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25+ Best Drawing Apps for iPad in 2023

Iva Mikles
25+ Best Drawing Apps for iPad in 2023

Hey everyone! I’ve put together this list of the 25+ best drawing apps for iPad, each tried and tested by yours truly.

Whether you are just starting out or looking to spice up your digital art toolkit, I’ve got some gems lined up for you. I believe that these apps can be a real game-changer for both beginners and experienced artists alike.

Enjoy!

Overview: Top 7 Drawing Apps for iPad

TL;DR: Here are my 7 top picks for the best iPad drawing apps. Scroll down for the rest of the 25+ more iPad apps for drawing:

  1. My Pick: Procreate
  2. For Professionals: Adobe Fresco
  3. For Note Taking & Sketches: Concepts
  4. For Traditional Art: Art Set 4
  5. For Graphic Designers: Linearity Curve (Vectornator)
  6. For Coloring: Pigment Adult Coloring Book
  7. For FREE: HiPaint

💡 Click here if you are looking for the best iPad for Drawing and Artists ➡️

My Pick
Alternative
Affordable Pick
Who is it for?:
Advanced and professional artists who are drawing digitally every day for long hours and work on complex artworks which require many layers. I also love the big, bright screen because I don't get tired from looking at it and I can use it for drawing outdoors.
Who is it for?:
Advanced and professional artists who want the "best", but want to save a little bit of money.
Who is it for?:
Beginners, hobbyists, and advanced and professional artists who want similar specs to iPad Pro but their budget doesn't allow them to get iPad Pro.
Apple Pencil compatibility:
Apple Pencil 2
Apple Pencil compatibility:
Apple Pencil 2
Apple Pencil compatibility:
Apple Pencil 2
Description:

FYI - If you want absolutely the newest tech to get the M2 chip and use the Apple Pencil hover feature, get the 2022 iPad Pro 12.9″

Description:


Description:

FYI - If you want to save even more and don't mind older technology, consider getting the renewed iPad Air 4th generation.

My Pick
Who is it for?:
Advanced and professional artists who are drawing digitally every day for long hours and work on complex artworks which require many layers. I also love the big, bright screen because I don't get tired from looking at it and I can use it for drawing outdoors.
Apple Pencil compatibility:
Apple Pencil 2
Description:

FYI - If you want absolutely the newest tech to get the M2 chip and use the Apple Pencil hover feature, get the 2022 iPad Pro 12.9″

Alternative
Who is it for?:
Advanced and professional artists who want the "best", but want to save a little bit of money.
Apple Pencil compatibility:
Apple Pencil 2
Description:


Affordable Pick
Who is it for?:
Beginners, hobbyists, and advanced and professional artists who want similar specs to iPad Pro but their budget doesn't allow them to get iPad Pro.
Apple Pencil compatibility:
Apple Pencil 2
Description:

FYI - If you want to save even more and don't mind older technology, consider getting the renewed iPad Air 4th generation.

#1 My Pick: Procreate

Photo: Procreate on my iPad Pro - ©Art Side of Life

🆕 Procreate Dreams – a new iPad animation app from the creators of Procreate! Make sure to check it out.

Recommended resources

Highlights:

Preview:

Video: Ep.3 from my Procreate digital sketchbook tour

Procreate is a highly popular digital drawing and painting app for iPad that caters to both beginners and professionals.

As a full-time artist, I’ve been using it for almost a decade, and it’s my #1 digital drawing app.

Even if I still use Adobe Photoshop for finishing touches on some more complex artworks, I always use Procreate for at least 90-95% of my finished artworks.

I love Procreate for its intuitive user interface and helpful set of features which allow artists to create stunning artworks. What is more, it has a huge online community full of Procreate classes, tutorials and brushes.

I’d say it’s a must-have tool for any artist working on an iPad, considering its affordability and the array of features it offers.

#2 For Professionals: Adobe Fresco

Graphic: Adobe Fresco on App Store - Source: apple.com

A painting and drawing app that integrates vector and raster brushes to provide a more natural and versatile drawing experience.

Offers a vast collection of brushes, including watercolor and oil, which mimic real-life art mediums; seamless integration with Adobe Creative Cloud.

