Free Open Source Software & Tools For Designers

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Free open source software and tools for artists and illustrators.

This one’s for all of you designers and artists who are on the hunt for affordable alternatives to otherwise pricier design tools and software. Last time we checked the going rate for the purchase of a single user license of Adobe’s Creative Suite came in just under $2,600. Ouch! Fortunately, there are some wonderful open source design software options that are free to use and that work just as well.


One of the most popular open source tools for artists and digital designers is Krita. Krita is a free digital painting and illustration application that is packed with must-have features. Paint filters, perspective grids, pattern and texture support and many, many more make Krita a preferred tool among artists.


If you’re a 3D designer look no further than Blender. Although Blender is a bit tricky to use and navigate there are plenty of resources and tutorials available to help with the learning curve. Once you’re comfortable enough you’ll be a VFX master.


Skencil is a free interactive vector drawing application that runs on GNU/Linus and other UNIX-compatible systems. As far as powerful design tools go Skencil ranks at the top. Easily create fills, shapes and write EPS files or choose a plugin to further customize Skencil’s capabilities.

What are some of the other open source software programs that you’ve discovered and used? What’s your favorite?

We have no commercial relationships with any of the vendors discussed in this blog, and disclaim responsibility for them and their goods and services.

Photo credit: Watercolor via (license)

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Sarah Hartshorn is a marketing, public relations and social media professional with Vuze. She blogs about content, torrents, social media and a number of other tech topics. Sarah has been involved with traditional and digital marketing since 1998.