The 8 Best Advanced Vector-Based Illustration Programs of 2020

A collection of drawing software for Mac, Windows, and Linux

Illustration software offers vector-based graphics editing and drawing capabilities for creating simple and complex non-photographic designs, technical diagrams, and illustrations such as logos and stylized art.

Most also offer basic typography and page layout capability for producing small documents. These advanced drawing tools are powerful enough for high-end professional design and business use.Our Top Picks01of 08

Adobe Illustrator CC: An Affordable Vector Editor

What We Like

  • A professional image editor.
  • More affordable than other paid software.

What We Don’t Like

  • No one-time payment option.
  • Will take a while to get familiar with all the tools.

Illustrator CC is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. This once expensive software is now available as a reasonably priced subscription service. The industry-standard vector drawing app is well supported among professionals, particularly those with a print-oriented environment. Create logos, icons, and complex illustrations for the web, print, video and mobile devices

Illustrator CC introduced pixel-perfect artwork creation. Use it to draw shapes and paths that align to the pixel grid seamlessly so you’ll never have to deal with anti-aliased icons again.

Although Illustrator CC has a challenging learning curve, Adobe offers video tutorials and user guides to simplify the learning process.

Price: $9.99 /month, or more with a different Creative Cloud plan; free during the trial

Illustrator CC works with Windows 10, Windows 7, macOS High Sierra (10.13), and macOS Sierra (10.12).Buy on Adobe02of 08

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite: Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

What We Like

  • Relatively easy-to-use user interface.
  • One-time payment option.
  • Comes with several other tools.
  • Provides access to a web version.

What We Don’t Like

  • Upgrades aren’t free for the perpetual license.
  • Subscription must be paid yearly at once.

Besides getting CorelDRAW, the core application for vector-based illustration, you also get Photo-Paint for image editing, Corel Website Creator, and several other utilities, fonts, and clipart in the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite.

As an affordable graphics suite, it’s a popular choice among small business users. The newest version includes the state-of-the-art Symmetry mode, Block Shadow tool, PhotoCocktail, and WordPress integration.

Price: $16.50 /month or $469 one-time fee; free during a 15-day trial

CorelDRAW works with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7.Buy on Coreldraw.com03of 08

Inkscape: Free Vector Illustrator

What We Like

  • Advanced features for a free program.
  • Supports extensions.
  • Runs on multiple platforms.
  • Works in lots of languages.

What We Don’t Like

  • Seems laggy at times.
  • Slow installation.

Inkscape is the open source community’s free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Although it doesn’t match the full range of features of Illustrator, it is a worthy alternative with advanced and professional features for vector-based drawing. 

Inkscape features include:

  • Pencil, pen and calligraphy tools
  • Shape tools
  • Text tools, kerning, letter spacing and line spacing
  • Advanced fill and stroke options
  • Gradient editor
  • Color selector and color picker
  • Layers

Price: Free

Inkscape can be downloaded for Windows, macOS, and Linux.Buy on Inkscape.org04of 08

Affinity Designer: A Feature Powerhouse

What We Like

  • Awesome features.
  • Runs on the iPad and desktops.
  • No monthly cost.

What We Don’t Like

  • Must pay to use it beyond the trial.

Serif’s Affinity Designer is a professional graphic design software that claims to be the fastest and most precise vector graphic design software available.

The modern interface works in any color space and is cross-platform compatible. It offers adjustment layers, effects, and blend modes. The workspace is customizable with docked and floating UI modes.

Affinity Designer boasts an impressive list of features, including these:

  • Professional print controls
  • Advanced type capabilities 
  • Shapes library
  • Force touch, stylus pressure, tilt, and other controls
  • Create your own brushes and nozzles
  • 1 million+ zoom, and save your favorite zoom levels
  • Light or dark user interface
  • Supports several languages

Price: $49.99; free during a 10-day trial

Windows and macOS users can install Affinity Designer.Buy on


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Creative Zings

Creative Zings

I’m Sharon, an Illustrator from England and my passion is creating animations and digital illustrations. This blog will cover all aspects of the creative world including design, illustration including doodles, drawing and software, courses and more.#digitalart #illustration

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about me

I’m Sharon, an Illustrator from England and my passion is creating animations and digital illustrations. This blog will cover all aspects of the creative world including design, illustration including doodles, drawing and software, courses and more.