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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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