Best iPad for Drawing in 2022

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: May 25, 2022 •  Guides

I make no secret that I am an iPad fan. In fact, that’s putting it mildly – I absolutely love my iPad Pro tablet and use it all the time for drawing – both on the go and in the studio.

So in this article, I’ll share my recommendation for the best iPad for drawing, for digital art, for all kinds of creativity, and considering all four current models – from the flagship iPad Pro to the inexpensive but excellent standard iPad.

Photo: Iva drawing on her iPad Pro - © Art Side of Life
Photo: Iva drawing on her iPad Pro – © Art Side of Life

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Table of Contents

Overview: Best iPad for Drawing in 2022

My Pick
NEW Apple iPad Pro (12.9", WiFi, 512GB)

The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for Next-Level Performance :: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon
My Pick
Apple Pencil (2nd)

Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with Latest iPad Pro, Air and Mini


Buy Now on Amazon

The iPad Pro is my personal choice and my most valuable art tool. With its stunning XDR Liquid Retina display, supported by the industry-leading M1 processor, and an impeccable overall design, this is the best art tablet on the market today.

Photo: Iva with her iPad Pro - © Art Side of Life
Photo: Iva with her iPad Pro – © Art Side of Life

What does XDR actually mean? XDR is an acronym for “Extreme Dynamic Range” and it’s about taking the brightness, contrast, and color to the highest levels. Basically, XDR Liquid Retina displays are much, much better than any other display technology. That is simply awesome for any artist and designer!

Smaller iPad Pro
Apple iPad Pro (11 Inch, Wi-Fi, 512GB)

Best smaller iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for Next-Level Performance :: 11 inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

The smaller 11 Inch Apple iPad Pro does not have the unbelievably impactful XDR technology but still has a phenomenally beautiful, accurate and usable display, and the same fast and powerful processor – a great value among top-tier tablets.

Affordable
NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9", WiFi, 256GB)

Best iPad for drawing and Procreate if you are on a budget or you are a student / beginner

Latest M1 Processor :: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light & Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit & Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

A beautiful premium digital tablet for artists at a lower price, the iPad Air has a glorious display and a totally satisfying screen to pen experience, and still boasts the top-level Apple M1 Processor – a brilliant middle-range product that outperforms many flagships!

Portable
NEW Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 256GB)

Best cheapest and smallest iPad I recommend for drawing and Procreate

Apple A15 Processor for Best-in-Class Performance :: 8.3 inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

With the highest effective resolution of any iPad currently available, the iPad Mini’s smaller screen is easy to work on, even in great detail and with high precision, and this is a strong, durable and supremely portable art tablet.

Basic model
NEW Apple 10.2-inch iPad (WiFi, 256GB)

Often overlooked iPad, but an affordable gem for Artists

Apple A13 Processor for Fast, Reliable Performance :: 10.2 inch Retina Display for Excellent Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: All Day Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

The least expensive Apple tablet, the standard 10.2 inch iPad is nonetheless a fast and powerful computer, with a screen and an overall creative experience that are far better than similarly priced tablets from other companies – the best budget iPad!

What is the Best iPad for Artists in 2022?

So many people have seen me with my iPad – my students, my colleagues, my friends, random people on the train – that I hear the same question again and again – Which iPad is the best for drawing? I am also asked what iPad artists actually use and which iPad is best for Procreate, which iPad is best for Adobe Creative Cloud, and stuff like that.

I myself am fortunate enough to have and use an iPad Pro, with its amazing Liquid Retina XDR display, super-fast processor, plenty of RAM and plenty of storage which allow for a lot of layers in my projects.

And to me, it seems like a no-brainer – if you can afford the iPad Pro, you get the iPad Pro.

Glad to have gotten that off my chest, and thanks for reading! 🙂

But wait, let’s not just stop there… In fact, there’s a lot more to the story, because all the iPads are great choices for art and artists.

And so to help others make a decision as to which iPad is right for them, I thought it would be a lot of fun to compare the four basic iPad models, including both sizes of the glorious Pro:

I have used a few different painting and drawing apps in my comparison of the various Apple iPads currently available, including:

…and my opinions, judgments, recommendations, and conclusions will be based mostly on my own experience with each of these different iPads – always with Apple Pencil support – using them as general use personal tablets, to some extent, but mostly using them for making art.

