Which drawing program is best for me?
Updated: Jul 3, 2022
To find out which drawing program is most suitable for you, you should first consider two things:
1. What kind of device are you working on?
To find a drawing program that is just right for you, the first thing you should be clear about is what kind of device you want to draw on:
Drawing tablet without screen
Drawing tablet with screen
Standalone drawing Tablet
Depending on whether you want to draw on a computer or tablet, there are different drawing programs and apps to choose from. If this is not yet clear to you, you can find all the necessary details in our The best drawing tablets for digital illustration blog post.
Here‘s a list with some of the most popular drawing programs:
Computer Programs (Windows/macOS)
Tablet Apps (iPad/Android)
Smartphone Apps (iPhone/Android)
It’s best to make sure right at the beginning that the drawing program of your choice is compatible with the operating system you are using and its current version.
2. What are your goals?
Next, think about what you want to draw and whether you want to draw as a hobby or professionally, depending on which programs are suitable.
Professional level illustrations
If you want to draw at a professional level or for professional purposes, the following programs are recommended:
Photoshop CC (Windows/macOS/iPad)
Clip Studio Paint (Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Android)
Corel Painter 2022 (Windows/macOS)
Adobe Fresco (iPad/Windows)
Illustration as a hobby
If you want to try digital drawing first or just want to occasionally draw simple images for the web or social media, free or lower-cost apps may be more up your alley:
Procreate (iPad, iPhone)
Paintstorm Studio (Windows/macOS/iPad)
GIMP 2 (Windows/macOS)
MediBang Paint Pro (Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone/Android)
Overview of 3 of the most popular drawing programs/apps
Here we have listed 3 of the most popular drawing programs and apps and give a compact overview of their functionality, ease of use and price.
Clip Studio Paint
Clip Studio Paint is one of the most comprehensive drawing programs and is used by numerous professional illustrators, comic and manga artists, and animation designers.
The program is very versatile and can be used for digital, print and video data, but also graphic elements like images and texts can be freely arranged and edited to create simple designs.
With special rulers for symmetries and perspectives, it's a breeze to display complex patterns or perspective backgrounds. Vector layers let you easily edit line shape and width subsequently. From real watercolor to thick oil paint to cartoon-style coloring, you'll find the perfect drawing tool for every purpose from the huge selection of free, customizable brushes.
On Clip Studio Assets you will also find thousands of new brushes and materials every month.
Free customer support is available to all users, including those using the trial version.
The more complex a program is, the more difficult it is to learn it, which can sometimes be demotivating. However, there are numerous online video tutorials or even books that explain the program in detail.
Windows, macOS, iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, Android, Chromebook
CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO
Annual plan USD 00.00 - Unlimited license USD 00.00
CLIP STUDIO PAINT EX
Annual plan USD 00.00 - Unlimited license USD 00.00
Available. Beginning to end of June and end of November to beginning of December there’s often a sale where you can save up to 50%. ;)
Procreate is one of the best apps available on the market for all areas of digital art and the No. 1 app for iPad users.
The app is packed with easy-to-use menus, customizable and expandable brush libraries, powerful drawing and animation tools, and incredible recreation of real painting techniques, making the platform resemble your real creative workspace. The app has become a staple in a creative's toolbox, and for good reason. Procreate 5.2 was released in November 2021 with the added feature of 3D modeling.
The download costs $9.99 making the app one of the most comprehensive yet affordable apps available. Procreate offers an accessible experience whether you're a design professional, an experienced digital artist, or a beginner in the world of digital drawing. The user interface is designed to be very simple, which means it only takes a few minutes to get started.
The app's tools, such as Quick Shape, Blend Mode, Layer Effects, Alpha locks, Clipping masks, and many more, add a new level of professionalism to your art. This mix of versatility and user-friendly design is the reason why Procreate has already won several awards, such as the Apple Design Award.
The app is unfortunately only available for the iPad and iPhone.
So far it's not planned to bring Procreate to the desktop, but I hope that will change in the next few years.
iPad & iPhone
Permanent license USD 9.99
Procreate Pocket (iPhone)
Permanent license USD 4.99
Krita is one of the most popular free open source software for digital painters and illustrators. It is ideal for hobby painters and art lovers who are looking for a great toolset that is not too expensive.
Besides Windows and macOS, the freeware Krita is even compatible with Linux. Since it is open source software, users can add their own created brushes in addition to the numerous brushes that are already available.
Besides pixel-based canvases, Krita also offers vector layers for distorting shapes or text without losing image quality. Symmetry tools for drawing complex patterns and even frame-by-frame animation features that can be played along with imported audio tracks are also included. All completely free of charge!
One thing to complain about is the slow drawing speed. Regardless of one's device performance, brush strokes are rendered rather slowly, so programs with higher performance, such as Procreate or Clip Studio Paint, are more recommended for more demanding drawers.