15 FREE Drawing Software For Artists

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Written by Juha

Art is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Out of the many benefits, it’s a way we’re able to express ourselves, which is something that is very important to us.

Not only mentally, but emotionally and even psychologically as well. For some of us, it’s even our source of income.

If you’re an art lover, then you know nothing beats the classic way of doing art; however, as times are changing, many prefer digital art for various reasons.

It’s not only easy to undo a mistake without having to start all over again, but it can also be a lot cheaper, and the overall look is slightly more appealing.

Digital art is also seen as more of a challenge for many artists and, therefore, more fun.

However, with so many different drawing software online, it’s hard to choose the right one.

Although many claims to be free, it’s quickly discovered that it’s only for a certain extent.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a legit free drawing software, then you might want to stay because I’m going to share with you art software that truly is FREE.

Krita

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Founder KDE, an international free software community, began early developments for Krita in 1998 with the goal of creating a digital painting software.

The software went through numerous names, such as Krayon and KImageShop. However, in 2002 it was officially decided that ‘Krita’ was the perfect name, which was inspired by the Swedish word ‘Krita’ meaning crayon, and ‘rita,’ which means to draw.

In 2005, this free drawing software was finally released to the public, along with the adorable mascot Kiki, the cyber squirrel.

In order to be able to download this software, you must have the following operating systems available: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and Chrome OS.

The website includes a guide on how to use the software, so you’ll have the opportunity to look back at it encase you feel lost while using the software.

In terms of what you can do with this software, Krita focuses specifically on creating and manipulating images. However, you can also paint and illustrate, as well as do other creative work.

Pros:

  • Krita is 100% free and an open-source
  • The software updates very often
  • Easy to use and edit

Cons:

  • Touch controls are a work in progress
  • Using text can be very tricky
  • New features are often released untested

SketchBook

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Sketchbook, also known as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, is a software application that focuses on drawing and sketching.

This software was created by Autodesk Inc. and released in 2016, available for macOS, Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS.

To use this software, you simply need to head over to the website and download the application. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be shown a list of approximately five versions of the software to install.

Finally, after all, is downloaded and installed, you’ll be taken to a plain canvas where you’ll have the chance to start creating some beautiful art!

Pros:

  • Professional and easy-to-find tools
  • A free full-featured version is provided for everyone
  • It has a simple layout with zero distractions

Cons:

  • Some features may be disappointing
  • May perhaps be too complex for beginners
  • May not perform well on a tablet

MediBang Paint

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MediBang Paint loves art just as much as you! Their goal is to take advantage of the birth of the internet to make creating and finding art easier than ever by filling in the gaps lying between artists and their audience.

This software is incredibly easy to use; all you have to do to head over to their website and download the application, which is available for PCs and Mac.

With MediBang Paint, you’ll be able to create professional-like art and comics 100% for free! They even include a well-detailed tutorial on their site to help you adjust perfectly.

Pros:

  • MediBang can turn your comics into eBooks
  • You have the option to have your work shared on their social networks
  • Super easy to use

Cons:

  • Only available on PCs and Mac
  • You must create a MediBang account to access all features
  • The software sometimes glitches

Sketchpad

Sketchpad, also known as Robot Draftsman, is a computer software specifically for animation and drawing.

The software was created in 1963 by Ivan Sutherland while he was getting his PhD. The software was earning him numerous awards, as he had created the very first program to ever use a graphical user interface.

This is why Sketchpad is seen as the ancestor for all the modern drawing software we use today.

Anyone can access this software by simply visiting their website, where you will be instantly taken to a plain canvas where you can begin creating art, and the program will automatically save all of your work, so you can come back to it anytime.

Pros:

  • Super easy to use and access for everyone
  • All available features are free and professional
  • Suitable for school, work, and personal use

Cons:

  • You’ll have to pay to install the desktop app
  • Not many options for advanced artists
  • You may have trouble saying your work into your device

MyPaint

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MyPaint is a completely free software for digital painting, created by MyPaint contributors in early 2005. It’s available on Windows, macOS, and Unix-like operating systems.

Using this software is incredibly easy, as that is exactly what this software was designed to be.

MyPaint provides artists with a range of colors, brushes, layers, and even a scratchpad that will serve as a second mini canvas for things, such as color swatches.

Pros:

  • You are able to zoom in infinitely
  • You are able to change the position of your art
  • Lots of professional features

Cons:

  • It’s not updated frequently
  • Lack of image manipulation abilities
  • Brushes need some modification

Sketchable

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Microsoft created Sketchable with the purpose of it being part journal and part canvas. This way, you are able to: write notes, take and edit pictures and, of course, create beautiful art. All you have to do is install the app and start your having fun with it!

Pros:

  • Perfect for beginners
  • Various uses
  • Easy and fast to use

Cons:

  • It’s only available for Windows 10
  • You have to pay for premium features
  • App may glitch

Artweaver

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Artweaver is a drawing software for Windows and Linux that was created by Boris Eyrich in 2009. This outstanding program provides a variety of tools to help you achieve realistic artistic images.

