Free Digital Art Software For Mac

Free Digital Art Software For Mac Average ratng: 4,5/5 7632 reviews

This free animation software for Mac has a very interactive and user friendly interface. Cons of Blender: This free animation software for Mac is mainly meant for experts and not for beginners. Though attractive but the interface of this software is very daunting. User Reviews. Digital art free download - ArtPlus Digital Photo Recovery, Beautiful Digital Art, Trippy Effects for Digital Art, and many more programs. Download the latest version of Krita for FREE on your device. Available on Windows, Linux, OSX, and Android tablets.

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Why You Should Trust Me

Hi, my name is Thomas Boldt, and I’ve been working in the digital arts for well over a decade. I first got my hands on a copy of Photoshop 5 in high school and combined it with my interest in 3D modeling and rendering to create a passion for all things graphical. Since then, I developed a passion for design, and graduated from the York University/Sheridan College Joint Program in Design in 2008. I started working in related fields even before graduation, and this experience has led me to work with almost every graphics program under the sun at one point or another.

Disclaimer: None of the companies mentioned in this article have provided me with any compensation for writing this article, and they have had no editorial input or control over the final review. That being said, I am a subscriber to the Adobe Creative Cloud program suite and use it regularly for my personal and professional work.

The Wonderful World of Digital Art

Despite how it might seem at first, a lot of the major graphics programs have grown somewhat interchangeable over the years and have started to overlap each other’s jobs. Finding the one that works best for you is the most important part of the process. Just as every artist has developed their own unique creative style, every artist will have to make their own choices about which particular program fits best into their personal workflow.

Also, it’s important to remember that no matter how good the software is, you will still need to learn a whole new set of processes. Even if you’re an extremely talented artist in the offline world, you will find yourself having to learn a whole new set of skills specific to the digital world. As someone who dedicated a lot of time and effort to refining their ability, it can be a bit discouraging to suddenly find yourself struggling again. This is perfectly natural and understandably frustrating, but try to remember this important piece of wisdom from author, journalist and radio host Ira Glass on the nature of creativity:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”

It shouldn’t take you years to transfer your existing artistic talents to the digital world, but it’s important to remember that there is a learning curve even with the very best digital art software. But if you stick with it and keep creating, eventually you’ll be able to make things that could never be accomplished with more traditional artistic media.

Always keep creating, and never give up your artistic vision!

How We Chose the Winners

Digital art is a fairly broad category, so it’s important to be clear about how we broke down the review process. We’re covering a wide range of different artistic styles with their own unique issues so the criteria here a bit more general than usual, but they’ll still point you in the right direction. Here are the questions we asked about each program before selecting our winners.

1. How well does it cater to its primary artistic medium?

As with any other task, it’s always important to choose the right tool for the job. A multi-tool screwdriver is extremely useful, until you realize that you actually need a belt sander. Since we broke down the digital art category into three subcategories, it’s important to take into account just how specialized the software is for a particular artistic style. Some try to be everything to everyone, but still have a central core of tools that make up its primary featureset.

2. Does it work well with drawing tablets?

Whether you’re bringing your skills from the physical world to the digital one or just looking for better options, it’s always important to have room to grow. If you spend a lot of time learning a new program and then find out that it doesn’t support a tablet, you might wind up kicking yourself. Drawing tablets are intuitive and well-balanced tools for beginners and experts alike, but you want more than just a pen-shaped mouse. A good graphics program will be able to configure all the additional layout buttons available on your specific model, as well as respond to pressure sensors. The very best programs will also be able to identify the angle that you’re holding the stylus at for truly natural creations – although you’ll also need a tablet that supports the feature.

3. Is it user-friendly?

While artists are often willing to go to extreme lengths in order to pursue their creative vision, there’s something to be said for making sure that your tools themselves don’t get in the way of your creativity. There is a pure simplicity to an easel, brushes and a paintbox, and you should be able to get that same level of instant access to the tools you need in your digital arts software.

