[2018 Review] Top Digital Art Programs For Beginners

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 You Must Know Before Buying

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.

In some cases, you might be better off buying specialized software. If you want something as similar to traditional painting, then you might want to buy digital painting software such as Corel Painter. But if you intent to make some quick sketches, other digital art programs such as Us Serif DrawPlus might be the better option. To be honest, a quick glance at a name such as Manga Studio and you can normally guess the purpose of the drawing software.

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.

Adobe Photoshop

photoshop drawing softwareThe 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 and it’s easy to learn how to set up Photoshop for your tablet.

Creativebloq described photoshop as follows:

It’s 28 years since Photoshop was released into the world. In that time, Adobe has built the software into the ultimate image manipulation tool, used daily by professionals and hobbyist creatives alike.

The latest update, Photoshop CC 2018 (version 19), dropped in October 2017. It brings with it a host of new features, and although these might not be as initially astounding as those from previous versions, they make a huge difference in efficiency, helping creatives adapt to a ‘must have it now’ work environment. Read more…

Compatible Operating Systems: Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, MacOS 10.13, MacOS 10.12 and MacOS X 10.11

Click Here to buy

Corel Painter Essentials 2018

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.

DigitalArtsOnline said the following when they reviewed Corel Painter:

Without a doubt, Corel Painter is still the best at replicating traditional media in a digital form. The Thick Paint brushes are the biggest improvement of the last few years and if you really want to emulate thick paint effects, this is a great version to pick up. Read more…

Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 10 (64-Bit), Windows 8.1 (64-Bit), or Windows 7 (64-Bit), macOS 10.12, OS X 10.11 and OS X 10.10

Click Here to buy

Manga Studio EX 4

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.

LayersMagazine described it in their review by saying:

Manga Studio EX 4 is a comprehensive program for creating comics or illustrations of any kind. There’s a bit of a learning curve for the beginner but there’s content and tutorials that will get you up to speed in no time. Professionals will have no regrets, as this is the best program out there for creating comic graphics and boards, bar none. Read more…

Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X Intel, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

Click Here to buy

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…

Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS X

Click Here to buy

US Serif DrawPlus X8

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.

TopTenReviews said the following when reviewing DrawPlus:

Serif DrawPlus X8 has the illustration tools that top-rated graphic design software programs require for both online and print designs. While the software falls short with its photo editing features, the software is easy to learn and navigate, making it perfect for beginner and experienced graphic designers. Read more…

Compatible Operating Systems: Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows 7

Click Here to buy

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…

Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows 7 and Mac OS X

Click Here to buy

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.

If you are not yet ready to buy an expensive drawing program you can always try one of the open source software or free drawing programs. You might want to check out Krita, Gimp and MediBang Paint.