The Best Art Software To Draw Anime And Manga Art


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Key Takeaways

  • The best art software to draw anime and manga art is Clip Studio Paint by CELSYS.
  • The best overall art software is Adobe Photoshop, but it somewhat lacks when it comes to drawing detailed line art for manga art.
  • The best anime drawing app for on-the-go drawing is Procreate.
  • The best free anime and manga art software is either Krita or Medibang Paint.

Clip Studio Paint Pro/EX

Clip Studio Paint’s user interface. The user interface can be modified extensively.

After using Clip Studio Paint for years to draw anime art (and sometimes manga art), I can safely say that Clip Studio Paint is the best art software for drawing anime and manga art.

There’s no other art software that comes even close, and it’s because of the features it has and how the features are presented in it, that makes this art software the best for anime and manga artists.

The main reasons why Clip Studio Paint is the best art software for anime and manga art:

  • Specific 3D tools to create anime and manga character poses and faces for inspiration or for tracing.
  • Quick toolbar (when selecting objects) to ease the application of base color, cel shading, halftones, etc.
  • Reference window with action buttons to modify how the reference image is viewed.
  • Ability to create manga panels, animation, comics, webtoons, etc.
  • Vast selection of realistic pencils and inking brushes.
  • Ready-made halftones for manga creation.
  • One of the industry’s best brush engines with almost unlimited tweaking options.
  • Almost all of the tools in the art software have been made with anime and manga artists in mind.
  • The software is developed by a Japanese company specifically for the anime and manga art industry.

If you are interested in the features the software offers, head over to my review article on Clip Studio Paint.

There’s not much difference between the PRO and EX versions of Clip Studio Paint (CSP). If you are into drawing, then the PRO version is enough for you.

The only con that you might face as a new user is the overwhelming number of tools and features the software has. The software’s interface has a lot of little buttons and icons that might confuse you at the beginning, but when you get used to using the software, you feel like they are indeed needed.

Adobe Photoshop CC

The interface of Adobe Photoshop CC

There’s no doubt that Adobe Photoshop is a beast of an art software for drawing anime, manga, and all other types of art. However, it does not beat Clip Studio Paint’s features for anime artists.

I have used Photoshop to draw anime art before, and the thing it lacks is the tools for drawing precise line art. While Photoshop does have a smoothing option, it’s not as precise and useful as the brush stabilization feature in CSP.

However, what must be said is that Photoshop is a powerful art software for post-production. Tweaking colors is best done in Photoshop, and no other software can beat the options Photoshop have in store for you.

While Photoshop has some of the best brushes, pencils, and pens in the digital art industry, I still think that the standard brushes you get from Clip Studio Paint are far superior to the ones you get with Adobe Photoshop.

Below are some of the things where Photoshop excels in comparison to Clip Studio Paint:

  • The overall selection of graphic design, photo editing, and art tools to further tweak your designs and artwork.
  • Color tweaking and post-production are superior to CSP.
  • Best overall software for drawing anime and other types of art.

The biggest con of Photoshop is definitely the pricing structure, as it’s a subscription-based software and an expensive one.

Corel Painter

Corel Painter offers a one-time purchase and a subscription model. Something other software developers should also consider.

Corel Painter is a great digital art software, especially for drawing manga and anime; however, the art software is getting left behind compared to Adobe Photoshop, Procreate, and Clip Studio Paint. The software is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Corel Painter has numerous brushes, including digital brushes and those that mimic traditional media brushes. These include colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, and chalk, among others.

Additionally, Corel Painter software also offers you different paper textures. So, you can easily choose a paper texture that complements a specific type of brush. Stanley Lau (Artgerm) (one of the most acclaimed anime artists) has used Corel Painter for years, so we can conclude that Corel Painter is not a hindrance to drawing professional anime art.

ProCreate (iPad exclusive) 

Procreate costs roughly $13 and can only be downloaded for iPad

Procreate is the last art software that has to be noted. Procreate is insanely popular among anime and manga artists, and for a good reason. Procreate offers an intuitive user interface, powerful tools, and incredible brushes.

What sets Procreate apart from others, even from Clip Studio Paint, is that it’s specifically designed as portable drawing software. The user interface is easy to use and understand, and it’s a joy to use when traveling.

The only real con is that you can’t use it with any device other than an iPad, but then again, there are no true rivals to iPad when it comes to the drawing experience on the go.

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Other Art Software Options For Drawing Anime Art

The article is about the best anime and manga drawing software. Below is a list of other noteworthy art software that can also be used for drawing anime art; however, the ones listed above are the ones I can recommend for you.

However, there are some gems among the list below. Some of the art software is free, and that’s what makes them noteworthy, as not everyone can afford to shell out $60 per month on art software. Krita and Medibang Paint are the ones worth pointing out as they offer seriously powerful tools for no charge whatsoever.

List of other noteworthy art software for drawing anime and manga art:

  • PaintTool SAI / $40 (one-time purchase)
  • Krita / FREE to use (open source art software)
  • Medibang Paint / FREE to use but also offers MediBang Premium as a subscription service
  • Sketchbook / FREE to use and is available for multiple devices
  • Affinity / FREE to use, but can be upgraded for a price ($200)
  • Rebelle / $80+ (one-time purchase)
  • ArtRage / $40 (one-time purchase)
  • Artweaver / Basic functionality for free, but the plus version costs roughly $30
  • Paintstorm Studio / $19 (one-time purchase)


Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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Thank You!

Thank you for visiting the page! If you want to level up your anime and manga art skills, I suggest you check out Clip Studio Paint!