Modern artists and illustrators can easily bring to life their craziest ideas thanks to super powerful drawing apps. Such applications are crammed with high-quality drawing tools and special effects, and allow users to produce 3D models and vector and raster images.
There are art apps for generating sketches each with its unique USP. There are specific apps for mimicking hand drawing, performing image manipulations and 3D modeling. I decided to help you out and described 14 top art applications for iOS and Android.
Tech-savvy enthusiasts have switched from paper to digital space, enjoying the benefits of the best drawing apps. You can get access to numerous drawing apps free versions in order to advance your artistic skills and create one-of-a-kind projects.
Verdict: Adobe Photoshop Sketch is added to the list of professional drawing apps because of a broad range of expressive drawing instruments. The application contains utilities, which exceed at mimicking a maker, an ink pen and a graphic pencil. Another cool feature is the possibility to pair Adobe Ps Sketch with a ton of Bluetooth styluses, e.g. Adobe Ink, Pencil and similar products manufactured by Adonit and Wacom.
Sketch strives to provide artists with analog drawing experience, complemented with several amazing features such as an undo history and a color picker. Being designed by Adobe, this drawing application allows importing tool, for instance, brushes and colors, from other company’s programs. Besides, once you are done with drawing, you can export the result into Creative Cloud as layered PSDs (for Photoshop) or flat pictures (for Illustrator).
Verdict: This is a universal art design app created by Adobe and distributed for free. You can boost the capabilities of this application using integration with Creative Cloud. The application has 5 customizable pens and stylus for popular devices (e.g. Adobe Ink), so you can enjoy a rather flexible workflow. The ability to make up to 10 layers is an undeniable advantage.
The application is tightly integrated with other Adobe products, allowing you to “borrow” tools from Color CC and Shape CC, output projects directly to Illustrator CC desktop version or Photoshop CC in the PNG format. This is very helpful if you like working on the move and finishing your drawings on a desktop rig.
Verdict: Developers have upgraded the painting features of Procreate iPhone app, making it one of the best options for Apple users. The first thing that catches an eye is the well-balanced interface with conveniently located sliders responsible for changing the size of a brush and opacity.
Similar to other free drawing apps for iPad, Procreate has a handy color picker with customizable swatches, a quick and responsive zoom, layer functions, great smudging/blending features and a fantastic undo option.
The application comes with 130+ default brushes, each of which contains more than 50 customizable settings. Procreate 5 is a reliable, fast and easy-to-use app, allowing illustrators to create stunning art pieces on their iOS devices. The developers promise to continue improving their product, so the creative community may get something really incredible in the nearest future.
Verdict: Autodesk SketchBook Pro iPad app is a great option if you value ease and convenience of use in such applications. Autodesk SketchBook brushes and drawing tools make it one of the best applications created for artistic tasks, allowing users to adjust the settings on the fly.
SketchBook is highly popular among both rookie and experienced creatives, including designers, architects, and concept artists. People appreciate an unobtrusive UI and top-level tools optimized to provide pleasant drawing and painting experience.
The drawing area is larger than other digital art apps offer, while a powerful drawing engine ensures effortless handling of 100mpx canvases. This peculiarity makes Autodesk SketchBook a go-to tool for professionals. The most striking feature of this app is that built-in cameras can function as scanners, so you can flesh in your idea on the go.
A premium subscription brings extended brush library, profound layers and selection tools.
Verdict: Not inferior in terms of capabilities to its award-winning big brother, Affinity Designer for iPad is perfectly streamlined for an iOS platform, including Apple Pencil support and Touch controls. The access to unlimited canvases consisting of numerous layers and the possibility to zoom to over 1mln per cent make Affinity Designer the best drawing app iPhone for many artists.
This application is ideal if you frequently work in CMYK and RGB color spaces and need to switch between them in an instant. There is also a complete Pantone library in the color swatch panel, so creating both printed and digital projects won’t cause difficulties.
Verdict: This is a relatively new art design app, but it has managed to interest lots of users with its digital approach to traditional analog drawing materials. It is frequently ranked on the list of apps like Procreate, but the application has its unique features to be proud of. In fact, the major difference is that Fresco belongs to the Creative Cloud family and is shared on a subscription basis or for £10/$9.99 a month.
The application has made a name for itself as a tool for trouble-free drawing. It is supplied with much-awaited Live Brushes, allowing users to blend mediums in a realistic manner. This feature makes Adobe Fresco more popular than other picture drawing apps. Having such a powerful tool at your disposal, you can easily switch from one drawing style to another.
