Selecting the best drawing apps for a personal or professional project? Your options are endless, with programs for Android, macOS, ChromeOS, Windows, Linux and more. From free apps to tiered subscriptions to freemium trials, find solutions for any timeframe or budget. 

If you’re wondering where to start your search, look no further. Read on for a list of current leading options and their specs.    

What Is a Drawing App and What Are Their Benefits?

Drawing applications are digital art programs for tablets, desktops and other electronic devices. With a range of brushes and art tools, you can create in any style you like. 

When you use drawing software, your artwork is immediately digitized. This means everything from editing to sharing is significantly easier than with hand-drawn art, and you’ll frequently have the option to upgrade your app. 

Your Ultimate List of the Best Drawing Apps

Feeling overwhelmed about where to start with drawing apps for PC and Apple operating systems and devices? Begin with a list of leading programs and the most important things to know about them. 

1. Procreate

As one of the leading digital art apps, Procreate comes with extensive features like brush creation and customization, gesture control customization, text tools and animation options. It’s good for beginners and pros alike with an accessible, intuitive interface and numerous artistic capabilities. Learning Procreate is easier with a very thorough opening video to explain the program and lots of courses and easy methods for sharing your work.      

  • Operating System: iOS
  • Devices: iPad and iPhone (Procreate Pocket)
  • Cost: One-time fee
  • Pro: A dedicated community, called Procreate Folio, is available for support. 
  • Con: No trial version is available.

2. Krita

Considered a Procreate alternative, Krita is an open-source drawing app on which you can create an endless number of layers, including vector layers. The main features include a huge brush catalog and great animation tools.  

  • Operating Systems: Windows, macOS and Linux
  • Devices: Tablets
  • Cost: Free
  • Pro: Volunteers are constantly working on Krita and adding free features.  
  • Con: There tends to be a brushstroke lag.  

3. Photoshop

Primarily for photo editing, Photoshop also works well for drawing. It includes a massive amount of tool options and customization, so it is ideal for intermediate users rather than beginners. At the same time, a community of users has created tools to make drawing easier on the photo editing app. Photoshop is especially great for printed work. 

  • Operating Systems: Windows, macOS and iOS
  • Devices: Desktop, laptop and the iPad
  • Cost: Monthly subscription
  • Pro: A free trial is available 
  • Con: It takes a lot of time to customize the pen and brush tools.  

4. Autodesk Sketchbook

Unlike many other drawing apps, Autodesk Sketchbook is meant to mimic the experience of drawing on physical paper, right down to a few menu distractions and tools that feel like using the real thing. You can even use your camera to scan physical artwork directly into the app. The features include hundreds of customizable brushes, pens, pencils, markers, and stroke tools for excellent precision.   

  • Operating Systems: macOS, Windows, iOS and Android
  • Devices: Desktop, mobile and tablet
  • Cost: Free
  • Pro: The user interface (UI) is simple enough for small phone screens.  
  • Con: Sketchbook might not offer enough control for seasoned pros. 

5. Clip Studio Paint

Developed with Japanese animation in mind, Clip Studio Paint is ideal for creating comics and series pieces. You can put together everything from concepts and characters to animations and webtoons, and split long vertical pages into multiple smaller pages. The app has lots of customizable tools, including lettering features. You can even record your process with time-lapse to share the resulting video on social media. Clip Studio Paint allows you direct access to a support team when you have questions about the app.

  • Operating Systems: Windows, macOS, iOS, ChromeOS and Android 
  • Devices: Computer, tablet and mobile
  • Cost: Options for a one-time fee or monthly subscription
  • Pro: A free trial is available. 
  • Con: It takes a decent amount of time to learn everything possible with the program.  

6. Astropad Studio

Turn your computer into a drawing tablet with Astropad Studio. This program allows your laptop to mirror the drawing app on your iPad when you want to use a larger screen and keyboard. Astropad Studio uses LIQUID video technology for excellent responsiveness, image quality, and low latency. You can build your own gestures, shortcuts, and Apple pencil settings to adjust pen pressure.  

  • Operating Systems: iOS (connecting with a Mac or PC)
  • Devices: iPad and desktop
  • Cost: Tiered pricing options
  • Pro: Enjoy unlimited upgrades.  
  • Con: There tends to be a slight lag when repositioning in Retina mode. 

7. Infinite Painter 

As another Procreate alternative, Infinite Painter is super customizable and easy to use. It comes with more than 200 brushes and the option to add your own. The digital painting and drawing app provides huge value and exciting tools while maintaining a simple enough UI for newcomers.   

  • Operating Systems: iOS, Android and ChromeOS 
  • Devices: Mobile, tablet and Chromebook
  • Cost: One-time fee 
  • Pro: A free trial is available.  
  • Con: The app tends to leg or crash with the larger canvas options.  

8. Adobe Fresco 

A fabulous choice for beginners, Adobe Fresco is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. Enjoy access to the world’s largest selection of brushes, including vector and live brushes. In addition, you may use certain tools from other Adobe products. Take advantage of a free trial to try out things like full-screen mode and a customized UI.    

  • Operating Systems: iOS and Windows
  • Devices: iPad, iPhone and computer
  • Cost: Monthly subscription and tiered pricing
  • Pro: A freemium model is available.  
  • Con: You cannot create custom color palettes or duplicate customized brushes. 

Elevate Your Artistry Through Digital Drawing  

No matter your project type, preferred OS, timeframe or budget, you can find the best drawing apps on the market today. The list above provides guidance on where to start your search.

Skillshare has the best class selection, from beginner to advanced, for experimenting and creating digital art with the best drawing apps. Check out how to:

And so much more. Happy drawing! 

Written By
Katie Mitchell

Katie Mitchell

Katie lives in Michigan with her husband, kids and pets. She enjoys cooking, travel and live music.

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