I will look at specifications to some degree, and will really focus on them when they support the creative process, but this guide is really about what iPad is best for artists, and so mainly talks about how they act and feel when we are drawing and painting – basically, how they support us and our work.

Selecting the Best iPad for You – Do Specifications Matter?

As some of you who read my articles already know, I’m not particularly fussed about specifications and numbers – I am much more of a “how does it work” “how does it feel” and “how does it help me make art” kind of person.

That said, I do understand the specs, and I understand that certain things have to be in place for a drawing tablet, for example, to really support an artist and allow them to do whatever they want, as efficiently, successfully, and enjoyably as possible.

So since this is an article comparing the different iPad models, and how they work for artists, I’ve put together a little chart comparing the most important specifications for each model.

These things, including memory (RAM), storage, resolution, and a few others, are IMHO the most crucial specifications for any artist, and will really indicate – at least to a certain degree – how well the tablet will serve and support you and your creative work.

After this, though, I’m going back to what I do best – a bit of a more in-depth description of each iPad, and how that particular tablet is in actual use.

Graphic: Best iPad for Drawing Technical Specifications - ©Art Side of Life
Graphic: Best iPad for Drawing Technical Specifications – ©Art Side of Life

I guess I may be more of a specifications kind of person than I realized, or at least I can see how the specs translate directly into the user experience.

For instance, while the effective resolution on the two iPad Pros, the Air and the Mini are essentially the same, there is absolutely and definitely more detail on the biggest Pro – and more than you can explain just from screen size. I’m sure this is due to the amazing accuracy and range of light offered by the 12.9 inch iPad Pro’s extreme brightness and XDR technology.

There are more connections we can draw between specs and performance on the one hand and actual experience making art on the other – let’s do that in the next section.

Actual Use – How do the Different iPads Compare?

Regardless of what the specs might say, I made my final decision as to which iPad to purchase based on how they actually felt when I was making art on them.

And even if the specs seem to perfectly jibe with my own user experience, I will always give preference to my hands, my eyes, my heart, and my creative flow over my analytical mind.

Still, if you are a specifications guru, and know every single number and every single feature of every single iPad model, you are probably not going to be too surprised by my assessments and judgments…

iPad Pro 12.9 Inch – The Best iPad for Any Artist

My Pick
NEW Apple iPad Pro (12.9", WiFi, 512GB)

The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for Next-Level Performance :: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

I guess I should be a little more realistic since not every artist can afford the big Pro – or even wants to spend that much money – so instead let me reign in my enthusiasm and say:

iPad Pro 12.9 Inch – The Best iPad for Commercial and Fine Artists

Photo: Iva drawing on her iPad Pro - © Art Side of Life
Photo: Iva drawing on her iPad Pro – © Art Side of Life

The largest iPad Pro is my personal tablet, and the benefits and advantages it offers are things I notice, enjoy and benefit from every single day.

For one, the screen is simply outstanding. I have used so many different art tablets, and possibly only one – the Wacom StudioPro – has a screen that’s somewhat close!

Compared to the other iPads, though, the largest iPad Pro is brighter, more energetic, and much better at conveying subtle shifts in light and color. There is also more detail overall, and a kind of sharpness and depth that even the slightly smaller 11-inch iPad Pro can’t quite match.

These assessments are not necessarily backed up by some of the specifications, but I suspect that Apple’s XDR (extended dynamic range) technology – which only the iPad Pro has – is the reason behind the 12.9’s incredibly accurate, visible, and impactful screen.

In actual use, this increase in visibility, accuracy, and expressiveness makes me work with so much more confidence and certainty, with less thought, less strain and less compensation, and more natural creative flow. I can work in greater detail, with more precision, and with much stronger and more effective control over colors and gradients, light and shadow, and even composition and relationships. 

Especially important to me as an artist is color accuracy – and the iPad Pro is as good as it gets in this regard – but really all of these factors are ultra-important to me and my work every day.

Again, not even the smaller iPad Pro offers quite this level of display accuracy, definition and beauty, and the Air, Mini, and Standard iPad are even slightly less bright and dynamic. They’re still great screens, mind you, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has quite possibly the best touchscreen display of any tablet on the market.

