Professional Digital Painting Software

Digital painting is a popular art form, and it provides a great creative outlet for those of us who aren’t quite ready to take up the brush. Whether you’re an experienced artist or just starting out, we’ve put together this guide on some of the best digital painting software on the market today.

In this guide, we review the aspects of Professional Digital Painting Software, best drawing software for pc, What app do professional artists use to draw, and What program do most digital artists use?

Professional Digital Painting Software

You don’t have to be a professional digital painter to enjoy the benefits of using software for creating art. However, it’s important to find the right tool for the job. In this article, we’ll look at five different painting programs that are great for professionals and beginners alike.

Krita

Krita is a free and open source painting software. It has a large community of users and developers behind it, which makes it one of the most developed digital painting software.

Krita is available on Windows, Linux and macOS.

It provides many features that are important for professional work such as advanced brush engine, layer management tools, color correction tools, various selection tools etc.

GIMP

GIMP is a free, open-source photo editing program that’s available on Windows, Mac and Linux. With GIMP you can do everything from minor image touch-ups to major photo compositing with layers. It has a very steep learning curve but if you’re willing to put in the time, it’s one of the best digital painting software options out there.

ArtRage

ArtRage is a digital painting software for Mac, Windows and iOS. It has all the tools you need to create your own masterpiece, but it’s still easy to use. With ArtRage 5 for mobile devices, you can paint anywhere on your iPad or iPhone!

Infinite Painter

Infinite Painter is a paint program for Windows and Mac OSX that has a wide range of features, making it great for beginners and advanced users alike.

It’s easy to use, but also has powerful tools so you can create highly detailed work.

Medibang Paint Pro

Medibang Paint Pro is one of the best digital painting programs I’ve ever used. It’s incredibly easy to use, and it has plenty of features that make it a great option for professional artists.

It’s also free! You can download Medibang Paint Pro for yourself right this minute and start using it immediately.

These are the best painting software available on the market.

These are the best painting software available on the market:

  • Krita
  • GIMP
  • Photoshop

best drawing software for pc

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Picking the best software for digital artists can be challenging. There are currently quite a few but with digital art, software vendors from which to choose and it can get overwhelming.

Whether you’re a novice, trying your hand at a drawing pad, or a seasoned artist looking to move to the next best digital art software, we’ve got you covered.

The main issue people have with picking out their digital software is knowing which one is the most versatile and suitable for their business. When it comes to digital art, however, the best fit for you largely depends on your art style and budget. Other criteria to consider are your specs, design equipment, and what feels most comfortable for you.

Art is broad and diverse, and as an artist, you may work on artwork, illustrations, or logos. Luckily, there’s something out there for everyone, including several applications that replicate various art mediums exceptionally well.

If you’re new to digital art, think about replicating or mirroring the software used by your favorite artist or illustrator on social media platforms. You can work on your fundamentals and also gain a good idea of the best software for you.

But if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best software for digital art and help you find the best pick for you.

Also see our feature on the best laptops for digital art, best USB-C monitors for artists and the best laptop for students.

15 Top Best Digital Art Software in 2022

For art software, there are many choices to pick from, and they all can be quite daunting. Digital art makes artwork portable and quite versatile for users, but there are so many options! Not to worry, here are our top ten picks for the best digital art software for artists in 2022.

If you’re a digital artist looking for the best laptop to create digital art, the Apple MacBook Pro is a great option. This powerful and sleek laptop allows you to create high-quality art efficiently and without hassle.

The Best Software for Digital Artists (Free & Paid)

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.

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.

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.

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).

That said, you can download Adobe Freso as a free trial first to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

What app do professional artists use to draw

Whether you’re an experienced digital artist or have never created digital art before, it’s always good to know your options when deciding on a drawing program. And fortunately, you have plenty of apps to choose from.

Whether you’re looking to just paint for fun or you want to learn more professional creative techniques, these apps will help you on your artistic journey. So, let’s take a look at what they are, shall we?

1. Procreate

This is one of the most popular painting apps, and there is a multitude of reasons behind it being a favorite for most illustrators. It’s an art studio that has everything you need to create digital art, including the ability to create your brushes, maintain a portfolio that you can share with friends, and so much more.

Procreate also includes extensive courses for teachers and students, such as color harmony, 3D product design, exploring characters, Procreate tools, tips and tricks, learning to animate, layers, blends modes, and artistic topics covering science, math, and humanities.

And lastly, you can add a personal touch to your work by adding your signature to your artwork in Procreate.

2. Astropad Studio

This art studio is perfect if you own an iPad and is unique for its ability to mirror your screen to your laptop! It includes customizable tapping gestures to change tools the way you like, pen pressure adjustments such as drawing strokes, curves, and smoothing, and has crystal clear image quality.

With unlimited upgrades and maximum battery life, if you’re an artist who has a specific way of using digital pens, this app will be your best friend.

Download: Astropad Studio for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

3. Sketchbook

Do you always have piles of sketchpads that you don’t have room for? No need to keep purchasing books to sketch in. With the screen having a paper-like feel, Sketchbook is a great tool for interior designers, architects, and artists to draw inspiration on the go.

