20 Best Drawing Software for 2019

Category: B2B News
What is the best drawing software?
The best drawing software is Adobe Photoshop CC which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s a popular graphics design solution that features a plethora of design tools and functionalities, allowing the creation of anything. From a small logo to posters, apps and websites. It’s equipped with industry-standard capabilities such as layer manipulation, photorealistic effects and powerful paintbrush engines.

When a spark of inspiration suddenly hits you, can you capture it right there and then before it disappears? Does the tool you’re using satisfy all the requirements of your work? Is your drawing app actually limiting what you can do, instead of empowering you? There are so many factors to consider when choosing the right graphic design software that suits your needs and style. But we’re here to help.

In this article, we have listed the best drawing software, together with the features that set them apart from the others. There is a wide variety in this list. There are tools for creating designs on the go, apps for comics, detailed images, typography, etc. Regardless of the reason, you’re sure to find at least one that would fit the bill.

Moreover, we’ve also indicated how big or small the dent in your pocket will they make. There are expensive ones. The costly but they’re worth it. There are cheap tools that don’t pack much of a punch. And thankfully, cost-effective solutions are available as well.

It’s noteworthy to point out that some of the items on the list could be used for computer-aided designs. However, most of them aren’t suited for such a task. So if that’s what you’re into, then it’s a lot more beneficial to specifically look at CAD software instead.

best drawing software

Gorgeous sceneries, comic strips, and blueprints can all be created using a drawing app. That’s how broad this type of tool is. There are three basic kinds of drawing software: bitmap, vector and CAD. Each of which is used in different fields but in this article, we focus more on the first two.

For bitmap and vector drawing, a graphic design or photo manipulation tool is used. Digital design has crawled into many things that are abundant in the modern age. Company logo, t-shirt design, animation and packaging to enumerate a few. Which is why it’s no surprise that the field has undergone so much evolution through the years.

For example, safe and muted colors are no longer a universal must-rule. This can be attributed to the fact that companies are now more daring with their color selection. The mouse isn’t the only way to make strokes on digital painting. Stylus, pen tablets, and other devices are gaining the attention of designers today. Also, there are more graphic design trends for 2019 that artists are aligning their style with.

drawing trend

3D, fun colors and abstract are some of the major art trends today, styles that can be easily done using drawing software (source: Pinch Studio)

Before going further, however, it must be noted that the apps we picked here are more in line with the painting or sketching spectrum of digital design. Likewise, Adobe PS may be the most popular, but you have plenty of choices, so feel free to investigate the top Adobe Photoshop CC alternatives, as well.

You’ll likewise do well as a designer to investigate non-drawing software tools that can aid in your work. For one, if you deal with clients, having a reliable billing and invoicing app will make collection much easier. Then there are plenty of affordable communication software to go around, which allows you to get clients anywhere in the world where you’re connected to the internet.

The 20 Best Drawing Software

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC dashboard example

Adobe Photoshop CC is still considered as the best drawing software in the market. It has a comprehensive set of tools that allows the creation and enhancement of illustrations, 3D artworks, and photographs. Also, it’s capable of designing mobile and web apps, reproducing paintings in real life, editing videos, and many more. Essentially, this tool is used for bringing any idea to life.

Price Range: Adobe Photoshop CC can be acquired as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud membership. The price varies for individuals, businesses, students/teachers and schools/universities accordingly. Plans start for as low as $9/license/mo. Moreover, Adobe offers a full-featured Photoshop for seven days with no credit card required.

Key Features of Adobe Photoshop CC

  1. It can be used for designing anything. From small logos and banners to full-size posters and packaging. Furthermore, the tool is capable of creating a design for an entire website, game app, etc.
  2. It has powerful editing features that are capable of a multitude of mind-bending works. This includes restoring old photos, removing or adding objects realistically and transforming an image completely.
  3. It allows even beginners to create amazing jobs. And at the same time, professional graphic designers can unleash their full splash of creativity through this tool.
  4. It has a set of powerful paintbrush features (brushes, pens, markers, pencils). This offers a great amount of control, enabling you to draw or paint anything you can think of.
  5. It has many functionalities that focus on improving user experience. Multiple undo and faster ways to transform crop and enter text to name a few.

2. CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW dashboard example

CorelDRAW is a professional graphic design application that features all the tools needed for smarter and faster vector illustration, photo editing, page layout, typography and more. This drawing software has platform-specific versions. Therefore, whatever you’re using to create designs, the app will always draw the device’s full potential. There’s a plethora of customization features and capabilities provided for graphic design as well.

Pricing Range: The complete CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 can be purchased for $569. Likewise, it can be availed through a monthly subscription of $16.50 (billed annually for $198). There’s an option for upgrading the old versions of the suite for $329 as well. Also, the vendor offers a free trial.

Key Features of CorelDRAW

  1. It grants you access to a comprehensive set of royalty-free content. Examples of which include clipart, hi-res digital images, fonts and templates.
  2. It fully supports the use of stylus pens and wheel devices, like MS Surface Dial.
  3. It features unique time-saving tools such as shadow effects manipulator, vector mosaic generator and automated symmetrical design. In addition, there’s a LiveSketch feature as well for making sketches on the fly.
  4. It is a powerful tool for vector illustration. Thus, allowing you to turn basic shapes and lines into a complicated piece of artwork.
  5. It ensures color consistency across different types of media (pdf, jpg, eps, etc.) making it easy to prepare documents for printing.

3. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer dashboard example

Affinity Designer is a smooth and powerful graphic design solution that focuses on speed, accuracy and improving users’ workflow so that their creativity isn’t hindered by technical limitations. This platform is made to utilize the full potential of modern computing hardware to provide you with fluid, responsive, and live user experience. Also, accuracy is a major feature in this product with its ridiculous zooming capability, flexible guides, advanced grids, etc.

Pricing Range: Affinity Designer’s desktop version (Windows and Mac) can be purchased for $49.99 and has a free trial offered. For iPad users, the product is available for $19.99.

 Key Features of Affinity Designer

  1. It is capable of zooming in up to 1,000,000% times and no, that’s not a typo.
  2. It presents the exact same file formats and features regardless of which device it’s used in, resulting in a seamless user experience across the board.
  3. It allows users to freely switch between raster and vector workspaces with just a single click. Consequently allowing you to apply the best of both worlds in your work, at your own pace.
  4. It has a core engine that can take documents of any size or complexity and can easily handle even 1000s of objects.
  5. It showcases many convenient features such as customizable keyboard shortcuts, grids, multi-file compatibility and more.

4. DrawPlus

DrawPlus dashboard example

With the creation of Affinity Designer, DrawPlus has now become a legacy product of Serif which is ideal for both beginner and graphic designers that need to work on print and online designs. Its customizable, feature-packed interface can be used to create anything, be it a logo for a product or a moving animation.

Pricing Range: Since this is legacy software, you can now only purchase DrawPlus X8 through the Affinity Store account for about $24.99.

 Key Features of DrawPlus

  1. It comes with realistic and natural-looking brushes which allows you to paint with a variety of media, such as watercolor and oil. Not to mention that it’s able to retain vector editing functionalities all along.
  2. It allows you to customize the interface for a more comfortable workspace.
  3. It comes with a variety of brushes for you to work with. And if there’s no pre-built brush that suits your style, you can create one. Complete with your own preference of weight, opacity, etc.
  4. It features an on-screen “How To” guide to provide assistance in case you have some questions.
  5. It allows smart sizing for producing grid patterns and resizing elements. This particularly useful for generating wallpaper effects.

5. Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint dashboard example

Illustrators who specialize in painting and drawing will enjoy Clip Studio Paint. This is thanks to its many helpful and unique features that are useful for such trade. Natural brush feels and high-sensitivity strokes, for example. The app can detect even up to 8000+ levels of pen pressure and apply it accordingly to the drawing. It’s also an ideal application for manga and comic artists. That’s because the software is packed with assisting features for their work, such as speech bubbles and panel splitting.