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#3 For Professionals: Affinity Designer 2

Graphic: Affinity Designer 2 on App Store - Source: apple.com

Affinity Designer, in general, is known as a graphic design app specializing in vector graphics.

Known for its precision and speed, it offers a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator with a one-time purchase.

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#4 For Professionals: Clip Studio Paint

Graphic: Clip Studio Paint on App Store - Source: apple.com

A graphics app specialized in drawing and painting, offering features particularly beneficial to comic artists and illustrators.

Offers a vast array of brushes and tools, has strong capabilities in creating line art, and supports the creation of animation frames.

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#5 For Note Taking & Sketches: Concepts

Graphic: Concepts on App Store - Source: apple.com

A sketching app that allows for flexible and dynamic sketching, mostly used by designers and architects.

Infinite canvas, customizable brushes, and a vector-based engine that allows for smooth scaling and adjustments.

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#6 For Note Taking & Sketches: Freeform by Apple

Graphic: Freeform by Apple on App Store - Source: apple.com

Freeform app a versatile app integrating features from various apps like Muse or Infinite Canvas and mood boarding apps into one platform, offering a collaborative whiteboard style workspace.

The app facilitates an unstructured area where one can gather diverse information and brainstorm about it, making it a preferred choice for initiating new projects.

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#7 For Traditional Art: Art Set 4

Graphic: Art Set 4 on App Store - Source: apple.com

A drawing app that provides a realistic touch to digital art with tools and mediums that mimic real-life art supplies.

Offers a wide variety of artistic tools and textures, including oil paints, pastels, crayons, watercolors, acrylics, etc.

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#8 For Traditional Art: Realistic Paint Studio

Graphic: Realistic Paint Studio on App Store - Source: apple.com

As the name suggests, it specializes in providing a realistic painting experience digitally.

Features a variety of brushes and tools that closely emulate real-world art supplies such as watercolors, acrylics, oils, gouache, pastels, pencils, and pens, offering an intuitive interface.

I think the Realistic Paint Studio app will appeal to first-time digital artists with a traditional art background due to its unique UI and traditional aesthetic.

Preview:

#9 For Traditional Art: Zen Brush 3

Graphic: Zen Brush 3 on App Store - Source: apple.com

This app specializes in providing a zen-like painting experience with a focus on ink painting.

Features a wide range of ink brushes that allow for expressive painting, and supports a variety of background papers, enhancing the artistic process.

Preview:

#10 For Graphic Designers: Linearity Curve (Vectornator)

Graphic: Linearity Curve (Vectorinator) on App Store - Source: apple.com

A vector graphic design software that allows artists to create illustrations, layouts, and designs.

Offers powerful tools for vector graphic design, including automatic trace, supports integration with other design platforms.

Preview:

#11 For Graphic Designers: Adobe Illustrator

Graphic: Adobe Illustrator on App Store - Source: apple.com

A vector graphics editor and design program that is widely used in the professional industry.

Offers a vast array of tools for creating vector art, supports a comprehensive layer system, and integrates well with other Adobe software.

Preview:

#12 For Graphic Designers: Assembly

Graphic: Assembly App on App Store - Source: apple.com

A graphic design app that allows users to create designs, logos, and icons using a library of shapes and stickers.

Features an intuitive interface, offers a wide array of shapes and stickers, and supports the export of high-resolution images

Preview:

#13 For Fashion Illustration: Prêt-à-Template

Graphic: Prêt-à-Template App on App Store - Source: apple.com

An app that specializes in providing templates for fashion design, allowing users to sketch clothing designs on various body templates.

Offers a wide range of body templates, supports various drawing tools, and allows for the integration of fabrics and prints into designs.

Preview:

#14 For Doodling: Doodle Drawing Pad

Graphic: Doodle Drawing Pad on App Store - Source: apple.com

A drawing app designed mainly for casual doodling and sketching.

Offers a simple interface, supports various brushes and colors, and allows for the quick and easy creation of doodles.

#15 For Learning To Draw: Shadow Draw

Graphic: Shadow Draw on App Store - Source: apple.com

This app specializes in teaching users how to draw through a shadow drawing technique.

Features a unique learning method where artists trace over the shadow of a drawing, offers a variety of lessons and tutorials.