Speaking of touchscreens, I should also mention that the iPad Pro – and here I also include the 11 inch model – has such a fast processor, and such an ideally made work surface, that the pen-to-screen interface and the flow and speed of images appearing on the screen as I work are second to none – always instantaneous and without any parallax, glitches or delays.

This touchscreen feels just perfect with the Apple Pencil (which, remember, you must purchase separately), and is also perfectly anti-reflective, with no glare whatsoever except in direct sun (why don’t I just move into the shade, you must wonder!), as well as fully laminated, light and strong.

In fact, I was a wee bit worried initially about stepping up to the biggest iPad – it is, after all, quite a large screen – but the iPad Pro is so thin and light (while still ultra-rigid and strong) that taking it with is no big deal. And I have to say that having so much room to work with, and such a beautiful display, is a dream come true.

I am happy to recommend absolutely any of the 12.9 inch iPad Pro configurations – they run from 8 gigs of RAM with a smallish 128 gig internal SSD drive all the way up to the full-on 16 gig / 2 terabyte top of the line.

For me, though, I find that 8 gigs to be plenty for even more complex artwork and larger files, but I do recommend at least a 512GB SSD drive – it is so nice to have a bit of a portable portfolio with me all of the time, as well as lots of works in progress and newly finished pieces, and it’s amazing how fast the somewhat smaller drives get filled up.

Graphic: Iva's iPad Pro 12.9 with 512GB storage and 8GB RAM allows for 116 layers in Procreate in size A4 and 300 DPI - ©Art Side of Life
Graphic: Iva’s iPad Pro 12.9 with 512GB storage and 8GB RAM allows for 116 layers in Procreate in size A4 and 300 DPI – ©Art Side of Life
Graphic: Iva's iPad Pro 12.9 with 512GB storage and 8GB RAM allows for 56 layers in Procreate in size A3 and 300 DPI - ©Art Side of Life
Graphic: Iva’s iPad Pro 12.9 with 512GB storage and 8GB RAM allows for 56 layers in Procreate in size A3 and 300 DPI – ©Art Side of Life

So, bottom line, my strongest recommendation, and for me, the best iPad on the market today, is the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, and my ideal configuration would be with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 512 gigabyte internal SSD drive – as you can see HERE.

Photo: Iva's iPad Pro and Procreate Accessories - ©Art Side of Life
Photo: Iva’s iPad Pro and Procreate Accessories – ©Art Side of Life

I also have a bit of a kit to go with my iPad Pro, and all of these accessories are pretty important to me, and also highly recommended:

  1. Apple Pencil (2nd)
  2. Apple Pencil (2nd)

    Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with Latest iPad Pro, Air and Mini


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Paperlike for iPad Pro 12.9 Inch
  4. Paperlike for iPad Pro 12.9 Inch

    Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)
  6. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)

    I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. ESR Case for iPad Pro 12.9" Case
  8. ESR Case for iPad Pro 12.9" Case

    iPad Pro Case with Pencil Holder, Soft Flexible TPU Back Cover, Auto Sleep/Wake, and Multiple Viewing Stand Modes


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. MoKo Felt Sleeve
  10. MoKo Felt Sleeve

    Extra protection for my iPad Pro 12.9" with a handy charger case!


    Buy Now on Amazon

Apple iPad Pro 11 Inch – A Great Smaller Tablet for Commercial and Fine Artists

Smaller iPad Pro
Apple iPad Pro (11 Inch, Wi-Fi, 512GB)

Best smaller iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for Next-Level Performance :: 11 inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

Honestly, it is a little difficult to get super-excited about the 11 inch iPad Pro in comparison to its bigger sibling, the stunning 12.9 inch Pro covered just above.

I mean, the XDR display technology of the 12.9, which is not offered on this 11 inch Pro, makes things markedly more detailed, impactful, energetic and subtle, with an accuracy of color, light and gradation – and pretty much everything else – unmatched in my experience.

So I would have to say that if you can afford the slightly higher price, and don’t mind the slightly bigger frame (which does afford a nicely bigger display and working surface), don’t hesitate – the 12.9 inch iPad Pro is as good as it gets, and the finest art tablet on the market.

