Which app is used for digital painting

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best digital painting apps on the market. Digital painting has been around for quite some time, and there are now many different apps available that can help you create beautiful artwork in a variety of styles and mediums.

These apps has a ton of features that make it easy to create digital paintings of all kinds. You can choose from different brushes and tools to add color or texture to your work, and there are also fun options like stickers and text features that can help you turn your photo into something more personal or unique. The interface is clean and easy to use, so even if you’re not familiar with digital painting programs yet, this one is great for beginners!

These apps offer many fun features like comic book panels and text bubbles so you can create your own cartoons! It also has an “undo” feature so if you make a mistake while drawing, you can go back and fix it without having to start over completely. Another nice thing about this app is how customizable it is: users can change things like brush size or opacity levels to suit their needs.

Take out time to surf through our catalog right here on Quyasoft for more information on Best drawing apps for beginners, The Best Software for Digital Artists (Free & Paid), Which app is used for digital painting and so much more. You don’t want to miss this!

Best drawing apps for beginners

Here are some of the easiest apps for beginners looking to get into the digital world. These are the drawing apps that are quick to pick up and easy to work with. They have a lot of great resources available and a large community to lean on for support while traversing the learning curve.

1. Procreate

ipad with digital painting going off screen with Procreate Interface
An expressive digital painting on iPad featured on Procreate Website

At first glance, this application can be a bit daunting for someone who has never used a design app before. While it can be helpful to experiment with all the different tools and buttons, to really build skill in this application and get the most functionality, check out the Procreate Community page. There are many skilled artists and tutorials available to support digital artists of any skill level. Be sure to check out the animation feature—it really helps your work come to life.

What it does:

  • Creates digital drawings using a multi-layered layout
  • Illustration
  • Animation
  • Exports easily to other devices for continued work


  • One time purchase
  • A good amount of helpful tutorials
  • Lots of preset brushes are already installed
  • Easy animation tools and exporting feature


  • Can’t “finalize” a drawing for professional use without bringing it into Illustrator to clean up lines or vectorize it
  • Brushes simulate the painting of strokes but doesn’t bleed like a vectorized brush
  • Not vectorized (it doesn’t scale well so you have to pay attention to how big your canvas size is or everything will be pixelated)

Pricing: $9.99—one-time purchase
Experience level: Beginner
Tools needed: iOS device

2. Adobe Photoshop Sketch

ipad with digital painting on screen for ipad and iphone display
A colorful drawing done on iPad in Adobe Photoshop Sketch

This is a tried and true drawing application. Photoshop Sketch features a gorgeous interface that is clean and simply laid out like other Adobe products. The brush panel on the left and minimal design tools on the right leave a large digital canvas on which to paint. Designed for fine artists looking to add a digital component to their work, this application focuses on clear, simple tools that allow the creator to do what they do best—create!

What it does:

  • Works in a similar way to Photoshop layout with brushes, but with pressure-sensitive capabilities.
  • Meant to be used as a part of the Adobe Family of Applications. Must have an Adobe ID to use.


  • Easily connects to Illustrator or Photoshop since it’s in the Adobe family
  • Made by a seasoned company (Adobe) which provides more resources and support compared to other design applications
  • Seamlessly integrates with Adobe Stock


  • A bigger learning curve for those who have never used design software before
  • No other features (like animation) are available; must use another app
  • Limited storage but can pay an additional monthly cost for more storage

Pricing: Free for iPad or android device users with Adobe ID
Experience level: Intermediate to expert level
Tools needed: iOS and Android

3. Adobe Illustrator Draw

ipad with digital painting on screen for ipad and iphone display
A colorful drawing done on iPad in Adobe Illustrator Draw

This application is for the graphic designer already integrated into the Adobe family. It’s so easy to translate work done on the iPad in Adobe Illustrator Draw to an open Illustrator file through CC Libraries.

The app is beautifully laid out with a simple approach to Adobe Photoshop Sketch, though the learning curve can be challenging for those who are unfamiliar with design software. The upside: the app features a robust tutorial platform and community engagement available for all users and skill levels.

