We are living in the golden age for digital artists. There are so many good, both free and paid, tools out there that a digital artist is only limited by their skills or imagination. That being said since there are so many drawing programs available for PC and Mac that as a digital artist it has become paramount to start with the right tool for you as it will be hard to switch to a new tool in the long run. You could do it, but then you would have wasted countless hours of work you have invested in learning the current tool. To help you choose the best digital art tool for you, we are bringing a list of the 20 best drawing programs for PC and Mac you should check out in 2020.

Note: If you are a Chromebook user you should check out our separate article on best drawing apps for Chromebook

Best Drawing Programs for PC and Mac (2020)

For an artist, a tool is a huge asset. And thus, choosing the right asset becomes indispensable for both the flow and the imagination.

What Sort of Drawing Software Should You Choose?

When I’m still getting into the groove of something, I want to encounter minimal complexities and like to concentrate more on getting a good hang of the core techniques. Therefore, minimal interface coupled with the easy-to-master tools become a must. So, if you have just started to sketch your imagination, I would recommend you to go for the app that’s pretty lightweight and designed to make drawing a smooth-sailing affair.

What if you are already a pro? Well, then you probably already know what sort of tools work best for you and what can add the missing wings to your creative fancy. However, the one little tip that I would like to offer is to never go with the testing of the drawing apps with pre-occupied thoughts based on what others have said/written about. Maybe the tools that others have written off might turn out to be the much-needed shot in the arm for your pro-grade drawing. Now that the talk is over, let’s get on with sketching!

1. Adobe Photoshop

We will start our list with the de facto drawing tool that most designers have heard of and use on a daily basis. Adobe Photoshop is probably the best drawing program, and it gives you access to hundreds of different brushes with a very high degree of control over your strokes, smoothness of the brushes, and an excellent preset panel which makes it very easy to organize your favorite brushes in one place. Adobe Photoshop is one of the best digital drawing tools for creating packaging, banners, websites, logos, icons, and more.

Adobe photoshop

The app not only allows you to start with a completely blank canvas but also allows you to import your own images and use them as a starting point to create your digital masterpiece. If you are looking for something that is mainstream and powerful, look no further than Adobe Photoshop. Also, if you are looking for a free software that can replace Adobe Photoshop, click on the link to check them out

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free Trial, $20.99/month 

2. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is also one of the best drawing programs for Mac users who don’t want to pay a subscription-based pricing and still be able to perform at their highest. The app brings a complete graphic design solution for all of your needs. My favorite thing about Affinity Designer is that all its tools and features are built keeping end-users in mind. That means they are easy to access and easy to learn and use. With Affinity Designer, you can create illustrations, icons, branding materials, printing projects, mockups, and more. The app also supports non-destructive operations which gives it an edge over its competitors. You will get all these features and more for just a one-time payment fee.

2. Affinity Designer

Supported Platforms: Mac

Price: Free Trial, $49.99

3. AutoDesk Sketchbook

For a long time, AutoDesk Sketchbook has been one of the best drawing programs on a Mac or PC and it still is the same. What’s even better is that the program is now completely free to use. That change has made this the best free dragon program for every designer out there. Whether you are a designer, an illustrator, or an animator, Sketchbook will help you not only improve your skills but also create amazing art once you are spend some time on it. My favorite feature of the Sketchbook is its minimalistic UI which dissolves out of your way when you are actually creating your piece.

3. Autodesk sketchbook

You are left with a blank piece of a digital canvas where your creativity can flow easily. Features are one of the many things that make AutoDesk Sketchbook one of the best drawing programs. There are more than 140 designer brushes, support for unlimited layers, blending modes, grouping of layers, and more. There’s also robust support for rulers and guides, custom perspective guides, predictive stroke, and more to help you in your creation.

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free

4. Corel Painter 2020

Another great tool for designers, illustrators, and digital artists is the Corel Painter 2020 which brings a plethora of tools to help you get the job done. Corel Painter markets itself as a tool for pros created by the pros. Fortunately, that description is not far from the truth. You get a huge selection of brushes (more than 900), exclusive particles, pattern pens, thick paint brushes, and much more. Corel Painter is supported by its huge library of video tutorials which is great for any artist to get started. That being said, if you are a beginner, you will find it a harder to use. But, if you intend to make this your career, it’s not a bad move to start with a tool that you can use for next 20 years. If you’re looking for the best drawing programs, I suggest you try Corel Painter.

4. CorelPainter

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free Trial, $229 for the users who had purchased a license for any previous version and $429 for new users

5. Adobe Illustrator

While Photoshop is a competent tool for designers if you are looking for the best drawing programs for vector design, Adobe Illustrator is what you should be using. Hundreds of thousands of designers and artists use Illustrator CC to create everything from web icons and product packaging to book illustrations and billboards. That alone is a testament to Illustrator’s features. With Illustrator, you will get all the tools that you need to turn simple shapes and colors into sophisticated logos, icons, and graphics. Since you are working with vector graphics here, your artwork can scale anywhere from a small smartphone to a billboard. You also get access to gorgeous typography and freehand drawing tools. Illustrator is definitely a drawing program you should check out.