But when you compare the 11 inch iPad Pro to anything else available today – even the other iPad models – you will see that this is, in fact, a truly spectacular tablet!

It is brighter than even the wonderful iPad Air, and even though it has the same processor and the same clock speed as the Air, this 11 inch Pro is noticeably smoother and more predictable when you’re using the Apple Pencil (sold separately) – absolutely perfect flow, with no gaps or delays and no registration errors.

Detail and complexity come through with amazing clarity, and the subtle shifts in colors, light values and even spatial relationships are beautifully presented – the best tablet screen in this regard save for the 12.9 inch Pro (or that crazy-expensive Wacom).

The screen to pen interaction is essentially the same as with the bigger Pro, as are the anti-glare treatment and the strong, light construction of the fully laminated screen. 

For commercial and fine artists, photographers, videographers and technical artists, it is also important to note that the Apple iPad Pro 11 inch has the same configuration options as the 12.9 inch version – and, just as with the bigger Pro, I would recommend an ideal setup of 8 GB RAM and a larger 512 GB internal SSD drive, as you will find HERE.

The iPad Pro 11 inch tablet is substantially less expensive than the 12.9 inch model – about 350 dollars less retail to retail – and it is definitely a bit easier to hold and to tote around, so if these are important factors for you please don’t worry – yes, the 12.9 is a better tablet in many ways, but the 11 is astonishing in every way, and blows any other competitor in this range away.

I would also recommend at least these accessories to go with your new iPad Pro 11:

  1. Apple Pencil (2nd)
  2. Apple Pencil (2nd)

    Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with Latest iPad Pro, Air and Mini


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Paperlike for iPad Air 10.9 Inch & iPad Pro 11 Inch
  4. Paperlike for iPad Air 10.9 Inch & iPad Pro 11 Inch

    Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper

    

    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)
  6. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)

    I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Apple Magic Keyboard 11-Inch
  8. Apple Magic Keyboard 11-Inch

    For iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air 10.9-inch


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. ESR Case for iPad Pro 11 with Pencil Holder
  10. ESR Case for iPad Pro 11 with Pencil Holder

    iPad Pro Case with Pencil Holder, Soft Flexible TPU Back Cover, Auto Sleep/Wake, and Multiple Viewing Stand Modes


    Buy Now on Amazon
  11. Moko Felt Sleeve
  12. Moko Felt Sleeve

    Extra protection for your iPad Pro 11" and iPad Air 10.9"

    

    Buy Now on Amazon

Apple iPad Air – The Best iPad for Students and Beginners

Affordable
NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9", WiFi, 256GB)

Best iPad for drawing and Procreate if you are on a budget or you are a student / beginner

Latest M1 Processor :: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light & Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit & Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

An affordable iPad with a really spectacular screen, the Air is a great choice for art students, enthusiastic amateurs, and even beginners, and is also a great way for somebody who has been working in traditional media – like painting on canvas or drawing on paper – to transition to digital art.

Here there’s less temptation to compare performance to the top of the line iPad Pro 12.9, and when we instead compare the Air to other similarly priced art tablets there is no contest – the iPad Air’s incredible sharpness, brightness, contrast, color accuracy, and range, impact and subtlety are at another level, and will serve any artist on any level perfectly.

More than just the impact and accuracy of the screen, though, I notice when using the iPad Air the same kind of flow I get from my own iPad Pro, and that same ability to really drop into the zone without a care in the world.

This is due largely to the ideal pen-to-screen interaction you get, the always consistent and glitch-free flow of lines as your pen moves, the speed, and the total lack of problems – even with big and complex art files and images – that the M1 processor, with its lightning-fast processing speed, offers. And, again, the ability to work confidently and wholly fall into creation is also due to the sheer accuracy of the display.

Please remember that the Apple Pencil – which is the only one to consider getting – must be purchased separately!

Given that the Air has the same processor as the iPad Pro, and is substantially cheaper, why is it not the best choice for top-notch commercial artists, fine artists, and the like?

Well, it may well be, for some, but the Pro can be configured with a lot more RAM memory, to make sure the biggest and most complex pieces and projects can be loaded and worked on with no issues. The Pro also has an internal storage of up to 2 TB, in case you’re digitally rendering, I don’t know, the entire world, whereas the iPad Air has a maximum internal storage of 256 GB – plenty enough for most people, but a bit limiting for some top-tier professionals.