Though Fresco is devoid of text and animation functions, it can still offer many interesting options to Creative Cloud subscribers. In fact, it eliminates the necessity to move from one app to another whenever you need to change the drawing style (painting, comic illustration, inking or chalk).
Verdict: Artstudio was released quite long ago, but have managed to find its niche on a competitive market of digital art apps only after Rune Fisker, a graphics designer, shared his fantastic works on Twitter and commented that he used this application for the project.
This application is subscription-free and can be installed on macOS and iOS devices.
The developers pleased the community of designers and artists with the new version of the app. It comes with Freehand & Line drawing mode, the Real Full Screen Mode for iPad, and a quick menu to keep the favorite drawings always at hand.
Verdict: ibisPaint is one of the best free applications for drawing manga and illustrations. Its interface is adapted to smartphone and tablet screens. The app pleases users with over 2500 screentones and textures, as well as a variety of manga production options, like a frame border feature. But dpi and canvas size have limitations. An A5 or B5 canvas doesn’t support 600 dpi resolution, even though it is required for b&w comics printing.
The users of a free version will see advertisements. Besides, the variety of brushes will be limited. To unlock them for a certain period of time, a user has to watch an ad. The paid version will eliminate all these limitations and advertisements. Those who get a premium membership will also gain access to exclusive filters.
Verdict: This drawing application was developed by the company that released such apps for making comics as “MangaName” and “Jump PAINT”. Its customizing capabilities aren’t as wide as in paid digital art apps. But it offers all the necessary options for drawing manga, like screentones and frame borders.
The app provides numerous cloud features along with 20 fonts and 1000+ screentones. Users can save drawings to the cloud and then resume working on them on another device. To take advantage of all these options, a user should complete registration and log in. Mind that users don’t have the ability to import brush and pen adjustments to a different OS, like an iPad or PC.
Verdict: MyPaint is based on the Linux application. In comparison with the majority of Android apps, its operation and interface aren’t as familiar and will require some time to figure out. But if you are creating illustrations as a hobby and you are willing to invest that time, it will be definitely worth it.
It is the best drawing app for the owners of graphics tablets. Those who use an input device to draw, a touchscreen included, can take advantage of the app as well.
The application supports layers, boasts numerous adjustable brushes and a convenient scratchpad for sketch creation. As the source code is available in public access, it is possible to download and import extra brush packages shared by other users.
Verdict: Tayasui Sketches is an iPhone paint app free, admired for its ability to imitate the feel of a real pen and paint on paper, as well as an intuitive slide cabinet UI for brushes. All the tools for drawing operate in a quick and natural manner.
With various gesture controls, it is possible to zoom, redo, undo, move the canvas and so on. Also, this application presents a number of paid options, like layer editing, expanded drawing toolset and stylus pressure support for different peripherals.
Tayasui Sketches boasts all the tools necessary for creating masterpieces, such as a pencil, pen brush, acrylic, felt pen, air brush, rotring, watercolor, oil pastel, smudge, ink and eraser.
Verdict: ArtFlow is probably the best drawing app for Android users due to the extensive feature- and toolset. Even though a paid version is present, the free one still pleases us with 9 adjustable brushes, a color picker, a symmetry tool, support for two layers and six-step undo.
As for the paid version of this art design app, it features an expanded feature-set – 50+ brushes, support for stylus pressure, custom palettes, extended history, as well as 16 layers. For regular users, such a wide selection of features may be overwhelming. But those involved in digital art at a more professional level will appreciate the app’s capabilities.
Verdict: ArtRage presents a toolset aimed at imitating well-known, true-to-life painting tools and means, like watercolor, oil paint, paint roller, a palette knife and more. Its drawing engine is developed to emulate the effect of thin or thick paint, as well as other characteristics of drawing tools and means in real life. Nevertheless, some of the digital capabilities are found in this app, such as layer control, redo/undo and a recording option.
Verdict: Linea Sketch is the best drawing app for iPad users, mainly due to the ease of use and the optimization for Apple Pencil. Compared with similar applications, it helps users draw a flawless circle or any other shape. Besides, it has automatic suggestions concerning complementary colors for the shades that are already used.
Linea Sketch supports layers, split screen and exports the user’s project in the JPEG, PNG or PSD formats.
Linea Sketch is praised for an elegant design and efficient drawing toolset. The user of any skill level will be able to master it without any difficulties. The newly introduced selection tool made the app more flexible and simplified the drawing process for users.