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Best Drawing Apps for iPad and Apple Pencil in 2020

Having the best drawing apps for iPad means you’ll be somewhat of a wizard when creating digital art. Transforming your tablet into a complete portable art studio, they team up with the impressive capabilities of the Apple Pencil – meaning you’ll have everything you need for digital drawing and painting.

Artists have spoiled for choice with the abundance of drawing apps available these days, including both free and paid-for tools. This post brings together the very best in one place. So whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll find the perfect app here, with handy links to download them today.

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Once you’re all set up, check out our how to draw tutorials too. Plus, you’ll find an even wider range of creative tools to help you out in our roundups of the best iPad Pro apps to use with the Apple Pencil, and the best digital art software. And if you’re in need of a tablet upgrade, take a look at our pick of the best iPad Black Friday deals now on. 

We have shortlisted some of the best apps that will be easy to use.

Photoshop for iPad

Photoshop began life as an image editing program, and that’s what it’s still best known for. But over the years, its capabilities has expanded enormously. It become many artists’ go-to software for sketching, drawing and painting. So many in the art community are excited last November. Adobe announced a full version of Photoshop for iPad would be available, with support for Apple Pencil. 

As we pointed out in our review of Photoshop for iPad, this wasn’t quite the full version: some features are missing and are being brought in gradually. Curves, for example, which allows you make tone adjustments for all channels. The Subject Select tool, were notable omissions that have only been added in recent months. 

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That said, for most drawing purposes, you’ll find everything pretty similar. And most significantly, it opens the same Photoshop files as those on your desktop. So you can stay in flow across all your devices. In short, if you’re using to drawing in Photoshop and fancy doing it on your iPad. It’s well worth a try, as it’s free to download as part of your Creative Cloud subscription.

drawing apps

Procreate Drawing App

One of the most popular drawing apps for iPad within the artist community, Procreate is powerful, fast and intuitive, and enables you to create large, complex works of art on your iPad. It benefits from an unobtrusive UI with easy access sliders, which enable you to quickly adjust the size of your brush/opacity as you work.

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This saves time and enable us to concentrate on what we are painting, rather than getting distracted .There’s an easy-to-use color picker with customizable swatches, layer options, a fast and responsive zoom, good smudging/blending options, a great undo functionality and we can add text to our creations. Procreate 5, released last December, brought the app’s biggest ever update, and now supports ABR import, has an Animation Assist tool, plus loads more. Procreate has over 130 brushes available by default and over 50 customizable settings for each brush.

Procreate

iPastels Drawing App

No digital application and tablet screen will give us the real feel of working with pastels and charcoal, but apps are not looking to replace feel – they are designed to mimic the effect, and that is what iPastel does so well. Plus, you don’t get messy fingers.

It is impressive how well the app replicates some aspects of pastel drawing, including soft pastels, oil pastels, pastel pencils, and realistic color blending using your finger on the screen just like you would on paper. One downside is that you have to stop drawing when you want to adjust the size and pressure of your tool, but there are plus sides – including the ability to correct mistakes quickly and simply.

For that reason and more, iPastel is a great app to use. If you want to try out compositions before beginning a real painting – or just for a bit of fun. It has Apple Pencil support, and the upgrade to Pro features.

Photoshop Sketch

A lightweight and free version of the full Photoshop, Photoshop Sketch nevertheless features some decent tools including a graphite pencil, ink pen and watercolour brushes, with adjustable size, colour, opacity and blending settings.

You can layer and rearrange your images, use perspective, and graph grids to help align your creations, and there’s support for pretty much any stylus you care to think of.  Plus, you can export your work to Illustrator or Photoshop if you have a Creative Cloud account. However, if you’re planning on using Photoshop Sketch as a stand-alone app then you’ll only need the basic free version. 

Graphic

The graphic is a full-featured graphic design and illustration application for the iPad. True desktop-class editing and illustration tools on the go. It has all of the tools you need to create everything from detailed technical illustrations to beautiful works of art. Create complex designs quickly and easily, even on the go. Easily share designs with the Mac and iPhone versions of Graphic using iCloud or Dropbox.

Offering a desktop-class standard of vector drawing, Graphic boasts variable-width brush strokes and pressure-sensitive support for the Apple Pencil. This easy-to-use drawing app for iPad is compatible with both the Mac and iPhone versions via iCloud and Dropbox, enabling you to save your masterpieces on the go for straightforward editing across devices later down the line.

Sketch Club

Sketch Club has a great set of tools for creating beautiful digital art. The app has a unique set of flexible digital brushes (and more can be made), pens, vector tools, old school pixel art, and fun procedural tools.

