exact requirements.
While this powerful software is available for free, currently, it’s only compatible with Windows.
iPastels is a free drawing app that is particularly useful for beginners and novices who want to improve their skills as they learn. iPastel tools give you the look and feel of real pastels, and you can also use your fingers to blend colors on the app.
It’s easy to use and comes with many features like Apple pencil support and seamless editing patterns, letting you produce art of high accuracy and color. However, it is only compatible with Apple products.
Simple and easy-to-use, Vectr is one of the best free drawing apps on this list. This vector-based graphics software is compatible with multiple operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac, and ChromeOS.
Suitable for professionals and beginners alike, this powerful tool can be great for creatives like web designers, illustrators, graphic artists, and social media marketers.
It also promotes real-time collaboration with users across remote locations. There’s a rich database of user guides and tutorials available online to make learning Vectr simpler.
MediBang is one of the best free drawing apps available online. Its most striking feature is cross-platform compatibility. It’s available on Mac, Windows, and mobile phones with a cloud-saving feature that allows you to start your work on one platform and shift it to another when needed without distorting any of the previous work.
It’s lightweight and sports a decent number of brushes, tools, and other add-ons that let you create drawings, paintings, designs, and other art effortlessly. For its price, which is zero, it delivers gold.
Adobe Illustrator Draw
Adobe Illustrator Draw is an easy-to-use vector drawing program that offers several features from Adobe Illustrator but is free to use. It has several built-in brushes and a customizable toolbar for drawing rich and vibrant sketches seamlessly. With a clean, intuitive, and responsive UI, the app doesn’t require a steep learning curve to master and offers online support and regular updates for its features.
Another app that is very similar to Draw is Adobe Photoshop Sketch which is also free to use.
Krita is one of the best platforms for amateur artists who are just learning the ropes of the design world. It offers expansive features along with fast performance and is great for creating digital paintings, animations, and manga art.
It also has several simple tools for blending, mirroring, layering, color mixing, and other features. One of its best features is the brush stabilizer that makes drawing with shaky hands a smooth process.
It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
If you’re a designer who can’t afford to buy a license for Adobe Cloud but desperately needs the features that Photoshop offers, GIMP can be the next best option.
With a wealth of advanced features that are regularly updated and revised, GIMP is one of the best free drawing apps in the market today and has been for a long time.
This cross-platform image editor is user-friendly, has a highly intuitive interface, and is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It boasts of features like noise reduction, color correction, and animation, among many others.
One of the most versatile sketch pad apps, Autodesk SketchBook, can be used on Windows, Mac, iOS, and android.
It does not focus on photo editing but the finer and technical details of drawings. Hence, it’s one of the go-to apps for illustrators, industrial designers, and architects.
One of its best features is its scanning capabilities which let you scan a drawing on paper and import it directly to the app for further tweaking. It also has a large community of artists and designers who constantly upload their learnings and tips online to help budding artists.
Find The Drawing App That’s Right for You
Digital apps and software have not only made drawing easier and more accessible for professional designers and illustrators, but for beginners as well.
The right drawing app depends on your needs, budget, priorities, and experience level. Look for features that are more in line with your creative requirements instead of focusing on the app's popularity.
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