Drawing Software Review

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Why Buy Drawing Software?

Every Windows operating system includes a standard paint application, so you may wonder why you would need to buy drawing software. You will find the answer as soon as you attempt to use a basic paint program for advanced drawing. No serious or aspiring artist would be satisfied with software that only has basic pencil, eraser, fill and spray-can tools. Several art software programs give you the tools that professional illustrator applications offer at a fraction of the cost.

When you are looking to buy sketching software, you likely want powerful tools and features that will assist you in creating professional-looking art. These art applications provide a great starting place for up-and-coming digital artists, and some software is good enough to use on a more professional level. Most drawing software allows you to create layers and vector images, and whether you skew and resize these images will not affect their clarity. These programs have multiple options to customize brushes and colors as well.

If you're looking for the best drawing software, we recommend Xara Photo & Graphic Designer, DrawPlus and Sketchbook Pro. For a better understanding of how to get the most out of digital drawing tools, check out our articles on drawing software.

Drawing Software: What to Look For

Every company that makes drawing software has a slightly different idea about what to include. Some focus on replicating natural artistic methods and give you advanced and custom brushes like you would use on canvas. Other drawing software centers on graphic design and photo editing and is focused on manipulating drawings once you've done a sketch or uploaded existing art. The basic tools in both are a select tool, pencil, eraser, fill and color palette. Beyond that, the experience varies, so we have rated the top products using the following criteria.

Tools
Every drawing program includes standard pencil, text and gradient tools. The added advantages of each application are what helps add superior quality and a unique look to each piece of art. These extras range from 3D vector effects to the ability to trace uploaded pictures and images.

Features
Many of these drawing applications have powerful vector-editing tools that resemble the tools and features in professional-grade graphic design applications. Each of the drawing applications we reviewed have unique features that you can utilize to create different types of professional-looking art. During our evaluation, we found features in some applications that are not as advanced or functional as they could be, which is also important for you to know.

File Compatibility
For this level of drawing software, file compatibility is very important. Many professionals are not as concerned about file compatibility because they know how to manipulate files and save them in the formats they need. If you are not an expert with drawing applications, it is often best to choose drawing software that allows you to export and import as many file types as possible. This way, you can always import, save and export your image files in the format that you need to use.

Help & Support
Software developers provide a variety of methods for you to obtain assistance with your art software, whether you have questions about how to install the software or general questions about the application. The number of support options that are available to help you learn how to use the application are important, as are the types of available assistance. These may include telephone, email and live chat support, video tutorials, FAQs and online forums.

Drawing software will help you improve your technique with digital media and maximize your graphic design potential. Using the tools and features in these sketching programs will give you a taste of the capabilities of professional-grade art software. With sketch software, you can improve your artistic skills and elevate your understanding of digital art.

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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer DrawPlus Autodesk SketchBook Pro ArtRage Studio Pro Real-Draw Pro Corel Painter Essentials OpenCanvas Sketsa SVG Editor
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer DrawPlus Autodesk SketchBook Pro ArtRage Studio Pro Real-Draw Pro Corel Painter Essentials OpenCanvas Sketsa SVG Editor
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Lowest Price
Visit Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX 2013
$89.99
Visit DrawPlus X5
$99.99
Visit Autodesk SketchBook Pro 6
$59.00
Visit ArtRage Studio Pro 3.5
$59.90
Visit Real-Draw Pro 5
$55.00
Visit Corel Painter Essentials 4
$39.99
Visit OpenCanvas 5.5
$59.00
Visit Sketsa SVG Editor 7.0.1
$89.00
Ratings
9.45
9.10
8.48
7.88
7.43
7.03
6.05
3.38
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
8.75
9.75
9.38
10.00
8.75
8.25
8.75
8.32
8.75
8.13
8.75
7.50
8.75
7.50
6.88
8.75
7.50
5.63
6.25
7.50
6.50
6.88
7.50
7.50
6.25
5.00
2.50
5.00
2.50
2.50
2.50
 
Tools
Pen and Pencil
Add Text
Gradients
Opacity
Vector and Raster
Textures and Patterns
 
Custom Brushes
 
Tracing
  
Transparent Gradients
 
  
Shape Builder
 
  
Contours, Bevels and Shadows
  
 
 
3D Vector Effects
      
Features
Ease of Use (%) 95 85 90 90 75 80 70 40
iPad Compatibility
Custom Colors
Pen Tablet Compatibility
 
Pressure Sensitivity
 
Layers
 
Brush Editor
Clipart
 
  
Bleed Setup
 
  
 
Event Log  
    
 
File Compatibility
JPEG
PNG
 
BMP
 
TIFF
 
  
GIF
  
  
PSD
 
 
 
WMF
      
EMF
      
PDF
      
Help & Support
FAQs
 
Online Forums
 
Email Support
 
Video Tutorials
 
  
  
Digital Manuals
  
Phone Support  
   
  
Supported Configurations
Windows 8
      
Windows 7
Windows Vista
Windows XP