Adobe Fresco Vs Illustrator: Which Is Better?

Photo of author
By
Updated

When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which will support me in creating more helpful content for you.

Whether you are a professional digital artist or are dipping your toe into the art world, you want the best application to help you excel.

To excel, you need access to the tools designed specifically for your specific genre of art. When it comes to art software, you often have to balance features and cost. 

Both Adobe Fresco and Adobe Illustrator have their special skills and advantages in the world of digital art. They each have features and tools geared toward what they were designed for that will help you take your art to the next level. Their capabilities are endless, but each has its strong point. 

It is hard to decide which application is better and it mainly depends on what you are looking for. Each application has a wide array of uses, but they are each better for different things. Continue reading to find out which application will be best for you depending on your style. 

Check out this list of the Best Vector Graphics Software.

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Illustrator is best used by graphic designers and precision-based artists. 
  • Adobe Fresco is a budget-friendly illustration application with hundreds of brushes. 
  • Adobe Fresco is better for free hand art while Adobe Illustrator is better for precision. 

Adobe Fresco and Illustrator Comparison Table


Adobe FrescoAdobe Illustrator
PriceAdobe Fresco has two different price options. There is a free version of the application, but it gives you limited access. The premium version of the application with access to all of its features is available for $9.99 a month. Adobe Illustrator is available for $22.99 per month or it is available through the Creative Cloud All Apps bundle for $59.99 a month.
CompanyAdobe Inc. Adobe Inc. 
Main UsesAdobe Fresco is a drawing and painting application primarily designed for watercolor and oil painting styles. Adobe Fresco is a vector graphics application primarily used for cartoons, logos, and other graphic design. 
Experience LevelBeginner to advancedIntermediate to advanced
Best ForArtists on a budget looking for a cheap application to practice their digital drawing skills with. Graphic designers and other artists who are interested in using vector graphics for their artwork. 
System RequirementsAdobe Fresco is compatible with iPhone devices iPhone SE to iPhone 15 with iOS version 16 or later. Newer iPad models of iOS version 16 or later are also compatible. Windows devices must have Intel, Nvidia, or AMD processors with Windows 10 or later. Adobe Illustrator is available for Windows devices with a Multicore Intel or AMD Athlon 64 processor with SSE 4.2 or later. They must have an operating system of Windows 10 or later. MacOS devices must run on a Multicore Intel processor with SSE 4.2 or later. It must have an operating system of macOS v11 or later. 
Key FeaturesFree application with a premium version available, the interface is beginner friendly, designed for tablets and phones. Pay-to-use application, vector graphics-based, great for graphic designers looking to elevate their work. 
PlatformsAdobe Fresco is available on newer iPhones, iPads, and Windows devices. Adobe Illustrator is available on Windows and macOS devices. 
Acceptable Import File TypesPNG, JPG, PSD, PDF, PSDCJPG, PSD, PNG, SVG, TGA, PDF, EPS
Comparison table of Adobe Fresco and Adobe Illustrator across various categories

Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco appeals to a variety of different digital artists because of its easy-to-understand interface, variety of brush styles, and cheap price.

It is accessible to those looking to try out digital art as well as those looking to develop their skills or try new things. Even the premium edition is a low price for how much it unlocks in terms of features, brushes, and tools. 

Adobe Fresco Key Features

  • Available for touchscreen devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Windows tablets only. 
  • A free version is available for limited access. 
  • Easy-to-understand user interface that is accessible for beginners. 
  • Has live, raster, and vector brushes available. 
  • Easy compatibility with other Adobe applications
  • Variety of features and settings to fully customize your experience

Fresco Uses

Adobe Fresco is a drawing, painting, and illustration application primarily used for watercolor and oil painting styles.

While it may be focused on those two types of illustration, it is also excellent for many other types of illustration thanks to its diverse brush set that includes live, vector, and raster brushes. It can be used for drawing, sketching, painting, illustration, and more. 

Want to start learning Adobe Fresco Today? Check out this list of the Top Fresco Tutorials.

