The Best Free Drawing Software
Drawing software is an essential tool for any would-be digital artist. With modern drawing software, users can create, edit, and even publish finished artwork such as sketches, illustrations, or diagrams. The decision about which software to choose can be an expensive one, however, and that’s why many users turn to free drawing software.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular free drawing software programs currently available.
Gimp is free, open-source drawing software for creating and managing photos and images. Powerful and capable of handling various tasks, its workload can range from simple paint work through complex photo work and more.
Designed to provide additional capabilities and functions with add-ons or extensions, it handles a wide range of file formats. As such, Gimp is regarded as a competitor to Photoshop.
- Open-source and free to use
- Good tools and features make it a versatile piece of software
- High quality image editing
- Steep learning curve for the inexperienced
- Doesn’t support some of the file formats used by designers or illustrators
Krita is another piece of free, open-source drawing software. Plus, it’s not too demanding on your system requirements. Krita is considered easy to learn, making it ideal for beginners. User-friendly, you can choose how you want to set up the screen to best suit your needs. While similar to Adobe Illustrator Krita is the better choice in relation to cost and scope for creativity.
If you have no experience of using drawing software, it would be better to go with a free option like Krita. That way, you can learn more about the tool before committing your hard-earned cash.
- Great painting tools
- Open-source and free to use
- You can create animations
- Not many tutorials available for beginners
- Prone to crashing with old PCs.
- Photo-editing capabilities are poor
Artweaver Free is a raster graphics editor for Windows. Those familiar with commercial programs like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter will find it easier to work out how to use this piece of software. There are two versions of Artweaver: Free and Plus. Naturally, the Free version doesn’t come with as many features as the Plus version. However, the trial period does give you the opportunity to find out more about the tool. You can then decide whether to upgrade or choose an alternative for your painting or drawing.
- Versatile for digital artwork
- Customisable and user-friendly
- Known for its realistic painting ability
- Working with larger files can cause problems
- Not as versatile as more recent software
- Free version has limitations
Sketchpad was launched way back in 1963 – before PCs and the electronic calculator were commercially available. With such a long history, you’d expect it to be well-built, problem-free, and easy to use. And thankfully, that’s most certainly the case. Just Google “Sketchpad online,” click on the first entry, and you’ll see what Sketchpad is like. There’s no software to download and you can use it on any device you have connected to the internet. All of which facilitates collaboration and sharing.
Sketchpad is perhaps more a fun and entertainment tool rather than software you’d use for serious artwork.
- Easy to use and get started
- Can be used online from any device
- Basic functions
- Limitations due to internet connectivity
Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor which requires quite a powerful system. If you’re considering this software, check your requirements before you start downloading. If you’re already experienced in using drawing software, Inkscape might not be for you as it’s better suited for beginners. Inkscape as a vector graphics program enables users to create pictures or images of varying sizes without any loss of quality. You can design at one size and use at another size for print or the web.
- Powerful vector graphics software
- Open-source and free to use
- Can import and export files to and from other programs
- Beginner friendly but more sophisticated applications are difficult
- Export of files into other software can be limited
- Not the same level of online support as some of the other products
Clip Studio Paint
Clip Studio Paint is only free for six months before you have to take up a paid plan. Likewise, if you want more powerful options, they come at a price as you’ll need to upgrade. But six months is more than enough to familiarise yourself with the tool, and work out if it’s a good choice for you or not. What’s more, you’ll be able to find out if it really does create intricate and complex artwork with ease and to play around with the animation tools.
Clip Studio Paint was originally launched under another name in 2001 – Manga Studio in North America. It was originally intended for use in comics and animation. The software has gone through a lot of development and changes over the years.
- A wide range of advanced tools and features for both illustration and comic creation
- Customisable interface
- Only free for six months
- Overwhelming for beginners
FireAlpaca is a program for designing images for digital printing. Primarily raster software, it does have limited vector abilities and will run on a Mac or Windows. Unfortunately, its tools are not as sophisticated as some other programs, although new tools are added from time to time.
- Easy for beginners to learn
- Has a good range of brush styles and textures
- Limited options compared to other software
- Only basic animation
Choose Your Free Drawing Software Now
Drawing software used to be an expensive commitment. Fortunately, the world of computers, operating systems, and software has become much more affordable. Nowadays, a lot of software is free to use, such as free drawing software. The advent of open-source programming has contributed to this in a large part, as well as making the software more competitive in terms of pricing. Whether you’re an expert or beginner, there are wide ranging choices to consider.
Have you ever used any of the free drawing software options featured in this article? What was it that caught your eye about them? Let us know in the comments section below.