If you’re happy with the free version of Artweaver, you may want to consider moving on to their second version.

The software comes with two separate versions, a free version and a Pro version, which you must pay in order to use, but you’ll have access to more features to make your art look even better!

Pros:

  • Numerous realistic brushes
  • Very easy to use
  • You will be able to work with other artists

Cons:

  • The system has a noticeable lag
  • Not many variations on fonts
  • Features can be limited

Microsoft Paint 3D

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Microsoft Paint 3D is a painting software, which allows you to create art in all dimensions. The application was created by Microsoft and Lift London in 2017.

The plans of Microsoft Paint 3D were unfortunately leaked online, in 2016 which made many artists excited. Thankfully, once the application was officially released, it was everything users were expecting and more.

To use this software, all you have to do is head over to their website and download the application. Yes, it’s that easy.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Able to share art online
  • You are able to playback the creation process of your art

Cons:

  • Editing tools are basic
  • No support for multiple layers
  • It does not include filters or retouching options

Microsoft Fresh Paint

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No, we’re not still talking about Microsoft Paint. Microsoft Fresh Paint is an app with the purpose of painting, created by Microsoft and released in 2012. Available to use using Windows 7 and later.

The idea for this app came as the developers wanted to replicate the behavior of physical oil paint in a digital way.

Although it’s not to be mistaken for Microsoft Paint 3D, both applications are related as Microsoft Paint 3D is simply a remake of Microsoft Fresh Paint.

Pros:

  • This application is 100% free, including upgrades
  • You’ll have access to many tools
  • Extremely easy to use

Cons:

  • Editing capabilities are very basic
  • No support for multiple layers
  • It does not include a smudge tool

Procreate

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Procreate is considered to be one of the best free drawing software’s by many artists online. Its main purpose is to allow users to create digital paintings. The software is available for iOS.

The application was created by Savage Interactive in 2011. With Procreate, although you’ll be creating digital art, your art will still hold a natural feel. Procreate gives you a place to create digital art with no limits.

Pros:

  • No in-app purchases or subscriptions
  • A vast number of tools to create realistic art
  • Automatic recording of your process to look back at

Cons:

  • Trouble with multiple layers
  • No vectors available
  • Slightly trickier to use

Inkscape

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Inkscape is a perfect free drawing software for those who are interested in creating vector shapes, as you will be able to create vividly-looking primitive vector shapes and text.

You’ll be able to fill your vector shapes with patterns, solid colors, linear and radial color gradients. The best part is that it doesn’t even cover half of what you can do with Inkscape.

The application was released in 2003, and it’s available for Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Pros:

  • 100% free to all
  • Design is very simple and easy to use
  • SVG format support

Cons:

  • Tricky for beginners
  • Limited text formatting tools
  • Interface visuals need improvements

GIMP

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GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. With this application, users have the opportunity to do many things, such as: manipulate images, edit images, draw, and many more!

If you’re interested in using GIMP, all you need is to have access to the following operating systems: Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. The application was created by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis in 1996.

The two men started the development of GIMP while studying at the University of California, originally naming it The General Image Manipulation Program.

Pros:

  • A vast range of features
  • Great use of layering
  • Excellent user community

Cons:

  • Some features don’t meet the expectations of others
  • Limited options for 3D designs
  • Interface requires improvements

Pixlr

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Pixlr Editor is one of the best free photo editors around. By using Pixlr, you’ll be able to easily create and share images. The whole experience is absolutely free, which means you have nothing to lose by checking it out! 

Created by popular developer Autodesk, Pixlr runs entirely on your browser, which means you won’t have to install anything into your laptop or computer. However, if you would like to use it on your phone, you can install it on both iOS and Android.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Perfect for everyone
  • Interface is outstanding

Cons:

  • It can be tricky compared to other software’s
  • It tends to glitch
  • Certain features do not perform well

Pencil2D 

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If you have access to Windows, macOS, and Unix-like, then you have the opportunity to use this great free drawing software, specifically to create 2D animations using traditional techniques.

The software was developed by Matthew Chang and released in 2005. Once you download Pencil2D, you’ll be pleased to learn that the software comes with its own file format where you can safely save all of your work. 

The original software was just simply named Pencil, but the development of the software was quickly discontinued.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn and use features
  • Fluid animation quality
  • Free tutorials and guides to make better art

Cons:

  • Eraser tool needs improvements
  • Only allows exported images and not videos
  • Has a lack of tools

FireAlpaca

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This relatively new software was just released in 2016 by PGN, a Japanese software developer. This free digital painting software is available to those who have access to operating systems: Mac and Windows.

FireAlpaca is very modern and friendly to its users and available in ten different languages. Despite being free and simple, it’s great for artists looking for free drawing software!

Pros:

  • Updates frequently
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Provides multiple image editing tools

Cons:

  • Not many editing tools provided
  • No softness adjustment for brushes required
  • No default palettes

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