Forget about playing Candy Crush or Crossy Road in your downtime. There are so many apps out there that are actually worth using, especially for a multitasking artist-on-the-go. Make amazing art on the go with these top drawing apps with free trials and active bonuses.
Inspire Pro has one of the fastest and most realistic rendering engines on the App Store, delivering a fluid and natural painting, drawing and sketching experience to your iPad.
Sporting 150 brushes – including oil paint, airbrushes, spray paint, pencils, crayons, markers, chalk, charcoal, pastels and paint splatters – Inspire Pro has a wide variety of high-quality and customizable tools for you to choose from.
With Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, the size and opacity of brush strokes react instantly to applied pressure, tilt angle and orientation for unprecedented creative control on a mobile device. Give one of the brushes from the Graphite Pencils set a try with Apple Pencil and iPad Pro and you’ll quickly forget that you’re not using an actual pencil and paper.
Of course, in a roundup of digital art tools, it’s only reasonable to start with Adobe. Photoshop Sketch is a free app for iPhone and iPad too, as it is optimized for Apple Pencil.
It is essentially Photoshop’s brush wheelhouse packed into an app form; you can choose from over 24 brushes with the flexibility to control size, color, opacity, and blend modes. You can also import brushes from Photoshop if need be.
Photoshop Sketch lets you work with layers and on canvas sizes up to 8000 px. Social media buffs might also appreciate that you can capture your drawings in a time-lapse video.
Plus, Creative Cloud users can send their work to Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC if you want to work on a desktop.
ArtFlow is a drawing and painting app. It features 70 brush types, various additional tools, and all kinds of other stuff. You can do color adjustments, paint on high-resolution canvas (up to 4096×4096), up to 16 layers, and even pressure simulation for a bit of realism. Finally, you can export to PNG, JPEG, or even PSD (Photoshop) in case you want to continue your work on Photoshop for a desktop. This is about as good as it gets in the drawing apps category without joining a family of apps like Adobe or Autodesk. It’s a lot of fun and it’s even good for older kids.
This app is for exploration. Pegged as “the art world in your pocket,” it allows you access to images, collections and playlist-esque groupings of art. Similar to music sharing programs, you can search by artist or keywords — which means, it’s a great resource for finding new art and artists to ogle and share with your friends. The app has been called, on more than one occasion, the Pandora of art.
The main idea of Artrage is to make painting as realistic as possible on the iPad. You can mix different paints with one another as though you were blending them on a real canvas with a palette knife. This app works with layers, so if you’re already familiar with Photoshop, you’ll feel right at home with the blend modes. Artrage also allows you to record your strokes for later viewing on your desktop. It not only supports the Apple Pencil, but also has support for Wacom, Adonit, and Pogo styli.
Autodesk’s app ($4.99), now available for the Android tablet, is a digital canvas and brush set that allows the use of both fingers and styluses for sketching. Included are more than 60 different brush tools, a six-layer capacity for each file and the option of exporting works to Photoshop.
Sketch Master is a simple application but very powerful application to create drawings, painting or inserting text on a photograph. It offers some very useful functions, including up to 3000% zoom. You can share your creations with different social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or save them in the gallery of your device.
Used to create the image above, this app ($4.99) has been updated with capabilities to incorporate photos from a photo library, which you can paint over, outline and manipulate with various other settings. Plus, with the coordinating Brushes Viewer software, each “stroke” can be played back, which essentially creates an animated step-by-step of the painting.
The act of painting in Procreate 4 is even more delightful than previous versions of the software, making it one of the best drawing apps for iPad users. The app incorporates an unobtrusive UI with easy access sliders, which enable you to quickly adjust the size of your brush/opacity as you work. It saves time and lets you concentrate on what you’re painting rather than getting distracted by pop-up menus.
Like many of the other iPad art apps here, there’s an easy-to-use color picker (with customizable swatches), layer options, a fast and responsive zoom, good smudging/blending options and great undo functionality.
Procreate has over 120 brushes available by default, with 12 pre-set brushes featuring advanced ‘paint loading’ and ‘wetness’ settings for a more realistic look. Plus there’s a built-in a brush editor for creating custom brushes, which enable you to define brush shape and grain.
Procreate is powerful, fast and intuitive, and enables you to create large, complex works of art on your iPad Pro.
Grand Mondial Art:
There are more brushes than you can shake a stick at in this illustration app – more than 190 in total. Something for every artist, then, and it’s more than capable of handling large, complex work as well as quick sketches.
Its touchscreen-friendly version is impressive too: very good for working on your images on the move, then exporting them.
Tayasui is a sophisticated, yet user-friendly, drawing and painting app with a long list of tools and features that’s sure to excite any digital artist.
Tayasui prides itself in offering “ultra-realistic” art media tools like felt pen, oil pastel, watercolor (dry and wet brushes), acrylic brushes and more. Tayasui supports Apple, Wacom and Adonit Styluses if you prefer to work from your iPad instead.
There’s also the Pro version for £5.99/$5.99 with more advanced tools.
If you’re new to digital art and so after a brilliant-but-basic drawing app for your iPad, look no further than MediBang Paint. An easy-to-use program, MediBang has similar features to Photoshop, including layers, with the ability to add styles and a handy brush editor. In fact, MediBang is full of brilliant painting and drawing tools, so much so it’s hard to believe it’s free.
Compatible with the fourth-generation iPad and above, or iPad Mini 2 and above, if you want to create professional-looking artwork but are on a budget, this is the iPad app for you.