The best free drawing software for 2022

Free drawing software has come a long way from its humble beginnings. While the old drawing apps were very limited, their modern counterparts are extremely powerful, offering a lot of features along with many other tools available at your disposal.

Many of these great drawing softwares offer realistic simulation of watercolors, oils, pastels, charcoal, etc. Some even allow you to work in three dimensions, so you can create your own models, apply your own textures and paint effects, then combine them with 2D sketched elements to create scenes and even print in 3D.

While these apps work well with a mouse, they work even easier with a stylus or touchscreen because you have direct control over your virtual brushes and pens. All at no cost to you.

Some of these tools are designed for serious illustrators, while others are better for keeping kids busy without the mess of real painting. There’s something for everyone – the only limits are your imagination and skill.

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krita

(Image credit: The Krita Foundation)

1. Krita

Premium drawing software, completely free for all artists

Characteristics

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux

Reasons to buy
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Well-designed brushes and tools

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Accessible interface

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Practical drawing aids

Krita is professional-grade drawing software created by a team of artists with the noble goal of bringing top-notch creative tools to everyone.

You can use Krita for all kinds of drawing and illustration, but it’s especially good for comics and manga. There are panel templates, halftone filters, and perspective tools in addition to the usual brushes, fills, and pens. Each brush is fully customizable and you can save your custom brushes to reuse them later.

Right-clicking anywhere on the canvas in Krita will bring up a selection wheel that allows you to choose a new tool and select a color in seconds – a much easier system than scrolling through menus and settings

Krita was created by artists for artists, and it shows in the dozens of thoughtful little touches that make it easy to create great paintings. There are handy drawing aids for creating straight lines, vanishing points and smooth shapes. You also get layers, masks, various transform tools, HDR support, and advanced selection features.

Krita is an incredibly powerful drawing program, and it’s completely free to download and use.

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Free

(Image credit: Boris Eyrich Software)

2. Free Artweaver

Realistic traditional media, with a huge selection of brushes

Characteristics

Operating system: the Windows

Reasons to buy
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Realistic media

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Supports layers

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Kid-friendly interface

Artweaver Free lets you create beautifully realistic digital drawings by taking input – from your mouse, a stylus, or, if you have a touchscreen PC, anything you fancy touching the screen with. – and applying ultra-realistic brush effects.

In addition to familiar brushes such as tale brushes, calligraphy pens and airbrushes, this free drawing software also gives you a huge range of patterns and pens, allowing you to produce highly complex images with minimal effort. . It is also layer-based, so you can create your layered masterpiece without losing the ability to change anything.

Artweaver Free is designed for artists of all ages, but we’ve found it particularly useful for children. Kids love experimenting with all the different brushes, and we love not having to clean up messes afterwards.

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Microsoft Paint 3D

(Image credit: Microsoft)

3.Microsoft Paint 3D

Kid-friendly art software to create and paint 3D models

Characteristics

Operating system: the Windows

Reasons to buy
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Converts drawings to 3D models

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Wide choice of paint effects

Reasons to avoid

3D effects are pretty basic

Like the classic version of Microsoft Paint (which was originally intended to replace), Paint 3D offers a small selection of drawing tools for scribbling on a flat canvas. However, the real fun happens when you click on the 3D Objects button. Here you can choose a model to import (current choices include people and animals), or better yet, draw your own shape and “inflate” it to turn it into a three-dimensional model that can be rotated and viewed from different angles .

You can choose a finish for your shape (options include matte, glossy, matte metal, and polished metal), paint its surface, and apply lighting effects. There’s no way to control the thickness of the 3D effect, so your object will still look like something created with Puff Paints, but as free drawing software it’s great fun for kids of all ages. ages.

Multiple models can be positioned at different depths and combined to create a scene, and you can even bring doodles into the real world if you have access to a 3D printer.

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Microsoft Fresh Paint

(Image credit: Microsoft)

4. Microsoft Fresh Paint

Another kid-friendly app from Microsoft, with compelling brushes

Characteristics

Operating system: the Windows

Reasons to buy
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Realistic blending effects

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Easy for kids to enjoy

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Good for touch screens

Fresh Paint is another Microsoft art app, this time designed to replicate the feel of putting a brush or pen to paper.

The interface really goes to town with skeumorphism, with a plastic color palette that splatters as you dip your virtual brush, indicating the hue you’re currently using and creating a pleasing splatter. You can wash the bristles in a cup of water before choosing a different color or use them one after another to blend them on the brush.

Fresh Paint can simulate watercolors, gouache and all sorts of other materials. As the name suggests, you can interact with your work as if it weren’t yet dry, spreading it and blending colors on the canvas.

Experienced artists will be able to get great results with tools that behave like their real-life counterparts, while kids and novices will make an equally realistic mess. Free drawing software that anyone can enjoy.

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My Painting

(Image credit: MyPaint)

5. My Painting

Open source software for artists with time to master a new tool

Characteristics

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux

Reasons to buy
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Highly customizable

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Designed for graphics tablets

MyPaint is the brainchild of artist Martin Renold, who was frustrated with the limitations of his Wacom tablet’s proprietary software and decided to take matters into his own hands. Today, the free open source drawing software is an accomplished tool for serious artists.

Its background as a Linux app means that MyPaint works a bit differently than most Windows apps, and its interface will take some time to master, but it’s worth it if you’re a hobbyist illustrator and Krita focuses on comics. does not quite meet your needs.

MyPaint works best when used with a graphics tablet, but you can also use it with any other input device, including touch screens.

There’s the usual selection of customizable brushes, along with support for layers and a handy scratchpad for creating sketches. You can also download and install additional brush packages created by other users – a benefit of the source code being publicly available.

Marilyn M. Davis