Free Software For Graphic Designing – 15 Best Drawing Software

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Painting and drawing were limited to pen and paper as physical tools, but times have changed. Technological advancements have revolutionized every aspect of human life, and drawing has seen some of the most drastic changes humankind has ever experienced.

As new technologies evolve, a few great minds thought of bringing some digital tools for the artist for creating amazing artworks in the form of sketches, anime and manga.

If you are also a designer, painter or comic artist, you’d know that physical scrapbooks, sketch pads, notepads, and pencils have lost popularity over time. It’s now time for digital software to help artists create beautiful artworks and pieces with the help of a stylus or mouse.

This change has enabled greater accessibility, ease of use and a myriad of editing and design features that would not be possible otherwise. We include the best free art programs for mac and also some drawing apps for PC, but few are the best.

Also Check: Best Drawing Tablets For Designing And Art Work

Through this article, the top 15 drawing software have been reviewed in quite a detail and surprisingly enough, all of them are available for use by artists and painters of all skill levels, free of charge. It’s far more amazing than it sounds!

Read on to find out more about these tools and what each one entails:

Top 15 Best Free Drawing Software

Here is a list of the best drawing software available in the market that you may use for anime, manga and all other drawings and sketches that you wish to bring to life.

The features, pros, and cons of each one have been identified below:

1. MyPaint Review – Best Free Online Drawing Program

This is a distraction-free, easy-to-use tool made for digital painters. It is usually referred to as manga software that has been designed such that it can be used with tablet pen pressure sensitivity. It may be used to configure and use brushes in the form of pencils, chalk, crayons, and charcoal. Hence, with MyPaint, you can make any anime drawing into a professional piece of artwork and that too free of cost!

Features

  • You are allowed to save your work as scrap paper
  • It comes equipped with a scratch pad that may be used for testing
  • You get to work with a large collection of brushes for all sorts of sketches and drawing
  • Brushes can be easily configured and customized according to use
  • It enables symmetric drawing
  • You can also move layers around easily in MyPaint
  • It ensures support for the different blending modes such as luminosity, overlay and saturation
Pros
  • This can be downloaded on all major operating systems including Windows, Mac OS 10 and Linux
  • It enables the creation of digital drawings with the aid of ad-hoc functions and tools
  • A free solution for manga and anime professionals
Cons
  • The undo feature is relatively slow
  • The GUI glitches while selecting brushes
  • Lines are sharp but not as smooth as intended

2. Clip Studio Paint Review – Free Digital Painting Software

 

This drawing software is largely used by manga and anime professionals. It’s one of the leading tools that come equipped with popular art tools to aid the creation of manga artwork. It has been designed for artists who are expert in pen and paper illustrations but prefer digital comics to plain doodling.

Features

  • It comes equipped with a pen pressure detection function for providing a drawing experience that closely mimics that of drawing with a real pen
  • A correction function has also been given to smoothen out hand-drawn lines
  • You may choose to select from a collection of brushes, tools and custom color sets
  • There is an additional feature for multiple airbrush effects
  • The vector tool kit that comes with it ensures maximum flexibility while drawing
  • 3D drawing figures may also be used to ensure intuitive drawing
  • A variety of filters are built in to choose from numerous effects
  • Animations may be created for up to 24 frames
  • Moving illustrations may as well be crafted by setting the display order and speed from the timeline
Pros
  • Comes in 3 versions: Debut, Pro and Ex
  • Compatible with operating systems such as Windows 7, 8, Vista and XP and Mac OS X
  • It has been specifically designed to help manga and animation artists
Cons
  • The advanced versions are not available for free
  • The advanced functionalities may also come at a price

3. Artweaver Review – Free Online Drawing Program in 2018

 

Artweaver is also among the greatest manga drawing and painting tools available in the market free of cost. It has been designed such that all skill levels may use it, including beginners and advanced users. Although the full version may only be accessed by making a payment, a free version is available if you wish to get a hang of it.

