Top Drawing Software for Digital Art

Digital art SoftwareIf you decided to purchase a Wacom Intuos Art Pen and Touch tablet, you were lucky enough to receive digital art software with it.

However, most drawing tablets don’t come with any digital art programs.

Most art drawing programs are very similar in their basic functionalities such as selecting different brushes, colors, etc. The advanced features are what differentiates one digital art software from the other.

In today’s article, we will try to find the best tablet drawing software for beginners.

What To Look For In Drawing Software?

Although most beginners default to using Photoshop, this is not always the best choice. It is true that Photoshop offers good overall performance but it might not be ideal for your specific needs.

You might be better off buying specialized software that focusses just on digital painting, drawing comics, animation, etc. For example, if you are planning to draw comics or manga, Manga Studio might be a better option than Photoshop.

Additionally, before buying any art drawing software, always check if the software is compatible with the tablet you bought! Also, make sure the software can be installed on your operating system. Most programs will work with Windows, but if you use anything else make sure to double check.

The Most Popular Art Programs

Here at The Beginning Artist, we have compiled a list of the most commonly used digital art software programs. Note that the mentioned programs are for digital drawing and painting, and might not be able to do other tasks such as photo manipulation, animation or modeling.


The most famous and best drawing software is probably good old Photoshop.

Although not specifically designed with drawing in mind, it definitely does its job well. Since it’s the most used art software, it is easy to find tutorials and help on the internet.

Photoshop is an amazing jack-of-all-trades that you can use not only for drawing but for design as well.

TopTenReviews described photoshop as follows:

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular names in the photo editing and digital painting industry. It is the standard tool for many students, graphic designers and illustrators. Photoshop is a powerful tool that gives you the resources to create or edit beautiful works of art. You can purchase Photoshop as a download or as a monthly subscription. The subscription is a good option because it gives you full access to updates Adobe makes to the painting program. Photoshop provides layers and filters, so you can build your images and create depth. You can also use filters to change the look and feel of your images. For example, you can add a filter to make your image look like a charcoal drawing. You can also move and position or resize your canvas to fit your work needs. This software has multi-monitor support, so you can create your layouts on different screens and view them as one image. Read more…

Click Here to buy Photoshop

Corel Painter Essentials 5

Painter Essentials 5 by Corel is specifically made for art enthusiast and digital painters in mind.
It was redesigned to make it even faster and easier to work with. A welcome screen will help anyone new to the program to learn the basics quickly.

The program does an amazing job of simulating real paint. For example, with Corel Painter the paint actually interacts with your digital canvas and you can even scrub, build up, push or scrape the paint by using your stylus.

MacWorld said the following when they reviewed Corel Painter Essentials 5:


If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at painting, or if you’re a photographer who’s longed to turn a photo into a realistic painting (a viable product to sell in your photography business), then this is the program for you. While Painter Essentials 5 includes numerous and useful enhancements, its photo painting feature alone is worth $50. Besides, this is the only consumer-level program on the planet that gives you real-world painting power in digital form. So, if you’ve got an extra $50, consider Painter Essentials 5 the perfect artistic and inspirational gift, even if it’s to yourself. Read more…

Click Here to buy Corel Painter Essentials

Manga Studio 5

Manga Studio 5 is developed by Smith Micro and as the name implies its target audience is people interested in manga.

But this program is more than just that. It can be used with great results to make any sort of digital comics.

If your main focus will be to draw narrative or character-led comics, then Manga Studio 5 will be the preferred option over Photoshop. Especially the option of quickly making panels for every page and the ability to look at all the pages on a single screen will be useful.

DigitalArtsOnline described it in their review by saying:

With the introduction of the starter edition of Manga Studio 5, Smith Micro took an already excellent digital comics creation tool and made it better by building it again from the ground up. And don’t let the word ‘Manga’ in the title deceive you. Manga Studio 5 is a powerful, worthy alternative to Photoshop for narrative- and character-led illustrations. Over the years it has become an application not just for creating Comics, but also full-colour professional digital paintings. Read more…

Click Here to buy Manga Studio 5

Sketchbook Pro

Although a little older than most other programs, Sketchbook Pro is still used by many digital artists.

It is known for having a wide variety of drawing tool options and for providing the option of making your own custom tools as well.

It is often used to make comics as well. Unfortunately, is lacking advanced script tools though. You will have to make the balloons yourself and there is no built-in word processing option to filter out embarrassing spelling and grammatical errors.

TopTenReviews described it Sketchbook Pro as follows:


Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is for artists of all skill levels. This digital painting software allows you to draw and paint stunning works of art on your computer. Sketchbook Pro does not have the large selection of brushes, pencils, pens and other tools that similar products offer. However, the quality of the drawings or paintings you can create with it, along with the software’s ease of use and advanced features, outshine the lack of any particular type of brush or pencil. Read more…

Click Here to buy Sketchbook Pro


US Serif DrawPlus X6

DrawPlus is a relatively cheap digital drawing program. And unfortunately, you can feel it in the user experience as well.

It often feels a little clumsy to use DrawPlus. Sometimes the program will slow down when working on big projects or refreshes very slowly.

Nevertheless, if you are on a low budget you might want to start out with DrawPlus to get your feet wet.

Expertreviews said the following when reviewing DrawPlus:

DrawPlus X6 isn’t perfect, but it does its best to make itself user-friendly. It has a clear layout, and there are an extensive number of free tutorials available online to help you get started, but its number of small frustrations will put off more serious graphic designers. Still, if you’re looking for cheap vector-drawing software, then Serif DrawPlus X6 could be the program for you. Read more…

Click Here to buy US Serif Drawplus X6

Anime Studio Pro 11

Admittedly, Anime Studio Pro is first and foremost a program for animation. It is being used by many beginners and industry expert alike. It was even used to make the Oscar-winning film “Song of the Sea”.

Animation is made easy by special features such as bone simulation and lip-syncing.

Although drawing in previous versions of Anime Studio was rather clumsy, most problems have been smoothed out in the latest version. If you are planning on doing animation, then you might just as well use it for drawing your characters as well.

RenderosityMagazine gave it a stellar review by saying:

Anime Studio Pro 11 is quite simply the best version of an already powerful and easy to use animation application. The addition of frame-by-frame animation alone is worth the upgrade price. However, the improvements to the applications Bone System are nearly as impressive. This version is clearly a must-by if you are already a fan, but if you are a new user, I highly recommend starting out with Anime Studio Pro: it’s easy to use, yet grows in complexity as you learn, and is a now a complete package for animation. And the price, compared to other professional animation applications, simply can’t be beaten. Anime Studio Pro 11 has my highest recommendation and is now part of my permanent digital toolset. Read more…

Click Here to buy Anime Studio Pro 11

Best Drawing Software For You?

In the end, the best drawing software for you will always depend on your personal taste and future projects. Good software for drawing cartoons and anime often focuses on different tools and features than programs for drawing realistic portraits and landscapes.

Make sure you have a good grasp of what you want before buying software for tablet drawing.

Frequently Asked Questions

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