Which are the best iPad apps for artists? That depends on the artist, of course; but there are a few leading candidates worth consideration. Here, we review eight of the best iPad apps for artists, whether for sketching, drawing or painting.
Apple's tablet is tailor-made for touchscreen creativity – as are many iOS apps. But which apps should artists invest their time and money in? There are a whole host of software tools and apps for the iPad that will allow you to unlock your inner creativity and produce everything from doodles and drawings right through to full works of art. Pair that software with one of our
six favourite iPad styli and you've got a winning combination.
There are so many creative apps, though, that it's tricky to tell which are good enough to match your level of artistry and which are suitable for the idle doodler – but that's not a disaster, as even the best will set you back less than a tenner. Read on to discover our favourite iPad apps for artists, to help you decide where to start, but do let us know what sketching and painting apps you depend on.
Are you looking for other creative apps? Follow the links below to see our app round-ups.
Best iPad apps for designers Best Android apps for artists Best Android apps for designers Best iPhone apps for artists
The first on our list is this popular entry from Savage Interactive. Highly rated by artists including Pete Fowler, the Super Furry Animals album artist, Procreate is a quick and accurate drawing and painting app that's capable of striking artworks.
With new features such as GPU accelerated filters, 4K canvases and 64-bit support,
the latest version of this iPad app is sure to please artists.
Procreate is available for £4.49 from the iOS App Store.
The second spot in this list of the best iPad apps for artists used to belong to Adobe Photoshop Touch, but since the launch of Adobe Creative Cloud, the company has revamped many of its mobile apps to make the range for artists and designers who want to work while on the move much better.
Photoshop Sketch presents artists with familiar Photoshop drawing tools, including a graphite pencil, ink pen, blending markers and an eraser, as well as brushes including acrylic and pastel.
You'll get access to Photoshop Sketch at no additional cost as part of your Creative Cloud membership.
You can download Photoshop Sketch from the iOS App Store here.
A second Adobe app ideal for artists is Illustrator Draw, which is the evolution of the popular Adobe Ideas app that is no longer available now that this renamed and redesigned app has arrived.
You can use Illustrator Draw to create vector illustrations on your iPad, with lots of handy tools at your fingertips to make the experience easier and more efficient.
You'll be able to create perfect lines and curves thanks to the Touch Slide digital ruler, add images from multiple sources including the Creative Cloud market for tracing and collage, and you'll get access too familiar tools including customisable brushes, the paint bucket, eyedropper, layers and 50-level undo/redo.
As with Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw comes included in your Creative Cloud subscription, and is free to download from the
iOS App Store here.
Autodesk's Sketchbook app is another brilliant tool for drawing, sketching and painting on your iPad. It's free, but we recommend paying the £2.99 for the Pro in-app purchase to get your hands on a wealth of additional tools.
Downloading the free app will get you a selection of 10 preset brushes, synthetic pressure-sensitivity, a layer editor with up to three layers and 16 blending modes, and symmetry and proportional transform tools.
But if you're up for paying the £2.99 for the in-app purchase of the Pro features, you'll get more than 100 brushes, the full Copic Color Library, more layers and blending modes, gradient fills and advanced selection tools.
Plus, pressure-sensitive controls mean that, with practice, you'll 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.
You can download Autodesk Sketchbook from the iOS App Store here.
We love Tayasui Sketches for sketching out ideas when we're out and about and get a sudden burst of inspiration.
It's free download and initially offers a set of tools that'll do the trick for doodling. You'll get a pencil, rotring pen, watercolour brush, felt pen, eraser and the ability to pick colours from a colour wheel. You can also choose from a selection of paper types with varying textures, all of which result in realistic-looking strokes when combined with the tools available.
If you enjoy using the app, you can pay £3.99 for the Pro version as an in-app purchase, which includes the additional ability to import photos, a pen brush, oil pastel, acrylic brush, airbrush, brushes editor, eyedropper and more exporting and layers options. You'll also get pressure sensitive stylus support.
You can download Tayasui Sketches for free on the iOS App Store.
KiwiPixel's Inspire Pro app helps you recreate the effects of wet oil paint on canvas using just your iPad and a finger or stylus. After spreading paint on the canvas, you can simply turn on the dry brush to get stunning colour blending results.
It's a little on the pricey side at £7.99, and we'd say that some of its closest rivals like Sketchbook Pro and Procreate are just as effective but with cheaper price tags.
However, there is a free version of Inspire Pro for you to try, which offers many of the same tools as the pro version and could be enough to satisfy your needs or make you decide that it's worth the money for the full version.
Download the free version of Inspire on
the iOS App Store here, or the Pro version on the iOS App Store here.
If you love painting, you'll find that the ArtRage app is an amazing little chunk of software that has all the tools you'll need to produce exquisite works of art, all without getting a drop of paint on your hands.
Open up the program and you're transported into a visual artist's studio, with an array of oils and watercolours at your disposal, and an unlimited supply of (virtual) blank canvases 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 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.
You can buy ArtRage for £3.99 from the iOS App Store here.
Here's one for those who enjoy sketching with charcoal. It's a simple app designed to make you forget about the tools and just draw, using intuitive multi-touch gestures to help you achieve the desired result.
After downloading the £1.49 app, it'll open straight to a blank canvas. You can start sketching immediately, using the pinch to zoom gesture to get a bigger or smaller line. Tapping at the bottom of the canvas will bring up the tools menu, which is very basic. You can choose between a smooth or rough brush, and you'll also get an eraser. The undo and redo tool is handy, and you can also access your other sketches from there.
This app is not an all-rounder, by any means. It does one job, but it does it rather well. For producing charcoal sketches digitally, ASKetch is a brilliant app that we really enjoy using.
ASKetch is available to download now for £1.49 here.