Top 5 Digital Painting Softwares for Emerging Artists

Karina Bocchicchio February 01 2023


With the rise of digital art, the art community has plenty of resources at their disposal. Here is the most popular software up-and-coming artists use to create their digital paintings.

When it comes to art, the best tools are the ones that suit your needs. A sculptor will only have a little use for a paintbrush, just like a painter has little need for clay. While this list includes the best art software used in the art community, it's up to you to determine which one will best suit your artistic needs. With that in mind, let's look at the top ten digital art software.

1- Photoshop

Since it's the most popular and well-known software to date, not including Photoshop in this list would be absurd. It has many tools and features that suit any artist's needs. With a robust digital brush collection and useful layering tool, Photoshop is excellent for photo editing, digital painting, and much more.

But just because it's the industry standard for digital art, that doesn't mean it lacks faults. Photoshop is not a vector editor, so you won't be able to get scalable, smooth lines. Also, its steep learning curve and subscription-based payment model make it inaccessible to emerging artists.

Some might not see this as a problem. Adobe offers Creative Cloud, a subscription package with creative apps like Illustrator (Adobe's vector editing software) and helpful video tutorials.

Photoshop is available on Windows, MacOS, and iOS. It costs 20.99$ USD per month, or 54.99$ USD per month if you opt for Adobe Creative Cloud.

2- Procreate

Procreate is perfect for emerging artists who work on an iPad. Its intuitive interface makes it easy for beginners to pick up without sacrificing utility. Procreate allows you to use as many layers as you need, create and choose from hundreds of brushes, and export your art in several formats (including PDF, JPEG, PNG, and more). It's especially useful for up-and-coming artists posting their work on social media, as Procreate supports exporting a time-lapse recording of the creation of your digital painting.

With a recent update, Procreate added a feature making it possible to paint on 3D surfaces along with traditional 2D canvases.

However, Procreate is only available on iPadOS. You can purchase it through the Apple Store for 9.99$ USD.

3- Clip Studio Paint Pro

This program is popular with up-and-coming artists looking to create concept art, manga and comics, and illustrations. It has a variety of brushes and textures that will elevate your art while suiting your style. When used with a drawing tablet, Clip Studio allows you to make crisp lines and take advantage of pen pressure, mimicking the feel of drawing pen and paper.

Clip Studio is cross-platform, making it available on Windows, MacOS, iPad, iOS, Android, Chromebook and others. After a 3-month free trial, you can purchase the PRO version for 49.99$ USD or the EX version for 219$ USD.

4- Corel Painter 2023

Emerging artists who want their digital art to look as realistic as possible will be interested in the features Corel Painter offers. With its latest update, you’ll find improvements in its brush selection and organization. The program now has stamp brush customization, which allows you to create dab effects with your preferred brushes and provides more control. Artists can also use fluid brushes that build colour, create a glaze and add texture like real paints.

Additionally, the newly alphabetized brush library has a new "like" feature that collects your preferred brushes in one easy-to-find folder.

Corel Painter 2023 is available on MacOS and Windows. You can test out the program with a 15-day free trial, but this is one of the more expensive programs, costing 499$ CAD or 269$ CAD to upgrade from an older version.

5- Krita

Unlike the other programs on this list, Krita is the only software that's free to use. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the arts community. The interface is customizable, so you can change it to suit your needs. Krita offers hundreds of preloaded, professional brushes and allows you to import and create brushes and textures of your own.

However, this free-to-use platform doesn't offer much customer support. So, if you need help, you might have to find online tutorials.

Krita is available on Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

This list is by no means exhaustive. If none of these software suits your needs, you'll easily find drawing software that's right for you! If your favourite art program isn't on our list, write it in the comments below to share with your fellow artists.

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