Features

  • Artweaver offers a set of pre-defined brushes to be used as pencils, chalks, charcoal, crayons, and airbrushes
  • It comes with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, which may be adjusted as you like it
  • You are provided features such as resizing, arranging and docking palettes
  • Also enables access to manageable presets
  • The best thing about Artweaver is that the same document may be worked upon by various artists online, making teamwork and remote work a possibility. This works really well for projects
  • The entire process of creating an artwork is recorded, and it may be viewed later to review painting style, identify mistakes and avoid them in later attempts
Pros
  • Open Source Graphic Design Software
  • Supports all OSes, including Linux and other Unix-like systems such as Wine
  • Features support for tablet pen
  • It may be used by beginners as well as professional manga artists
Cons
  • Advanced features such as detailed brush configurations and rotatable canvases may only be available in the Plus version
  • It does not support OpenType fonts
  • It comes with only an RGB color mode
  • Brush smoothing has led to the system lagging a couple of times during use

4. Corel Painter Review – Free Paint App For Mac

 

If you want realistic painting effects with digital drawings, Coral Painter does the job well. It is one of the best and most popular tools out there that come equipped with a wide selection of brushes. You get to use digital brushes and ones that can draw like traditional media. If you are a manga digital artist who loves traditional media, there is nothing better than Coral Painter for you.

Features

  • Corel Panter comes equipped with an auto-paint function that allows you to create the type of painting you want
  • Comes with a user-friendly interface, allowing you to access frequently used tools quite easily than is the case with larger, more intricate software
  • Allows a ton of options for brushes from the likes of crayons, airbrushes, sponges, fine camel, benders and pattern pens
  • Corel also comes equipped with a paper texture functionality that lets you create digital paintings in traditional media
  • You can blend two colors together to produce a third in Corel Painter
  • It allows the creation of mirrored artworks, which are essentially required for making symmetrical images and objects
Pros
  • Easy to use drawing software
  • Compatible with operating systems such as Windows 7, 8, Vista and XP and Mac OS X
  • One of the most affordable programs for creating digital artworks
  • The best software out there for replicating natural traditional media
Cons
  • The GUI tends to be intimidating for beginners
  • Some of the brushes are sluggish, even at a lower resolution
  • It supports only 64-bit systems

5. GIMP Review – Free Art Software (Photoshop Alternative)

 

GIMP is an abbreviation used for the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It shares a few similarities with Photoshop, so if you have been a fan of Photoshop, you’ll love GIMP. However, free digital art software easier to use than Photoshop CS6. Gimp has been recommended for use by those who are not well-versed in using the latter. Here are a few features you’ll absolutely love:

Features

  • Gimp enables the creation of custom brushes and patterns
  • Also features transformation tools that may be used to rotate, scale, and flip drawings
  • It also comes with selection tools such as ellipse, rectangular, and free selection
  • You get a number of supported file formats such as JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG and PSD
  • Moreover, it features the use of pen tablets
  • It also comes equipped with the capability to add plugins to expand features
  • Digital photo imperfections may be fixed with the aid of photo enhancement features built into GIMP
  • Offers advanced photo retouching techniques
  • You can’t stop but fall in love with its highly customizable interface
Pros
  • GIMP supports operating systems such as Windows XP, 7, 8, 10 and Vista and Mac OS X
  • Best Drawing App For Mac And PC.
  • Gimp may be used by advanced digital artists as well as beginners who have never used a digital drawing tool before
  • It is highly customizable
Cons
  • User Interface can be somewhat overwhelming for first-time users
  • Pen pressure requires configuration
  • It may cause a few issues on Windows

6. Adobe Photoshop CS6 Review – Free Graphic Program in 2018

 

Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 is the most revered edition of this software. Not only has it taken on a new appearance, but it has also been equipped with added functionalities and features. It has been upgraded to achieve somewhat better performance than what other preceding Adobe Photoshop models had been delivering. You can also download adobe photoshop free full version from any site.

Features

  • Adobe cs6 has an all-new and fresh look. The user interface in this version is slightly darker
  • The menu offers variable choices for keeping the UI as you like it
  • The adjustment controls are all consolidated in the Properties panel, reducing the clutter
  • There is now a new set of Blur filters that may be used to achieve special effects by stimulating the lens. All of the blur options have a Bokeh-style highlight
  • It allows you to view crop overlays and position the image and rotate it right there on the screen
  • The lighting effects work on the screen directly, not in the floating panel as they had been previously
  • The color range option comes with a face-detection option as well
  • You can increase the brush size to a maximum of 5000 pixels
Pros
  • Adobe cs6 is compatible with operating systems such as Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP and 10 and Mac OS X
  • Also offers both brush tools and pen tools for achieving greater precision in the artwork
  • It is remarkably better in terms of performance than its previous versions
Cons
  • It does not provide tutorials online for beginners
  • Web design could be further improved
  • It lacks in speed while salvaging large files
  • The software, if purchased, can be costly

7. Inkscape Review – Best Free Software For Graphic Design

 

This is a vector-based drawing program that shares a few similarities with Adobe Illustrator. It has been ranked among the best free drawing tools. The best feature of Inkscape is that it allows you to upload traditional drawings into it and convert them into manga artwork. If you are looking for something to recreate your manga and anime digital drawings, there is no beating Inkscape!