There are hundreds of brushes to pick from, you can use linear and radial gradients, and the user interface is clean and crispy for all users to enjoy. From visual communication students to industry professionals, you’ll find a use for this amazing app.

Download: Sketchbook for Android | iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

4. Clip Studio Paint

Do you dream of creating a comic book or manga series? Clip Studio Paint comes from a Japanese software company and has everything in terms of tools for design, illustration, and storytelling. We recommend this for the more professional artist, but online tutorials will help out beginners.

You can rely on Clip Studio Paint to piece together amazing concept art, character art, illustration for design, web-toons, and even animation. There’s a powerful brush engine, thousands of customizable brushes, vector lines, decoration brushes to help with repetitive design elements, photo to line art conversion, lettering features, panel creation, fast coloring, etc.

With all these tools, you’ll be on your way to a career in animation in no time.

Download: Clip Studio Paint for Android | iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

5. Inspire Pro

This app was designed to be easy to use, so you can start creating straight away, even if you’re a beginner. Amazing blending effects enable you to blend colors using the pen’s pressure, which you can use to blur, too. The brush size and rotation of over 150 brushes will give you the flexibility you need to create a masterpiece.

Its unique painting engine makes this app incredibly fast for the iPad, giving you precision, high-quality colors, and speed. Rendering is reliable, with up to 120 frames per second, meaning you’ll have an easy time managing your work.

6. Zen Brush 2

Would you like to learn the art of Japanese calligraphy or lettering? With a strong focus on the East Asian ink brush, Zen Brush 2 is excellent for those who want to embody the teachings of Zen!

This drawing program includes red ink and black ink, ink-dispersion making it appear more 3D, 92 background templates, levels of ink tone, simulated finger pressure, tilt sensitivity, and of course, the chance to share your work with others. So, try something new and different with Zen Brush 2.

7. GIMP

Originally released in 1998, GIMP still trumps a lot of the apps we know today! The best part is that it’s completely free for Mac, Windows, and even Linux operating systems.

GIMP is great for making fun icons or avatars, user interface components, and overall graphic design. What’s so unique about it, you ask?

If you’re skilled at coding, you’ll be able to customize scripts and plug-ins. You can integrate programs such as Python, Scheme, Perl, and others. There’s nothing GIMP cannot do.

8. Paintstorm Studio

As a professional digital design canvas, Paintstorm Studio can assist artists with any technique, genre, or idea in mind. You can use this software for traditional art styles, comics or Manga, concept artwork, or your design work.

The user interface is high quality, allowing you to use custom panels, swift layer selection, hotkeys for brushes and sliders, and even incorporates guides for 2-point and 3-point perspective drawings.

You can use this app’s color correction tools and canvas textures to bring your work to life.

9. Art Rage

Are you less of an expressionist and prefer to draw realistic, old-school art? In that case, Art Rage may be for you. It’s unique for having a canvas suitable for oil paints, wax crayons, pencils, or watercolors.

Replicate thick oils to give natural colors to your work. Sketch and shade, or paint with watercolor textures. The options for your traditional canvas are within your reach.

Experiment With Digital Art Using These Apps

Whether you’re a novice or an expert in digital art, it’s a solid idea to try out all of your options with the apps available. You may discover a technique that works better for you. And if you’re just starting out, Google Canvas may be another option worth considering.

What program do most digital artists use?

We’ve collected the best free art programs and paid software for you to always have a wide choice of creative means.

The Designest may receive compensation from companies, products, and services featured in this publication. For more details, please refer to our Affiliate Disclosure page.

Photoshop, Affinity, Procreate…is that all? When it comes to drawing software, people usually name these fellas, although if you dig a bit deeper, you can wallow in a great variety of free and paid subscription-based drawing apps or the ones requiring one-time payment. All in all, here’s the list of our top picks.

Best Drawing Software

Drawing Brushes & Add-Ons

Mastering new digital painting software with its unique tools and tricks can result in discovering a fresh approach to illustration, learning new techniques, and redefining your personal style. At least that’s what we hope for when making this selection of digital art software. It never hurts to try out the free drawing software: you’ll be surprised how much high-quality content can be found for free. And if you had doubts about some of the paid ones, let this article add more to “pros & cons,” so you can finally go for it and get yourself the best digital art software!

Adobe Photoshop CC

Perhaps, the very first drawing software coming to mind when speaking of creativity and graphic design is Adobe Photoshop. It’s an industry standard. Some say, that it’s a half of success, when the drawing tools are of a high quality to let you follow the spirit of imagination not tied up by the absence of required drawing tool, lagging tabs and strokes. And we tend to fully believe that statement with a little side note attached: free drawing software or a paid one, the main criterion should be the programs’ ability to fulfil any need. And Adobe Photoshop has proved to be exactly that kind of digital art software! When you start your creative path in design, getting acquainted with Photoshop software for digital art is some sort of a baptism by fire, the obligatory step in upgrading your graphic design skill level. It’s simply the classic versatile software everyone must try out. The Adobe Creative Cloud drawing apps eco-system, makes accessing and sharing assets via any device a super easy process: your data is safe.