It is designed for a variety of different touchscreen devices to be used with a stylus, making it perfect for artists on the go. Its free version and its cheap monthly price for the premium version make it a budget-friendly option for all kinds of artists looking to either get into digital art or to keep practicing.


The simplistic user interface makes it great for beginners to digital art and anyone new to Adobe products in general. Tutorials are easily accessible and the complex tool set makes it great for advanced digital artists as well who are looking to further their craft.  

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Simple user interface that is easy to understandDoes not have as much customization and features as other, high-level products do
Available for free or at a low monthly priceHave to pay to unlock all the features, such as making or importing brushes
Has vector, live, and raster brushes availableOnly available for a limited number of touchscreen devices


Popular Companies That Use Adobe Fresco 

  • Salt Lake Community College
  • Andy Was Right
  • QUEST Alliance
  • Atkins
  • Ruggable
  • Explurger

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics-based illustration application primarily used by graphic designers. It is more focused on advanced artists looking to take their work to a more professional level and is better for seasoned Adobe users.

However, it does have a variety of different features that make it good for any type of digital artist after the learning curve. 

Key Features

  • Vector graphics-based application
  • Primarily used for graphic design
  • Pay to use application available in the Creative Cloud All Apps package
  • Integrates well with other Adobe products
  • Great for precise illustration with a variety of pens, pencils, and brushes
  • Endless features and tools 

Illustrator Uses

Adobe Illustrator is an application designed for graphic designers or digital artists looking for precision in their artwork. Its ability to make perfect lines, shapes, and curves makes it perfect for that exact use at a professional level. 

The user interface is a bit more complex. Its features and settings are designed to be taken advantage of by an audience more well-versed in graphic design, digital art, and Adobe products. Its price point may be high, but the wide range of features as well as its availability with the Creative Cloud All Apps plan makes it well worth it. 

Related Article: How to Use the Blend Tool in Illustrator.

While it is mainly for graphic designers, it does have other features available to be used by a wide range of artists. It has many different brushes, pens, and pencils that make it great for anyone interested in digital art and is perfect for drawing freehand as well. 

Illustrator Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Easy to use with other Adobe applicationsHigh price point
Great vector graphics and perfect for graphic designersThe learning curve can be steep for those new to Adobe products or digital art
Precise illustration tools Can be slow and crashes occasionally


Popular Companies That Use Adobe Illustrator

  • Time Warner
  • Annalect
  • Lockheed Martin
  • University of California
  • SEO
  • Infosys Ltd
  • HTS Inc. Consultants
  • Fujitsu Ltd
  • The North Face

So, Which Is Better?

Adobe Fresco and Adobe Illustrator are both industry-standard applications that excel in their different specialty of digital art. They both set the bar high for what a digital art application should look like and integrate well with other Adobe products. Either option will serve you well, but which is better depends on your needs. 

Adobe Fresco is a budget-friendly Adobe product that specializes in illustration and has a lot of options for brushes for different art styles. It is not as advanced in the free version, but the premium version offers many amazing options.

Check out this curated list of the Top Digital Art Software.

It is more geared towards artists who want a more simplistic interface and access to more brushes for a variety of different art styles. 

Adobe Illustrator on the other hand is better used by graphic designers. Its vector graphics are designed for that specific purpose and its precise line work is not for everyone. It is more limited in terms of free-hand drawing, but it is also more advanced in terms of customization for vector graphics. 

Is the Paid Version of Adobe Fresco Worth It?

Yes, the paid version of Adobe Fresco is worth it. It is cheap compared to other Adobe products and offers many more options compared to the free version. You gain access to thousands of new brushes and shapes, fonts, and more storage. 

What is the Best Device to Use With Adobe Fresco?

The best device to use with Adobe Fresco is any touch screen with a good stylus. Specifically, it works perfectly with a Surface pen or Wacom pen. Pressure sensitivity and an advanced stylus are key to taking full advantage of this product. 

Do Professionals Use Adobe Illustrator?

Yes, professionals do use Adobe Illustrator. Professional graphic designers and those wishing to become well known for their art use this Adobe product as well as others to advance their work. 

Related Article: How to Crop An Image in Illustrator

Find Thousands of Courses With SkillShare

Check Out