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Top Five Best Free Digital Art Programs

Rebecca is a writer, illustrator, animator, and digital artist.

Illustration by ExiledEmotionArt

Illustration by ExiledEmotionArt

Top Five Best Free Digital Art Programs

Digital art and digital illustrations are becoming more and more popular with the concept of NFT's, video games, and animation. However, digital art software can come at a hefty price, and if you're beginning your digital art journey, you may not want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a program you aren't sure about.

Here are the top five best free digital art programs:

  1. Krita
  2. SketchBook
  3. IbisPaint X
  4. Clip Studio Paint
  5. Blender

Digital art can be challenging because you aren't just drawing; you are learning a program with many different brushes, techniques, and styles.

The remaining article will explain and explore the top five best digital art programs to begin designing and creating your art style without spending hundreds of dollars.

1. Krita

Krita Artwork by ExiledEmotionArt

Krita Artwork by ExiledEmotionArt

Krita, in my opinion, is one of the best free digital art software programs available. The user interface is one of the more straightforward programs on this list to learn. Krita has an extensive brush library with the ability to import brushes or create your own.

Not only is Krita a fantastic digital drawing program, but the animation workflow is one of the best out there. Krita's tweening abilities aren't as advanced as Toon Boom Harmony; however, Krita's developer is constantly working on improving and upgrading its abilities.

Considering that Krita is free software that only accepts donations, it is an exquisite program to learn on. Because the program is similar to software such as Adobe Photoshop, the transition from one program to another is easy if you decide to upgrade to paid software.

I, personally, began my art journey on Krita. I was past using my tablet and finger to draw; however, I wasn't ready to learn an advanced program such as Blender. I found that Krita helped ease me into the world of digital art without feeling too overwhelmed with its complex tools.

That is not to say that Krita isn't a professional program. You can create and develop professional-looking art using this software, and I highly recommend it. Just remember to save often!

2. Sketchbook

Illustration by ExiledEmotionArt

Illustration by ExiledEmotionArt

Sketchbook is another excellent digital art program. I don't use this software as much as Krita or other software on this list, but I have used it in the past and can say it's simple, elegant, and a great beginner program to use to start your digital art journey.

One fantastic thing about this program is that it is not only available on PC, but it is also available on Andriod.

If you don't have a digital drawing tablet or are using your phone or tablet to draw, this program is one of the best. It is excellent for digital sketching rather than painting.

The brushes aren't as extensive as Krita or other programs listed, but it is free, and the crash reports are limited, far and few in between.

Ibis Paint X


Ibis Paint X is the first app I used on my phone to begin digital drawing. Before that, I had only ever drawn on paper or painted with acrylic. I had never considered the idea of drawing on a digital surface until I began researching how to take my art to the next level.

Ibis Paint X is only available on Android, so if you are searching for something you can use on a PC, you may need to consider a different program. Ibis Paint X has a pro version with a rather extensive brush library, considering it is only for phones or tablets.

If you prefer to use a handheld device rather than a drawing tablet on pc, then Ibis Paint X is the best art app on the market to date. I would still be using it if I used my phone to draw. I love the interface and the layering options it provides. I almost did not want to transfer from Ibis Paint X to Krita because I was so in love with the app on my phone.

As mentioned, the only downside for me using this app is that the free version doesn't give as many brushes as the pro, and you can't use it on a PC. Even if you are using an emulator, the emulator will not recognize a drawing tablet correctly.

Clip Studio Paint

Illustration by ExiledEmotionArt

Illustration by ExiledEmotionArt

I don't have as much experience with Clip Studio Paint as with Krita or Ibis Paint X. Clip Studio Paint also has a free version and a free trial. I have tried and found it more complex than Krita, with a less user-friendly experience.

I wanted to include this in the list because other artists swear by this program and claim that it was a game-changer for their art journey.

Clip Studio Paint offers many different brushes and an animation workspace. I have not explored the animation section of this program; however, I have used it to draw a few projects here and there, and there are some aspects of the program I enjoy.

You may want to give it a chance if you aren't interested in using Krita or the other listed programs. You may also be required to pay after a certain amount of time spent on the software.


3D Art by ExiledEmotionArt

3D Art by ExiledEmotionArt

Blender is a free 3D program for animation, 2D and 3D animation, sculpting, and much more. Blender is one of the most complex programs I have ever used, let alone dove into to create digital art. Blender is not really for drawing; however, you can create 2D animations within the program.

Blender has so many abilities it is hard to list them all. After almost three hundred hours in the software, I still have to look up troubleshooting because it has many different features.

If you are serious about learning digital art or 3D sculpting, you should understand the fundamentals of Blender. That way, once you decide to upgrade to Zbrush or Maya, you will have a basic understanding of 3D rendering.


© 2021 Rebecca Bales

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