The longer you work with this painting program, the more functional tools you discover. But it happens to be the way that your standard set of operations slightly changes over the years once it settles. What does it mean? You can still wobble on the iceberg peak with only, let’s say, 30% of discovered creative possibilities and still feel absolutely comfortable about it, not deprived of any photo editing or digital painting tools.

Adobe Photoshop has its downsides too. If it freezes — it freezes hard. It’s not totally the art software to blame but the system workload, compatibility questions and stuff. But honestly, working in multiple layers can slow down work to the turtle pace and spend so much system resources. Any of the professional artistscan relate to that.

Adobe Illustrator СС

Despite its name, which literally states that this app is for creating digital illustration and drawing, Adobe Illustrator was surpassed by its closest equivalent — Adobe Photoshop. And when we bring up the talk about best digital art software, it’s mostly Adobe Photoshop that gets mentioned as an industry standard. Not hard to be: there are gazillions of .abr brushes being released, so once you open this app you can stay in there to perform any operation from drawing digital illustration to photo editing the ready-made composition. However, there is a major difference between Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator — the latter allows creating vector graphics. So if you’re more comfortable with working in vector, it’s Adobe Illustrator drawing tool you need to get right away.

Of course, it has tons of handy creative brushes too! And filters, and type tools, and editing functions, and all of that Photoshop can boast with. But here everything can be scaled without losing the quality! If you come to this software after Photoshop, the instruments and interface won’t be completely new for you, it’s easy to use. The thing many people point out about working in Adobe Illustrator is that you can create complex files of any type: from logotypes, graphs, presentations, website updates to hand-drawn illustrations. It’s both a benefit and a disadvantage, actually: because of the loaded software system, the app can be very slow, lag and overload the PC. Sometimes it shuts down with an error, which is very irritating. But the strong sides of Adobe Illustrator cover it all up and let you enjoy the workflow.

Affinity Designer

When we had received the early access to Affinity Designer to give it a go for the first time before the official software release, everything was so unusual: in terms of feelings it was like you already know how to ride a bike but you had to ride a completely new version of the same very bike. Many new and unfamiliar drawing tools and features, packed in a colorful interface caused a mild confusion. Nevertheless, rediscovering the digital art tools in a new form was both exciting and unusual.

What really was miraculous and the best about digital art software is the magic switch between pixel and vector formats! It was just a matter of clicks. Such a convenient tool for digital drawing, it saved tons of time we could spend on preparing the project for the big release. However, before the very first updates were released, the command for the formats switching crashed the program without saving the results. Thankfully, the problem was fixed in no time!

The second cherished feature was the ability to open and edit AI files, sometimes even the complicated ones. Cheat move but a very handy one when there was an urge to fix some assets and work on heavy vector graphics files.

As for the recent updates, Affinity has delivered the freshest update for macOS. Now this drawing software provides a better user experience for all the MacBook Pro owners (the proper technical boost for such a powerful M1 chip-driven computers).

Well, to wrap it up, just don’t confuse Affinity Designer with Affinity Photo, these are completely two different things. Beyond that, Affinity Designer is a wonderful digital drawing software you won’t regret purchasing.

Procreate

Been puzzling over this review for a long time to create a thorough and well-written analysis, but so far, it’s the best art software any of us has ever dealt with. It’s not just a “good drawing program”; it seems like Procreate has everything for any type of style you work in, it’s the best! With its latest Procreate 5.2 update, including a handful of new excellent features, this title was defended. Every time you work in Procreate, it feels like you’re a conductor of a symphony, having a stylus pen and your fingers as instruments to operate with.

A couple of words, dedicated to the new drawing software update release, as the introduced features worth to be emphasized. Among the announced editing tools every Procreate user can boast about there are Stroke Stabilization, 3D Model Painting, Page Assist, a suite of accessibility features, and more adjusted layers & resolution settings, made to run wild with M1s and iPads. The brush stroke tools in Procreate were perfect before, but the developers set a new higher ground once again: the smoothness of lines and a sensitive stylus pressure turn an Apple Pencil into the extension of your hand so naturally. Speaking of, the same Apple Pencil now allows you to expand drawing tools onto the 3D Model experience, helping to work on effects, lighting, gloss, and reflectivity of voluminous objects.

Haven’t found anything significant in terms of disadvantages throughout the use of Procreate. Although, can say for sure that some marvelous drawing software functions are hard to find: you just stumble upon them. But tutorials, that Procreate has in a free access, are a great help: they demonstrate you a new feature and, probably, let you discover a new artist to follow on Instagram. So far, this has been almost an ode to Procreate as the best digital painting software (fair to point out that it’s not a sponsored part of the post!).

The app seems to be all flawless and easy to use, but its accessibility is not the first thing to mention: the joy of working in Procreate is available only to iPad and iPhone users. And here’s a little tip: the more powerful your iPad is, the better — the amount of RAM affects the number of layers you can work with. The complicated assets performance here is out of question.

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