Apple’s tablet is tailor-made for touchscreen creativity – as are many iOS apps. But which should you invest your time and money in?
Using an iPad is great for the everyday tasks we all take for granted, but you can do a lot more with your tablet than simply tap out emails or play Angry Birds. In fact, there are a whole host of software tools and apps that will allow you to unlock your inner creativity and produce everything from doodles and drawings right through to minor works of art.
There are so many that it's tricky to tell which are good enough to match your level of artistry and which are merely for the idle doodler – especially as even the best will set you back less than a tenner. Here we've collected our five favourites – so you won't
1. Adobe Photoshop Touch
Although there's Adobe Photoshop Express (free, bit.ly/QUaJZk), if you're looking for extra creative options when working with digital photography, then this is the app to own. Granted, it doesn't have all the sophisticated tools that come inside the full-blown Photoshop package, but there's plenty here to help your productivity. The great thing is that it comes tailor-made for a tablet interface, there's support for iCloud Photo Stream and you'll find some neat new tools inside to boot.
We tend to amass an endless amount of images these days, so having a decent image editor at your fingertips makes sense. Add the fact that you can carry out fingertip editing to all kinds of shots within the easy-to-use interface, and this is an essential for any creative type. What's more, you'll also find Photoshop Touch has a strong emphasis on photo sharing through the usual social networking channels, which means it's both quick and easy to tweak images and let people see them in no time.
Read our full Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad review.
2. ArtRage for iPad
If you love painting, then a tablet is the perfect medium for unleashing your creative spirit when you're away from your paints. The ArtRage app is an amazing little chunk of software that has all the tools you'll need to produce exquisite works of art, and all without getting a drop of paint on your fingers.
Open up the program and you're transported into a virtual artist's studio, with an array of oils and watercolours at your disposal and, of course, an unlimited supply of (virtual) blank canvas on which to dabble with your brushes.
The sensitivity and interaction is spot on, and it's possible to blend and brush just as you would in the real world. The whole experience is remarkably lifelike, especially when you use the palette and start applying liberal globs of paint to your work. The blending actions and overall end results are generally top-notch, although this depends on how talented you are in the first place. However, even if you're not quite Picasso, don't despair. This is a real blast, and it's possible to while away hours perfecting your digital canvas.
Read our full ArtRage for iPad review.
3. Brushes 3
If it's good enough for someone like David Hockney, then Brushes must be perfect for beginners, right? Well, granted you'll need a small streak of creativity, but the interface on this app provides everything else you need to produce works of art on your tablet. There's a whole range of brushes, complete with different presets, you can select colours with speed and efficiency, and any gaffes you make can be undone in a tap, meaning that you can correct work as you go.
There's also a sort of automated record of how you produced your image, which is a good way to see what design and painting traits you might have, while also amusing others along the way. When you're done applying your brushstrokes, the whole resulting masterpiece can be shared with family and friends using a Tweet function, or via email or printing.
Read our full Brushes 3 for iPad review.
4. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
If you're a fan of drawing, then Sketchbook Pro will prove a surefire hit. This incredibly clever application offers up a whole range of professional-level drawing and painting tools that provide power and precision, and the controls are pretty easy to master, too. It has a wide array of canvas options and makes the most of your tablet touchscreen and sensitivity controls. Adding to the fun is a raft of tools that include high-quality brushes, while the capacity for working with layers means that producing multi-layered documents is straightforward.
Pressure-sensitive controls mean that, with practice, you can soon be producing works of art in all kinds of freehand styles, using the collection of everything from pencils and pens through to deluxe brushes. If you need to make more complex tweaks further down the line, then your work can also be exported as layered Photoshop files, so it's one for the pros among you, too.
Read our full SketchBook Pro for iPad review.
5. FiftyThree Paper
A tablet device makes a great place to work using a freehand style, and Paper by FiftyThree is just the app that'll help you become even more productive. This easy-to-use program has an enticing interface, making it easy to jot down or sketch ideas and inspiration while you're on the go. If you're a graphic designer, then it's an ideal supplement to your more powerful software tools. However, because Paper is free, it's well worth installing to try out if you're more of a casual scribbler. There's a neat little collection of tool options and a pretty simple colour palette to work with.
Add the fact that the sensitivity of the ink pens and water brush options are very realistic, and you'll be getting creative bursts in all manner of locations. Needless to say, there's also plenty of integration for sharing your creations, and completed doodles, illustrations and other works of art can be delivered to family, friends and work colleagues via the usual channels such as Twitter and Facebook.
Read our full FiftyThree Paper review.