Pricing Range: Clip Studio Paint is available in standard and full-featured version. Paint PRO costs $49.99 and Paint EX can be purchased for $219.00. There is also volume license available for multiple purchases. A free trial can be downloaded from the vendor website.

Key Features of Clip Studio Paint

  1. It features AI colorization which uses deep learning technology wherein you only have to provide hints of color on certain parts and the app will make the surprisingly accurate finish.
  2. It allows you to import 3D figures that can be fully customized to suit the draft you’re making. Now you can easily draw any pose or angle.
  3. It is brimming with features that are ideal for drawing manga and comics. This includes speech bubbles, effect lines and panel splitting.
  4. It enables the creation of animation by adding timelines, camera movements, sound effect and music.
  5. It supports the use of vector layers which allows lines to be resized and edited easily.

6. Krita

Krita dashboard example

Krita is an open-source and free digital painting application that’s perfect for artists who are looking for a cheap but powerful tool where they can create concept art, illustrations, comics, textures, etc. It brings many features, both common and innovative, to provide users with creative freedom, regardless of whether they’re amateurs or professionals in the field.

Pricing Range: Krita can be downloaded for free, including its different builds, shell extension, and source code (since it’s open-source).

Key Features of Krita

  1. It features brush stabilizers which is helpful for those who have shaky hands.
  2. It offers 9 different brush engines. Each of these can be highly customized to suit your style and needs.
  3. It eases the creation of patterns and textures thanks to its wrap-around mode feature.
  4. It is equipped with numerous drawing assistant features. Helpful in creating the perfect shape you’re going for.
  5. It can easily import texture and brush packs from other artists or export one of your own to share it with others.

7. MediBang Paint Pro

MediBang Paint Pro dashboard example

MediBang Paint Pro is part of the MediBang Paint series that’s specially created for desktop users. It’s free, but feature-packed, drawing software that contains every essential feature needed for creating comics or illustrations. With the uncluttered interface and intuitive tools, creating amazing artwork on any style is easier.

Pricing Range: MediBang Paint Pro can be downloaded for free from the vendor website. You can also find the other MediBang Paint apps for different devices in that same place.

Key Features of MediBang Paint Pro

  1. It features more than 50 brushes to use for each occasion, such as GPen, Mapping Pen and Watercolor brush.
  2. It is a lightweight application that does not consume too many resources from your computer. This means that it can be used in conjunction with other apps without a performance drop.
  3. It has many comic-centric features to assist comics and manga artist. Easy panel creation and convenient page management for instance.
  4. It offers about 800 pre-built backgrounds and tones that you can use for free.
  5. It gives you access to a lot of fonts for your texts and dialogs.

8. Procreate

Procreate dashboard example

Procreate is an iPad exclusive drawing solution that’s loaded with industry-standard tools such as layering features, blend modes, color drop, and many more. All of which are developed from the ground up to maximize your iPad’s full potential. With this app, you are able to create inspiring paintings, beautiful sketches and stunning illustrations on the go.

Pricing Range: Procreate is available on the App Store for $9.99. There are also in-app purchases you can avail for richer drawing experience.

Key Features of Procreate

  1. It allows you to create gorgeous typography with the option of importing fonts to make a more compelling message.
  2. It contains a diverse set of handcrafted brushes. This allows you to blend and mix colors, create sketches or make shades as if using an actual pencil.
  3. It provides highly accurate control over vibrant colors. This is achievable through the system’s advanced tools such as Eyedropper, P3 Wide Color integration, and unlimited Palette Library.
  4. It works perfectly with the Apple Pencil device to provide a very natural drawing experience.
  5. It features a fluid, quick menu that you can configure for instant access to your favorite features.

9. Autodesk Sketchbook

Autodesk Sketchbook dashboard example

Autodesk Sketchbook is a graphics solution that features precise drawing tools and maximized drawing space for your creative process. Its portability allows you to capture an inspiration anytime it strikes, wherever you are.

