The Most Popular Drawing Software, Ranked

Choose the drawing software you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 10, 2024 06:36
Artists often face the challenge of choosing the right tools to bring their visions to life. With a myriad of drawing software available, each promising unique features and capabilities, deciding which one fits best can be daunting. Creating a ranked list based on user preferences helps clarify which software meets the needs of various artists, from beginners to seasoned professionals. This interactive list not only reflects current user opinions but also dynamically changes with new votes. By participating, users contribute to a broader community resource that benefits all by highlighting the most effective tools. Your input ensures that the rankings stay relevant and valuable, guiding newcomers and experienced artists alike in making informed decisions.

What Is the Most Popular Drawing Software?

  1. 1
    Adobe Photoshop
    Screenshot: Own work Photograph: Frederic Eugene Ives (1856–1937) · Public domain

    Adobe Photoshop

    Adobe Inc.
    Adobe Photoshop is the most popular drawing software. It has a huge range of tools and features that allow artists to create professional-level digital artwork.
    Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editing software that allows users to manipulate, enhance, and create digital images. It is widely used by professional photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists.
    • Layers: Support for multiple layers to organize and edit different elements of an image.
    • Image Manipulation: Extensive tools for cropping, resizing, retouching, and adjusting color and tone.
    • Filters and Effects: A wide range of filters and effects to apply creative and artistic enhancements to images.
    • Selection Tools: Various selection tools like lasso, magic wand, and quick selection for precise editing.
    • Brushes and Painting: Customizable brushes and advanced painting tools for digital artwork and photo enhancements.
    Adobe Photoshop in other rankings
  2. 2
    Autodesk Sketchbook
    Autodesk · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Autodesk Sketchbook is a popular drawing software that is free to use. It offers a wide range of brushes and tools, making it a great choice for artists who want to create detailed digital artwork.
    Autodesk Sketchbook is a widely acclaimed art app that allows users to create stunning digital artwork. With a focus on professional-grade features and an intuitive interface, it offers artists a powerful tool to unleash their creativity. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, Autodesk Sketchbook provides a wide range of tools and customization options to bring your artistic vision to life.
    • Compatibility: Available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices
    • Brush Library: Extensive collection of customizable brushes to suit various art styles
    • Layers: Support for unlimited layers for complex artwork and easy editing
    • Copic Color Library: Access to a wide range of Copic colors for vibrant illustrations
    • Symmetry Tools: Mirror and radial symmetry features for precise and symmetrical artwork
    Autodesk Sketchbook in other rankings
  3. 3

    Corel Painter

    Corel Corporation
    Corel Painter is a professional-level drawing software that offers a range of tools and features for artists. It is particularly popular among digital painters and illustrators.
    Corel Painter is a digital art software designed for professional artists and illustrators. It provides a wide range of realistic brushes, textures, and media tools to create traditional and digital art. With its extensive set of features and customizable interface, Corel Painter allows artists to mimic the traditional artistic techniques while adding the convenience and flexibility of digital creation.
    • Supported Platforms: Windows, Mac
    • Brushes and Textures: Over 900 brushes and thousands of royalty-free textures
    • Realistic Media: Simulates effects of traditional media like oil, watercolor, charcoal, pastel, and more
    • Layer Control: Advanced layering options with blending modes and layer masks
    • Color Management: Supports extensive color profiles and calibration options
  4. 4
    Procreate is a powerful drawing app for iPad and iPhone that offers a range of brushes and tools for artists. It is particularly popular among digital artists who want to create on-the-go.
    Procreate is a popular art app designed exclusively for iOS devices. It offers a wide range of powerful tools and features that enable artists to create stunning digital illustrations, paintings, and designs. With its intuitive interface and robust set of brushes, Procreate provides a seamless and immersive drawing experience.
    • Compatibility: Available on iOS devices - iPadOS and iPhones
    • Cost: Requires a one-time purchase cost of $9.99
    • Brushes: Offers a vast collection of customizable brushes and brush settings
    • Layers: Supports up to 52 layers for complex artwork creation
    • Image resolution: Allows work on canvas sizes up to 16K
  5. 5

