The 10 best Android tablet apps for designers

Want to use your Android tablet for drawing, painting and sketching? Then check out these apps.

The Android tablet community is thriving, and so is the number of apps that can help you create some awesome artwork. From stunning sketch apps to powerful photo editing tools, here we provide a list of some of our favourite ways to get creative on Google's tablet OS.

Got an iPad? Check out the best art apps for iPad.

01. Sketchbook Pro

  • Price: $4.99/£3.35

Probably the design industry’s favourite Android drawing tool, Sketchbook Pro for Tablets provides a range of professional sketching and painting tools including 60 preset brushes, layer blending and customisable brush settings, through a streamlined and intuitive user interface.

02. Fresco Paint Pro

  • Price: $2.99/£1.99

Described as a 'mobile art studio for Android', digital painting app Fresco gives you a variety of brushes, filters and effects to help you create some pretty impressive art images. The app autosaves your work every few minutes and image files can also be exported to Photoshop PSD format for you to continue working on at the office. There's also a free version, Fresco Paint Lite.

03. Paperless

  • Price: $2.99/£1.99

Paperless is a tablet drawing app that also lets you sketch and paint with water colours, feather, pencil and brushes. The app adds precision to your images with a customisable engine so you can set line thickness, size, opacity and smoothing. As well as the ability to share your creations via Facebook, you can also save images as PNG files. 

04. Sketcher Lite

  • Price: Free

This basic sketching app features 11 brushes, colour picker and eraser, and lets you share your doodles via email and MMS. It's free to download, or you can splash out $1.99/£1.31 for Sketcher Pro and enjoy additional features such as adjustable canvas size and the ability to pan/zoom.

05. Skitch

  • Price: Free

Evernote's free app is a basic tool that lets you sketch - or 'skitch' - something new or annotate an existing image and then share with others. Bear in mind that you must first have an active Evernote account, also free, before you can download Skitch onto your tablet.

06. Auryn Ink

  • Price: £0.62

Auryn Ink is a unique painting program in the sense that its sole purpose is to create realistic digital watercolour paintings. It replicates many factors that watercolour artists utilise in real life, including water dilution, canvas wetness and paint dryness. It's a fun way to create stylised pieces with a traditional edge.


07. Adobe Collage

Collage is great to create moodboards of images that you can share
  • Price: £6.99

For artists who prefer to gather heaps of reference material, Adobe Collage is a portable mood board that you can use to define the atmosphere and visual elements of your project before hitting the drawing board (or screen). Reference material can be imported straight from your tablet's camera, Google and even YouTube, and you're able to draw straight into your collage.

08. Pose Tool 3D

This is an easy-to-use app for constructing any pose you want
  • Price: £2.47

Developed by artist Riven Phoenix as part of his life-drawing course, Pose Tool 3D enables artists to manipulate a 3D male or female model into any kind of pose.

"On first glimpse it may seem a little bewildering, but once you get a feel for it, this is a great little reference tool for digital artists," says staff writer Nicola. It also includes an anatomy mode featuring detailed muscle maps.

09. Handy – An Artist's Reference Tool

  • Price: £0.63

Hands are the bane of many artists' lives, but thanks to this useful app, Handy, drawing realistic hands can become a whole lot easier. With further updates on the horizon, the app comes with a selection of 24 different poses that can be applied to left and right hands, modelled in full 3D. Its three-point light system means the tool is also a useful source of reference for working out where light would fall across your character.

10. MARA3D Facial Expressions Featuring Steven Stahlberg

Start out by choosing a specified emotion, and then tweak away until you're happy with the end result
  • Price: Free (Lite edition)

At time of press, the full version of mara3D was only available for iPad and iPhone users, with Android customers only having access to the restrictive Lite version.

Where the full version is concerned, this app provides artists with a customisable reference tool for facial expressions.

Start out by choosing a specified emotion, and then tweak away until you're happy with the end result. The app also comes with a gallery of the works of fantasy artist Steven Stahlberg, which is a nice little bonus.

Words: Natalie Brandweiner and Beren Neale

Natalie Brandweiner is an online journalist for, covering social media and marketing, and has a keen interest in design.

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Have we missed your favourite art app for Android tablets? Let us know about it in the comments!

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