5. Adobe Illustrator

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free Trial, $20.99/month

6. Krita

If you are looking for one of the best drawing programs that is free and open-source, and brings all the professional tools at your disposal, look no further than Krita. Krita is used by designers all over the world to create concept art, comics, illustrations, and more. While all the other above-mentioned drawing programs focus more on illustrations, Krita is more geared towards comics and concept artists. The app features an intuitive and customizable user interface with awesome features such as brush stabilizers, pop-up pallets, different brush engines, an extensive resource manager and more. If you are into drawing art and comics, you should definitely check it out.

6. Krita

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free

7. Inkscape

Another open-source, free, and powerful drawing program for creators is Inkscape. Whether you are an illustrator, designer, web designer or just someone who needs to create some vector imagery, Inkscape is a great free tool for you. The program offers plenty of features including object creation, object manipulation, color selector, node editing, path conversion, multi-line text support, anti-aliased display, support for almost all the major file formats and more. An open-source app doesn’t get better than this. In fact, Inkscape is probably one of the best free drawing programs that can work as a kind of Illustrator alternative as well.

Inkscape

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free

8. Clip Studio

Clip Studio is one of the best drawing programs for artists and illustrators who primarily work on manga. While it can easily be used for normal illustrations and animations, it really excels when you are using the tool to create a manga. I mean, it is the official successor of Manga Studio and is recommended by all the major manga and comics creators around the world. The program offers features such as advanced pen pressure detection for natural, realistic-looking pen strokes, decoration tools for easy drawing of complex areas, vector layers, quick coloring, and more. If you plan to work in either the manga or comic industry, this will be your buddy in your journey.

8. Clip Studio

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free Trial, starts at $49.99

9. Rebelle 3

Rebelle is a one-of-a-kind paint software that lets you create realistic watercolor, acrylic, wet and dry media artwork, using real-world color blending, wet diffusion and drying. Developed by the artist Peter Blaškovič, Rebelle 3 was created as a project to find out if it was possible to create a paint program with the most natural painting tools. Well, the answer was a profound yes as the program is very popular and quite powerful. That being said, it is not for everyone, rather, Rebelle 3 is aimed at traditional painters and CG artists who want to take a dive into digital art with the skill set that they already possess. If you are one of them, definitely check this app out.

9. Rebelle 3

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free Trial, $89.99

10. FireAlpaca

If you’re using an older PC, or are simoly looking for a lightweight tool with some baic features, FireAlpaca is one of the best drawing programs for you. One of the best things about this software is that it is quite light on resources so people with older PCs can also make use of this app. While the more powerful apps like Illustrator and Corel Painter offer tons of features, they also require a quiet capable PC or Mac to run. On the other hand, FireAlpaca might be light on features when compared the heavyweights but it can also easily run on older hardware. I found this to be a great tool for beginners how cannot afford to buy a powerful PC or Mac. Also, the tool itself is completely free of charge so you don’t even need to spend a dime to get started.

10. FireAlpaca

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free

11. Leonardo

Another drawing program which doesn’t require a powerful hardware to run is Leonardo. Like FireAlpaca, Leonardo is light on resources and can run smoothly on years old Windows PC. The app works for sketching, drawing, painting, tracing, and whiteboarding. It offers an easy to use and intuitive UI which is very fast. Other features of the app include perspective drawing tools, infinite canvas, a powerful brush engine, and more. Leonardo is specially made for touch-screen Windows tablets which support digital pen inputs. So, if you have one of those tablets and want to dive digital art a try, check out Leonardo.

11. Leonardo

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free, $39

12. MediBang Paint

MediBang Paint is a great drawing program for manga and comics creators. The app offers various tools including over 800 tones/backgrounds, brushes, over 50 brushes, and 20 fonts style. It’s a simple and powerful tool for people who are just getting started with their comics or manga creator’s journey and want a tool which can help them learn and improve. The app also offers cloud syncing across platforms. It offers apps for Windows, iPad, iPhone, and Android and all your work is synced across devices. It’s definitely a good option for a budding manga or comics creator.

12. Mediaband

Supported Platforms: PC

Price: Free

13. BlackInk

If you are someone who wants to go beyond traditional tools and want to experiment with your art, then BlackInk is for you. The app offers a groundbreaking controller system which allows you to create and customize your own brushes. You can even customize existing brushes and paint a picture that only you can imagine. Artists can share their brushes with the community, so even before you start, you will have access to thousands of customized brushes shared by other artists. The app is also very smooth and as it uses GPU rendering to give fast performance. This is an app for people who like to experiment and if you are one, click on the link below to download it.

14. BlackInk

Supported Platforms: PC

Price: Free Trial, $59.99

14. Paint 3D

If you are just starting out and do the digital drawing on a non-professional basis, then Microsoft’s Paint 3D which comes pre-installed on Windows devices is a great option. The app offers tons of different brushes and tools. It’s a great app for beginners who are just testing out the waters as it offers an easy to understand user interface which is comfortable to navigate and work with. Regardless of your drawing skills, you will be able to create good-looking 2D and 3D models of objects and shapes. As I said, this is not a tool for you if you are at all serious about making your career in digital art, rather only for someone who just wants to pursue this is a hobby or pass time activity.

