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Sketching reviews by real, verified users. Find unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, and price based on the most reviews available anywhere.

Best Sketching Software

Sketching software allows users to create a drawing with digital graphics. Instead of traditional art supplies such as paper and pen, artists create drawings on a computer or tablet using digital tools such as brush sets, color palettes, and more. These drawings can range from 2D drafts that visually communicate how something functions or is constructed to digital artwork. These products can be used by illustrators or designers in many different industries, such as automotive design and traditional construction. These tools allow you to take sketches one step further with functions such as pushing and pulling surfaces to turn them into 3D designs. Sketching solutions typically integrate with general-purpose CAD, as sketching files may be imported to CAD tools to create 3D models.

To qualify for inclusion in the Sketching category, a product must:

Offer the functionality to create 2D digital sketches within the platform
Allow for users to edit the sketch with a variety of different tools
Export sketch files in 2D or 3D

Top 9 Sketching Software

  • Fusion 360
  • SketchUp
  • Sketchbook
  • SolidWorks eDrawings
  • Paper
  • SmartDraw
  • SmartSketch
  • ACTCAD Professional
  • Creo Sketch

Compare Sketching Software

G2 takes pride in showing unbiased reviews on user satisfaction in our ratings and reports. We do not allow paid placements in any of our ratings, rankings, or reports. Learn about our scoring methodologies.
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(310)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$332

Fusion 360 is for product designers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and machinists. It unifies design, engineering, PCB design, and manufacturing into a single platform. It allows you to connect your disconnected product development process to deliver high-quality products to market faster and positively impact your bottom line. Fusion 360 is a fully integrated CAD, CAM, PCB, and CAE software that includes generative design, 2.5, 3, 4, & 5 axis machining, and advanced simulatio

(464)4.4 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$119 Single User/Year

The most popular 3D modeling and design tool in the world, SketchUp users model everything from treehouses to intricate, energy-efficient buildings. Owned by Trimble Inc., an entrepreneurial company focused on leveraging technology to change how the way the world works, SketchUp is both intuitive and powerful for professionals and creatives of all kinds. The suite of tools within the program enhances workflows and creative concepts across a variety of industries including architecture, enginee

(130)4.4 out of 5

SketchBook drawing app and painting software helps digital artists and illustrators design with professional-grade perspective tools and an intuitive user interface.

(54)4.2 out of 5

SOLIDWORKS eDrawings is the premiere toolset for 3D CAD markup and viewing. The standalone SOLIDWORKS eDrawings Viewer enables anyone to view, print, and review eDrawings. It is available for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices for true cross-platform design collaboration and communication.

(12)4.3 out of 5

Paper is a sketching application.

(33)4.1 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$9.95/month

SmartDraw is enterprise-grade diagramming that's both easy and powerful. SmartDraw Checks Every Box at 1/10th the Price - Thousands of diagram templates for everyone from engineers to marketers - Integrations with Google Workspace™, MS Office®, the Atlassian stack, and more - Visio® import and export - Ability to add shape data and generate diagrams from data - Open diagram API and SDK - Single Sign-On (SSO) - Document retention - Security - Sophisticated license administration SmartDraw ha

(22)4.0 out of 5

SmartSketch is an innovative tool for the technical office, combining world class business diagramming with award-winning drawing technology. It is a versatile, cost-effective precision engineering and drafting product that gives EPCs and owner operators a competitive edge throughout the plant life cycle by speeding productivity, cutting costs, and offering a sophisticated degree of automation for detail work.

ActCAD is a 2D Drafting and 3D Modeling CAD software meant for Engineers, Architects and other technical consultants. ActCAD is a native DWG & DXF CAD software to create and edit drawings. ActCAD is based on the technologies from IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), ODA Teigha Libraries, ACIS 3D Kernel, Wintopo, ps2edit etc. ActCAD uses the most recently released version of IntelliCAD to offer the best performance and features to its users. ActCAD as many add-on commands and features supp

(20)3.4 out of 5

Creo Sketch is a free 2D CAD application that offers the easiest way for anyone to quickly sketch out product design ideas and share them electronically with customers, suppliers and coworkers. It lets you add color and other visual enhancements to transform quick sketches into finished artwork. What’s more, 2D images created with this app can be imported into other Creo apps and used as the basis for improved 3D CAD designs. By capturing ideas digitally that can be used as trace sketches and de

(4)4.4 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$200USD

SketchList 3D is a custom woodworking design software for professionals and hobbyists, enabling its users to create custom 3D wood designs for their woodworking business or DIY projects. SketchList 3D Pro is used by woodworking professionals to help them design virtual plans and showcase realistic sketches to their clients for cabinet, furniture, and kitchen projects, among others. By using our woodworking design tool, you will simply add dimensions and materials for the models, and the system

