Dylla is the art lead on Homesthetics, the artist that through a simple sketch, technical drawing or watercolor painting makes the world a better place. Pastels, watercolors, oil paints and digital art are what Dylla breathes, on the website through wonderful sketches and paintings she tests everything from paper, pencils and brushes to styluses.
Expertises: Art, Pastel, Brush, Drawing, Pencil
Who says iPads are only for videos, games, and basic computing activities? If you think that, then you’re mistaken.
The iPad can be a creativity tool for not only graphic designers and sketchers but also hobbyists and beginners.
Here are the best drawing apps for iPad to help you unlock your device’s artistic potential and maybe develop your own as well.
The App Store has a lot of various drawing apps available. To make it easier for you to choose, I’ve gathered the best ones from those I’ve tried. Surely you’ll be able to find the best iPad drawing app for you here!
Provides powerful tools for different types of art
Features over 100 customizable brushes
Caters to 3D projects
What I Didn’t Like
Limited comic tools
Compatible with iPad only
Professional projects don’t have to be as complicated as they may seem. Procreate is a great app that proves this. Whether you’re into digital painting, sketching, or even 3D graphics, the Procreate app can be your best drawing app through all these.
One thing I’d like to highlight is its touch or multi-touch gesture. With my Apple Pencil and keyboard, it allows me to keep my workflow minimal. Aside from this, you can customize other things like its color picker and your paint brush size.
Procreate’s color library is incomparable. You can personalize color options while having color recommendations. Every project I’ve worked on with Procreate got easier to do every single time.
And if that wasn’t enough, the developers also paved the way for iPad projects on 3D computer graphics too. It has great usability because it’s compatible with other 3D apps like Zbrush.
Procreate isn’t a free app but it makes your workspace truly your own with all its premium features. Aside from this, it all works with an extremely fast Valkyrie graphics engine.
Developer: Savage Interactive Pty Ltd. | Size: 581.3 MB | Compatibility: iPad | App Store Link: Procreate
I’m sure that this application is familiar to any creative person. Affinity Designer for iPad is a vector drawing software that is an optimized reproduction of the desktop app version. It features iCloud integration to sync over Wi-Fi.
It’s built especially for iOS to include touch controls and Apple Pencil support. This drawing app for iPad can recognize and recreate pressure and inclination from Apple’s latest stylus. You can find a more detailed list of the best mechanical pencil for drawing here!
Did I mention that you don’t need a subscription for this? Your purchase gives you access to many features to create any type of illustration, icon, concept art, and typography.
With this app, I was able to come up with many of my greatest vector images.
It has more than 100 types of brushes like paint brushing types, pencils, ink, pastel, and gouache. This is supported by a full Pantone library, which allows you to create not only digital but also printed art.
The app is supposed to allow you to export formats like JPEG, PNG, PDF, and SVG. However, you may encounter issues at times. Despite this, this app is generally a great tool that can cater to professional creatives.
Developer: Serif Europe | Size: 1.6 GB | Compatibility: iPad | App Store Link: Affinity Designer
Has tools that are responsive to pressure, tilt, and speed
Group plan offers are available
What I Didn’t Like
Navigation may be difficult for beginners
Brushes cannot be customized
Imagine all the things you can create with an unlimited supply of sketching paper and a blank canvas. That’s what the Concepts app offers with its infinite canvas feature.
I love how I’m able to design, sketch, and doodle wherever and whenever I want with this app. There was one time that the infinite layers that this app offers even got me to finish a storyboard for my creative ideas.
If you want drawing ideas to fill your storyboards and sketchbooks, you can check my simple drawing ideas to do so!
Who needs a pen and ink with this app? From pixel brushes to precision tools, Concepts helped me work on my drawing projects on the go.
It has a vector art engine that allows you to edit with every stroke. Its colors come from the COPIC color wheel, but you can upload images as well.
My favorite is the option to set art tools based on tilt, pressure, and velocity. Its brushes may not be customizable, but this made me explore other strokes and touches to incorporate into my designs.
Developer: TopHatch Inc. | Size: 168.7 MB | Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch | App Store Link: Concepts
Has 85 brushes for raster, vector, and Live painting
Offers Adobe Photoshop brush support
Comes with classes and tutorials
What I Didn’t Like
No text tool
Does not offer choices for paper and canvas texture
Working with different devices can be quite a hassle when the art apps you’re working with don’t have cloud storage. Thankfully, this free version of Adobe Fresco for iPad works seamlessly with different Apple devices.
Fresco is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which is bundled with other Adobe drawing and sketching tools.
Designs automatically sync to all your connected devices, along with easy integrations with fonts, brushes, and stock. I love how I’m able to make last-minute edits even on my iPhone with this app.
It comes with a customizable user interface that allows you to isolate parts and use selections for your layers and masks. If you upgrade to premium, you can enjoy Adobe Photoshop integration and additional cloud storage.
With Fresco, your Apple Pencil gives you access to an art set with a wide selection of brushes and vector tools. The printed results of my vector graphics when I used this app’s comprehensive raster and vector brushes were very clear and distinct.
Aside from the pixel brush, Fresco features the Live brush, which surprised me. It can effectively imitate real-life oil painting and watercolor painting with its different blending and smudging effects.
For me, its comprehensive Live Brushes makes up for its limited text options and paper or canvas textures.