Of course, every artist has their own unique way of arranging their studio, and the best graphics programs will also allow you to reconfigure the user interface to meet your exact specifications. You don’t need to have a silk-screening kit ready at hand when you’re sketching, just the way you don’t need to have a full set of typographic options in your way while you’re painting (probably).

4. Are there plenty of learning materials?

Whether you’ve got a lifetime of experience in the art world or you’re starting from day one with a digital stylus in your hand, learning graphics programs can be a complex process. The best programs are complete with introductions, tips and other bits of guidance built right into the software. Yet that can only take you so far, so once you’re ready to expand your skills, one of the best ways to learn is to follow along with some good tutorials, whether they are from books, videos or other online sources. Typically (though not always), the better a program is, the more learning material you’ll be able to find for it.

Even if you’re already comfortable with your own creative style, learning how to create it digitally can be quite different than what you’re used to. That transition can also present some opportunities to explore new horizons!

5. Does it have an active community of users?

It would probably be very interesting to see what would happen to an artistic community if people didn’t teach others basic techniques, but most of us got our start in the arts through someone we admired and learned from. A good digital arts program will have an active community of users, which has multiple benefits. There’s always someone to ask if you’re stuck on creating a specific effect, and there are people to show your work off too who will appreciate it and be able to give you understanding and honest critiques to help you improve.

The Winner’s Circle

The Best Overall Digital Art Software: Adobe Photoshop (Mac/PC)

Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed leader of the graphics arts world, and with very good reason. Yet despite how it started out, Photoshop isn’t just for working with photographs. That is certainly one of the tasks that it excels at, but over the years it has added a huge range of additional functionality that allows you to create almost anything you could possibly want. If you like to dabble in a wide range of digital media or if you want to keep your creative horizons open, Photoshop is the best one-stop choice.

After nearly 30 years of active development the tools it offers are unparalleled, and some of the new content-aware editing tools almost defy belief thanks to their automated editing abilities. You can do everything from editing RAW photographs to creating stunning photorealistic composites to painting and airbrushing original artwork, and it has an impressive set of brush customization options for working with drawing tablets. Photoshop can also create and edit vectors, 3D models and videos at a frame-by-frame level, although these tools are not as well developed as you’ll find in programs dedicated to those tasks.

With all these tools to work from things can get confusing fast, but Adobe has done a great job of allowing users to customize the interface completely. It’s easy to ditch the tools you never use and focus on what works best for your current project, or even hide the entire interface so you can focus on nothing but your image. You can use one of their preset workspaces, or create and save as many of your own custom presets as you like.

My custom workspace geared towards cloning, adjustment layers and text

The flipside to this impressive functionality is that there are so many features, even one Photoshop expert admitted that she would probably never have time to use them all. I can’t seem to find the exact quote, but it stuck with me because I have often felt the same way. As much fun as it may be to learn all the 3D and video editing tools that are now included, Photoshop’s primary job is working with still, pixel-based images.

But no matter what your project is, there will be plenty of learning materials available to help you develop the skills you need or answer almost any question. Some guides are even built right into the program, and there is a convenient search mode that allows you to look through a database of tutorials and other learning materials. If you can’t find exactly what you need, the incredible number of active Photoshop users will be happy to help out in any of the online forums dedicated to it.

There are many competitors for Photoshop, but nothing has been developed yet that can truly challenge it. There are other great image editors (as you can read about in the alternatives section below), but none of managed to combine the power, precision, huge featureset and total customizability that Photoshop has offered for years. For a more in-depth look at Photoshop, you can read the full review here.

The Best Digital Art Software for Drawing & Illustration: CorelDRAW (PC only)

The docker panel on the right is currently displaying the ‘Hints’ section, a helpful built-in resource that explains how each tool functions

CorelDRAW is actually one of the few graphics programs available today that is almost as old as Photoshop. Just one year younger, it has gone through many versions to reach today’s Graphics Suite 2018, but unfortunately Corel dropped support for MacOS along the way. However, many Mac users eager to try out its tools have discovered that it works quite well under the Parallels virtual machine. This is not officially supported and you may run into some unexpected bugs, so be sure to download the free trial version to test it out for your computer!