What it does:

  • Meant for vector graphics with customizability for brushes
  • Easily mixes photos with drawing layers


  • Easily connects to Illustrator or Photoshop since it’s in the Adobe family
  • Creates vector graphics with customizable brushes; easily integrates with Adobe Capture
  • Clean and simple layout for beginners


  • Some reviewers say it can crash easily
  • Limited storage, but can pay an additional monthly cost for more storage

Pricing: Free for iPad or android device users with Adobe ID
Experience level: Beginner
Tools needed: iOS or Android

4. Adobe Fresco

ipad with digital painting of a person reading a newspaper
A colorful drawing done on iPad in Adobe Fresco

This application is a bit different with live brushes that bleed across the screen, gorgeous vector graphics and blending effects that look 3D. Adobe Fresco easily translates to Photoshop for further work with more robust tools, however, if simplicity is the end goal, Fresco’s streamlined approach allows designers and illustrators to get their ideas without being bogged down by other tools.

What it does:

This is a simple and streamlined digital drawing and painting app that’s great for beginners.


  • Brushes that blend and bleed like the real thing
  • Can be used in combination with Adobe Photoshop on the iPad
  • Part of the Adobe family


  • Can’t add text
  • No canvas option
  • Free version only lasts up to 2 GB of storage

Pricing: Free for mobile device use
Experience level: Beginner
Tools needed: Adobe ID—download on App store and for Windows

5. Inspire Pro

ipad with gallery display of digital drawings
Inspire Pro’s digital drawing gallery screen on iPad

Inspire Pro is a great introduction into digital drawing. The simple layout is easy to navigate, but still offers up a lot of great tools for creation. Fast rendering times makes this application a contender for one of the best drawing apps out there on the App Store.

What it does:

The focus is on drawing and painting—this is a tool for hitting the basics of digital drawing. The app is not as robust in comparison to the other drawing apps.


  • Lots of blending options with high-quality brushes pre-loaded that also have high render brush strokes
  • Easy to learn


  • Still pretty new—expect a few bugs
  • Everything is on one layer
  • The current version is missing a few tools to help in creation. It will likely take a few more iterations for it to become more user friendly

Pricing: $9.99 one-time purchase
Experience level: Beginner
Tools needed: iOS devices

6. Pixelmator Pro

ipad with photo of woman on red wall edited in application
Pixelmator Pro’s image editing software layout

Designated more as a “image editor” this application cannot be overlooked as a contender for some of the best digital drawing apps. It has text capabilities with different layered effects, vector graphics, color adjustments and clipping masks. This little application can make an artist’s crazy graphic design and photography dreams come true.

What it does:

Similar to Lightroom and Photoshop, Pixelmator Pro is designed to edit photos with some additional tools available for graphic work.


  • Has a large community of users to reach out to for support or resources
  • Simplified layout for beginners and for creatives who need to make quick edits on the fly


  • Can’t import and rasterize vector files—features less in-depth tools
  • Still missing a few features that help to support the creative process

Pricing: $4.99
Experience level: Beginner to intermediate
Tools needed: iOS device

7. Assembly

Colorful vector illustration on iPad
Vector illustration done on Assembly Application’s platform on iPad

This application is defined as a “Mobile Vector Design” tool. Assembly is packed with a graphic designer or illustrator’s dream toolsets and has gorgeous shape packs built in for easy use. The clean and simple layout maximizes canvas space for easy creation. This design app has a growing community of creatives using this tool plus fun tutorials to help you get started.

What it does:

This is a mobile application designed for vector graphics and doing illustrative work using shapes.


  • Works on iPhone or Ipad can flex between the two devices
  • Advertised as “no experience necessary”
  • Features better tools compared to other applications including vector SVG output and typography tools


  • Subscription based as opposed to a one-time purchase model
  • New application may have some bugs
  • Limited export options available (SVG, PDF, PNG, JPG only).

Pricing: Free for the basic Assembly—Pro version is $29.99/year
Experience level: Beginner to intermediate
Tools needed: iOS device available on the app store

Best drawing apps for professional designers

These are apps that are a bit more robust and can be integrated easily into an already established professional career. The learning curve may be a bit more complicated for those who have never dipped their toes into the design realm before, but once mastered the reward is high.

