10 Top Desktop Programs For Drawing and Illustration

10 Top Desktop Programs For
Drawing and Illustration

Whether trying to engage an artful crowd or looking to accentuate blog posts for the business, drawing and illustration are key. In fact, images are more likely to be shared on social media than simple text. This alone is more than reason to add a bit of artwork to market anything. Creating unique graphics and images are some of the best ways to promote a website, product or service. With the right web hosting, demonstrating artwork can attract a huge audience and turn unknown artists into celebrities relatively quickly. It all begins with the right software.

Below are 10 of the top desktop programs used for creating everything from intricate illustrations to simple drawings:

1. Adobe Illustrator CC

Adobe Illustrator is perhaps one of the most well known programs when it comes to web & graphic design. It has been the go to application since the 1990s and continues to be an addition for any graphic designer interested in producing vector images and more. Adobe has moved from the standalone platform of old and now offers its software on a subscription basis. This is ultra convenient for those who don’t have the several hundred dollars the program had cost in the days of old. For a nominal monthly fee, users can enjoy all of the benefits of Illustrator.

2. Inkscape

For those who want a free alternative to the power of Illustrator, Inkscape may be a good solution. It’s a free drawing program that offers many of the same features as the popular design tool such as pencils, shapes, text and embedding bitmaps. The layout of the software is similar to the most popular of applications and includes important elements such as layers. It’s a full application that allows artists to create almost anything.

3. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is another program that is a great alternative to Illustrator that delivers the tools necessary to create amazing pieces of artwork. It supports cross-platform performance, meaning that files won’t lose integrity when moved from PC to MAC and back. Affinity provides 16-bit channel editing and the capacity to work in various color formats such as RGB, CMYK and grayscale. The real time pixel preview is amazing for those who want absolute precision in the graphics they’re rendering.

4. CorelDraw

CorelDraw is one of those superior applications that ranks right up there with Illustrator. In fact, the two have incredible similarities. For example, the healing clone tool is a great way to touchup a photo or restore imperfect images. The software can create files in a wide range of formats including PSD, JPG, SVG and even DOCX. The Font Manager addition is nice for those who want to imprint a certain typeface and the filtering search has been enhanced.

5. Krita

An amazingly useful program for those who love to sketch, Krita takes artwork to a whole new level. Users have access to more than nine unique brush models as well as importing other brushes and texture packs from artists. This can greatly expand what can be done in terms of project development. Even those who don’t have the most steady of hand when trying to draw digitally can use the system. Krita comes with several different ways to stabilize strokes as well as smooth out any issues while drawing.

6. Figma

Figma is a great application to use for those in a team environment. Not only does the software have excellent control of developing vector graphics, but the collaborative environment makes it ideal when developing projects with others. The system also comes equipped with a device preview that will show developers how the graphics will look on different resolutions. There is also no need to worry about losing work because projects are saved constantly within the graphic’s version history.

7. Sketch

Although Sketch is a Mac-only application, it’s still a great alternative for those who work with icons and other vector images. The software is able to snap to pixel, zoom and implement text rendering whether the project is for an app or a website. Sketch comes with a variety of tools such as layer styling, dynamic blurs and supports blending and shadows. A nice addition is the ability to export the layers themselves from the software to save them as a later project. Although Sketch is a Mac-only application, it’s still a great alternative for those who work with icons and other vector images. Sketch is loved by mobile app developers as they can easily create beautiful user interfaces without spending a lot of time.

8. Boxy SVG

When looking for a simple scalable vector graphic editor, Boxy SVG is pretty basic. While it may not have some of the more elaborate tools available in other programs, its easy-to-use interface and basic outline allows creators of any skill level to make amazing imagery. The application is available from the Chrome Web Store as well as the Mac App Store. It’s usable on OS X, Chrome OS, Windows and Linux.


Perhaps one of the more popular and oldest illustration apps on this list is that of GIMP. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is used by many industries as a free method to create graphics for virtually any cause. In fact, many game developers use GIMP as a way to include elements. GIMP has the capacity to do everything from restorations to developing original images in much the same way as the most expensive of programs. For those who are on a budget who need an illustrative program, many people have trusted GIMP for more than 20 years.

10. MOHO by SmithMicro

MOHO by SmithMicro is a complete solution for those who want to make two dimensional animations with ease. The software comes with a variety of tools such as bone constraints for movements, elastic interpolation and the ability to import Photoshop files. One of the features that attracts many to this platform is the support for Unity game developers. It assists in game development without the need to create rigid sprites, which helps reduce creation time.

Endless Creativity, Endless Possibilities

Being creative can open a variety of doors. From professional development to personal hobbies, drawing and illustration programs can help open oneself to imagination and possibilities. From a web hosting platform, almost anyone can showcase their skills in a gallery. The most difficult part is perhaps finding the right program that can accentuate the specific skills of the artist.