CorelDRAW is a program specially designed for working with vector graphics, which makes it an excellent illustration tool. It comes with a full set of the tools you’d expect to find in any vector graphics program – various shape tools and a great set of pen and line tools for creating freehand shapes. As with most vector graphics software, it also functions as a great page layout program, which allows you to quickly incorporate your illustrations into larger designs like posters and pamphlets.

The reason that CorelDRAW managed to edge out Adobe Illustrator in this category is an impressive new tool that was released in the 2017 version known as LiveSketch. As you can see in the video below, LiveSketch offers a whole new way to create vector graphics by transforming your sketching into vectors on the fly. You can modify and refine vector lines by redrawing them the way you would when sketching with pencil and paper, and it even learns your sketching style “based on the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning”. can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: New LiveSketch in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2017! (

The interface has decent customization options, although you’ll have to dig a bit deeper through the menus to find them than you would in some other programs. There are an excellent set of pre-configured workspaces, however, including one that is designed specifically for touchscreens, a ‘Lite’ workspace for new users, and one designed to appeal to users who have been coaxed away from Adobe Illustrator.

While Corel does a good job of introducing you to the program via helpful built-in tips and guides, you may find yourself wanting a bit of extra help. There isn’t much learning material in the form of books (at least not in English), but a few quick searches online should provide you with everything you need to learn the software. Corel has also developed a solid set of tutorials that are available on the Corel Learning Center to help you get up to speed. For a more in-depth look at CorelDRAW, you can read the full review here.

The Best Digital Art Software for Painting: Corel Painter (Mac/PC)

Corel Painter is another long-lived graphics program with 27 years of development under the hood, and it’s been refreshed in the 2019 version of Painter. One of the biggest problems with it in the past was that computers of the past weren’t always up to the job, and so you’d wind up with brushstroke lag during painting. Those problems are a thing of the past, thanks to new optimizations and speed improvements – not to mention access to computers with 16+ GB of high-speed ram and CPU clock speeds of 4Ghz!

Painter is by far the best recreation of traditional artistic media in the digital world, and as soon as you get your hands on it you’ll understand. The sheer number of brushes available should be enough to keep you experimenting happily for days, as though you were suddenly dropped into a fully-equipped studio. Whether you like a simple brush, a palette knife, watercolors, an airbrush or anything in between, Painter 2019 offers over 900 preset tool types which you can customize to your heart’s content. Corel has even included the brush libraries from the last six versions of Painter to make sure that you find what you need.

The list of tools available in Painter 2019 is quite impressive.

When setting up each new piece, you can even configure the type and style of your surface, allowing you to create the appearance of anything from a plain stretched canvas to fine watercolor paper. Each different surface interacts differently with your brush and paint selections just the way its real-world equivalent would.

As you would expect from a program this dedicated to accuracy, Painter also works beautifully with drawing tablets. Corel actually embraces this so much they offer special deals on a full range of Wacom touchscreens and tablets that come bundled with the latest version of Painter (bundles available in the U.S. only).

A range of interface layout options are available, with their toolsets configured for various specifics tasks from a simplified interface to photorealistic painting to classical fine art. There are also plenty of options for illustration, although Painter works exclusively in pixels and doesn’t handle vector graphics at all.

Like all of Corel’s software, there is a solid set of tutorials easily accessible directly from Painter, including an introduction to the very basics so that you can start working as quickly as possible. The Welcome screen shown above is your guide to your new artistic freedom. There isn’t very much third-party tutorial content available for Painter 2019 as of the time of this writing, but there’s plenty available for previous versions if you need a bit of extra help.