(2)4.5 out of 5

Isogen is the world's leading solution for the total automation of piping isometric drawing production and is the Hexagon PPM standard system for drawing piping isometrics. Isogen is bundled with Intergraph Smart 3D, PDS, CADWorx, CAESAR II, and SmartPlant Spoolgen and SmartPlant Isometrics

(1)3.5 out of 5

3D Visioner is an add-on for Microsoft Visio, extending its capability to show your two-dimensional drawing as realistically looking 3D scenes. Features: Building Plan with Walls, Doors, and Windows Network and Communication shapes Site Accessories, Vehicles, Planting and Garden Accessories Custom 3D models import in .OBJ and .X formats Export 3D scene to .OBJ format FlyView mode and video export Flexible 3D height and angles control Support for multiple users on the same PC Transform

(1)4.5 out of 5

ArcSite is the simple, fast way to draw & markup blueprints and floor plans. Take photos and associate them with drawings, manage your own shapes with properties like materials, create your own forms, share and co-edit with coworkers, it is as easy as pen & paper. As a standalone app, ArcSite can also be integrated with AutoCAD, Salesforce, GIS, and/or other cloud apps.

Build complex scenes and render beautiful final frames with 3D animation software

(1)4.5 out of 5

Creo Schematics is a comprehensive, stand-alone 2D diagramming solution for creating 2D schematic diagrams of routed systems such as cabling, piping, HVAC and hydraulic systems. The software automates the creation of detailed 3D routed system designs from existing 2D schematics within Creo Parametric and Creo Elements/Direct. This saves time, reduces errors, and eliminates tedious manual processes by correctly interpreting 2D logic and transferring it accurately into 3D. It also improves product

(1)4.0 out of 5

Now even better: FluidDraw stands for fast and easy standardised documentation of your machines or systems. With the new FluidDraw P6, you can create pneumatic and electric circuit diagrams even more reliably and efficiently. In addition to new features and a redesigned interface, the flexible licence models will help you to find the right licence for your needs. Especially attractive is FluidDraw 365, a software subscription that always provides you with the latest version. You will receive al

(1)4.5 out of 5

MacDraft Professional is a 2D CAD app that makes floor plan design, architectural drawing and illustration simple on the Mac.

CloudWorx for SmartPlant sometrics helps you quickly create piping isometric documents from a point cloud with no need for a 3D model

0 ratings

Creo Layout is an easy-to-use 2D CAD app that lets your product design team create detailed concepts in 2D, complete with information such aPTC Creo Layout2s dimensions and annotations.

0 ratings

Draft it Free is the best free CAD Software in the industry, it's faster and more powerful than previous versions whilst retaining its acclaimed ease of use. It is a 2D CAD software suitable for all users, in the office or at home. You can create, print and save your own drawings and designs.

0 ratings

ViaCAD 2D is the perfect choice for producing anything from simple sketches to production ready schematics, diagrams, or drawings.

0 ratings

QuickPlumb is a CAD program that enables plumbing professionals to create and share drainage and vent piping drawings.

0 ratings

SmartPlant Markup Plus provides precision view, print, and markup capabilities to the CAD and raster formats commonly used in process engineering applications

0 ratings

SmartPlant Spoolgen is a proven, industrial-strength application that enables the creation of piping isometric drawings for fabrication and erection from the design created during the detail engineering phase of projects

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Check out the G2 Grid® for the top Sketching Software products. G2 scores products and sellers based on reviews gathered from our user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. Together, these scores are mapped on our proprietary G2 Grid®, which you can use to compare products, streamline the buying process, and quickly identify the best products based on the experiences of your peers.
Leaders
High Performers
Contenders
Niche
SketchUp
Creo Sketch
Fusion 360
Sketchbook
SmartDraw
ACTCAD Professional
SmartSketch
SolidWorks eDrawings
Paper
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Learn More About Sketching Software

What is Sketching Software?

Sketching software is meant to seamlessly transition traditional art and design to a digital format to keep this process more intuitive for the user. You can simulate any medium with these solutions—wood, charcoal, paint, or pencil. Artists or designers use a stylus as a pencil or a paintbrush on a screen or tablet to create designs or works of art. One option could be a graphics tablet, which is a smaller screen connected to a computer that acts as a drawing pad. As you sketch on the tablet, it translates your strokes onto the screen.

This software can serve as the basis for more complicated designs or artwork, including animated scenes. Since not every sketching solution is capable of 3D designs, these products are typically compatible with CAD tools. That way, sketch files can be exported into 3D CAD files, allowing for the creation of 3D models.

Why Use Sketching Software?