Pricing range: Autodesk Sketchbook is now free to use by individual artists. But enterprises must avail a license for $85/year.

Key Features of Autodesk Sketchbook

  1. It allows you to work on maximized workspace because the tools won’t show up until you need them.
  2. It can export your work to different formats including PSD while layers, groupings, blending, etc. The system carefully preserves the formats as well.
  3. It enables you to capture an image with your device’s camera and use it directly to your work.
  4. It has dozens of tools that allow for a more precise drawing and faster workflow. This includes ellipse guides, predictive stroke and radial symmetry.
  5. It gives off natural feeling when making illustrations thanks to its drawing engine that’s capable of handling a 100 mpx canvas.

10. YouiDraw Drawing

YouiDraw dashboard example

YouiDraw Drawing is an online graphic design tool that only requires an internet connection to be accessed and used, from any device. This app offers basic design features together with some advanced functionalities. As a result, the tool is ideal for students and professionals alike.

Pricing Range: This is a free online drawing tool which, upon visiting the site, allows you to start working right away. No downloads or payment is necessary.

Key Features of YouiDraw Drawing

  1. It’s very easy to access and use. Just go to the site and then start designing right away.
  2. It provides a wide selection of usable designs for different types of work. This includes posters, t-shirts and gift cards.
  3. It has an interface design reminiscent of MS Paint and Photoshop. The difference being, it’s more comprehensive than the former and simpler than the latter.
  4. It provides a high-level of interoperability. That’s because it’s compatible with most devices and your work can be saved and loaded to any of them using your YouiDraw account.
  5. It displays tooltips for different aspects of the tool right from the get-go. Therefore, newbies will have an easier time using it.

11. PaintTool SAI

PaintTool SAI dashboard example

PaintTool SAI is a lightweight but high-quality painting tool that allows comfortable and enjoyable creation of digital art. It features a simple yet powerful UI which is easy to learn but is capable of performing complicated tasks that your work requires.

Pricing Range: PaintTool SAI has a 31 days trial period. After that, you must purchase a software license that costs $50 dollars to continue using the product.

Key Features of PaintTool SAI

  1. It offers full digitizer support. Thereby making it ideal to use on mobile devices and tablets.
  2. It enables the creation of very precise composition with its 16-bit ARGB channels.
  3. It has a rich color management tool that allows the creation and alteration of different types of color. This is accomplished by configuring various color facets, like saturation and illumination.
  4. It has an anti-aliased drawing feature that can minimize the instances of image distortion.
  5. It features data protection that prevents abnormal terminations like bugs.

12. Rebelle

Rebelle dashboard example

Rebelle is a paint software that allows the creation of realistic media artwork such as acrylic and watercolor. It uses real-world color blending, drying and wet diffusion to achieve a wide variety of effects. This tool is ideal for CG artist and painters that want to expand their artistic skills through advanced digital paint technology.

Pricing Range: Rebelle can be availed through a one-time purchase of $89.99. The vendor offers a 30-day trial with full refund policy in case the product did not satisfy your needs or style.

Key Features of Rebelle

  1. It has extensive support for retina touch displays.
  2. It features tools for producing wet media artworks. Ink Pen, Acrylics and Watercolors to name a few.
  3. It has dry tools as well, such as eraser, marker, pastel and pencil.
  4. It uses realistic painting techniques and tools. Thus, enabling you to simulate real-world artwork.
  5. It provides a gallery where you can publish your artwork and share it with others.

13. ArtRage

ArtRage dashboard example

ArtRage is a studio for digital artists and traditional painters that are looking for painting tools that look and work in a realistic fashion. You can blend colors on the canvas to create variations based on the amount of paint and the type of colors in the mix. Artists can also set the paint so that ink runs out after some time. This is useful for producing a realistic fading effect.

Pricing Range: ArtRage products come in different varieties. You can purchase the desktop version, ArtRage 6, for $79 while the pared-down ArtRage Lite is available for $29.90. There are mobile versions as well for both iOS and Android devices which can be bought for $4.99.