The Paid Competition

Below are a few paid alternatives for you to consider.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

If the idea of learning the full version of Photoshop seems a bit overwhelming to you, you might want to look at its younger cousin, Photoshop Elements. It includes the majority of the most-used editing tools from the full version and offers plenty of step-by-step instructions. It does an excellent job of teaching new users the ropes, and once you get more confident you can move into Expert mode for even more creative freedom.

Unfortunately, this means that you might miss out on a few tools that you want from the full version, but it really depends on what you want to do. While it’s tempting to want the most powerful version available, the reality is that most casual home users will find that Elements can handle all their photo editing needs – with a few fun extras thrown in for good measure. You can read the full Photoshop Elements review here.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is relatively new on the graphic arts scene, but it has already been making some serious waves as a Photoshop alternative. It hasn’t quite replicated all the tools available in Photoshop, but it’s done an excellent job of recreating the core functionality at a much more affordable one-time price. It’s got a decent interface, although there is a counterintuitive module system accessed across the top of the layout that separates some of the functionality for reasons that aren’t immediately clear.

While it’s extremely affordable and there is a growing community of users, it doesn’t have a great deal of tutorial information available. Some of the larger teaching sites like Lynda and Udemy have launched courses, and Affinity has done a good job of creating tutorial videos for most of the features and tools, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find much more material available online, and the only English book available as of this writing is written by the developers. See here for a full review of Affinity Photo.

Corel PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro is another of the older generation of graphics programs, and it is has found itself overlapping a number of different programs in terms of functionality. It’s Corel’s answer to Photoshop, although it doesn’t quite live up to the same standard. It’s a solid enough program, with good editing tools and a customizable interface, but it also suffers from a few flaws that can make it frustrating to use for large projects.

The biggest of these problems is some serious delays in brushstroke responsiveness, which grow even worse when you’re working with large high-resolution files. There can also be some delay when applying other edits which can slow down a professional editor quite a bit. On the other hand, it’s available as a one-time purchase for PC users who want to avoid the subscription model recently adopted by Adobe. Learn more from our full PaintShop Pro review here.

Adobe Illustrator CC

This teddy bear is made entirely out of modified circles

Like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator has also been the industry standard for quite a while, although Illustrator excels at vector images instead of raster images. It nearly won in the best drawing and illustration category due to its impressive vector illustration tools, except that its native drawing capabilities leave much to be desired. It can be used with a drawing tablet, but it doesn’t really offer much in the way of advanced tools beyond the basic paintbrush tool, so you may as well just be using a mouse that you’re more comfortable with.

Illustrator has excellent vector tools, including some new additions in the latest CC release to help with drawing freehand curves, but it doesn’t yet have anything to match the LiveSketch tool found in CorelDRAW. The user interface follows the standard Adobe model also found in Photoshop, with preset workspaces configured for different tasks and the ability to customize and save as many of your own personalized workspaces as you want. There’s more tutorial info out there than you will ever have time to read, and you can download a free 7-day trial to see if it’s the right fit for you. You can also see the full Illustrator review here.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Sketchbook has a wonderfully clutter-free interface – it’s actually quite soothing.

Touch-enabled devices and sketching really just go hand in hand, and Autodesk gets it right with Sketchbook. It didn’t win any category because it’s a fairly simple program, but it does simplicity quite well, allowing you to focus on your drawing and not spend too much time worrying about tools and configurations. When you do need to adjust something, Sketchbook uses a unique style of ‘dial’ interface optimized for touch devices (see the bottom left corner in the screenshot). If you want to take your sketch to a further stage in your creative process, Sketchbook is also compatible with the Photoshop document format (.PSD), which makes for easy integration with a deeper workflow.

One of the best things about this program is that earlier this year, Autodesk decided to make it free for everyone! If you just recently purchased it you might be a bit grumpy about this, but otherwise it’s a great way to explore the world of digital sketching without having to spend a cent on your software. You will definitely need a drawing tablet, touchscreen-enabled computer or mobile device to really make good use of it, and there is a complete guide available on the Autodesk website to help get you up to speed.