Features

  • Inkscape supports multi-line text
  • It comes equipped with alpha transparency support for display and PNG export
  • Also features a tool for picking colors
  • Provides support to a variety of file formats including JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, PNG, PSD, AWD, and PCX
  • You may choose to use a pencil or pen tool to create drawings
  • You get to choose from a variety of embedded bitmaps
  • It enables SVG format file generation and editing
  • You can also drag objects during interactive transformations
  • It helps artists create illustrations that look like real photos
  • The most basic tools comprise of straight lines, freehand lines, shapes, 3D boxes, Bezier curves, spirals and much more
Pros
  • Inkscape supports devices that use any operating system such as Windows, Linux, Mac and Web-based
  • Available in multiple languages such as English, Dutch, Polish and Swedish
  • It enables both deployments: cloud-hosted and open API
Cons
  • The user interface has been reported by a few users as being clunky
  • Some of the tools provided are not as intuitive as claimed
  • You cannot export a file to JPEG – a problem that needs fixing ASAP!

8. Smith Micro Manga Studio Review – Free Anime Drawing Software Mac

 

Manga Studio from Smith Micro is the most popular software for free manga drawing. It is also one of the highly ranked programs for creating amazing anime and manga artwork. All of your artworks can be converted into professional art pieces with the help of this animation and drawing software.

You can use vector capabilities for line work and enjoy other fantastic features such as those given below:

Features

  • Manga comes equipped with a revamped user interface for enhanced workflow
  • It allows complete integration with a drawing tablet
  • You get to work with a number of screen tones in order to add depth to the artwork
  • Also features perspective rulers to aid layout and 3D characters
  • It allows you to add an anatomical design
  • Features pen pressure sensitivity for tablets and provides digital pens for artists who prefer working with traditional ink pens
  • Manga studio is far better than Adobe Illustrator in aspects such as stroke quality, brush blending, and 3D manipulation
  • It offers a large brush variety to choose from
  • Also provides improved anti-aliasing for inking as compared to its previous versions
  • It offers handy features from the likes of automated panel creation and anti-overflow
Pros
  • This drawing program has been specifically designed for professional manga artists
  • Easy for beginners to learn and get used to its UI
  • It ensures improved integration with tablets
Cons
  • Mostly not compatible with drawing tablets
  • It is not compatible with Retina display and delivers poorly on higher resolutions
  • Hardware requirements are stringent

9. Krita Review – Best Free Drawing Software in 2018

 

Krita is an open-source painting software that has been designed by artists for use by anime and manga artists. It is provided free for use, but it welcomes donations. It features as many as nine different brush selections and other amazing features that have been listed as follows:

Features

  • Krita features a brush engine that may be used to create any type of brush. Krita has as many as 9 brush engines
  • Also enables layers mechanics, allowing you to merge, group, and blend layers. You get to create different layer types as well such as paint layers, vector layers, and file layers
  • Provides support to a variety of file formats including BMP, JPEG, ORA, PNG, PPM, RAW, TIFF, XCT, JP2, and PDF
  • It does not support indexed color models but is compatible with RGB, CMYK, gray-scale, XYZ, L*a*b* and YCbCr
  • Provides support for layers as well as masks
  • It features a number of vector tools such as path tool, connection tool, gradient tool, pant tool, and pattern tool
  • Also comes equipped with access to raster tools such as polyline, dynatool, ellipse, line, freehand portrait and more
  • You also get to choose from canvas tools, guidance tools, selection tools, and filters
Pros
  • Krita is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS
  • It comes equipped with a friendly and accessible user interface
  • Also enables access to handy drawing tools, which are required by manga and anime artists
Cons
  • It has faced performance issues on certain platforms
  • Lacks a few editing tools
  • All of the features built into Krita are not fully documented

10. Microsoft Fresh Paint Review- Get Fresh Paint

 

Fresh Paint is an art app that Microsoft has introduced for designers and painters. This application provides a creative canvas to all those who have ideas they wish to transform into amazing artworks such as anime and manga. It has been designed for use by beginners as well as professional artists and digital painters. Here are all the features it comes equipped with:

Features

  • Fresh paint features an easy-to-use interface that allows a digital brush to create artworks using a plastic color palette
  • It can stimulate watercolors, gouache, and all sorts of other materials
  • You also get the opportunity to mix and match colors onto the canvas with ease
  • It features a variety of activity packs and coloring pages to excite the digital painter
  • Moreover, the eraser tool and undo button may be used as per your convenience to correct all sorts of mistakes
  • It supports a feature to import images or use your device’s camera to snap pictures right there and then
  • Natural pressure sensitivity functionality has been built in to ensure precise control of the thickness of the brush strokes
  • A stylus input comes equipped for use during drawing or painting
  • When you are done painting, you can simply share the drawing with your loved ones
Pros
  • Only available for Windows users
  • Also features the most realistic blending effects
  • It is interactive, fun and easy to use, even by kids
  • It’s free to download on any of your Windows-powered devices
  • Beginners level design drawing software free download
Cons
  • It’s rather simplistic and might not be able to be used for complex editing and painting
  • It comes equipped with limited features, so professional artists may not be able to utilize it to its fullest

11. Paint Tool SAI Review – Free 3d Drawing Software

 

This digital painting software has been manufactured in Japan. It has remained a popular choice among artists who prefer simplistic yet a variety of tools to work with. This software may be used by both beginners and professional users who have had experience with other more complicated software. Here is a list of features to consider:

Features

  • Paint SAI features a color tool panel on the top that comprises a color wheel, which helps with the adjustment of color hues
  • Moreover, it features an RGB slider as well that may be used to manipulate colors on the color wheel
  • There is also a color mixer, which uses gray-scale to change values
  • A scratch pad has also been given that can be used to mix colors of your choice without impacting the main canvas
  • You also get to choose from a variety of selection tools such as magic wand, move, rotate, zoom and pick a color
  • As for the set of transformation tools, you get to scale, transform, and flip the image as you like
  • In order to facilitate drawing, tools such as the water brush, blur, filter, sketch, pen, and color have been provided
  • The layer panel allows switching between the different modes, that is, normal, multiply, screen, shade, and binary
Pros
  • Paint SAI is compatible with operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Android, Mac, and web-based
  • Also enables deployment via cloud-hosted and open API
  • It has been designed specifically for illustrators and digital painters
Cons
  • A free version is available for only 30 days, beyond which a payment has to be made to continue its use

12. ArtRage Review – Free Graphic Design Programs

 

Here’s an easy-to-use drawing program that comes equipped with just the right tools that anime and manga artists require. Its intuitive user interface has been designed to suit both traditional and digital work styles. The default interface has all the accessible tools and colors that an artist could ask for.

Features

  • This software may be used to create traditional artworks, graphic designs, illustrations, movie and video game concept arts, comics, special effects, and product designs
  • It has been designed to streamline both drawing and design processes
  • Also offers a range of customizable digital brushes that ensure thick texture strokes and blends
  • You can draw your favorite anime using real media options such as oils, watercolors, airbrushes or Gloop Pen
  • It ensures digital assistance in designing and editing
  • You get to choose from a variety of selections, gradient fills, transformation options and much more
  • Get to choose and adjust your color choice with unlimited options
  • The various layer modes comprise of bump blend mode, layer effects, layer locks, and opacity
  • You can also choose from different filter options and adjust the blur, noise, warp and color as you like
Pros
  • Free Art Software For Windows And Mac OS
  • Supports Windows 7, 8, Vista and XP and Mac OS X
  • Artrage has been specifically designed for illustrators and digital painters
  • It offers PSD file support
  • Available in multiple languages including English, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian and Dutch
Cons
  • There have been no obvious cons identified for this drawing software yet

13. Pencil2D Review – Free 2d Drawing Software

 

Among the best free anime drawing software, it would be a mistake to forget Pencil2D – an open-source tool that is easy to use and creates great animations and illustrations. It was initially introduced as a simple drawing toolkit but later developed into a more advanced drawing program that is capable of digitizing sketched and hand-made drawings.