Preview:

#16 For Learning To Draw: Art Workout

Graphic: Art Workout on App Store - Source: apple.com

I think the “Art Workout” can be a gentle yet effective ally in your drawing journey, making the learning process more enjoyable and less intimidating.

It mirrors a personal art mentor, providing an interactive and game-like atmosphere where you can freely nurture your skills.

Preview:

#17 For Pixel Art: Pixaki

Graphic: Pixaki on App Store - Source: apple.com

A pixel art creation app that supports the creation of detailed pixel art and animations.

Offers a range of pixel art tools, supports layers and animation frames, and allows for the export of work in various formats.

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#18 For 3D & Sculpting: NomadSculpt

Graphic: NomadSculpt on App Store - Source: apple.com

A 3D sculpting app that allows users to create detailed 3D models directly on their iPads.

Features a range of sculpting tools, supports high-resolution meshes, and offers a user-friendly interface for 3D sculpting.

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#19 For Coloring: Pigment Adult Coloring Book

Graphic: Pigment Adult Coloring Books on App Store - Source: apple.com

A coloring book app that offers a range of coloring pages designed for adults.

Offers a wide variety of coloring pages, supports a range of coloring tools, and provides a relaxing and therapeutic coloring experience.

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#20 For Coloring: Recolor Coloring Book

Graphic: Recolor Coloring Book on App Store - Source: apple.com

The Recolor app specializes in providing a digital platform for coloring book enthusiasts.

It has a vast collection of coloring pages that cater to various interests and skill levels. Some of the highlights of this app include a wide variety of color palettes to choose from, allowing you to get really creative with your art projects.

Preview:

#21 For Coloring: Chroma Adult Coloring Book

Graphic: Chroma Coloring Book on App Store - Source: apple.com

An app that specializes in providing templates for fashion design, allowing users to sketch clothing designs on various body templates.

Offers a wide range of body templates, supports various drawing tools, and allows for the integration of fabrics and prints into designs.

Preview:

#22 For Comic Book Artists: MediBang Paint

Graphic: MediBang Paint on App Store - Source: apple.com

In my experience, Medibang Paint really specializes in comic art and manga creation.

I think what sets it apart is its rich collection of brushes, fonts, and pre-made backgrounds that can be really helpful for artists, especially those who are into creating comics.

Preview:

#23 For FREE: HiPaint

Graphic: HiPaint on App Store - Source: apple.com

Now, HiPaint is relatively new to me, but from what I’ve gathered, it seems to focus on providing a natural painting experience because it mimics Procreate very closely.

I noticed that it offers a pretty straightforward and simple workspace, making it easier to focus on the painting without getting bogged down by too many features.

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#24 Worth Trying: Artstudio Pro

Graphic: Artstudio Pro on App Store - Source: apple.com

Artstudio Pro has proven to be an all-encompassing app.

It seems to specialize in offering a wide range of tools and features that cater to both beginners and professionals. I’ve appreciated the fact that it offers a Photoshop-like experience on the iPad, with advanced brush settings and full PSD support, which is a great highlight.

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#25 Worth Trying: Tayasui Sketches

Graphic: Tayasui Sketches on App Store - Source: apple.com

I’ve found that Tayasui Sketches specializes in simulating a real pencil and paper experience.

What I really like about this app is its simplicity and the quality of its brushes. The watercolor brushes, in particular, are quite noteworthy. It’s a great option if you’re someone who wants to transition from traditional sketching to digital, as it maintains that tangible feel very well.

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#26 Alternative: Astropad Studio

Graphic: Astropad Studio on App Store - Source: apple.com

Astropad Studio is quite a unique tool in this list as it specializes in turning your iPad into a second display that can be used as a graphics tablet for your Mac.

I find this extremely helpful when I work on more professional projects, as it allows for a more seamless workflow, especially when paired with apps like Photoshop or Illustrator on the Mac.

Its high responsiveness and virtually no lag have been highlights in my use. I’d recommend it if you’re someone who already has a Mac-centric workflow and is looking to integrate the iPad more seamlessly into that.

Preview:

I am pretty excited for you to explore this curated list, packed with all the insights I have gathered over the years.

I hope it guides you to find that perfect drawing app to get your creative groove on your iPad!

Happy creating!

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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