Capture ideas whenever inspiration strikes

Digital Drawing and Sketching Software

Get access to fast and powerful creative sketching tools. Uncover digital drawing and sketching software for concept artists, illustrators, designers, architects, and painters.

Image courtesy of Ryohei Yamashita

What is digital drawing?

Digital drawing is when a drawing is created using graphics software. Instead of using a pencil and paper, digital artists draw with a tablet or a computer, along with a device such as a mouse or a stylus. Digital drawing programs offer features such as layers, brush sets, color palettes, rulers and guides, and pressure-sensitive strokes.

Image courtesy of Luis Peso

What's the difference between digital art vs. traditional art?

Traditional artworks have two elements in common: it can be touched (made of physical materials) and it is “one of a kind" (can’t be copied without recreating it). Traditional artworks can be created with a variety of mediums and tools, including drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Unlike traditional art, digital art is not bound by the limitations of the material world. You can get all the colors the human eye can see, change the vividness and brightness, and erase without a trace, all via a graphics tablet and stylus.

Image courtesy of Monika Zagrobelna

Types of digital drawing


    Artists set their stylus to a shape similar to a pencil or a marker. The artist uses the same techniques from traditional illustration but can sketch with layers and tools to assist with perspective, resizing, and reshaping.


    Drafters use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create 2D drawings more quickly and with greater precision, without using stencils and technical drawing instruments.


    Concept drawing is used by industrial designers, architects, engineers, and artists to create a quick sketch in order to visualize an initial design.


    Primarily used by architects and engineers, technical drawing refers to the the use of drawings or schematics to visually communicate how something is constructed.

Drawing and sketching software

Pair Autodesk drawing software together

  • Turn your concept into creation

    Use SketchBook to sketch ideas and iterate quickly. Easily import your sketches into AutoCAD and turn them into engineering drawings.

  • Use sketching and CAD together

    Explore the strength of sketching and CAD working together and learn about the symbiotic relationship between SketchBook and Fusion 360.

  • Transforming designs from sketch to render

    See how Alias, SketchBook, VRED, and Dynamo work together to create the conceptual design of a track shoe.

  • Creature modeling and sculpting

    Explore creature concept techniques in SketchBook Pro and examine a modeling and detailing workflow using Maya and Mudbox software.

See how customers are using drawing software


    Finding inspiration in industrial design

    Pixar Production Designer Jay Shuster uncovers pieces of industrial design inspiration in an airplane graveyard and captures them with SketchBook.


    Drawing digitally enables rapid ideation

    ESG Architecture and Design accelerates projects by sketching concepts in SketchBook.


    Sketching for automotive design

    Electric car maker Tesla streamlined design and engineering processes by using Alias Surface for visualization, rendering, surfacing, and drawing.

Digital drawing and sketching tutorials

Get started with Autodesk drawing and sketching software with these tutorials and lessons.

  • SketchBook Basics

    Get started with an introduction to the SketchBook interface and the most basic interactions, including how to use layers and customize brushes.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to AutoCAD

    Take a tour of the interface and learn the basic commands that you need to create 2D drawings.

  • Fundamentals of Alias

    Learn how to use SketchBook and Alias to facilitate fast creative techniques, create concept sketches, and develop impactful 3D visuals.

  • Get started with FormIt

    View these FormIt tutorials to learn how to sketch, collaborate, analyze, and iterate early-stage design concepts.

Digital drawing and sketching resources

Improve your drawing and sketching skills with these tutorials, tips, and guides.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on digital drawing

Full-featured software like SketchBook from Autodesk makes it easy for illustrators and digital artists to sketch ideas quickly and create stunning illustrations. Learn how to use the Shape and Draw Style tools in SketchBook.

Autodesk offers digital artists like illustrators, designers, architects, painters, and concept artists a wide variety of fast and powerful digital creative sketching tools. The SketchBook drawing and painting app features both stylus and touch input to sketch ideas quickly. Alias delivers sketching utility for product design, concept modeling, surfacing, and visualization. Formit supports BIM-based 3D sketching. AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT both allow for freehand sketching.

Digital drawing uses contour, edges, and lines to depict an object. Digital painting uses shape and color volume. Both are done using specialized graphics software. When you use Sketchbook from Autodesk, you can do sketching and painting all in one. 

Autodesk provides a full-featured SketchBook software download for free, for both PC and Mac.

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