The Top Free Digital Art Software for Graphic Designers

Posted on March 30, 2022 | Updated on July 12, 2022

When people think of digital art software, the first thing they think of is Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. While these programs are excellent and versatile for graphic designers, not all are keen to pay for their costly monthly subscriptions for personal use. 

Photoshop is a powerful tool and is a great fit for all graphic designers. However, free digital art software may be what you need to experiment with different ways to create art. This can include structure drawing, simulated painting, image processing and even 3D modeling.

The good news is that several free digital art software programs don’t cut corners on quality and are available today.

Here are the top free programs you can download risk-free.

Free Digital Art Software for Painting


Krita is the ideal art program for digital artists and graphic designers. The digital art software has drawing and painting applications available for Android, Windows, macOS and Linux. 

The most impressive features that make it worthwhile include:

  • Vectors and Text Tools: Krita has a wide range of text and vector tools, making it perfect for graphic designers. 
  • Brushes: With over a hundred professional brushes, you can dive in and experiment with all types of tools. The brushes feature pencils, inks, chalks, watercolors and paints, and you get the option of wet or dry painting.
  • Animation: If you’ve wanted to bring your artwork to life, Krita is it. The program features a built-in animation studio with customizable onion skinning, audio and export in video format.

Give Krita a try as it’s free, and there’s no subscription and trials involved.

Autodesk SketchBook

Autodesk used to be an app you’d have to pay for, but now Sketchbook’s drawing and painting software is entirely free. You only have to give up one thing in exchange for the software — your login information, which is only a small price for receiving an all-access pass to the painting and drawing technology. 

Unlike Krita, Autodesk Sketchbook is available on all devices. This free digital art software also features an innovative interface helping you to focus while you create. With Autodesk, the creators genuinely thought of the artist’s needs and desires when it comes to everything, including:

  • Simulated inks, markers and pencils
  • +190 customizable brushes

Graphic designers and digital artists alike will enjoy utilizing this program while getting their creative juices flowing. If you give Autodesk a try, you won’t be disappointed. Plus, it’s free for everyone, so there’s no cost to you whatsoever.

Free Digital Art Software for 3D Modeling


If you’re a graphic designer wanting to delve into the world of 3D modeling, Blender is the digital art software for you. This program has been around for over a couple of decades since its initial launch. However, first-time users found it to be difficult to use.

Once it received a major overhaul in 2018, Blender was practically an entirely new application. The creators improved the user interface and users now find it easier to understand tools, making it less steep of a learning curve.

Although the program is open source, many find Blender a capable alternative to professional use. The 3D software can render images and animations beautifully and are hardly distinguishable from expensive art software programs.

Blender has a massive community and is full of other dedicated users who can share their knowledge on Blender courses and tutorials. 

ZBrush Core Mini

If you’re a graphic designer looking for free online software with a 3D sculpting application, ZBrush is the top digital art software available today. However, ZBrush’s full version requires a steep upfront investment. After realizing that not everyone could afford the initial investment, the creators released Zbrush Core Mini. Although it’s a smaller version, it still has the capability of their flagship sculping application.

ZBrush Core Mini incorporates a minimal set of sculpting tools. This feature lets creators focus on their work without being overwhelmed by a complex toolset. ZBrush Core Mini also presents eight major sculptings that you can find in its full application and enables exports.

Free Digital Art Software for Vector Drawing


Inkscape is a free digital art software that’s open source for vector graphics editing. It’s quite similar to the standard structured drawing software, Adobe Illustrator. Plus, it has a large following of users due to its user-friendly interface, perfect for beginners and advanced graphic designers.

Inkscape is a great application available on Mac, Windows and Linux. It also supports most graphic formats, including SVG, EPS and PDF. Furthermore, you can import formats such as JPEG and PNG.

Inkscape is the perfect vector drawing program for you, especially if you’re a beginner looking to familiarize yourself with illustration design.

Free Digital Art Software for Image Processing


The GNU Image Manipulation (GIMP) software is an image editing program that’s open-source, free and a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

The software has been around for over two decades and has been a wonderful tool for amateurs and professionals. The powerful application enables you to retouch images, manipulate photos, design, illustrate and more.

GIMP is available for Linux, macOS and Windows for free. The program also features an image editing platform such as brushes, palettes, layers and more that you would find in professional editing software.

What’s best about GIMP is its customizable features. Its further enhancements allow you to add a variety of plugins available.

Photoscape X

Photoscape X is one of the best free image editing software applications available for Mac and Windows. The free version includes various features that allow you to enhance photos seamlessly. Some of the features include filters, effects and much more, enabling you to transform a basic image into a work of art. 

You can even create animated GIFs and collages and work with multiple images simultaneously. Once you launch Photoscape X, you’ll see a range of tools on the left side. This interface is entirely functional and allows for quick and simple photo editing. 

The program also has a video tutorial if you’re unsure how to get started. In addition to the free program, there’s a premium version available. However, most casual users try the free version because of its notable features that meet most photo editing requirements.

Free Digital Art Software for Image Reference


PureRef is another excellent application enabling you to gather and store all reference images in one place. This program is most suitable for graphic designers working with 2D and 3D imaging. PurRef has a simple drag-and-drop feature for saving and reloading images as necessary. You can also copy and paste directly without uploading them in groups from saved files on your computer.

PureRef is a must-have free software for any graphic designer. It’s available on Windows, Linux and Mac. Plus, you might find the program is impressive with its minimalistic workspace, which takes up as little or as much screen space as you need. 

Download Your Free Digital Art Software Today

Now that you know which of the best digital art software is available to use for free, which one will you choose? Hopefully, you find these resources helpful. Get started by trying out these programs today. You might find what you need for your creative art endeavors.

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