22 best iPad art apps for painting and sketching

Make stunning art on the iPad with these top tools! These powerful painting and drawing apps can help you start creating iPad art today!

When the iPad first launched it was pegged squarely as a media consumption device. To create professional art and design, you'd still need a fully-fledged laptop or desktop system running a full-fat operating system like Mac OS or Windows. Making art on the iPad was a crazy idea. Right?

Wrong. The best iPad apps for creating digital art selected for this list prove that Apple's tablet has moved beyond just being for media consumption and is fast becoming ripe for content creation. If you're an illustrator, artist or graphic designer, you can now work effectively on the move – sketching, painting, prototyping, and annotating photos. Invest in a good quality stylus and try one of these amazing apps for creating art on the iPad ...

01. Tayasui Sketches

iPad art apps
Tayasui sketches joins the list of very capable drawing and painting iPad apps on offer

Tayasui Sketches is one of the most delightfully simple drawing and painting iPad apps that we've found. It features eight brushes along the left-hand side, ranging from pencil and charcoal to felt pen and watercolour brush, with a further two available in the pro version.

Each one exhibits its respective characteristics brilliantly, meaning it's simple to pick a brush and start sketching. Although limited in terms of editing options, they're a delight to use, and in the pro version you're at least able to increase the size and shape as well as edit the blend mode.

02. ASKetch

ASKetch is a simple black & white procedural sketching program, created by Andrew Kern. Bringing the experience of charcoal drawing to your iPad, this app is brilliant for both beginners and advanced artists.

An easy-to-use tool, with ASKetch you can create everything from figure drawings and cartoons to abstract masterpieces.

03. Inspire Pro

iPad art apps
Choose from 60 high-quality brushes with Inspire Pro

Paint, draw and sketch on your iPad with Inspire Pro. Suitable for artists of all skill levels, this app includes 60 high-quality brushes to choose from, divided into six sets: oil paint, airbrushes, basic shapes, graphite pencils, wax crayons and markers. And these can all be used as a wet or dry brush or eraser.

Developed by KiwiPixel, the team say its creation delivers 'an amazing painting, drawing and sketching experience to your iPad.
While the strokes of a wet oil paint brush look beautiful on their own, the breathtaking blending effects of a dry brush will absolutely stun you'.


04. Loop

iPad art apps
Create short, hand-drawn animation with Loop

Inspired by the work of its founder and creative director Matt Pyke, design studio Universal Everything created Loop, a drawing app that allows you to easily created short, hand-drawn animation and share them via email, Tumblr and in the Loop gallery.

05. Penultimate

iPad art apps
Penultimate might sound like a rubbish biro superhero, but it's in fact a spiffy iPad note-taking app

While lacking the natural media input of Paper, Penultimate is nonetheless an excellent note-taking and sketching app. The feel of the tools is surprisingly tactile, and you can add new paper types (for gaming, music notation, and so on) via IAP or install your own custom designs.



06. Art Set

This cool app is like having a virtual art set inside your iPad

This cool app is like having a virtual art set inside your iPad. Having made it to number one paid iPad app in over 30 countries since it's release, Art Set has all the tools an artist could possibly want, including chalks, charcoal, oil pastels, wax crayons, graphite pencils, coloured pencils and marker pens.

The multitouch pinch and zoom funtionality allows you to add fine detail with ease. You can also choose from different paper colours and textures, or import your own photos.

07. Inkist

This digital art app for the iPad is currently free to download

Inkist benefits from a simple but stylish interface that's been designed to be highly responsive and artist-friendly. The app is "free for a limited time" so hurry!

In the app, which is based on its Mac cousin, you build up layers of colour and flatten them down on the background rather than relying on multiple layers. Although it might not be to everyone's taste, for many traditional artists, this will be real benefit.

Support for pressure-sensitive styluses is available natively, and Inkist has a range of simple, customisable brushes. Support for pressure-sensitive styluses is available natively (accessible through the ever- present tool palette) so you do have some more flexibility with your strokes, although with a standard stylus we found simple, quick taps were not always tremendously effective.

Next page: more great iPad art apps

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