But even if the screen is not quite as spectacular as either Pro tablet, and you can’t store every piece of art any artist has made since the beginning of time on it, it is a truly amazing digital art tablet – surely the best choice at this range, not just from Apple, but across brands and across operating systems.

This is a premium tablet in every way, with the superb fit and finish we expect from not just any iPad, but from pretty much any Apple product at this point, and the iPad Air is a very well-made and reliable machine, which is sure to give years of trouble-free service.

It’s also a lot less than the Pro models, and with a bit of the coin you save I would recommend treating your new iPad to a few nice accessories:

  1. Apple Pencil (2nd)
  2. Apple Pencil (2nd)

    Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with Latest iPad Pro, Air and Mini


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Paperlike for iPad Air 10.9 Inch & iPad Pro 11 Inch
  4. Paperlike for iPad Air 10.9 Inch & iPad Pro 11 Inch

    Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper

    

    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)
  6. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)

    I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Apple Magic Keyboard 11-Inch
  8. Apple Magic Keyboard 11-Inch

    For iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air 10.9-inch


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. ESR Case for iPad Air 10.9 with Pencil Holder
  10. ESR Case for iPad Air 10.9 with Pencil Holder

    iPad Pro Case with Pencil Holder, Soft Flexible TPU Back Cover, Auto Sleep/Wake, and Multiple Viewing Stand Modes


    Buy Now on Amazon
  11. Moko Felt Sleeve
  12. Moko Felt Sleeve

    Extra protection for your iPad Pro 11" and iPad Air 10.9"

    

    Buy Now on Amazon

iPad Mini – The Most Portable iPad and a Brilliant Performer

Portable
NEW Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 256GB)

Best cheapest and smallest iPad I recommend for drawing and Procreate

Apple A15 Processor for Best-in-Class Performance :: 8.3 inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

The Apple iPad Mini is so small and so inexpensive, that I think a lot of us “serious” artists tend to kind of disregard or forget about it, but that would be a huge mistake – or at least a mini mistake.

Because in fact the Mini has a true Liquid Retina display – not as bright as the iPad Pro tablets, but just as intense, energetic, accurate and beautiful as the more expensive Air, and in fact sharper than any of them!

The screen alone puts the iPad Mini right near the top of the list, and it can be considered by any artist or any creator on any level – especially if you don’t need a ton of memory, if you want a very small and portable art tablet, or if you are looking for the perfect second or backup art tablet.

But really, as a first and primary art tablet, the Mini is so much better than any other 8 inch digital tablet I’ve used – the display has that amazing life and visibility, superb color accuracy, range and saturation, great brightness and contrast that we have come to expect from the best Apple iPads.

The touch screen works so beautifully with the Apple Pencil (which you have to buy separately), with that ideal combination of effortless flow and tactile feedback, which allows you to fall into fully natural motion and gestures when you are painting and drawing – really extraordinary expressivity and total control.

The processor is not as fast as the M1 chip in the higher-up iPad models – the Air and the two Pros – and it only has 4 GB of memory, but for most artists, this is not a concern. I myself love to have the clock speed and the 8 gigs of memory I get with my Pro, but I have to say that in the time I have spent working with the Mini I never was annoyed or put off by the speed, and never ran out of memory.

And there’s one thing I kind of preferred – the tiny size. No, not tiny compared to a phone, I guess, but compared to holding a 12.9 inch iPad Pro for a long time while drawing, the Mini an effortless joy! And even though the screen is a lot smaller with this compact iPad, it is again so incredibly bright and sharp, so alive, that it is much easier and more effective working on the Mini than on any other tablet of the same size.

Not to sound like a broken record, but the Mini is fully the equal of any other Apple iPad in terms of fit and finish – a truly premium level product that will last and last. At this price, quite possibly the best value of any art tablet on the market today.

