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6 Best Digital Drawing Tools for Designers to Stand Out in 2023

Digital art clearly has no limits to the possibilities it creates. It’s one of the highest-paying jobs as of now. And with the upcoming NFT era, it’s likely to become even more popular than it is if that’s possible. 

Anyone who wants to start their career or spend their leisure time on digital drawing needs the essential equipment and software that helps them put their ideas on canvas. Knowing where to start doesn’t come naturally. You need direction, specifically when choosing a digital drawing app. 

From Adobe Creative Cloud to Corel Painter, the options are endless. Each has its features, pricing, and drawbacks. If you want to explore the leading apps in the market to kickstart your digital art skills, you should keep scrolling.

What is a Digital Drawing Tool? 

You must know about the traditional drawing concept with paper and pencil. Digital painting takes on the same concept but utilizes an electronic device, such as a phone, tablet, or computer, a mouse or stylus, and a digital drawing tool. 

This tool will provide everything you need to create digital art, including a blank canvas, brushes, pens, and more features than ever! Some popular digital drawing tools you would’ve heard of are Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter, etc. We’ll discuss some of the best in this guide as well.

How to Choose the Right Digital Drawing Tool? 

With abundant digital drawing tools in the market, it takes time to choose one. Not to mention, almost every digital drawing tool has millions of users and comes with the latest upgrades in the digital art field. 

To choose the right digital drawing tool for yourself, you need to consider certain factors. First and foremost – what device are you planning to use to create art? Some tools are only available for phones and tablets, while others support laptops, too. 

The second important factor that determines the selection is the art type. Drawing tools usually support only one type – vector or raster. Be sure to look into what each tool offers and what you can create. 

Another thing you should look into is the tool’s features and pricing. Free tools can be perfect for beginners, but you may need to invest in a paid, more advanced drawing tool later. Drawing tools also offer a free version with restricted access or a trial version to see if it matches your needs. 

Once these factors are sorted, you can reach a consensus after reviewing the top-rated digital drawing tools available. 

13 Best Digital Drawing Tools Every Designer Should Know 

Digital drawing tools have made their claim to an unimaginable extent. If you’re someone who wants to move to that dimension, especially if you’re making an investment, you’d want it to work out for you. 

Interested in getting a list of the best digital art tools out there in 2023? You should keep reading in that case!

Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco.

The new kid on the block, Adobe Fresco, has gained immense popularity among beginners, amateurs, and digital art pros alike in the past four years. With numerous features through a user-friendly interface, it unlocks the latest dimensions for digital artists. Although, it is best known for offering the ‘real feel’ of drawing and painting on a digital landscape. 

Best Features

  • Lifelike Tools: Fresco’s realistic tools take the win in its features. Digital artists can’t stop praising the true nature of watercolors, oil paints, pencils, pressure results, and blending within this app. 
  • Multiple Brush Types: Vector or raster? With this app, you won’t have to choose between one or the other. Access a wide range of brushes within Fresco or import new ones from Adobe creative cloud.
  • Seamless Integration with Adobe Apps: As an Adobe app, you can export your Fresco files to Photoshop or Illustrator to further utilize their features.
  • Easy Animations: Fresco makes creating animations look like a piece of cake. Using its dual mode, you can animate your artwork with frame-by-frame or motion path techniques.


Access Fresco’s premium standalone version for IOS and Windows, along with 5 GB of cloud storage. The iPad-only version is $9.99/year, while iPhone and Windows are at $9.99/month.   

For more pricing plans, visit Adobe’s official website.  

Freemium Vs. Premium

Adobe Fresco’s free version lets you use the app without any charges. You’ll have access to over 100 brushes, fonts, color range, and features with 2 GB of cloud storage. 

The premium version offers 1000+ brushes, including live, vector, and raster, a more diverse color palette, a full range of adobe’s fonts, and 100GB of cloud storage. 

Compatible Devices

  • iPad and iPhone users with iOS 14 and onwards.
  • Windows users with Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Wacom drawing tablets


  • Can’t Customize Brushes: Even with the premium version, while you can import brushes from the creative cloud, you can’t customize them – a major disadvantage for pros.
  • Limited Functionality: For Illustrator and Photoshop’s accustomed users, Fresco lacks several features that the other two provide, such as photo editing. 
  • No Hex Code: Another disadvantage for Fresco users is that they can’t create custom color palettes or choose a color using the hex code option. 