15. Paint 3D

Supported Platforms: PC

Price: Free

15. Artweaver

Artweaver is a drawing program that can easily appeal to aspiring artists or those who are willing to get a good hang of drawing techniques. If you are one of them, look no further than this handy drawing software. Probably, the biggest highlight of this software is an intuitive interface that feels familiar right from the onset. Moreover, it has a good collection of readymade brushes that allow you to create impressive arts. Just in case you want to have more control, you can also configure the brush system. Another notable feature of Artweaver is the seamless collaboration that enables you to work with your teammates on a project in sync. On top of all, the software also allows you to record your work so that you can take a close look at how you go about your drawing and figure out the flaws that need to be eradicated.

Artweaver

Supported Platforms: PC

Price: Free, $47

16. ArtRage

If you prefer to have a range of realistic painting tools to craft amazing arts, you need to keep ArtRage in mind. From neatly designed pencils to oil painting brushes to fascinating watercolors, the software has checked off most essential boxes to make drawing a pleasing experience for both adults and kids. Furthermore, it also allows you to fine-tune all of your favorite tools for more flexibility. As for the user-interface, I think ArtRage has kept everything minimal so that getting a good hang of the tools remains easy-going for you. But what has appealed me the most in this drawing program is the appreciable support system through handy tutorials and online community for getting the much-needed inspiration and tips.

ArtRage 

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: $79

17. PaintShop Pro/Ultimate

Though “PaintShop Pro/Ultimate” may not be as popular as some of the well-known drawing programs mentioned above, it’s more than efficient to let you design commendable arts. What makes it so user-friendly is the ability to do pretty well in three notable aspects: drawing, photo editing, and designing graphics. So, if you want a reasonably good drawing software that can live up to your expectations in all these aspects, PaintShop can be worth taking a look. Aside from featuring a solid collection of tools, the software also boasts plenty of plugins which can go a long way in adding the missing x-factor to your creativity.

PaintShop Pro/Ultimate 

Supported Platforms: PC

Price: Free trial, the Pro version comes at $63.99, while the Ultimate variant comes at $79.99

18. SketchUp

For the folks who are more inclined towards creating awesome 3D designs, SketchUp promises to be a great option. If that’s you, it has to be your go-to pick. Featuring hundreds of professionally designed extensions at the disposal, you would enjoy giving the right shape to your ideas. If you don’t find the predefined tools interesting enough, you can also customize them so that they can fit into your taste better. What’s more, SketchUp allows you to share your creativity with your friends and collaborate with them seamlessly. In terms of pricing, SketchUp offers a basic version for free so that you can get started right away. If you want to unlock all the pro tools, you will need to spend $119/$299 depending on the features you unlock.

SketchUp

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free, $119/$299

19. Clip Studio Paint Pro

As someone who prefers natural brush feel, “Clip Studio Paint Pro” has looked quite promising to me for multiple reasons. First and foremost, the software comes with a robust brush engine that enables you to create beautiful arts with desired precision. Thanks to the much-improved control, you can craft every stroke as envisioned by your creative thinking. Besides, the app has one of the biggest libraries of brushes, allowing you to pick and choose your tools based on the arts you wish to create. And if you want to have even more control, you can also personalize your tools so that they can stay in sync with your particular style of drawing. That’s not all, Clip Studio Paint Pro is also available for iPad ( and iPhone) so that you can get the most out of Apple Pencil.

Clip Studio Paint Pro

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free trial, $49.99/$219

20. CorelDRAW Suite

Last but not least, “CorelDRAW Suite” has long been one of the best drawing software packages, so it deserves a spot in this coveted lineup without any doubt. What I have always admired in CorelDRAW Suite is a wide range of pro tools that make drawing and painting a great experience. Of course, mastering those pro tools requires a steep learning curve but once you have gone through that phase, you would fall in love with it. Whether it’s the top-notch vector design, AI-powered LiveSketch, or the precision photo editing, it’s got the strong suite of features to meet your demand. But keep in mind, all these top-of-the-line features will require you to stretch your budget a bit. Expensive pricing aside, CorelDRAW Suite is what you need to craft pro-grade drawing.

CorelDRAW Suite 

Supported Platforms: PC/Mac

Price: Free trial, $198/year or $499 for full version 

Best Drawing Programs for PC and Mac

That ends our article on the best drawing programs that you can get for your PC and Mac. I have include programs with are both free and paid and serve different use-case scenarios. Find programs for sketching, drawing, illustrating, and more. Do check the list out and let us know your favorite drawing apps amongst them all.

Comments


  1. An interesting and comprehensive look at Digital Drawing. Most impressive. Love this article!! I’m trying out the drawing programs that were noted, and they’re pretty good so far! I got my XP-PEN Deco 03 wireless drawing tablet to work in Krita . it’s amazing , I’ve been using it for a while and I’m loving the interface and the brushes, and how FREE it is! GREAT article overall.

  2. It would help if you show the typical type of artwork each software generates. There is a difference between cartoons and logos.