For greater usability, as well as protection and security, I would recommend you also get a few basic accessories:

  1. Apple Pencil (2nd)
  2. Apple Pencil (2nd)

    Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with Latest iPad Pro, Air and Mini


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Paperlike for iPad Mini 8.3 Inch
  4. Paperlike for iPad Mini 8.3 Inch

    Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper

    

    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)
  6. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)

    I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Magnetic ESR Case for iPad Mini 8.3"
  8. Magnetic ESR Case for iPad Mini 8.3"

    Detachable Magnetic Case, Hard Back Cover, Auto Sleep/Wake, Supports Pencil 2


    Buy Now on Amazon

Apple iPad Standard 10.2 Inch – Often Overlooked, but an Affordable Gem

Basic model
NEW Apple 10.2-inch iPad (WiFi, 256GB)

Often overlooked iPad, but an affordable gem for Artists

Apple A13 Processor for Fast, Reliable Performance :: 10.2 inch Retina Display for Excellent Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: All Day Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

We have to fight against a couple of strong misconceptions when discussing the delightful standard Apple iPad 10.2 inch tablet.

The first is that there is no truly budget iPad – that all of the models are pricey and unaffordable for many people. In fact, the standard iPad is as cheap as, or even cheaper than, many 10-inch tablets from other companies – and I would much, much rather have the Apple, as a general tablet and (definitely) for making art!

The other faulty idea is that the standard iPad is not really worth considering, especially if compared to the Mini, the Air or the Pro models. This one we have to look at a little more closely!

No, the least expensive iPad is not a match for the other Apple tablets – it has a slower processor, less memory, less color range and accuracy and a bit less life in the displayed image. It does have, however, resolution and sharpness on the level of almost any other iPad – even the Pro – and a remarkably detailed and deep touchscreen display, that is easy and fun to work on, and that can serve even the most demanding artists quite well.

And to be fair, unless you are working with a gazillion layers in ProCreate, a huge and highly complex piece of art, or an exceptionally long and high-resolution video or audio file, the 3 GB RAM and, especially, the generous internal SSD drives – 64-256 GB – should be more than enough.

Like any Apple iPad, the standard 10.2 inch iPad is beautifully built and has a superbly luxurious, durable and attractive finish, superior material and build quality and exceptional long-term reliability. 

I have used the super-affordable standard 10 inch iPad many times, and for extended periods, and I can tell you first-hand that it is also, like any iPad, a joy to use, and a joy to make art on.

If you are an artist on a budget, or just starting out, I can’t think of a better tablet for anywhere near this money.

As with all the other iPads, I would recommend a few basic accessories to go along with your new iPad 10.2″:

  1. Apple Pencil (1st)
  2. Apple Pencil (1st)

    First Generation Apple Pencil

    Compatible with: iPad (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th (10.2") generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st, 2nd generation), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Paperlike for iPad 10.2 Inch
  4. Paperlike for iPad 10.2 Inch

    Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper

    

    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)
  6. Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)

    I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. ESR Trifold Case for iPad 10.2"
  8. ESR Trifold Case for iPad 10.2"

    Auto Sleep/Wake, Lightweight Hard Case, Trifold Stand


    Buy Now on Amazon

Bonus: Which Apple Pencil is The Best for my iPad?

My Pick
Apple Pencil (2nd)

Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with Latest iPad Pro, Air and Mini


Buy Now on Amazon
Apple Pencil (1st)

First Generation Apple Pencil

Compatible with: iPad (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th (10.2") generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st, 2nd generation), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch


Buy Now on Amazon
My Pick
Original Apple Pencil Tips (4 Pack)

I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector


Buy Now on Amazon

Please remember that none of the tablets in my list of Best iPads for Drawing and Digital Art actually come with a pencil or stylus, which must be purchased separately. 

Graphic: Best iPad for Drawing Apple Pencil Compatibility - ©Art Side of Life
Graphic: Best iPad for Drawing Apple Pencil Compatibility – ©Art Side of Life

Both the Apple Pencil (for the standard iPad 10.2) and Apple Pencil 2 (for the iPad Pro/Air/Mini models) may seem like the obvious and default choices, but many people still wonder if there are good alternatives.

Well, to make this short and sweet, uhm, no…

Photo: Iva showing the Apple Pencil experience - © Art Side of Life
Photo: Iva showing the Apple Pencil experience – © Art Side of Life

The Apple pencils are, I admit, a bit pricey, but the quality, fit and finish, and the way they feel in your hand and on the screen, puts them in a completely different class than any other Apple-compatible digital stylus I’ve used.