Procreate homepage screenshot

Procreate hasn’t been around for decades, but digital artists can’t stop praising this powerful digital drawing tool. Although it’s only available for iPad users, this tool has taken the digital drawing field by storm, and it’s well worth getting it. Anyone who’s used Procreate has no reason to look back. 

Best Features

  • Easy to Use: Procreate has a lot to offer, but perhaps the most prized factor of it is that it comes with a user-friendly interface. Whether you’re testing your luck on digital art or are already a professional, this tool makes creating art a seamless process.
  • Customizable Tools: Digital artists have one major ask: customizability. Procreate took the digital art field to the next level with a wide range of existing tools and the freedom to customize them further.  
  • Pressure Drawing: Procreate has won over digital artists with its lifelike features, the most prominent of which is that it draws according to the pressure you put on the canvas. 
  • Affordability: Where most tools have a restricted free version or a heavy-on-the-pocket full version, Procreate empowers artists to get the best of digital drawing features, all of them only for a one-time $10 payment. 


One-time $10 payment on App Store.

Trial Version/Freemium

Procreate has no trial or free version. To use the app, you need to make the $10 payment.

Compatible Devices

iPad users with iPadOS 15.4.1 and onwards.


  • No Vector Art: Procreate does not support vector art, unlike other tools. So, if you’re looking for a vector, you’ll have to look at another alternative. 
  • Only Works for iPads: Even iPhone and Mac users can’t access Procreate, let alone windows and android. The singular device option makes it difficult for those who don’t have an iPad or have one and want to access their files on their phone/laptop.
  • No Cloud Storage: If you’re hoping to get additional cloud storage with Procreate, as with Adobe software, unfortunately, that’s not the case. You’ll have to adjust your files within the cloud’s existing storage or buy more storage separately. 

Adobe Illustrator 

Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator first made an appearance back in the 80s. Since then, it has kept up with the times and continues to maintain its position as one of the best vector drawing tools. While it doesn’t support raster graphics, it has so much to offer that artists can’t get enough of it!

Best Features

  • Latest Features: Adobe Illustrator has consistently been rolling out the latest features to stay on top of the drawing apps game. This tool has everything you possibly need in a vector graphic tool. Recently, its most salient feature is the support for 3D assets. 
  • Learning Resources: The learning curve to get the hang of this app is slightly complex if you’re using Adobe for the first time. But Illustrator offers access to extensive resources with integrated tutorials that make the process simpler. 
  • Collaborating Made Easy: Not many drawing tools support collaboration, which has recently become important for artists. With Illustrator, you can work on your files between different devices and collaborate on the same piece with other people. 


To get Illustrator, you’ll have to subscribe to its monthly plan, available for $20.99/month, which includes the iPad version. It’s also available in the Adobe Cloud subscription package at $52.99/month.  

Trial Version

Adobe Illustrator’s one-month free trial lets you use the complete range of features without adding your payment information. 

After the trial period ends, you’ll have to subscribe to continue using it. 

Compatible Devices

  • iPad and iPhone users with iOS 14 and onwards.
  • Windows users with Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Wacom drawing tablets


  • Subscription Model: Previously, Illustrator had a one-time payment system that allowed art hobbyists and beginners to buy it easily. The current subscription-based model isn’t ideal for either, with the hefty expense. 
  • Requires Heavy RAM: This tool requires advanced systems and heavy RAM. If your system falls only on the minimum requirements, you may face software crashing issues.  
  • Intimidating for Beginners: Sure, the app offers a comprehensive library of resources, but beginners still need time to get a hold of Illustrator. Some tools are hard to find as well. 

Corel Painter

Corel Painter.

Tired of the digital effect of digital paintings? You’re not alone. Many artists crave the real-life feel of digital drawings, which most digital drawing apps don’t offer. Corel Painter takes care of this problem with its accurate strokes and a substantial number of lifelike mediums that can level up your digital painting skills. 

Best Features

  • Realistic Experience: It’s tough to beat Corel Painter regarding lifelike accuracy. While it was always known for its authenticity, this tool recently introduced a stamp brush customization that adds more expression. Other notable features include textured canvas, watercolor precision, and mark-making.   
  • Faster GPU: Corel Painter uses many heavy techniques, which is why it hasn’t been the fastest software. However, recent upgrades have resolved that issue. Plus, the brush performance accelerator offers handy suggestions to improve user experience.  
  • Customizations: This tool doesn’t just stop at giving a painter an authentic experience. Instead, it takes it a step further by enabling the user to customize the dab effect on your brushes to the last bristle! Also, you can create your customized color palette for quicker access. 


