7 Best Free Software Tools for Artists (Plus, the Best App to Display Your Art)

Good digital and graphic design software is crucial for artists, and it’s often expensive. Whether you are an aspiring or a professional digital artist, you need tools to easily edit, create, and publish your work.

If you’re looking to create vibrant art pieces and saving money is important, we'll show you 7 of the best free software tools for artists, plus the


GIMP is a great free software for artists or small businesses. It is an alternative to Adobe Photoshop and offers a wide array of features. It is popular because it lets you manipulate its source code to fit your needs. This makes it a great tool for creatives. The interface is simple and easy to use and GIMP comes with the capacity to handle high-end graphics.


Contains numerous tools - brushes, pens, pencils, and a cloning feature

Advanced photo manipulation tools

Supports over 100 plug-ins

Create, load, and save animations

Interface can be customized according to your needs



GIMP is a great alternative to Photoshop and used at a professional level. As it offers many of the same and arguably more features than Photoshop, this software is one of the best in the industry.


Another great software for freelancers or a small-sized business, ArtWeaver, has a variety of tools that put it right up with Adobe Photoshop. It is fantastic for both beginners and professionals looking to improve their work.

ArtWeaver has a nice selection of brushes to create realistic effects and lets you resize, crop, and move both canvases and dock the palette to make working more comfortable. The program does have an upgraded ‘Plus’ version, which you can buy, but the free one seems just as good.


Allows working with groups

Adjustable and easy interface

Numerous and realistic brushes



An excellent alternative to Adobe Photoshop, as it allows you to acquire all the features artists need without a hefty price. In addition, it also makes collaboration with different artists possible, even though it can be a bit limited when compared to the latest Photoshop updates.


If you want a program that was designed for artists to make the best tools and features available to all, then Krita is your answer. This software comes equipped with the latest brushes and digital drawing tools needed to create artistic masterpieces. If you want to create comics or give an oil painting effect to your works, then Krita lets you do that without compromising or pixelating your piece.



Over one hundred brushes

Versatile color palette

Bezier tool helps with lines and curves

Allows switching workflows through an editable layout

Has Smart Patch tools



Though it comes with limited animation and photo editing options, Krita is still a great option for new artists. It is a quick learning tool that hones your skills to help you understand more advanced techniques as your career grows.


The SketchPad digital art software is the perfect program for students, teachers, and designers in search of a simple, versatile set of tools. The software is web-based, ideal for those who need to add the last touches to a project while on the go. Artists can access this program through the website, which also runs offline when it has loaded. SketchPad also comes with a paid downloaded version that works on both tablets and desktops.


Over 5000 clipart options

18 versatile brushes

Customizable shapes

Over 800 fonts

Download not required



SketchPad is a simple but effective tool for adding the finishing touches to a project. The main feature is its accessibility whether near a computer or not.

Adobe Illustrator Draw

This Adobe program is perfect for small businesses, as it is made for touchscreen devices. This software works on both Android and iOS and has a variety of tools.


Built-in vector brushes

Shape integration option

Access to Adobe Cloud Libraries

Publishing to Behance

Perspective and Graph tools



The only thing that might work against this program is the steep learning curve required to understand it. Otherwise, Adobe Illustrator is an exceptional tool for artists, especially since they can work with this while traveling.


Another software that is perfect for small businesses looking to create vector graphics without any complications. With an easy interface equipped with all the required tools, this software is a fine alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

Vectr is a web-based program with powerful capabilities available as a free download. This handy tool is great for new and professional designers. With its features, you can create cards, brochures, logos, and presentations of the highest quality and resolution.


Pen and Shape tools


Fill and stokes brushes

Element arrangement tools



Vector is an excellent alternative to Adobe Illustrator. This is available through a browser, as long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access this software anywhere.


Inkscape is the ideal digital software for medium-sized marketing firms. It is a vector graphics software that works on both Windows and Mac OS. This tool is known for offering the best quality prints for ads and banners for marketing campaigns. One of the biggest benefits is that it can work with just about any format.

Pens, Pencils, and Calligraphy tools are available

Different Texts and Font tools

Allows Bitmap tracing

Generation and editing for SVG formats


The SVG (Scalable Graphics Vector) support is a nice feature to have, allowing Inkscape users to design and create logos and banners. However, a bit of knowledge is required before using this software.


Finding a showroom, gallery space or building a portfolio website can be difficult. If you're an artist looking for higher visibility Canvy can help.

Canvy makes it easy for artists to virtually stage their wall art with custom “rooms”. In addition Canvy has options for building a portfolio website for a clean, professional presentation.

Simply create an account, select a subscription plan (the free plan is very good) upload and "frame" your artwork, and choose from countless room styles to display it in.

It's possible to change the colors of the showroom walls and even furniture or floor coverings to complement your art. Next, add your artwork and all specs such as price, dimensions, creation date and then Canvy's website creator transforms it into a portfolio website for your art. With Canvy you’re only a few clicks away from eye-catching displays online.


The Wrap

When looking for the right design software, you need a thorough guide to help you learn their respective features and capabilities. Though some of them come with a hefty price tag, others are available for free. Especially for new artists or artists on a budget (and who isn’t) these 7 free software tools are perfect both for getting started and perfecting your craft while you learn.

Using free software is only half the story though as you’ll also want a versatile presentation app to show off your work and attract buyers or clients and that’s where Canvy comes in.

Their free plan includes a subdomain, unlimited sub pages, unlimited artworks, Etsy integration and 24/7 customer support. Pro Plans are very affordable at $15 a month and include a boatload of features to boost your social media presence and your online sales.

Does great art really exist if nobody sees it? Get started for free today by trying a