Features

  • Pencil2d ensures a minimal design so that the focus remains on animating and drawing rather than on the intricate and cluttered design
  • It allows seamless switching between raster and vector workflows, so you get to sketch, ink and paint with ease
  • Also optimized for two-dimensional hand-drawn animations
  • Also features its very own tutorials, so you can learn how to use this drawing software easily and without much hassle
  • It has been designed such that it works well with a drawing tablet too
  • Great for digital artists who are out looking for animation software that is simple to use but can handle the intricacy of features and tools
  • The navigation is easy thanks to its simple interface
  • Comes with the ability to set the pacing that may be adjusted from the ‘timeline’ feature
  • It ensures fluid animation quality, which you can hardly get with any other open-source, cross-platform compatible software
  • It provides a step-by-step guide to create animations and bring them to life
Pros
  • Latest Microsoft Drawing Program
  • Compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac OS X
  • It is among the best free drawing and design tools available in the market
  • If you are looking for drawing software that can ensure fluid animation quality, there is nothing better than Pencil2D
Cons
  • The preferences cannot be saved between sessions
  • The eraser tool needs to be optimized and corrected for detail work
  • It does not come equipped with a feature that supports export of videos
  • Advanced tools that support the creation of complex animations are still missing

14. Pixton Review – Free Apps For Comic Designing in 2018

 

Pixton is also a web application similar to Fresh Paint that has been designed to create comics. It has been manufactured keeping in mind the need for drawing software that can be easily handled by amateurs. It was created by a husband and wife duo who lived in British Columbia, Canada. Their motivation behind a creation such as Pixton was based on their love for comics. As a result, they created a website that allows people to share ideas, stories and make comics including anime and manga.

Features

  • It’s relatively simple to use and navigate
  • It does not require special program, but all tools may be accessed through the website directly
  • Comic creation is a simple process, but to begin, you must create a user account
  • Students can make engaging and creative comics on topics that they are most interested in
  • You get to choose from a plethora of backgrounds, characters, props, and other features
  • Good news for Google users is that Pixton runs on a single sign-in
  • It has been loved by teachers, students, and comic artists all around the world for its intuitive user interface.
  • Features pre-made templates, so you work is done in a matter of minutes
Pros
  • It may be accessed by all as it requires no specific operating system or software
  • The registration process is fast and requires no fee
  • It may be used by all types of uses: beginner, intermediate level and advanced
Cons
  • It comes equipped with a pre-made template, so customization is limited
  • There is not much control on how you want a certain comic to turn out
  • Offers a limited number of features, so advanced editing and designing are not possible
  • It cannot be utilized for complicated animations, comics, and illustrations

15. FireAlpaca Review – Free Sketch Software in 2018

 

Here’s another free paint tool that comes in as many as 10 different languages. It is loved by many anime and manga artists who like free stuff. It comes equipped with features such as brushes, multiple image tabs, and editing tools. Read on to find out more about FireAlpaca:

Features

  • FireAlpaca default setting allows the use of pen, pencil, airbrush and watercolor options. These are fully customizable!
  • Relatively easy and simple to use, so if you are a beginner, you’ll get a hang of this software in no time
  • Available for both Mac and Windows, so files may be exchanged between the two OSes
  • It does not succumb to glitches and slow speed even when used on an old computer
  • Its 3D perspective allows snapping to a 3D object while drawing
  • You get to choose from a variety of brush types such as symmetric ones and rotational symmetric ones
  • The default setting has been equipped with a few comic templates, making your work all the more simple and quick
  • Supports multiple pressure levels and comes equipped with a smoothing feature for line work
  • It makes the creation of perspective grids simpler
Pros
  • Compatible with Mac OS and Windows
  • It has a built-in animation toolkit
  • Supports the PSD file format
  • It is made for use by beginners as well as advanced drawing artists
Cons
  • Since it features a simple interface, you may not find it useful for complex editing tasks
  • It does not come equipped with advanced functionalities like all of its counterparts

Are There Any More?

In addition to the 15 drawing tools mentioned above, you can also try a few of the following as they have also made it to the top drawing free software list for quite a few artists. These comprise of:

  • Autodesk SketchBook Pro – OS Support: Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista and XP and Mac OSX
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – OS Support: Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista and XP and Mac OSX
  • Microsoft Paint 3D – OS Support: Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, and XP
  • RealWorld Paint – OS Support: Windows 7, 8, Vista & XP
  • Comic Life – OS Support: Windows, Mac & iOS
  • Pixarra
  • Pencil
  • Smooth Draw
  • Ultimate Paint

You can also check out drawing software from this list and see which features you like most!

Final Words

These were just a few of the best drawing software available in the market for use at no cost. Most are available with free trial periods, while others can be accessed free of cost with a limited set of features and functionalities.

If you are convinced as to which one out of these 15 drawing tools suits your skill level as a digital painter, follow your instinct! The aforementioned programs have a number of features that you can enjoy for free and maybe upgrade features as you like by moving to a paid version.

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