Key Features of ArtRage

  1. It features realistic painting tools, techniques and processes.
  2. It has a wide variety of utility tools. Example of such includes cloner, text tool, color sampler and flood fill
  3. It allows you to import an image that you can pin on the canvas afterward for reference. You can also use the image directly and make it part of your work.
  4. It provides perspective layout grids that serve as guides when painting.
  5. It has numerous convenient functionalities such as unlimited undo/redo and copy and pasting of layers while maintaining all their properties.

14. MyBrushes Paint for Mac

MyBrushes Paint for Mac dashboard example

MyBrushes Paint for Mac, as the name implies, is a paint tool exclusive for Mac devices. It’s a good alternative to the Apple Mac Paint and MS Paint as well because of the more comprehensive set of features it offers including the valuable layer tools.

Pricing Range: MyBrushes for Mac can be purchased for $29.99. There’s a 10-day full-featured trial version available for download too.

Key Features of MyBrushes Paint for Mac

  1. It does not limit the size of the canvas you can work on.
  2. It records every brushstroke and other processes made. You can then playback the entire drawing if you needed to later.
  3. It has a design that makes painting easy for Mac thanks to the natural feel it provides to users.
  4. It has over a hundred digital paintbrushes to choose from. Thus, you can simulate realistic Watercolor painting, Paintbrush painting, Oil Painting, etc.
  5. It features a brush that contains text or image input on its strokes.

15. Epic Pen

Epic Pen dashboard example

Epic Pen is a free annotation and screen marker tool for Windows. It enables you to highlight, write and draw directly over desktop applications such as web pages, videos, presentations and games. It’s hidden when not in use and is lightweight enough to not affect the system’s performance, making it usable even on live streams and such.

Pricing Range: Epic Pen’s basic version is a free tool that can be used for personal purposes. Commercial and educational use of the product requires a pro license that you can avail with a one-time payment of $25. Epic Pen PRO contains an expanded toolkit that extends its functionality. Individuals with a basic package who want the expanded toolkit can upgrade their app accordingly.

Key Features of Epic Pen

  1. It does not impact the performance of the device it runs on.
  2. It has a clean visual style that makes it easy to use. No complex menus, confusing options and obscure buttons.
  3. It supports multiple touch input.
  4. It is a versatile tool that can serve different purposes. This includes annotation, highlighting and drawing.
  5. It supports seamless jump from software to software.

16. Flame Painter

Flame Painter dashboard example

Flame Painter is an award-winning painting solution that empowers the production of stunning visuals through life-like particle brushes. It pioneered the innovative Particle Systems that allows the creation of an unlimited range of brush styles, including light effects and organic painting brushes.

Pricing Range: With a one-time payment of $89.99, you can purchase Flame Painter. A 30 days unconditional refund policy is also in place.

Key Features of Flame Painter

  1. It allows you to create dynamic compositions through a series of expressive but controlled effects.
  2. It is capable of producing photorealistic effects, enabling you to transform a photograph into whatever your creative mind allows you.
  3. It utilizes the groundbreaking Particle Systems technology where you can create any number of brush style spectrums.
  4. It features Brush Creator that enables you to customize many aspects of your brush. For instance, you can change its shape, texture, gradient and behavior.
  5. It can import vector images in the SVG format and convert them to either vector path or bitmap.

17. ChemDoodle

ChemDoodle dashboard example

ChemDoodle is a powerful chemical drawing application that supports all platform including mobile devices and web browsers. It has thousands of tools and features for dealing with chemical graphs. The system combines various functionalities such as 3D graphics, advanced algorithms and comprehensive documentation.

Pricing Range: ChemDoodle is available in three packages: student, single user, and home + office. Student license provides a restricted version of the product for $29. It also expires after 6 months. Single user and Home + Office licenses have similar features. The latter, however, can be used on two computers. A free trial and quote-based site licenses are available too.

