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 Apple iPad that will allow you to unlock your inner creativity and produce everything from doodles and drawings right through to full works of art.
There are so many, in fact, 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. Here we've collected 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.
Use the slideshow controls
above and right to see our pick of the best apps for artists.
Right: Procreate 2 is among the apps in our top 8 iPad apps for artists. Read on to find out more.
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
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 2 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 new version of this iPad app is sure to please artists – particularly those who already use Procreate as it's a free upgrade.
Procreate 2 costs £3.99 and is available to download here.
Adobe Photoshop Touch
Although there's also the free option of Adobe Photoshop Express, 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.
Adobe Photoshop Touch is available to download for £6.99
Read our full
Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad review.
If it's good enough for someone like David Hockney, then Brushes must be perfect for beginners, right? Granted, you'll need at least 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 with a tap.
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 amusing others along the way. When you've finished applying your brushstrokes, the resultant masterpiece can be shared with family and friends using a Tweet function, or via email or printing.
Plus, with the latest version the developers have added iOS 7 and 64-bit support.
Brushes is available to download for free
Read our full
Brushes 3 for iPad review.
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.
You can buy SketchBook Pro for iPad now for £2.99 here.
Read our full
SketchBook Pro for iPad review.
We love Tayasui Sketches for sketching out ideas when we're out and about and get a sudden burst of inspiration.
It's free to download and initially offers a set of tools that'll do the trick for doodling. You'll get a pencil, fineliner, felt pen, brush pen, oil pastel, watercolour brush and filling tool, 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're willing to spend some money on an in-app purchase (it's £2.99) you can get the Pro Version, which includes an acrylic paint brush and an airbrush, as well as extra brush tips and sizes, an eyedropper tool and a blending mode. You'll also get layers and patterns that offer cool textures, shapes and letters to add to your work.
It's not the most advanced app in our round-up but it has a gorgeous and intuitive user interface and will certainly do the trick if you want to ditch your sketch book in favour of a digital alternative. Plus, the ability to try it for free is an added bonus.
Tayasui Sketches is available now for free
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 £6.99, and we'd say that some of its closest rivals like SketchBook Pro and Procreate 2 are just as effective but with cheaper price tags and better-looking interfaces.
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 without needing to upgrade to the full version.
Inspire Pro is available to try for free
ArtRage for iPad
If you love painting, then an iPad 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, 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.
ArtRage for iPad is available to download for £2.99
Read our full
ArtRage for iPad review.
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