8. Autodesk Sketchbook

ipad with illustration on Autodesk Sketchbook on iPad
Autodesk Sketchbook platform layout on iPad

If technical drawings and fine details are the name of the game, then this is the application to explore. It has scanning capabilities to take drawings into the digital age. Many industrial designers, architects and the like have integrated this handy little tool into their workflow for easy drawing and quick transition into the Autodesk family.

What it does:

Sketchbook is designed to create technical drawings used by Architects, Industrial designers and illustrators.


  • Camera can scan paper drawings and import them to the app with a transparent background
  • Can fully finish a project within the app—as opposed to moving it over to finish in another app
  • Integrates with other devices via an Autodesk ID
  • Large community of users for continued support


  • Steep learning curve

Pricing: Free for individual use with Autodesk ID or $85/year for multiple licenses
Experience level: Intermediate to expert
Tools needed: iOS or Android devices

9. Affinity Designer

ipad with illustration drawing of residential house in colorful palette
Affinity Designer’s drawing platform layout on iPad

Affinity Designer is a comparable design platform to the Adobe family. It has such a robust layout that the sky seems to be the limit on what can be created. It has a huge library of tutorials available and a growing community of creatives adding this into their creative process. With a one-time purchase for the application and the desktop version, it’s no wonder this app has caught the eye of many looking for the best digital drawing app on the market.

What it does:

This drawing app is an extension of Affinity Designer desktop that can be used for vector or pixel graphics (can switch between). It was created for designs that will be laid out in print or digital.


  • Closer design layout to Photoshop or Illustrator
    • Allows you to have artboards
    • Can create keyboard shortcuts w/ keyboard extension
  • More options in functionality
    • Designed for computers and mobile devices
    • Unlimited number of layers
  • Switch between vector and pixel designs


  • Higher learning curve, not for beginning artists
  • Since it is a newer software, expect some bugs

Pricing: $20.00 one-time mobile app purchase ($50.00 for desktop application) both a one-time purchase, no subscriptions.
Experience level: Intermediate to advanced
Tools needed: iOS or android

The Best Software for Digital Artists (Free & Paid)

1. Adobe Photoshop(Editor’s Choice)

Adobe Photoshop Interface
Adobe Photoshop Interface. Image credit: Adobe

The best digital art software overall

For a long time running now, the popular Adobe Photoshop CC remains one of the most versatile and powerful tools for great digital artwork and graphic design. Most often used as a photo editing application for designers and photographers, Photoshop does not fail to deliver on artwork as well.

Several features have kept Adobe Photoshop on top for the longest time, but the most popular is probably its layering tool. Adobe Photoshop’s layering tool, along with various brushes and other paint tools, remains an industry favorite. Photoshop also offers unique textures and patterns that allow you to render different aesthetics.

Adobe offers industry-leading software especially when it comes to graphic designing & creative works, so if you are interested in the Adobe Creative Cloud and looking for discounts click here.

This, along with so many other features, makes this a great drawing tool to use. So if you’re interested, you can try out the free trial version of Adobe Photoshop CC or visit our guide on how to get the best Adobe Photoshop discount.

You may also be interested in our Photoshop alternatives article.

➕ The most versatile editing, drawing, and design tool out there➖ Has a bit of a learning curve
➕ Can support drawing pads very well➖ Takes up a good amount of space
➕ Comes with many brushes, overlays, and textures➖ Requires that you have good specs
➕ Great for high-quality visuals and graphics

Learn More

2. Procreate

Procreate Interface. Image credit: Procreate

The best digital illustration software for iPads and iPhones

One app that is gaining a lot of traction is Procreate. Designed to be used with an iPad or Apple pencil, this iOS app is probably the most easy-to-use and accessible app right now.

And Procreate comes packed with many tools and features that can help you create some amazing digital art. This drawing app comes with several features that help make drawing on an iPad easy for beginners.

Even though it is available for iOS devices only, this drawing tool is one of the most prominent in the industry and has grabbed a huge user base in a short amount of time. It only costs around $10, making it surprisingly affordable.

Some of the best artists on social media also use Procreate, so if you’re a newbie looking for an uncomplicated art tool to use, we’d strongly recommend this one — provided you have an iPad or are willing to get one.

Be sure to check our our extensive collection of Procreate brushes & resources.

