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Top 10 Drawing Apps for iPadOS

Oct 17, 2020• Proven solutions

The release of the first iPad ten years ago has opened a sea of opportunities for digital artists, and until today iPad Pro and iPad remain the preferred weapon of choice for designers and all other types of digital artists.

Unsurprisingly, there are hundreds of drawing apps that are compatible with the iPadOS, which makes finding the one that best fits your needs a somewhat complicated process. In addition, the range of drawing and painting tools varies, which can limit your options while performing complex drawing or painting operations.

That’s why in this article we are going to take you through the top ten drawing apps for iPadOS you can use just for fun or for professional purposes. 

Ten Best Drawing Apps for iPad and iPad Pro

Although all of the drawing apps we featured in this article are capable of great performances, they are not arranged in a particular order. However, we strived to include apps that are suitable for users at different experience levels. Here’s what the apps we selected have to offer.

1. Affinity Designer

Price: $19.99

Compatibility: iOS 11 or later, compatible with iPad

User Rating: 4.0

Much like its desktop version, Affinity Designer for iPad is equipped with all tools professional designers and digital artists need to create stunning imagery. The app is also compatible with the Apple Pencil and it offers touch controls, although you can only use it on iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, or 3 and versions of iPad that are produced from 2017 onwards.

Artists who work with vectors often are going to enjoy the Affinity Designer’s vector tools that enable them to apply live effects, perform the non-destructive Boolean operation or provide stabilization for brushes and pencils while they are drawing curved lines. What’s more switching between vector and raster workspaces requires a single tap, so that you can combine the two with ease. The app’s typography tools are equally impressive as you can choose the style of a single character or an entire paragraph.

2. Inspire Pro

Price: $9.99

Compatibility: Requires iOS 13.4 or later, compatible with iPad

User Rating: 4.4

Inspire Pro features Sorcery proprietary painting engine that is capable of rendering 64-bit colors for each brushstroke you make. Moreover, the app is designed to bring a unique painting, sketching, and drawing experience to iPad users.

There are more than 150 brushes to choose from including oil paints, graphite pencils, markers, or wax crayons among others. In addition, each brush can be used in Wet Brush, Dry Brush, and Eraser mode, while every brush can be adjusted with more than 20 settings. Inspire Pro also provides support for Apple Pencil and it registers the pressure, orientation, tilt angle, and double- taps promptly. In addition, the app has more than a thousand undo and redo levels which enables you to correct all mistakes effortlessly.

3. Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Price: Free, offers in-app purchases

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 later

User Rating: 4.7

Drawing, painting, or sketching in Adobe Photoshop Sketch is a joy for any artist, as the app offers a broad range of pens, pencils, watercolors, and brushes. In fact, the brushes you can find here are the same as those featured in Adobe Photoshop’s desktop version. There are 24 built-in brushes to choose from and you can adjust the opacity, size, color, or the blending settings for each of them.

The app also allows you to import all brushes that are compatible with Photoshop, while Sketch enables you to combine photo and drawing layers within the same canvas. All files you create in Sketch can be sent to Adobe Illustrator CC or Adobe Photoshop CC through your Creative Cloud account. Drawings or digital paintings you produce with this app for iPhones and iPads can be printed in resolutions up to 8K.

4. Procreate

Price: $9.99, offers in-app purchases

Compatibility: Requires iOS 13.2 or later, compatible with iPad

User Rating: 4.5

Designed to meet the expectations of creative industry professionals, Procreate is among the best drawing apps for iPads ever created. A selection of hundreds of handmade brushes, Ultra High Definition canvases with resolutions that go up to 16K by 4K on iPad Pros or a 64-bit printing engine are only a few reasons why Procreate is highly praised by creative professionals.

To make things even better all brushes are organized in different sets, and there are over a hundred settings available for each brush. In addition, the app doesn’t limit the number of layers you can add to a canvas and it offers 25 layer blend modes that enable you to composite images with ease. Procreate lets you include vector texts in your illustrations, while you can also make a time-lapse replay of your creative process and export it as a 4K video.

5. Autodesk SkecthBook

Price: Free

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

User Rating: 4.8

In case you don’t want to spend money on a drawing app for your iPad, but still want to create fascinating drawings and digital paintings, you should try installing Autodesk SketchBook. There are plenty of brushes to choose from as well as pencil tools you can use to create stunningly detailed sketches.

The app’s Curve Ruler feature provides assistance while you are drawing curved lines that cannot be drawn with the Ellipse tool. Moreover, Autodesk SketchBook lets you set a vanishing point with a single tap, while you can use the Perspective Guides to organize the canvas before you start drawing. The app is compatible with the second generation of Apple Pencil which means that it supports the double-tap functionality, while the Scan Sketch feature is also supported on the latest versions of iPads.