Key Features of ChemDoodle

  1. It can represent chemical reactions through the robust arrow tools, drag-and-drop interface and cleaning features.
  2. It comes with a plethora of tools for working with Chemistry-related graphics. BioArt, ChemSketch and glassware graphics to name a few.
  3. It can do some of the hard stuff for you, like working on stereochemistry, implicit hydrogens and ring finding.
  4. It features a calculator tool that allows you to compute properties and descriptors. Bond distances, boiling point and molecular formulas, for example, can be calculated through this tool.
  5. It is compatible with third-party applications such as Adobe tools and MS Office.

18. Paintstorm Studio

Painstorm Studio dashboard example

Paintstorm Studio is a professional digital painting software that aims to bring powerful functionalities into use, in the most comfortable way possible. That vision resulted is an application that allows you to play with brushes to find the one suitable for your need and style. It’s available on desktop computers and iPad.

Pricing Range: You can purchase Paintstorm Studio through a lifetime license for $19.  In addition to that, you can also get a discount when buying two licenses for $29. A free trial is available for exploration as well where you can launch the app 30 times before it expires.

Key Features of Paintstorm Studio

  1. It allows you to close the gaps between shapes when filling or selecting an object.
  2. It comes with a dynamic interface that allows you to create your very own custom panel. Similarly, you can also change the size, position, tab-lock and opacity of the toolbars.
  3. It features advanced symmetry tools.
  4. It gives you total control of every brush options. Thereby giving you the freedom to completely customize a brush according to your style.
  5. It has bristle brushes of all kinds and forms.

19. MyPaint

MyPaint dashboard example

MyPaint is a fast, simple and distraction-free drawing software that contains all the essential features for creating great artworks. Before, it was created for personal use but has taken off when other people helped in its development. Likewise, word about this app has spread and thus, it became more than a personal tool.

Pricing Range: This is a free product that you can download and use on desktops and graphic tablets.

Key Features of MyPaint

  1. It has a full-screen, clutter-free view. Thereby allowing you to focus on what you’re working on.
  2. It is a simple tool that, at the same time, complements the use of creativity to make great art.
  3. It comes with brushes that can imitate traditional media.  Particularly ink, paint, charcoal, or pencil.
  4. It uses hotkeys and customizable shortcuts to speed up the creative process.
  5. It has an infinite canvas size, restricted only by your device’s technical limitation.

20. Mischief

Mischief dashboard example

Mischief is a small but powerful drawing application that gives artists unique creative features they can take advantage of. It sports an infinite canvas that works perfectly with its scalable brushes and unlimited zooming. As a result, you can create incredibly detailed, and at the same time, broadly sketched image.

Pricing Range: Mischief comes with a free version that contains the essential tools perfect for doodling and hashing out ideas. Of course, you can also purchase the full version for $25 which contains added features such as pallets and presets. The vendor offers a 15-day trial as well to have you experience firsthand the full power of Mischief.

Key Features of Mischief

  1. It features detail preservation and infinite zooming capabilities. Thus, you will find it easier to create detailed artworks.
  2. It allows the creation of a huge project thanks to the infinite canvas.
  3. It is a lightweight app that provides a fluid and fast experience. Because of that, it actually feels like working on a real pencil and paper.
  4. It has multi-touch support.
  5. It offers a minimalist approach that provides less distraction when working.

Start with Photoshop but try the others as well

How about it? Did you find the one you’re looking for? The list features a wide variety of drawing software that could cater to pretty much any graphic design needs. Whether you have to design a logo for your brand or to create a highly-detailed graphic work. Whether you work in an office or outdoors.

If you’re unsure of which to try first, you can’t go wrong with our top choice. Adobe Photoshop CC offers a 7-day, no-risk trial where you can use it in its full glory. It’s popular for a reason. Photoshop sports a comprehensive set of tools and features that allow beginners to make beautiful creations. Professionals, on the other hand, can maximize their full potential in order to produce a truly admirable work of art.

If subscription throws you off, give CorelDRAW a consideration. And if free is what you need, then Krita is a solid choice. If your interest, however, skews more into the graphic design category in general, then this list must be too specific for you. You would more likely be interested in reading about the best graphic design software of 2019 instead.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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