➕ Has a wide selection of brushes➖ Works only on iPads and has a limited version for iPhones
➕ Affordable➖ No vectors
➕ Easy to zoom in and out and rotate canvases➖ Only works best along with the Apple pencil
➕ Wide file format support (JPEG, PNG, PDF, PSD, and TIFF)
➕ Great for high-quality visuals and graphics

Learn More

3. Corel Painter 2022

Corel Painter 2022
Corel Painter 2022. Image credit: Corel

A great software for capturing different art mediums digitally

Designed to capture different art mediums with outstanding accuracy, Corel Painter 2022 is just the application for veteran artists looking to shift to digital. One peeve many artists have had with digital painting is the challenge in capturing different art mediums well. But with Corel painter 2022, you’ll never have that problem!

Regardless of what medium you want to capture, whether watercolors, acrylic, or oils, Corel Painter 2022 can do it all. It offers amazing natural media emulation and its digital art brushes are some of the best in the industry. Also, Corel Painter 2022 is multi-platform friendly, so you can use it on Windows, iOS, and any other tablet.

Another unique feature is that file content is well-preserved when transferring it to or from Adobe Photoshop, which is not the case with many non-Adobe applications. Priced at around $200 per year, Corel Painter is a great software.

➕ Created specifically for artists and illustrators➖ Slightly pricey
➕ Performance is optimized based on your system’s specs➖ UX needs a bit of improvement
➕ Has enhanced static bristle brushes and jitter reduction
➕ Emulates real art and allows dabs and strokes to be changed like in real life

Learn More

4. Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco
Adobe Fresco Interface. Image credit: Adobe

A digital art application for iOS and Windows

For art apps built with artists in mind, Adobe Fresco is one that definitely stands out. Created by Adobe specifically for digital artists, Fresco provides many of the same features you’ll find in Photoshop, with extras to meet artists’ specific needs.

Fresco comes with a variety of built-in brushes like pixel, live, and vector that are perfect for working on illustrations and digital paintings. And with Fresco, you can easily transfer your files to Photoshop and Illustrator. Why is that important? If you’re working on more detail-oriented art projects, you may require certain nuanced features found in different Adobe applications, and Adobe Fresco is perfect for integrating these tools.

Originally designed for iOS devices, Adobe Fresco is also available for Windows and can be quite convenient if you’ve purchased the Adobe All Apps package (complete Adobe Software list here).

➕ Made to replicate real-life mediums➖ No vectors
➕ Has plenty of free learning resources➖ Not as well known
➕ Easy to use tools, making it perfect for beginners➖ The free version has limitations

Learn More

5. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator. Image credit: Adobe

The best software for illustrations and vectors

When it comes to illustrations and vector graphics, Adobe Illustrator is one of the best. Even though it may not be suitable for certain types of digital art, Illustrator is one of the neatest paint tools to use for digital illustration.

Awarded the best vector graphics editing program by PC Magazine in 2018, this advanced drawing program is used to create logos, infographics, and icons, as well as complex illustrations. Some of the salient features of Illustrator include collaborative editing, enhanced glyph snapping, and cloud storage.

Adobe Illustrator can run on Windows, iPad, and Mac, and you can try out a free 7-day trial version to familiarize yourself with its features. Or see here for Adobe Illustrator alternatives.

➕ A great vector-based software for drawing smooth lines and curves➖ Requires a lot of space
➕ The smartpen tool makes it easy to use only a mouse➖ Takes a bit of time to get used to
➕ Objects and artwork are completely scalable
➕ Can be used for illustrations and even branding

6. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo Interface. Image credit: Affinity

 One of the best affordable digital art software

One of the most powerful Photoshop alternatives, Affinity Photo, is a great paint tool for drawing and creating digital artwork. Traditionally used for editing photos, Affinity Photos offer good tools for digital painting at an affordable price.

While the program cannot organize digital assets, it’s an advanced piece of software that supports multiple layers, allowing designers and artists to edit graphics with ease.

You can purchase the Affinity Photo program for Windows or Mac for $25, or even your iPad for just $10.