Developer: Adobe Inc. | Size: 1 GB | Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch | App Store Link: Adobe Fresco
If you visit a sketch club, they won’t have as many tools as painters. Autodesk Sketchbook is an iPad drawing app that encapsulates this. It allows you to create art without the bells and whistles.
With this drawing app for iPad, you can design anything with over 190 brushes. The app may not feature double-texture brushes, but that’s one brush type you don’t have to worry about when this app features over 190 others.
You don’t have to worry about all these digital pencils, pens, and airbrush options. Its interface allows you to pin your favorite tools to specific areas of your iPad screen.
Many of the best drawing apps for iPad I’ve discussed so far have limitations when it comes to text tools. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, check out Paper by WeTransfer.
It provides writing, sketching, drawing, and painting tools to help you whenever you run out of ideas for what to draw.
Aside from the natural drawing experience that it offers, it has journal features as well. This allows you to jot down whatever ideas you have when inspiration strikes.
This is also one of the best drawing apps for iPad because it’s intuitive. Gestures like swiping, tapping, pinching, and mirroring are a more convenient experience with Paper.
More than a drawing app for iPad, Paper is an information tool. It has a Pro mode that offers features designated for charts and collages. The iPhone compatibility of Paper further supports this by allowing you to bring your notes with you wherever you go.
Developer: WeTransfer BV | Size: 80.8 MB | Compatibility: iPhone, iPad | App Store Link: Paper
7. Adobe Illustrator Draw – Best for Vector Design
It’s easy to associate Adobe with photo editing and video creation. However, Adobe Fresco and Adobe Illustrator offer more than just those. Take it from me; this drawing app for iPad is even easier to use than the desktop computer software.
If you take an illustration, optimization for Apple Pencil allows you to make amazing patterns and customize designs with a simple touch, point, or tap.
Whether you’re working on logos, illustrations, or graphics, Illustrator can bring more life into them with its 17,000 font options and access to a wide color palette.
Illustrator is a free app, but it includes in-app purchases that can optimize your digital art experience even more. These purchases are a steal if you’re using the new iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil 2!
Developer: Adobe Inc. | Size: 970.3 MB | Compatibility: iPad | App Store Link: Adobe Illustrator
Comic Draw has a single purpose and focuses on it well. It is the perfect app that offers wide features and creative tools for effective comic creation.
Whether you’re looking to create a comic strip or a full-length picture book, this app will get you through it with ease.
This drawing app for iPad helps you complete comic stories from their conceptual drafts down to their final touches. You can sketch with it and test colors by filling your drawings with colors.
It offers tools for customizing inscriptions with options for fonts, text boxes, and instruments. Aside from this, working on my comic story became a lot faster when I was able to work on many layers altogether.
If you ask me, I prefer Comic Draw over Clip Studio Paint. I can work seamlessly on my comic stories with this digital art app because of its focused features.
Why You Should Use the iPad Over Others to Create Digital Art
Out of all the drawing tablets available, here’s why you should choose the iPad.
Firstly, it gives you access to many drawing apps regardless of the art form you’re working on. Many drawing apps for iPad aren’t available for other tablets. If you add in the Apple Pencil here, you’ll be living the digital art dream!
Another highlight is versatility. The Apple Platform not only allows you to work between devices seamlessly, but it also syncs and backs up your projects efficiently.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best iPad Drawing Apps
When you look for the best drawing apps for iPad, look into their features, cost, and compatibility.
Drawing apps for iPad have differentfeatures. Know which ones are your priorities, as this depends on the digital art form you’re working on.
The cost of the best drawing apps for iPad matters. Many might be free, but they may also offer limited features only.
Look into the compatibility of your drawing app as well. You may not get the full benefits of your app if it isn’t compatible with your device and your Apple Pencil.
Drawing Apps For iPad FAQ
What Apps Do Digital Artists Use?
The best drawing apps for iPad I’ve mentioned are also typically what digital artists use.
They offer great usability and features that make them effective tools for digital artists to create drawings.
Is the iPad Good for Drawing for Beginners?
The iPad is a great drawing tablet for beginners. However, beginners may not need a very comprehensive graphics tablet like the iPad Pro. The iPad Mini may be enough.
Here’s a rundown of the top 3 iPad drawing apps I’ve tried:
Best Budget – Concepts
Out of the many free drawing apps for iPad, Concepts doesn’t cut down on its features. The sky’s the limit when it comes to its infinite canvas feature. It has responsive tools that allow you to make the most out of your drawing device.
On top of all this, you’re not limited to only using Concepts on your iPad, since it’s also compatible with the iPhone and iTouch.
Best Value – Affinity Designer
This is the best drawing app for iPad that gives you great value for your money. It isn’t a free app, but you can get all its features after a one-time purchase, with no subscription required.
It’s a specialized version of the desktop app that gives you the same functionality with the added convenience of your iPad and Apple Pencil features. With just one app, you can create different types of digital art and export them into various file formats.
Best Overall – Procreate
There are reasons why the best drawing app for iPad is also the most widely known. It is a go-to for many because its simple interface can not only accommodate beginners but professionals as well.
It has many customizable features that make the app your personalized workspace. Unlike other drawing apps, it caters to 3D graphics also. It only works on the iPad, but I think it’s worth it because of its jam-packed features.
Conclusion On Drawing Apps For iPad
The best drawing app for iPad for you depends on the project you’re working on. The number of brushes and whether they’re customizable or not won’t matter if you’re not going to end up using them.