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6 Best Free Drawing Software for Artists in 2019

January 24, 2017

In recent years digital advancements have designers leaving pen and paper behind, allowing them to create visual image files using their computer mouse or electronic sketchpads.

This drawing software comes with various features like clipart, fill effects, filters, vectors, design layers, and templates that help users produce original digital artwork for marketing, advertising, and graphic design projects.

Designers who use drawing software save their finished artwork in various file formats, publish it on a website or blog, merge it into a document, and share it on social media.

While designers have a variety of options choose from, many drawing programs are quite expensive. This is why we compiled six of the best free drawing software tools for artists in 2019.

Tip: Show off your artwork with a custom website portfolio. Check out the best free website builders.

Free drawing software 2019

We have sifted through the clutter and found some of the best free drawing software tools in 2019, with real crowdsourced user reviews from real artists.

1. SketchBook

SketchBook is a drawing software built to help designers, engineers, visual artists, and students design and create what comes to their imagination.

Some key features:

Sketchbook offers access to 3D designs and fabrication technology – which users particularly in the design, engineering, and entertainment industries are benefitting from. Sketchbook gives a professional look with a quality user experience.

SketchBook offers a free trial for 30 days.

What users are saying

"Sketchbook is the most intuitive drafting software application that I've used. I can use it to quickly render a conceptual idea for, for example, a new display fixture in our showroom and work out the design digitally in a way that's easy to modify and share." – Ed H.

"Definitely try the free version out first! Try the premium trial, you won't regret it. If you are an aspiring artist, this is a must have program!" – Brooke R.

2. Krita

Krita is a digital painting application that's completely free to use.

Some key features:

Designed for Windows, Linux, and Mac, this tool has a simple interface that lets users experiment with unusual effects with digital art, like layer masks and color palettes, and effects specific to Krita drawing including, Krita brushes and Krita animation – not to forget the Krita download and Krista review options.

The drawing software's drawing assistant provides useful prompts that help designers improve the accuracy and perspective of their online drawings.

There are also templates with a range of design tips.

Designers can generate new digital artwork from scratch or build on existing illustrations and post their finished designs on Krita's online gallery.

What users are saying

"I've been using this software in my everyday work as a digital illustrator and I can recommend it to anyone—professional and amateur—who wants a complete, fully featured tool to work with." – Kev. Z

"It is free software and with enough potential to create quality images. Krita has it all, it has allowed me to work in layers, apply filters, use brushes and use colors. I really like that it supports different formats such as RAW, PSD, PNG, JPEG and BMP, it is also possible to export the files in a large number of formats. Krita has brushes for all tastes, so that our paintings are amazing." – Luis B.

3. Mischief

Mischief is a digital drawing application that lets designers create beautiful, eye-catching digital art with digital brushes.

Some key features:

The full version of Mischief with additional presets, layers, and a full color palette costs $25, but users still get plenty of features with the free version.

A 15-day free trial is also available to test out the full version. This include three brushes, window opacity, and the ability to import image files.

Users can post their finished artwork on Mischief's online gallery or on a number of Tumblr pages that are dedicated to the drawing program.

What users are saying:

"I would highly recommend this program. It is truly a remarkable piece of software for what it does, and I am sure many people would find a place for it in their workflow. With its free version, it's very affordable." – Živko K.

"At the price it is hard to go wrong with Mischief, and while not as full featured as some other sketching apps, it offers a ludicrously quick drawing engine which pairs everything down to the basics, which unlike a lot of applications is a good thing. There is a free version and demo to dip your feet with which makes life easier before you purchase." – Mike G.

4. MyPaint

MyPaint is a free, open-source drawing program with digital tools that replicate the look of pencils, paints, and charcoal.

Some key features:

Users can get creative with layers, a color wheel, and a brush library. Other features include blending, ink brushes, and full-screen mode. The software also supports pressure-sensitive drawing, which allows users to create designs on their smartphone or tablet.

A number of artists have used MyPaint, including David Revoy, a concept artist from France. This software is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

What users are saying:

"The default brushes are designed to emulate real-life media like charcoal, paint and dry brushes. They have a unique feel to them that I can't quite describe. It's something that Photoshop can't emulate. There are plenty of different customization settings if you want to make your own brushes, too." – Neve E.

"MyPaint is free and lightweight, don't eat your computer resources, easy to learn, different types of drawing tablet works with it, and if you want to use a mouse instead, the line tools are excellent. From time to time I like to use MyPaint with a mouse to create pencil line art." – Giovana L.

Free drawing software trials

If you're looking for a drawing software to test out for free, these are two great options to check out.

5. Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint offers a variety of drawing tool packages. Whether you choose the DEBUT, PRO, or EX, you can test out the drawing software with a 30-day free trial, giving you full access to EX and standard access to PRO. 

Some key features:

The free trial of Clip Studio Paint includes features like managing multi-page files, drawing in vector format, creating animations,  converting 3D models and 2D image data, and more. All that is needed for a free trial is registering a free Clip Studio account for yourself.

It is available on both Windows and MacOS X software, and packages start as low as $49.99 for desktop software. An iPad software version is also available with monthly or annual subscriptions, but there is no free trial for this format of the program.

What users are saying:

"Clip Studio is my current go-to software for drawing and illustration. It combines useful drawing tools with a decent set of editable brushes and also useful layout tools for comics and other formats. It also has great editing and adjustment tools, I make use of the color/level corrections and gradient mapping a lot, and Clip Studio makes this sort of thing quite easy.

It also includes a reasonable selection of textures and even incorporates 3D reference models, although possibly not in way that many will find genuinely useful as a day-to-day tool." – Nick R.

6. Painter

Painter is a drawing software that helps its users create professional-looking masterpieces through the use of its new pattern pens and enhanced color selection and paint quality, among other new and improved features. It's latest version is the fastest Painter program to date with an extensive list of realistic-looking features.

The drawing software is available on Windows 10 and MacOS X software. Painter offers a 30-day free trial to test out its most recent version of the software. No credit card is required for this free trial. The full program is regularly $429, with occasional sales and discounts offered by Painter. Smaller plugins are also available for less and for tablets.

What users are saying:

"I fell in love with the way it can mimic traditional mediums. Not only can you choose a 'medium' like charcoal, graphite, marker, etc, but you can select a paper texture, and if the brush has been set up to react to that texture, you can get some pretty realistic results. Additionally, Painter provides a more natural way to add textures to your work.

Because of this, Painter is my Go-to program when I want to achieve certain results that I can't do as quickly, as well, or as comfortably in Photoshop. The customizability of the brushes is also great and gives you a lot of options to get the effect that you are looking for." – Stephanie B.

Get by with free drawing software

For beginner or low-budget artists, the six free drawing softwares listed above will be more than powerful to fulfill their drawing needs.

Free drawing software tools help designers produce vibrant, colorful illustrations and come with many of the features normally associated with paid programs. These tools boast a number of special effects and features like digital paint brushes and markers, letting users create unique designs from a blank canvas.

If you're curious about the software business, check out our roundup of some of the best Software Companies in America.

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