6. Adobe Illustrator Draw

Price: Free, offers in-app purchases

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

User Rating: 4.7

Assuming that Adobe Illustrator Draw has the same capabilities as Adobe Illustrator CC would be a mistake since this app is only the light version of the software. Even so, Draw lets you customize the size, color, and opacity of each brush it offers, or create a broad range of shapes.

The app can also be a great choice if you want to create comic books from your iPad, since creating a speech bubble won’t take more than a few moments of your time. Much like the Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Draw allows you to merge, restack, or transform photo and vector drawing layers. What’s more, the app is optimized for iPad Pros and it is compatible with Apple Pencil. All files created in this app can be imported to Adobe Photoshop CC or Adobe Illustrator CC via Creative Cloud.

7. Concepts

Price: Free, offers in-app purchases

Compatibility: Requires iOS 12.4 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

User Rating: 4.7

The drawing possibilities offered by Concepts are infinite as it offers a wide selection of brushes, pens and pencils that react perfectly to the pressure, tilt, or velocity generated by the Apple Pencil. The borderless canvas ensures that you always have enough space for your digital drawings and paintings, while it also guarantees that each image you create is in high resolution.

All vector sketches made in Concepts are editable so that you can alter their color, size, or opacity. In case you make a mistake you can use the Select, Slice, and Nudge tools to correct them. The COPIC color wheel makes it easy to switch between colors which in turn speeds up the coloring process. However, you must purchase one of the available subscription models in order to gain access to all features Concepts has to offer.

8. Sketch Club

Price: $2.99

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

User Rating: 4.8

This is an affordable and fun drawing app that is equipped with a versatile set of tools that can be used for anything from photo editing to digital painting. The 16K canvas size enables you to create high-resolution images, while the fast brush and compositing engine ensures that all actions are performed quickly.

Vector, Brush, Eraser, or Smudge are just a few among countless tools Sketch Club offers, while many more are available through the app’s community. Besides creating drawings or painting you can also this app to make manga or comics. In addition, recoding the canvas in 1080 HD resolution enables you to document your creative process and share it with your followers on social media. All images produced with Sketch Club can be exported to iCloud or Dropbox, although you can only export images from the app in the PSD file format.

9. Pixelmator

Price: $4.99

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

User Rating: 3.7

This layer-based picture editor can be a great choice for photographers, designers, or painters who like to work while they are on the go. Pixelmator’s painting options include more than a hundred brushes, as well as a variety of painting techniques that enable you to create artwork in different styles. The thickness of the strokes changes with the speed at which you apply them which brings more versatility to your digital painting.

The color picker lets you select colors quickly, and you can also use the Smudge option to blend several layers of color. Creating and arranging multiple layers doesn’t take much time, and there are 32 layer blend modes so that you can choose the one that fits your image the best. When you’re artwork is ready you can easily share it to Facebook, Flicker, and other social media platforms.

10. Artstudio Pro

Price: $11.99

Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

User Rating: 4.7

Artstudio Pro’s is a pocket-sized art studio that is equipped with a lighting fast ArtEngine that allows you to work on multiple documents at the same time. In addition, the app is optimized for 64-bit multi-core processors and it supports Apple Pencil, Metal, and iCloud drive technologies. The maximum canvas size is set to 64MPX, while the Brush engine supports the maximum brush size of 4000x4000.

You can choose from over a hundred different brushes that are divided into groups such as Sketching or Markers. There are nearly 80 different settings available for each brush in the app’s brush editor, and you can also use the Symmetric Painting option to ensure that the objects you paint are symmetrical. Recording the screen, importing brushes, perspective grid assist, or professional photo editing tools are also on the list of options Artstuido Pro offers.

Conclusion

Creative industry professionals have been using iPads and iPad Pros for the larger portion of this decade to create groundbreaking artwork. Each of the apps we included in this article is equipped with all the tools you need to produce visually stunning digital drawings and paintings.

If you are still learning how to use your iPad to draw or paint then you should opt for an app like Autodesk SketchBook or Sketch Club, because you won’t experience a steep learning curve and you’ll still be able to produce captivating imagery.

Skilled and experienced designers and digital painters can benefit from getting the Affinity Designer for their iPads or iPad Pros since the app enables all of its users to turn any idea they have into a beautiful drawing or painting.

Which drawing app for iPadOS are you going to choose? Leave a comment and let us know.

Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.