Digital sketching expands the boundaries of physical art and design. Manually drafting up designs, painting on a canvas, or creating a sculpture takes multiple tools; with sketching solutions, users have a comprehensive selection of tools at their fingertips. Sketching software can support multiple capabilities—including an unlimited color palette, multiple line weights, and unmatched precision and control—within one platform.

Digital sketching software also offers editing capabilities that are not possible with physical art and design. For example, with traditional painting, layers are painted directly on top of each other, making it impossible to edit each layer separately. Sketching software, meanwhile, offers the ability to manipulate individual layers through the use of color, shadows, special effects, and more.

In addition, unlike drafting up sketches in real life, a separate tool is not needed to adjust lines in sketches; the functionality to create curves and smooth lines is built into sketching solutions. In practice, this helps achieve an accurate design quicker, meaning the product being designed can go to market faster.

Who Uses Sketching Software?

Sketching software is commonly used to create technical drawings depicting a process or how something is constructed. Architects use this software to sketch out designs for buildings, so that the full structure of the building can be seen. When these sketches are rendered, they can be used to show the location of windows, doorways, stairwells, and other points of interest. These sketches are often exported as CAD files to then create a 3D model of the design.

Engineers utilize these solutions to depict the structure of a building they construct, or even the individual parts of a product. Sketching solutions also allow engineers to create detailed schematics that outline how a product works. With this information, a manufacturer can bring the product to life.

Artists working in any medium can benefit from sketching products as well, as they enable artists to create digital works of art. Artists have an endless amount of colors at their disposal. The stylus used to create art can function as a paintbrush, pencil, and more. Digital art eliminates the limitations of physical art, since the platform can mimic almost any medium.

Kinds of Sketching Software

While there are not different subcategories of sketching software, some sketching products might emphasize certain applications of sketching. One such application is digital illustration. This style of sketching is most commonly used by artists. They can use a stylus and screen to replace a pencil and paper. Traditional sketching techniques such as layers, perspective, and reshaping translate to these solutions.

Sketching software users who draft up a model of a structure or object utilize these solutions for their 2D CAD capabilities. These products allow users to quickly create a precise 2D drawing without the use of stencils and other technical drawing tools. Similarly, industrial designers use sketching software for its concept drawing capabilities.

Architects and engineers may use these solutions for technical drawing as well. These drafts are intended to visually communicate how something is constructed or how a process works. While there are different applications for sketching software, they are all typically used in these industries to serve as the basis for a 3D model.

Sketching Software Features

Sketching software should offer its users a robust toolkit. The use of a stylus allows the user to create a variety of strokes and line weights. The stylus can act as different tools, such as a paintbrush or pen. Sketching solutions provide other valuable tools, such as rulers and straight edges, so users can ensure designs are as precise as possible. Sketching software should also offer an artist or designer an endless amount of colors to choose from.

No matter the user’s industry, the 2D drafting capabilities included in sketching software are highly valuable. The toolkit in these products make for comprehensive 2D drafting, along with editing and annotation capabilities. Sketching software is so precise that it enables users to annotate drafts with text, dimensions, leaders, and tables.

While some sketching tools allow 3D drafting, the feature is not universal. Many drawings created within these products serve as the basis for 3D models, so those solutions that only allow for drafting in 2D should be compatible with 3D CAD files.

Additional Sketching Software Features

Sketching solutions should offer features that allow users to create the most precise and accurate designs possible. Some sketching products might offer symmetry dimensions so that the design is drafted with uniformity. Various rulers, guides, and French curves may be available for precision drawing. These products should be adjustable for the user’s needs.

For those products more focused on the digital art side of sketching, solutions often have features that enable you to create a work of art right on your screen. These tools may allow you to blend layers of color, add shading, and more.

Potential Issues with Sketching Software

Cost – Creating digital art is pricey. Aside from purchasing the sketching solution of your choice, you will likely need to purchase a graphics tablet that comes with a stylus. The advanced nature of the software and its digital tools make a keyboard and mouse ineffective for sketching.

Ownership — When you digitally draft up a design, it becomes far easier to steal than something created on a piece of paper. If a piece of digital art is stolen, you may lose sole ownership over your creation. However, some solutions may allow for you to create a digital watermark, which would prevent theft.

Prototypes are required — 2D designs are often intended to serve as the basis for a 3D design. However, a 2D design simply cannot communicate the same detail that a 3D design tool can. That means you may need to create a prototype of whatever you are designing. This might be the only way to get a complete view of the product being designed so you can ensure there are no flaws before it goes to market.

Rendering — While some sketching solutions offer the ability to draw in 3D, not all of them do. That means that another advantage of comprehensive 3D solutions is their ability to render a design. If your sketching software does not have 3D capabilities, you will need to export your file to a separate solution that supports rendering.