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The Best Drawing Software & App For Artists in 2021

In this article, we highlight the 6 best drawing software & app for artists

Free drawing software has come a long way from its humble beginnings. While older drawing applications were severely limited, their modern counterparts are extremely powerful, offering lots of capabilities and plenty more tools available at your disposal.

Whatever sort of digital art software you need, you’re almost certain to find the perfect choice for you if you read on.

Quite a few of this superb drawing software offer a realistic simulation of watercolors, oils, pastels, charcoal, and more. Some even let you work in three dimensions, so you can create your models, apply your textures and paint effects, and then combine them with 2D sketched elements to create scenes and even print in 3D.

We’ve found everything from free (but still great-quality) apps to strong budget options and full-bore professional packages with professional price tags and subscription plans. Simply scroll down to find our recommendations.

1. Krita

Best Free Drawing Software & App For Artists in 2021

Krita is professional-quality drawing software created by a team of artists with the noble aim of putting top-notch creative tools within reach of everyone.

You can use Krita for drawing and illustration, but it’s particularly great for comics and manga. There are panel templates, halftone filters, perspective tools, and the usual brush fill and pens. Each brush is customizable, and you can save your bespoke brushes to use again later.

Right-clicking anywhere on the canvas in Krita will bring up a selection wheel that lets you pick a new tool and select a color in seconds – a system that’s much easier than trawling through menus and settings.

Krita was created by artists for artists, and it shows in the dozens of thoughtful little touches that make it easier to create great paintings. For example, there are handy drawing aids for creating straight lines, vanishing points, and smooth shapes. You also get layers, masks, various transform tools, HDR support, and advanced selection functions.

2. Photoshop

Best Free Drawing Software & App For Artists in 2021

Krita is an effectual drawing program, and it’s yours to download and use completely free.

If you want an industry-standard toolset in a tried and tested package and don’t mind paying a monthly subscription, Adobe Photoshop still rules the digital art roost. It’s suitable for everything from photo editing to drawing, painting, and much more, and it keeps on improving with new features being added on a more or less annual basis. And if you have an iPad, its companion app is perfect for creating on the move or just away from your desk.

Because it’s part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, you can easily share your data and access your assets across all of your devices, including brushes, images, colors, and styles. There’s also an impressive library of Photoshop plugins available to add extra functionality to the program.

Don’t miss: The Best Free Writing Software In 2021

3. Artweaver Free

Artweaver Free lets you create beautifully realistic digital drawings by taking input – from your mouse, a stylus, or, if you have a touchscreen PC, from whatever you feel like tapping the screen with – and applying ultra-realistic brush effects.

In addition to familiar brushes such as Conte brushes, calligraphy pens, and airbrushes, this free drawing software also gives you a massive range of patterns and pens, enabling you to produce very complex images with a minimum of effort. It’s layer-based, too, so you can build up your masterpiece in layers without losing the ability to change anything.

Artweaver Free is designed for artists of all ages, but it is particularly useful for children. Kids love experimenting with all the different brushes, and we love not having to clean up any mess afterward.

4. Affinity Photo

Best Free Drawing Software & App For Artists in 2021

Photoshop’s the de facto standard for digital art software, but these days it’s found itself facing stiff competition from Affinity Photo, and it’s easy to see why. Affinity’s more or less comparable with Photoshop in terms of power and performance (although you may find yourself missing Photoshop’s advanced features such as content-aware fill).

Affinity Photo’s fully compatible with PSD files, it can cope with 100+ megapixel images, and it has pretty much all the effects, filters, and brushes you’re likely to need. Best of all, it’s a lot cheaper; you can own your copy of Affinity Photo outright for less than you’d pay for three months’ Photoshop subscription.

Also read: 7 Best Live Streaming Software For Video Broadcasting

4. Microsoft Paint 3D

Like the classic version of Microsoft Paint, Paint 3D offers a small selection of drawing tools for doodling on a flat canvas. However, real fun happens when you click the 3D Objects button. Here you can pick a model to import (current choices include people and animals). Better yet, draw your shape and ‘inflate’ it to turn it into a three-dimensional model that can be rotated and viewed from different angles.

You can choose a finish for your shape (options include matte, gloss, dull metal, and polished metal), paint its surface, and apply lighting effects. Unfortunately, there’s no way to control the thickness of the 3D effect, so your object will always resemble something created with Puff Paints, but as free drawing software, it’s great fun for kids of all ages.

Multiple models can be positioned at different depths and combined to create a scene, and you can even bring doodles into the real world if you have access to a 3D printer.

6. Procreate

Want to draw and paint on your iPad? There’s only one game in town, and that’s Procreate. It’s a seriously fantastic drawing tool that’s the go-to for many artists, and it’s packed with powerful tools that make it a joy to use. You can work with hundreds of layers if you need to. There are masks, blend modes, groups, as well as over130 customizable, Procreate brushes to play with, and its typography tools add a whole extra layer of creative functionality.

Procreate 5.2 should be along before too long, and it ought to be worth the wait, with support for the M1 iPad Pro and 3D painting tools and AR previews, plus an improved interface and audio feedback for a better all-round experience.

Editor’s picks:

Diekola Yusuf
Diekola Yusuf
Founder & CEO of Novabach - Yusuf is a Tech enthusiast. Fascinated by Computers and all sorts of Technology. He writes news, updates, walkthroughs, guides, troubleshooting tips, and how-to tutorials on gadgets and consumer electronics.
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