So, to my way of thinking, if you’re getting a splendid new iPad, don’t skimp on the stylus – you will save a few dollars, yes, but the whole experience of making art will be at a slightly lower level – or a markedly lower level.

And that’s definitely not what the iPad is all about!

So, please remember that none of the iPads in our roundup come with an included pencil, and in each case I highly recommend the Apple Pencil, as follows:

Photo: Iva showing her Apple Pencil 2nd Generation - © Art Side of Life
Photo: Iva showing her Apple Pencil 2nd Generation – © Art Side of Life

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about iPad for Drawing

Which iPad is Best for Digital Art?

All iPads are wonderful for digital art, but for the best display and screen-to-pen interaction, the best performance and the most creatively conducive experience overall I highly recommend the Apple iPad Pro, which is Apple’s flagship tablet and the standard choice for high level commercial and fine artists all around the world The iPad Air also has the same superb Liquid Retina display, and while it doesn’t have quite the level of performance of the Pro it is also an excellent choice.

Is an iPad Worth it for Drawing?

Yes, an iPad is definitely worth it for drawing. They have wonderful screens that work perfectly with the Apple Pencil and there is all kinds of great art software available. The iPad seems designed for artists and their needs, and the and is one of the very best, most useful and valuable investments any artist can make. My favorite is the superb Apple iPad Pro, but the more affordable iPad Air and even the standard iPad are also excellent choices.

Which iPad is Best for Drawing Beginners?

The iPad Air has the superb Liquid Retina display screen offered on the flagship iPad Pro, but is quite a bit less expensive. It is a great tablet for any artist to start with, and as you learn and grow as an artist the Air will grow with you, and can easily handle higher level work. It is also a perfect general use tablet – easy to use and quite powerful – and a beautifully made product.

Can You Use a Regular iPad for Drawing?

Yes, the inexpensive standard iPad is great for drawing, painting and other kinds of artwork, and a wonderful tablet overall. There are advantages to the more expensive iPad Air and iPad Pro, but the regular iPad is a superb tablet for art and general use, and an extremely well made premium quality product.

Is 32GB iPad Enough for Drawing?

Yes, 32GB of storage is perfectly fine for drawing, but you should remember that you cannot expand the storage memory on an iPad. You might need more storage for more complex artworks (with many layers), animation, video and other work, or for your photos and music, and it is always best to get as much storage as you can afford at the start. At any rate, even the new standard iPad, in its least expensive basic configuration, comes with a minimum of 64GB storage.

Do Professional Artists Use the iPad Pro?

Yes, the Apple iPad Pro is the art tool of choice for professional artists, illustrators, animators and designers all around the world – largely because of the beautiful display screen, the superb screen-pencil interaction with the Apple Pencil, and great art software available. It is also an extremely well built product, which can easily handle the rigors and continuous use a professional artist might subject it to. If you have to work with Windows, the superb Wacom MobileStudio Pro is the standard for professional artists on that platform.

Is an Apple iPad Pro Good for Drawing?

Yes, definitely! The Apple iPad Pro is in my opinion the best choice on the market today for drawing, with its superb Liquid Retina display that interfaces with perfect precision and real creative flow with the Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro is also perfect for any other kind of artwork and is a great general use tablet and a truly premium product.

Is an iPad Pro Good for Illustrators?

Yes, the Apple iPad Pro is perfect for illustrators and their work, with an accurate and beautiful Liquid Retina display screen which works with extreme precision and wonderful flow with the Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro is equally good for any other type of creative work as well, is a fantastic tablet for general use and a well designed and well made product in every way.

Is an iPad Good for Digital Art?

Yes, any Apple iPad – from the standard iPad to the Apple iPad Pro – is a perfect choice for digital art and digital artists. iPads have beautiful and highly accurate display screens, work with the best art software available and offer incredible precision coupled with wonderful creative flow – especially with the wonderful Apple Pencil – and they are all well-made premium tablets that are great for general use as well.

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Lis cet article en français 🇫🇷 Le meilleur iPad pour dessiner

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, teacher, and the founder of Art Side of Life™. I've worked as a commercial artist since 2009. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways so I’ve made it my mission to teach you everything I know, to contribute to waking up your creative genius.

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