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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

Image courtesy of Luis Peso

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 Monika Zagrobelna

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.

Types of digital drawing

Digital illustration

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.

Cad drawing

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

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

Technical drawing

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

Automate complex geometry to enhance the performance and aesthetics of your products.

Industrial design software to sketch, concept model, surface, and visualize. Available as Alias Concept, Surface, and AutoStudio.

Intuitive 3D sketching app with native Revit interoperability

2D and 3D CAD tools, with enhanced insights, AI-automations, and collaboration features. Subscription includes AutoCAD on desktop, web, mobile, and seven specialized toolsets.

Best-in-class tool for 2D CAD drafting, drawing, and documentation. Subscription includes AutoCAD LT on desktop, web, and mobile.

Draft, annotate, and add field data to your drawings online via your web browser or mobile device. Access and edit DWG files, and quickly collaborate with AutoCAD users on designs.

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.

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.

Uncover Autodesk SketchBook video tutorials for beginners and advanced users.

Uncover the basics of the SketchBook Pro painting and drawing software for desktop computers.

Turn simple drawings into effective tools of communication with SketchBook.

Learn the tips and tricks to speed up the render process without sacrificing quality.

Learn more about free Autodesk software access for studentseducators, and administrators from qualifying educational institutions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on digital drawing

How do I make a 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.

What software do digital artists use?

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.

Is digital drawing the same as digital painting?

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. 

Does Autodesk have a free version of SketchBook?

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

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