➕ Can do layer-based artwork or drawings➖ No custom workspaces
➕ Can work with vector images➖ No Android version
➕ Supports RAW images
➕ Similar to Photoshop but easier to use

7. Rebelle 4

A great software for replicating painting techniques

For hyperrealistic art software, Rebelle 4 ranks among the best. Rebelle does an excellent job of making digital drawing accessible to anyone who wants to explore their artistic skills regardless of the level of proficiency.

This software is perfect for using real-world color blending, wet diffusion, and drying—not usually considerations of most software. Also, it can closely replicate most real-world art mediums with great accuracy, making it a good choice for digital art skeptics. And also, it’s worth mentioning that this software is great for a large selection of brushes as well.

Rebelle does an outstanding job with oils, acrylics, and watercolors, exceeding most expectations. This software takes it a step further with tools that replicate real-world art techniques like a palette knife, a blow tool, and even a drop engine (to add more realism to the watercolors).

So for those looking to replicate hyper-realistic art or stay loyal to the real-world art process, Rebelle 4 is probably the best art software you can find. The program is available on their website for $90.

➕ Is one of the most realistic art emulation software➖ Not available for mobile devices
➕ Great for working with several real-world art mediums
➕ Can replicate real-world art techniques and paint viscosity

Learn More

8. Krita

The best free software to use with drawing pads

An open-source program, Krita is a powerful digital drawing tool that’s backed up by a dynamic community. A free program and available to any creative looking to take a break from Photoshop.

Even with a free-to-use model, the program is an incredibly robust art program with hundreds of brushes, text capabilities, and more. Krita comes with a reliable resource manager for importing tools.

With Krita, you can edit images and effectively make use of a drawing tablet to help you out with your artwork. For beginners looking to try out a drawing pad, Krita is a great art and graphic design tool to get you started.

➕ An outstanding free-to-use drawing tool➖ No dedicated team for customer support
➕ Works well with drawing pads➖ Not available on mobile devices
➕ Easy to use
➕Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Learn More

9. CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW Interface. Image credit: Corel

The affordable Photoshop alternative for vectors

With all the professional vector illustration, layout, photo editing, and design tools you need, CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite is a compelling alternative to Adobe Photoshop for artwork and graphic design. The software is an amazing tool for digital drawing and especially for vectors.

Even though it comes at roughly the same cost as Photoshop — $39/month, CorelDRAW comes with several brushes and an intuitive user interface making it one of the better art tools out there.

As Corel partners, we can offer you a range of discounts from 10-96% off all of Corel’s best creative software, including CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, CorelDRAW Standard, CorelDRAW Essentials, CorelDRAW Technical Suite, CorelDRAW App Store Edition, and more.

➕ Training videos are available➖ No Mac version
➕ Efficient layout tools➖ Not easy to navigate
➕ All-in-one app (publishing, illustration, and image editing)
➕ Great performance

Learn More

10. GIMP

GIMP Interface. Image credit: GIMP

The best free Photoshop alternative

While most people know it as GIMP, its title stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP, however, is also a surprisingly good free alternative tool for digital art.

Patterning after Photoshop CC in more ways than one, this product is one of the best choices to turn to if you don’t want to spend a dime. Designers and artists who are used to Adobe products won’t find it difficult to adjust to GIMP.

This platform has a full suite of tools available for both beginning and long-time creatives.

From color correction to enhancement and cloning, GIMP makes image editing easy. This painting tool is perfect for someone wanting to play around with digital art but isn’t yet ready for the commitment of purchasing expensive software.

Another great free Photoshop alternative is Pixlr.

➕ No need to install➖ Limited third-party plugins when compared to Photoshop
➕ A free to use, open-source software
➕ Easy to use

Learn More

11.Clip Studio Paint Pro

Clip Studio Paint -Angela Sung
Clip Studio Paint. Image credit: Clip Studio Paint / Angela Sung

The best affordable software for concept art and illustrations

Clip Studio Paint Pro caters to digital artists and the next generation of digital painting. This software is great for intrinsic detail and does an excellent job of capturing different pressure levels and strokes.

This digital art tool is surprisingly affordable and comes with several custom brushes for easy matching of your personal art style. Also, if you’re looking for great affordable software to use on a drawing tablet, Clip Studio Paint Pro is definitely worth considering.

