When deciding what software to use for your drawings, you need to consider some key points as below:

  • The type of graphics you want to create
  • Your current budget
  • What platform you will use
  • How much time do you want to spend on the learning curve

What kind of graphics do you want to create

It is important that you know which software is appropriate for your particular project.

  • Logos and graphic design, illustration (vector)
  • Painting landscapes, animals, people, etc. (raster)
  • Photo editing (raster)
  • Design of books, flyers, invitations to events, etc. (vector, raster, publishing software)

I assume you are already familiar with the difference between vector and raster. If not, read this article.

You will need vector software to create logos, graphic design and illustrations, so in today's post we will focus on the best 5 programs for your vector creations.

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is professional, popular and the most well-known software on the market. It is part of Adobe Creative Cloud. It can be used to create incredible artwork, company logos, website design and just about anything you might need. Many artists work with it and you can find thousands of tutorials on the Internet. The main disadvantage is the very expensive price and restrictions of Adobe itself. Basic understanding should not take too long, but deeper knowledge will take some time and nerves. For beginners it can be too extensive.

Pros

  • Professional
  • Well-known software around the world
  • Many options
  • Accurate and unlimited resolution
  • Seamless integration with other Adobe applications

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Long Learning curve
  • Cannot open files from other vector programs (Adobe restrictions)
  • Illustrator doesn't do such a great job when it comes to working with raster
  • Switching between Illustrator and Photoshop when you need to incorporate an image into a project can be frustrating

Supported platforms

  • Windows
  • MacOS

Affinity Designer - Draw Persona

Affinity Designer - Draw Persona

Affinity Designer is new to this world, but it is already considered a competitor to some Adobe programs. Its friendly and modern interface is a big plus. There are still features that are missing compared to Adobe Illustrator. One of the benefits of Affinity Designer is that it's easy to switch between three personas (draw, pixel and export, more about personas here) so you can use the vector and raster together. For starters, the price is very affordable and also not based on a subscription (many artists complain about Adobe and move to this application).

Pros

  • Modern and user-friendly interface
  • Affordable price
  • Multi-platform support
  • Personas
  • Lightweight, does not crash

Cons

  • Missing some features compared to AI and other software
  • Missing live tracing function
  • Sometimes it is difficult to find specific settings
  • Text tools should be improved
  • No support for plugins, harder to find other resources (eg brushes, etc.)

Supported platforms

  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • iPad

Inkscape

Inkscape is another top rated vector program used by professionals. Open source software helps ensure that people have access to great tools, regardless of their ability to pay. Inkscape is cross-platform software - a feature that allows you to use Inkscape on Windows, Mac or Linux and ensures that Inkscape documents can be opened on all computers. This is useful in organizations where different people have to collaborate on documents but may use different operating systems.

Pros

  • Open source
  • Multiplatform
  • GIMP integration (GIMP integration into Inkscape is the same as from Photoshop to Illustrator)
  • Rich features
  • Easy to learn, if you look for the many tutorials online

Cons

  • Not very modern interface
  • Occasional limitations or programming errors
  • No official support. Development is slow, updates are rare
  • CMYK is not properly supported
  • It's not easy for beginners if you don't want to spend a lot of time looking for tutorials

Supported platforms

  • GNU / Linux
  • MacOS
  • Windows

Sketch

Sketch is another vector based program; it only focuses more on UX/UI design. So if you plan to create a logo, you will not be successful. For many, it might be disappointing as it is only available for Apple users. It has a lot of add-ons and plugins and the pricing system is also not too bad. An admirable feature is the mirroring tool where you can view your designs in real time on iPad, iPhone and web browser.

Pros

  • Quickly open large files with many layers
  • Tons of add-ons and plugins
  • Huge community to find templates and free samples
  • Integration with many other ecosystems
  • Symbol management

Cons

  • Only available for Apple devices
  • Prototyping functionality needs improvement
  • No lifetime license (annual only)
  • SVG support needs to be improved
  • Basic image editing is missing

Supported platforms

  • MacOS

CorelDRAW

DRAW is professional graphic design software to help you create modern designs quickly and easily. Contains thousands of high quality images, fonts and templates. CorelDRAW offers a collection of award-winning design applications that meet the needs of business and education customers across multiple industries. If you opt in for this software, you should be prepared for a high price, although you can also choose a subscription based purchase, however, the prices can be compared to Adobe. On the other hand, a lifetime payment is worth it for many users.

Pros

  • It combines features or applications like Ai, Ps and Id into one intuitive and easy-to-use application
  • High quality result
  • Symmetry drawing tool
  • Vector preview tools
  • Ability to do almost anything

Cons

  • High pricing model for low budget artists
  • A powerful processor is required on your computer
  • Windows only
  • Not suitable for image editing

Supported platforms

  • Windows

Conclusion / personal opinion

If you would have ask me, I would suggest to try Affinity Designer. I own an Adobe subscription. But it's very expensive and I don't like Adobe's way of thinking and limitations. I can't wait to cancel my plan and move fully into Serif's team. Especially now that they've released a competitor to Adobe InDesign - their Affinity Publisher. The Affinity team communicates with its customers and strives to offer high quality software at a reasonable price with a lifetime license. The second reason is that I like to use my iPad to create artwork and many apps have no support for tablets. I immediately fell in love with the Designer. I had to go through some trial and error tutorials, but it was worth it.