Drawing apps is a niche that iOS has always had in spades over Android. The creativity segment of iTunes in general allows for some awesome creations and that has been demonstrated repeatedly by artists, musicians, and more. In this list, we’ll round up the best iPad drawing apps. If you also rock an Android device, we have an awesome list of artist Android apps on our sister site.
The first of two Adobe apps in this space is Adobe Illustrator Draw. This awesome drawing app lets you draw free-hand with zoom that lets you get those finer details just right. You can port any drawings you make to Adobe’s desktop applications as well for finer tuning or final production. The app also features intuitive controls, layers, grids, and plenty of other tools and features to help you draw awesome stuff.
[Price: Free / $1.99]
Adobe Photoshop Sketch is another Adobe sketch and draw tool that lets you free-hand some artwork. It also has more Photoshop-style features such as creating collages out of images, blending, opacity control, and a lot more. The toolbar is customizable which is great for creating your own, unique work space and there is full support with Adobe Creative Cloud sync and Adobe’s desktop applications. It’s a good little drawing app with a lot of power.
Art Set is a bit more of a standard drawing app that gives you all sorts of options. You’ll have options ranging from markers to pastels to crayons and even some types of paint. There are also blending tools, zoom to get those finer details just right, unlimited undo, and plenty more. There are also a range of exporting options so you can share images you create and you can even import your own images and play with them some more. It’s quite a nice package and $1.99 seems fairly reasonable to us.
[Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases]
ArtStudio is a popular and very highly-rated drawing and art application. It also has one of the longest feature lists available of any app on this list. Some of them include a variety of tools, over 450 drawing brushes, layer control, various import and export options, various filters, unlimited undo-redo, zoom, and many, many more. This truly is one of the best drawing apps we’ve ever seen and there is almost an unlimited amount of stuff you can do. It’s one downfall is the inclusion of in-app purchases, but even those really aren’t that bad.
[Price: Free / $4.99 / $49.99 / $99.99]
AutoCAD by AutoDesk is one of the more premiere drafting apps available. With it you can draft, design, and draw pretty much whatever you want although it is aimed at more of an engineering and design audience than artistic ones. The app includes a variety of features, including offline mode, tools to ensure accuracy, zoom and pan, a GPS function that helps you stay oriented while deep in a drawing, and support for a free companion web app. It is very expensive but this is generally a professional tool rather than a hobbyist one.
[Price: $9.99 with in-app purchases]
Inspire Pro is another popular, highly-rated application with a lot of tools and features. It features over 70 brushes that you can use to create your art with 60 more available as in-app purchases which is a little bogus. Each brush can also be used “wet” or “dry” to change the style even further. You’ll also find a host of basic features like opacity, rotation, pressure control, and more. The sheer number of features and tools available border on the absurd in number and scope which definitely helps justify the high price tag.
[Price: $1.99 – $4.99]
According to user reviews, Layers had a pretty rough start but it’s gotten a lot better in recent updates. This app features a bit more painting than drawing but you can do both if you want to. It comes with a decent, easy-to-use interface, zoom, various tools such as smudge, eye dropped, eraser, and more, and there are a variety of export options for sharing later. It’s a bit more simple than others but sometimes you don’t need 500 features to do good work.
Procreate is another intensely popular, very high-rated drawing app with an amazing amount of features. It features the ability to use a 4K canvas with over 120 brushes available. On top of that, there are 25 customizable settings for every brush resulting in a nearly unlimited number of combinations. On top of that, there are an absurd list of other features you can use including various import/export settings, 250 levels of undo/redo, optimizations for 64-bit processors, and plenty of deeper functions such as exporting HEX values for color. It’s very powerful.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
SketchBook Express is another AutoDesk product that’s a little bit lighter on the wallet than AutoCAD 360. It’s also designed more for pure artistry rather than design or engineering. It doesn’t have as many features as others, but it is a free app which helps make up for it. You have access to 15 brushes with more available as in-app purchases, layers, various tools like merge and duplicate, and plenty more. It’s not the most amazing drawing app, but it’s about as solid as you’ll get for a free app.
[Price: Free / $4.99]
Tayasui Sketches is kind of a wild card because it hasn’t received a lot of the same press as apps from Adobe, AutoDesk, or apps like Procreate, but it’s managed to gather itself a decent following and a good rating. The app focuses on simplicity and has things like a pencil, watercolor brush, felt pen, oil pastels, and more with layer support, iCloud support, and other features. Some of them are available in the free version but you’ll need to pick up the pro version to get everything.