Sketchbook is available for Windows, iOS and Android devices, although the mobile version has a different user interface and more simplified capabilities. You should be able to make it work properly on macOS with a virtual machine, but I haven’t tested this myself.

Affinity Designer

Just as Affinity Photo is their Photoshop clone, Designer is Affinity’s attempt at challenging Illustrator for the vector graphics crown. However, their desire to unseat Illustrator has led them to correct several of its mistakes, as they have spent some time considering touch and drawing tablets as input devices. Working with freehand shapes is also much easier, thanks to the large default anchor points and handles. Less time struggling with your interface means more time illustrating!

Affinity Designer is available for both Mac and PC, using the same one-time purchase model as their other software at just $69.99. It’s an affordable way to get into the world of vector illustration, and there is a 10-day free trial available from the Affinity website and the Mac App Store.

Corel Painter Essentials

Painter Essentials is a much-simplified version of the full Painter 2019 experience, which has some pros and some cons. It includes a limited version of the functionality from the full version, including a basic set of brushes, tablet support and a more streamlined interface. If you’re just interested in exploring what you can accomplish with digital paint, Essentials might be a good introduction, but any serious professional artist will want to go for the full version of the software.

The interface hasn’t been updated in the same way as the latest version of Painter, and you’ll note that the Welcome screen still recommends upgrading to Painter 2018 instead of 2019, but these are minor issues that will probably be corrected in the next version. There is some tutorial content available from Corel, but it’s limited in comparison to what’s available for the full version of Painter.

Free Digital Art Software For Mac

Free Alternatives


The ads can be a bit distracting (especially when they repeat like you see above) but it’s a small price to pay for a free online editor.

It’s astonishing what you can accomplish with a web app these days, and nothing shows that better than the free Pixlr online image editor. It is a full-featured image editor with decent editing tools, layer support and an interesting pencil tool that mimics the look of skilled sketching.

It’s definitely not going to replace a proper desktop application for any serious graphics work, but it might do the job for you if you’ve just got a quick screen graphic to make or a simple edit to a photo for social media. It has no support for graphics tablets beyond a simple mouse, but you wouldn’t expect to find full support in an online format.

It can be a bit difficult to load because some web browsers now disable Flash by default due to the security risks, but Pixlr tries to make the process simple with on-screen prompts. You can try it for free in your browser at

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) (PC/Mac/Linux)

Many people swear by GIMP, although I have never met a professional working in the graphics arts who used it for their work. There probably are some, because GIMP has a few advantages: it’s quite powerful for pixel-based image work, it’s easy to create plugins and extensions for it, and it’s all available for the low low price of free.

The problem with GIMP is that it has one of the most frustrating and needlessly complicated interfaces I’ve ever run into. It seems to be a common problem with open source software – software developers tend to be more focused on functionality than user experience – although recent versions include ‘Single Window’ mode which makes the interface a great deal more rational. If you’re on a tight budget and you need something with the power of Photoshop for free, GIMP will do the job.

Gravit Designer (PC/Mac/Linux/ChromeOS)

Gravit has a clean, clear and uncluttered interface that is quite easy to use.

Free Drawing Software For Mac

Gravit Designer is an excellent free vector graphics program, although it’s not open source. It has an excellent set of vector drawing tools, and has good support for some of the more common vector graphics file formats. Unfortunately it can’t edit the proprietary formats from Adobe, but that’s a small consideration if you’re just looking to explore vector graphics. It’s available for the widest range of operating systems, and can even run in your web browser.

It has an excellent user interface, especially for a free program. Even more surprisingly, it has a solid set of tutorials available online from a wide range of sources. This makes it the perfect introduction to the world of vector graphics, although eventually you’ll want to move on to a more professional program if you’re serious about vector illustration.