Corel Painter offers two separate pricing models. 

  • One-time payment of $429
  • Subscription-based package for $199/year. 

Trial Version

Corel Painter offers a 15-day trial version of the full app experience. 

Compatible Devices

  • Windows 11 or 10 (64-Bit)
  • MacOS 13, 12, or 11
  • Wacom drawing tablets


  • Takes Up Hardware: Corel Painter has improved a lot from its previous versions, but one concern has stayed, it takes up hardware. The latest version is better, but you still need sturdy hardware for this tool to perform at its best. 

Clip studio paint pro

A premium digital drawing app at an affordable price; what more could you ask for? If that wasn’t enough, Clip Studio Paint Pro has an impressive suite of features unique to it. This tool gives you the feeling that it was made for artists, novice or seasoned, by keeping their requirements in mind. 

Best Features

  • Versatile Art Possibilities: This next-generation digital drawing app opens up unlimited possibilities for artists. You can create concept art, character art, illustrations, comics, and much more with its tools. 
  • Custom Brushes: Not one for ready-to-go brushes? With CSP, you can customize brushes to match any art style. Another bonus point is that using a Wacom tab, each pen and brush tool has more than 8,000 pressure levels!
  • Simplified Animations: Another major hurdle new artists go through is the challenges of animating. Fortunately, CSP makes animations easier and offers specialized tools for intrinsic details for the pros.


Clip Studio Paint Pro offers two versions, PRO and EX. Pro is ideal for those who want to practice their skills in character art, concept art, and illustrations. EX is best for professionals and comes with PRO features, manga art, comic, webtoon, and animations.

  • PRO: One-time $49.99 payment
  • EX: One-time $219 payment

You can also subscribe for monthly plans as low as $0.99/month. Mobile and tablet versions are only available on the subscription plan. 

Trial Version

Monthly plan subscribers can use the full PRO or EX version on a 3-month trial. If you’re opting for the one-time payment, CSP offers a 30-day trial of both versions. 

Compatible Devices

Clip Studio Painter Pro is available on all devices, including Windows, macOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Wacom drawing tablets, and Chromebook.


  • Cluttered Interface: A primary concern of CSP users is its cluttered interface, which makes navigating difficult, especially if this is your first digital drawing tool experience. Additionally, the tutorials are limited to basic first-time guides, so they’re not much help either. 

Affinity Designer

No bluffs – Adobe Illustrator has a tough competitor in the market, and it’s Affinity Designer. It’s your one-stop shop for almost every Illustrator feature without the subscription-based pricing model. What started as a photo editing tool is now a leading graphic editing app. 

Best Features

  • Switch Personas: A highlight feature of Affinity Designer that adds to its popularity is the ability to switch personas. You can work on vector AND raster graphics within this app without moving to another.
  • Supports Heavy Files: Affinity Designer focuses on performance and speed, which doesn’t disappoint. Digital artists can work on HD-resolution files and multi-layered projects without compromising the app’s agility. 
  • Quick to Grasp: Like any other digital drawing tool, Affinity Designer does have a slight learning curve. However, artists are satisfied with its uncluttered and easy interface, which is much better than Illustrator’s. 


Affinity Designer has a one-time payment of $54.99.

Trial Version

You can test the app with its 30-day free trial of the full app. 

Compatible Devices

  • Windows 11 or 10 (updated)
  • MacOS 13, 12, 11, 10.15
  • iPadOS 15 or later  


  • Missing Features: Affinity Designer has a solid range of features, but if you’re accustomed to high-end tools of Photoshop and Illustrator, those aren’t included. Some prominent features you’ll miss out on include image tracing and mesh fill.

What are the Best Digital Drawing Tools for Beginners?

Beginners can easily adapt to all of the digital drawing tools mentioned above. Undoubtedly, each app comes with a learning curve, but with the online resources available, you can adapt to it within no time.

With that said, the easiest tools for beginners are Procreate and Adobe Fresco. Their interfaces are user-friendly, and the in-app resources are plentiful for anyone who’s shifting to a new tool or even trying digital drawing for the first time.


By now, you should have an idea of the best digital drawing tools out there. While the app you use is only one of the essentials of digital art, it’s a crucial decision for your venture toward this art form. Let’s not forget that the right digital drawing app can accelerate your progress. So, make a decision and select one from the list above and go for it! 

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