    Clip Studio Paint

    CELSYS, Inc.
    Clip Studio Paint is a popular drawing software that is designed for comic book artists and illustrators. It offers a range of tools and features for creating manga and comics.
    Clip Studio Paint is a versatile digital painting and drawing software. It is widely regarded as one of the most popular tools among artists and illustrators for creating manga, comics, and illustrations. With a wide range of features and tools, it offers a comprehensive set of functionalities for both beginners and professionals.
    • Platform: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
    • Supported file formats: PSD, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, PDF
    • Brush engine: Customizable brush options, pressure sensitivity, various brush types
    • Layer support: Multiple layers, layer folders, blending modes, layer masks
    • Vector tools: Pen, pencil, vector layers, editable vector lines
  6. 6
    Krita is a free and open-source drawing software that offers a range of brushes and tools for artists. It is particularly popular among digital painters and concept artists.
    Krita is a free and open-source raster graphics editor designed primarily for digital painting and animation. It offers an extensive set of tools and features that make it a popular choice among artists and illustrators.
    • Platform(s): Windows, macOS, Linux
    • Latest Stable Version: 4.4.5
    • License: GNU General Public License v3+
    • Brush Engine: Customizable brush engine with various brush types and parameters
    • Layer Support: Supports layer management and various layer types (raster, vector, filter, etc.)
  7. 7
    Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor that is popular among graphic designers and illustrators. It offers a range of tools and features for creating vector graphics.
    Inkscape is a popular open-source vector graphics editor used for creating and editing scalable graphics such as logos, illustrations, diagrams, and more. It offers a wide range of powerful features for both beginners and professionals in the field of graphic design.
    • Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux
    • File Formats: SVG, PDF, EPS, PNG, and more
    • Drawing Tools: Bezier curves, shapes, text, cloning, and more
    • Object Manipulation: Transformations, alignment, grouping, and layering
    • Path Operations: Combine, cut, divide, and more
  8. 8

    PaintTool SAI

    SYSTEMAX Software Development
    PaintTool SAI is a popular drawing software that is designed for digital painters and illustrators. It offers a range of brushes and tools for creating detailed digital artwork.
    PaintTool SAI is a lightweight and user-friendly drawing software commonly used by artists and graphic designers. It offers a range of features and tools to create digital artwork with precision and ease. PaintTool SAI has gained popularity for its simplicity and intuitive interface, making it accessible for both beginners and professionals.
    • License: Proprietary
    • Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
    • Drawing Tools: Pencil, Brush, Airbrush, Watercolor, Marker, Selection Tools
    • Layer Support: Multiple layers with blending modes and opacity control
    • Custom Brushes: Create and import custom brushes for unique textures
  9. 9

    MediBang Paint

    MediBang Inc.
    MediBang Paint is a free drawing software that is designed for manga and comic book artists. It offers a range of tools and features for creating digital comics.
    MediBang Paint is a popular art app designed for digital drawing and painting. It offers a wide range of tools and features to artists of all levels, allowing them to create stunning artworks.
    • Cross-platform: Available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android
    • Brush Library: Provides a vast collection of ready-to-use brushes
    • Cloud Storage: Allows users to save and sync their artwork across multiple devices
    • Layers: Supports multiple layers for complex compositions and non-destructive editing
    • Brush Customization: Enables artists to create their own brushes and customize various settings
    MediBang Paint in other rankings
  10. 10
    GIMP is a free and open-source image editing software that is popular among graphic designers and digital artists. It offers a range of tools and features for editing and creating digital artwork.
    GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful and popular free and open-source image editing software. It offers an extensive set of tools and functionalities, making it comparable to commercial editing software. GIMP is widely used by professionals and enthusiasts for various purposes, such as photo retouching, image composition and authoring, and graphic design.
    • License: GNU General Public License
    • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, and more
    • Supported File Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, RAW, and more
    • Layers: Supports unlimited layers and layer masks
    • Brushes and Tools: Customizable brushes, selection tools, transformation tools, paint tools, and more

Missing your favorite drawing software?


Ranking factors for popular drawing software

  1. User Interface
    The ease of use and accessibility of the software's interface for all levels of users, including beginners, intermediate, and advanced artists.
  2. Features and Tools
    The range and versatility of tools and options available for drawing, painting, and image editing, such as brushes, layers, shapes, and filters.
  3. Compatibility
    The software's compatibility with various operating systems, hardware, and graphic tablets, and its ability to work with different file formats, including importing and exporting options.
  4. Customization
    The extent to which users can customize the software to suit their preferences and workflow needs, such as keyboard shortcuts, brush presets, and workspace layouts.
  5. Performance
    The software's stability, responsiveness, and overall performance while handling various tasks and sizes of artworks, especially on different devices and systems.
  6. Community and Support
    The availability of online forums, tutorials, resources, and customer support to help users learn and troubleshoot any issues with the software.
  7. Price
    The cost of the software, including one-time purchases, subscription plans, and any additional costs for upgrades or add-ons.
  8. Updates and Upgrades
    The frequency and quality of updates and improvements made to the software by the developers.
  9. Integration
    The software's ability to integrate with other popular design and productivity tools, such as Photoshop or Illustrator for seamless workflow compatibility.
  10. Reputation
    The overall reputation of the software within the art and design community, considering user reviews, testimonials, and professional recommendations.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular drawing software. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or program is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 199 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each program once every 24 hours. The rank of each program is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular drawing software

Drawing software has become an essential tool for artists, designers, and illustrators around the world. With numerous options available in the market, it can be challenging to determine which one is the most popular. Drawing software allows users to create digital art, manipulate images, and design graphics with ease. These programs offer a variety of features such as different brush types, layering, and special effects to enhance the user's creativity. The most popular drawing software ranges from industry-standard tools used by professionals to free software accessible to beginners. In this article, we will explore the top drawing software and their features to help you find the best one for your needs.

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