A Final Word

The digital revolution is a gift that keeps on giving, and now that computer hardware capabilities have caught up to our artistic dreams, the world of digital art is more accessible than ever before. It’s possible to create some truly stunning work using modern programs, although that power can make them difficult to learn. Explore the options, find the right program for you, and learn the ins and outs of the new digital art forefront. It takes some time to make the transition from the offline world to the digital one, but it’s worth it!

And remember: always keep creating!

In recent years digital advancements have designers leaving pen and paper behind, allowing them to create visual image files using their computer mouse or Graphic Drawing Tablets.

if you are good at freehand pencil/drawing then a tablet is great to have your work already created in the digital realm without transferring it there later to work on more. sketching basically, i’m not good at it but a good sketcher would probably love a good tablet.

and, if you need to edit (especially for raster images) down to individual pixels and pixel groups then a tablet is very helpful.

tablets are great to have when you need to transfer a raster image into a vector environment and vice versa because you are definitely going to need to edit pixel by pixel to get edges to blend etc.

Almost any professional graphics software will work for Drawing tablets, as they have pretty much a stranglehold on the digitizer tablet market. So you should pick the right software for your needs and preferences.

I tried out a lot during the years: photoshop (cs2 - cc ), krita, gimp, paint tool sai, mypaint, corel painter, paintstorm studio and maybe more, just can't remember. I own a XP-Pen Deco Pro (Medium) graphics tablet .

Free Digital Art Software For Mac

What I can say is that every software has their own advantages. The question is: what advantages are good for you personally. That's why I suggest to try different softwares before you decide which one is the best for you.

I can name some really-well known ones and I'll say my own personal opinion about them.

Best Free Digital Art Software For Mac

5 Best Paid Drawing & Painting programs for Artists :

On this side we've the comercial programs. Hp 7410 software for mac. They can be very pricey but they have the advantage in that you’re buying a high quality product right out of the box made by paid professionals. They won’t suffer from a lack of updates or bugs like most opens source programs do.

1. Adobe Photoshop CC - many tools

The king of photo editing, painting and hands down the best program. When you see an amazing painting eight out of ten times was made on photoshop. On the free side only Krita comes close to match it’s raw power.

Get this one if you can.

This one is the favorite for all professionals mainly due to all the highly advanced tools it has and it’s second to none brush engine.

No wonder it’s the most pirated software ever.

Some people get intimidated by it, but it’s actually very easy to learn. Because you won’t be needing most of its tools as the majority are mainly used for photo manipulation —not for painting. In fact if you learn to use this program you’ll know the basics of all the others.

All painting programs want to be as good as it (wheter they admit it or not).

Most tutorials and learning tools are made for photoshop so it’s ideal for beginners and pros alike. All painting programs owe something to this one.

It’s main drawbacks are the fact that it’s a very heavy program that will demand a lot resources from your computer, like memory and RAM. Not for the faint of heart.

Photoshop is the industry standard. It's easy to find tutorials, brushes, or anything else you need,

This is subscription based now. Has so much stuff featured and it's good at doing anything. There are different tiers starting from $15/month (Photoshop + Lightroom + other stuff) up to $100 (All adobe apps + adobe stock). It has everything. Tons of options like custom brushes, workspace customization, plug-ins, filters, effects, 3D support, and many more features. Not sure if you can buy older versions for a fixed amount.. There's a trial too.

While it can be faulty, Photoshop is still 'the industry standard'. At some point you'll have to learn how to use it in one way or another. It can be complicated, frustrating and the default brush engine is not that good with lineart, but still, it's can be considered the best in everything overall.

2. PaintTool SAI:

Really popular and cheap for its capabilities. Has a free trial. It has a pretty good drawing engine overall.

This is the program all other “manga” painting software want to be. Manga artist love it. It’s legendary.

It has an amazing watercolor brush and eight out of ten times most manga style art, on the internet, is made with this software.

It’s very lightweight and very easy to learn and master. In fact the “easy” part of its name is not just a trademark; it really is easy.

Artist love it for it’s lack of lag, great paint feeling and it’s superior linear to even photoshop’s.