Clip Studio Paint Pro comes with thousands of customizable brushes and 8,192 levels of pen pressure when used with some Wacom tablets. This software is perfect for concept and character art, illustrations, and even comics, making it a great buy at only $25.

➕ A flexible and versatile drawing tool➖ The interface is a bit complex
➕ Has several brush bundle options➖ Has too many unnecessary options
➕ Has over 8,192 levels of pen pressure when used with Wacom tablets
➕ Affordable price

12. MediBang Paint Pro

MediBang Paint Pro
MediBAng Paint Pro Interace. MediBand

A great free software for digital painting and manga

If you’re looking for great free art applications that can run on limited specs, the MediBang Paint Pro is your perfect choice. This art tool is great for digital painting, working on comics, and manga artwork.

The MediBang Paint Pro has over 50 brushes and snap guides as well for perfect lines and curves. This art app comes with comic page management, easy comic panel creation, and several pre-made tones and backgrounds, which can come in handy for comic and manga artists!

So when it comes to a free-to-use app for digital painting and manga, the Medibang Paint Pro is a good option.

➕ A great free-to-use painting and drawing tool➖ Using some features requires you to create a Medibang account
➕ Comes with over 50 brush options
➕ Has several pre-made tones and backgrounds
➕ Simple to use interface

13. Paintstorm Studio

Paintstorm Studios
Paintstorm Studios Interface. Image credit: Paintstorm Studios

A multi-platform digital art software

Paintstorm Studio is one of the best multi-platform art software out there that’s PSD supported. This software comes packed with several features that make working on artwork and illustrations a straightforward and enjoyable experience.

Paintstorm Studio has a dynamic interface, a wide variety of bristle brushes, stroke corrections, and even lets you take the underlayer’s color while blending. This digital painting software is available for Windows, Linux, as well as iOS, making it very accessible.

It also allows you to set hotkeys for different brushes which can come in useful when using a drawing tablet. This software only costs around $19.99 for desktops and laptops and only $12.99 on iPads. It is one of the better multi-platform digital art tools yet.

➕ One of the most affordable painting tools➖ The interface could be improved
➕ Comes with several unique features, including flexible brush adjustment
➕ Allows hotkeys that make switching between tools and brushes easy

14. IbisPaint

IbisPaint Interface. Image credit: Ibis

A free art software for Android and IOS tablets

Finding a good free digital art app for your Android or iOS mobile device can be challenging, but luckily, there’s IbisPaint.

IbisPaint is a great free digital art app that makes digital painting accessible to anyone, anywhere.

With over 2,000 styles of brushes and 2,700 free-to-use materials, this app is a great one for newbies with limited equipment.

If you don’t want to use a mouse, but can’t invest in a drawing pad just yet, IbisPaint is a good app to start with as it also has a large and supportive community.

Packed with tutorials and free-to-download resources, the IbisPaint website can help you get started on your art journey.

➕ A free-to-use painting app for Androids and iOS devices➖ Has ads
➕ Comes with over 2,000 styles of brushes and 2,700 free-to-use resources➖ Some users reported occasional bugs
➕ Easy to use for beginners

15. ArtRage

Artrage. Image Credits: Artrage

Best digital art software supporting both mobile and desktop 

If you are searching for a digital art program that supports mobile apps and PC, then ArtRage is a perfect choice. This art program works for desktops for Windows and Mac, however, it also has app versions for iOS and Android. Each version can be purchased as a one-time purchase, with the mobile app as the most affordable option.

The features, tools, and brushes come with the ability to mimic real-world counterparts. It consists of a few key features such as a customizable interface, Canvas texture tools, creating multiple views of your paint, symmetric painting, importing and exporting photos and files, and multiple touch gestures to control the interface. It also allows the creation of spaces as floating canvases to mix paint.

The program contains collaborative workflow tools that compete as one of the best digital art software in the market. It also comes with two versions for desktop that are full and lite versions, with which the lite version comes at half price. This software also comes with the support options available on the website, such as manuals, and tutorials. It also has access to its online community for advice, suggestions, tips, and tricks.

Pros Cons 
➕ Collaborative workflow tools ➖ A slower operation in comparison to other programs.
➕ Painting features 
➕ Custom brushes 

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