A lot of the premium drawing apps we’ve mentioned so far can be a bit pricey, but Sketch Club is a bit on the lower side while still providing a lot of nice features, whether you’re an amateur or pro.

Sketch Club has an uncluttered user interface, with lots of settings to customise the app to your own unique preferences. A particularly great feature of this app is the integrated online community. Here you can upload your sketches to let others rate and comment on your work and as enter daily challenges and fun weekly competition

drawing apps

Autodesk Sketchbook

Autodesk has an extensive, well-organized brush library, and with its customizable brushes, it’s easy to adjust settings like brush size, opacity and pressure. Even with a typical learning curve of a new drawing app, the toolbar is pretty easy to figure out.

One of my favorite parts of Sketchbook is the focus on making the transition from paper to screen easy. You might’ve done cool sketching in a notebook, and with Autodesk, you don’t have to redraw the sketch in the app. Your camera doubles as a scanner so you can import your art. The image imports with a transparent background so you can immediately get to work in the app.

Art Set 4

Art Set 4 is one of the more basic, realistic drawing apps. It’s free to download, but most of its tools are unlocked through the Premium Pro features. This app would be best if you’re brand new to digital illustration — it feels similar to having physical tools and paper in front of you. Love its user interface. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of going into a more complex app like Procreate or Autodesk, the Art Set 4 drawing tool is a good one to get started with. It’s also fun if you just want to doodle. 

Something ,we really like about Art Set 4 is the ease with which even the free tools work together in a piece. It’s also nice that you can swap between multicolored paper styles like canvas and the rough surface of heavyweight, cold press sheets for watercolor. You can choose burlap styles, cardboard and grids without messing up a drawing you’ve already done. 

art set 4

Lake

 Lake is a free ASMR art app packed with coloring book sheets — in all different styles — from artists all over the world.

The app’s audio element is particularly cool. For example, if you do digital painting with the paint brush, you’ll hear quiet brush sounds. If you choose the spray paint tool, you’ll hear a ball bearing rattling like it would if you shook a paint can. You can turn the ASMR off in settings. 

Another thing I liked was the option to stay in the lines and add more color for shading and effects. It gives you more room to be creative instead of just tapping and filling. Also, the artist for each coloring page puts together an optional palette for you to use if you’re not sure about colors.

You can stay on the app’s dashboard and pick from free daily images or explore All Art in the toolbar. Lake sorts the coloring pages into artist collections, kids, abstract, animal, cities, feminist, portraits, mandalas for relaxation and satisfying symmetrical images. 

drawing apps for iPad

Inspire Pro

Inspire Pro has one of the fastest and most realistic rendering engines on the App Store, delivering a fluid and natural experience that makes it one of our favourite drawing apps for iPad.

It sports 150 brushes including oil paint, airbrushes, spray paint, pencils, crayons, markers, chalk, charcoal, pastels and paint splatters. Inspire Pro also has a wide variety of high-quality and customisable tools for you to choose from.

With Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, the size and opacity of brush strokes react instantly to applied pressure, tilt angle and orientation for unprecedented creative control on a mobile device. Give one of the brushes from the Graphite Pencils set a try with Apple Pencil and iPad Pro, for example, and you’ll quickly forget that you’re not using an actual pencil and paper.

drawing apps for iPad

Adobe Fresco

A relative newcomer to Adobe’s lineup of drawing apps for iPad, Fresco aims to digitally recreate traditional analogue drawing materials.

These possible hurdles aside, Fresco delivers a buttery smooth drawing experience. Aided by the much anticipated Live Brushes, Fresco can blend mediums naturally in a way that outshines competitors. This allows it to adapt to a variety of drawing styles, including comic illustrations, inking, and even chalk and painting. 

Fresco doesn’t have text or animation options, so it falls a little short in some areas. But for Creative Cloud subscribers, Fresco is a fun addition that prevents them from having to continuously switch between apps.

drawing apps for iPad

Conclusion

At the point when you have a tablet like the iPad that underpins the Apple Pencil, one of the numerous utilizations that exploit this extraordinary mix is to get inventive with the best drawing applications for iPad. All things considered, what beats an advanced sketchbook where you don’t have to burn through cash on having the correct apparatuses that in the long run out before you need to recharge your stock?

All don’t have the masterful capacity to draw, yet you understand what they generally state? Careful discipline brings about promising results, particularly with regards to something like drawing. With an iPad and an Apple Pencil, in addition to the fact that it feels like a real sketchbook and pencil, however you’ll need to continue drawing and portraying, which implies you can just improve over the long haul. Or then again in case you’re now a craftsman, with these drawing apps for iPad the Apple Pencil will allow you to keep on sharpening your abilities.

Explore our more informative guides!

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