However it does suffer from the drawback in that its developers are too content “being at the top” and they seldom ever (if ever) update or fix bugs for it.

3. Clip Paint Studio/Manga Studio - Windows/Mac

Taking advantage of Sai's lack of— “enthusiasm”— comes Manga Studio , especially for lineart. Has trial.

Clip Studio paint is a specific software to use for digital painting and comic drawing. This software offer a lot of easy method to drawing comic (something like comic panels, comic page, comic cloud etc) and have a lot of artistic brushes to help you on drawing. Any professional artist use this software usually have manga style drawing .

It's very similar to Sai. But it has much more features. It leans heavily on artist that want to publish comics/manga as such it has many features that help on it including vectors.

It's a bit pricer than Sai, but it,s development team is much more committed .

4. Corel Painter

a great realistic painting tool, bridging the gap between traditional media and the digital world.

Corel allows you to customize anything you want, be it brushes, palettes, papers, colors, patterns, gradients, etc. It has every professional tool to provide the user with a seamless drawing experience. There are over 900 brushes in Corel Painter with an addition of 36 new brushes for diverse drawing requirements. It also offers a range of amazing tools for creating the perfect composition. Additionally, you can also import content from others to complete your drawing.

This one is a favorite for many professionals due to it’s power to emulate real life tools/ traditional media. The feeling of painting with actual oils and the like is second to none. If you come from a traditional background this one is the very best bet.

It's awesome - the real brushes simulating the real deal are uncanny, it's almost too good to be believed. However, some of the functions are extremely clumsy to use - resizing or moving images, rotating layers etc, small details which can frustrate the user or slow down the workflow.

Higher tier, expensive stuff . Just like photoshop, profesional love it but–

I personally don’t recomend it for hobbyists, like me, due to the fact that it’s too pricey (money you should be investing in learning)

It’s also very complex and it has a high learning curve so it can be incredibly confusing specially for people that don’t know anything about digital painting.

5. ArtRage 5

This full-featured digital painting software from Ambient Design, with new digital editing tools, provide improved performance. The advanced features make creating art a fun and easy activity.

On ArtRage 5, you can customize your paper to get the desired effect and allows you to design brushes, composition tools, pattern and gradient fill, filters, etc. The latest version comes new tools such as the natural pencil, flexible custom brush editing along with previous tools. The user can personalize everything and can adapt the software to one's needs.

Art rage is a cheap alternative for a program that emulates traditional medium like oils and water colors.

Free digital art software

First let’s talk about the ones you can get for free “as in gratis.” It’s said that there is no such thing as a “free meal.” But this is an exception as most of these were done by talented people that believe in freedom of software (open source) . Neat uh?

6. Gimp

Mac Os/Windows/linux. While it's free and has a lot of freedom, it's like linux. Can be complicated, faulty and frustrating.

Even painters that love it tend to heavily modify it to suit their needs. I was using gimp for Graphic Design for more than 2 years and I guess I'd say it's more of a Graphic Design rather than painting software.

It also suffers from the drawback that it’s creators want it to be an image editor and painter features aren’t a priority for them. Updates can take years to materialize.

Developers tend to care more about catering to other developers than the average users (hence it’s weird version numbering and confusing “save as” option) .

But if you want a solid photoshop replacement this one is the one you should try.

Many incredible artist use this program. Once you get used to the UI you’ll be doing amazing works of art in no time. Best of all, you’ll get the best of photoshop at no charge.

The “underdog” feeling of creating art as amazing as photoshop is also priceless.

7. Krita - extended tool-set aimed at digital drawing

It’s available for Mac/Windows/linux and some tablets. Krita seems to be one of the most underrated free and open source painting apps on the market, despite it being in development for over 10 years. Krita has an intuitive and customisable interface, where the dockers and panels can be set up to maximise your workflow.

Its free, open source, and very powerful. It is great for beginners who don't have the money for photoshop and you can do most things that you can do in photoshop. Have fun and enjoy!

This one is my personal favorite and in my opinion the best. The developers are hardworking knowledgeable individuals and in some aspects this software is even better than photoshop. This program was designed with 100% of painters in mind. It’s been used by profesional artist as a serious alternative for photoshop and it has every tool you could possibly need and even more!

Looking for an amazing brush engine? Perspective tools? layers? Masks? brush customization? This program has you covered.

The tool offers nine unique brush engines, including a Color Smudge engine, Shape engine and Particle engine. You can also import brushes and texture packs or create and share your own. As an added bonus, you can use a brush stabiliser to help get those perfectly smooth lines every time.

Its developers made it possible to use photoshop brushes on this program neat uh?

8. MyPaint - basic tool-set

MyPaint is a free and open-source raster graphics editor for digital painters with a focus on painting rather than image manipulation or post processing.

has a lovely, endless canvas (raster) & nicely done brush engine. Free & open source. - Linux, macOS & Windows. Can require some technical knowledge to install on macOS (use MacPorts) & Windows.

This one’s mains strength is that it’s simplicity and great UI makes you focus on painting and let’s you forget about everything else. It has great preset tools, like Krita, and you will be working right away expressing yourself. This program is the one that stimulates my imagination the best. They developers make you forget about the burdens of software making it one of the easiest programs to master.

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Its main drawback is that it takes developers ages to update and they’re focusing mainly on linux. It can be a pain to install in none linux platforms.

9. Medibang paint

Platform: Available for Windows, MAC, android and iOS.

If you're looking for a great, free alternative to Clip Studio Paint, have a look at Medibang Paint Pro. Medibang Paint Pro is a lightweight digital drawing tool with a strong focus on creating manga art and comic books. It comes loaded with 800 free pre-made tones and backgrounds that you can use. It also has more than 50 brushes, and a huge selection of free fonts you can use within your projects.

This one is a favorite of manga artist due to it’s simplicity and the fact that it resembles the legendary Paint tool sai. It’s not open source but it’s still free.

It’s strongest points are how lightweight it is, the fact that it’s multiplataform, and it’s free “cloud service.” This means that you could be working on any device and continue your project in any other. Say you sketch in your iPhone and finish in your Pc’s tablet.

It also has tools for comics which makes it a serious contender. Lightweight digital drawing tool with everything you need to illustrate comics .

10. Autodesk Sketchbook

Autodesk SketchBook is available on iPad, Windows and Mac. This is a very good software as replacement for pencil sketches. What you would do if you start completely digital is start in SketchBook with the basic setup of the page and then use tools like Photoshop (Procreate, Sketch Club) or Illustrator to fill in the details.

This sketching tool is free for personal use, which is a recent update by the Company, but a paid one for commercial purposes. The Autodesk Sketchbook is perfect for beginners as well as intermediate users as it comes with a lot of customization option. The exceptional interface helps in maximizing the drawing space of every device. The drawing engine of the sketchbook can handle 100 mpx canvas while maintaining the zoomed-in feeling you get when you work on traditional canvas. Professional artist choose Autodesk Sketchbook because it is fast and precise.

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I used it for about three(ish) years without the Pro subscription and if you know what you're doing, it can still work fantastically without the subscription. It runs on Mac and Windows (not sure about Linux) and on most, if not all, mobile devices.

It has the basic tools plus some extra brush sets, and if I remember correctly without the subscription you only get three layers to work on, plus a background layer (color/transparent only) so that can be a bit limiting, but for basic sketching and painting, it works just fine.

On mobile there's an option to convert a paper image to a drawing so you can sketch on paper and then paint over it on your phone or tablet. With the subscription you basically just get some extra tools and brushes as well as unlimited layer space.


Afterward, go buy any tablet and app you wish, it does not matter. You will know how to draw on any of them. Without good basic drawing skills all of the apps in the universe will not help you

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Draw, draw incessantly.