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10 great new tools for illustrators this September

In this month's round-up, we take a look at some of the iOS apps that were recently updated to work with the new features in iOS 11. 

We also jump into some options for Windows, and we look at an exciting new tool, which is currently in beta. So without any more delays, let's take a look at the picks we have for September. For more great choices, see our pick of top painting and drawing apps for iPad.

01. Pixelmator (opens in new tab) 

Pixelmator is an easy-to-use alternative to Photoshop

Pixelmator is an easy-to-use alternative to Photoshop

$4.99 (iOS) / $ 29.99 (macOS)

Primarily an image editor, Pixelmator is an easy-to-use alternative to Photoshop. With full iCloud support, you can start your work on one device and finish it on another. The team is also working on a Pro version, which promises an all-new digital painting experience.

02. Sketch Club (opens in new tab) 

Sketch Club is built around a community of mobile artists

Sketch Club is built around a community of mobile artists

$19.99

Sketch Club for iOS is more than just a drawing app for your iPad – it's built around a community of mobile artists who can create and share their work. If you're new to the mobile art scene, this is a great place to start (take a look at our round up of great drawing apps for iPad for more).

03. Procreate (opens in new tab)

Procreate 4 includes some killer new features

Procreate 4 includes some killer new features

$9.99

Recently updated to include support for iOS 11, Procreate is one of my favourite tools for creating art while I'm away from my computer. The new update includes a completely rebuilt painting engine and support for drag and drop. Take a look at our full Procreate 4 review (opens in new tab) to find out exactly what it can do. 

04. Mischief (opens in new tab)

$25

Mischief is one of those apps you don't know you need until you start using it. One of the features I like best about this digital sketching tool is how you can drop pins anywhere within your canvas and immediately be taken there.

05. Microsoft Surface Studio (opens in new tab)

This sports an ultra-thin, 28-inch adjustable PixelSense display

This sports an ultra-thin, 28-inch adjustable PixelSense display

Despite not being a Windows user, the Surface Studio is on my radar as one of those devices I'd like to see in my own studio. 

The zero-gravity hinge allows you to tilt the Surface Studio with the slightest touch, yet keeping it locked in place while you're using it. And that Ultra-thin, 28-inch adjustable PixelSense display... oh my! Learn more in our hands-on review (opens in new tab).

06. Paint 3D (opens in new tab) 

This free drawing tool is great for beginners

This free drawing tool is great for beginners

Free

While we're sticking to the Microsoft Windows platform, let's take a look at one of the free drawing tool options available. Paint 3D is basically a remix of the old MS Paint (which recently narrowly avoided getting canned for good (opens in new tab)). 

While I wouldn't say this version is fantastic, it's a nice way to ease into things if you're not quite ready for something like Photoshop (opens in new tab) and the excellent Creative Cloud (opens in new tab) (or if you spent all your money on the Surface).

07. Mental Canvas authoring system (opens in new tab)

Although this software is not yet available to the general public, what I've seen so far looks stunning. It takes 2D drawing to a whole new level. If you're interested in testing it out, contact the group to do so. There's also have a player available, which you can download now (opens in new tab).

08. Digital Art Masters (opens in new tab)

Digital Art Masters comes out annually

Digital Art Masters comes out annually

If you're looking for some inspiration, grab a copy of 3DTotal's Digital Art Masters. This annual series has been around since 2005 and covers both the technical and artistic aspects of 2D and 3D art.

09. ImagineFX (opens in new tab)

ImagineFX includes tutorials, interviews and plenty of fantasy art inspiration

ImagineFX includes tutorials, interviews and plenty of fantasy art inspiration

From $19 (quarterly)

Our own ImagineFX magazine comes packed with in-depth articles, tips and tricks, interviews, galleries and more from some of the leading fantasy and sci-fi artists out there. Take your subscription to the next level by ordering the Print + Digital bundle.

10. Ctrl+Paint (opens in new tab)

This website is ideal if you want to get started with digital painting

This website is ideal if you want to get started with digital painting

A site created and maintained by Matt Kohr, Ctrl+Paint is geared for beginners. On his site, you'll find tutorials to get you started with digital painting and drawing. Most of the tutorials are completely free – however, he does have a store where you can order in-depth tutorials on specific topics.

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Tammy Coron
Tammy Coron

Tammy is an independent creative professional, author of Apple Game Frameworks and Technologies (opens in new tab), and the maker behind the AdventureGameKit (opens in new tab) – a custom SpriteKit framework for building point and click adventure games. As an innovative problem solver and industry leader, Tammy enjoys working on projects from content creation – including books, tutorials, videos, and podcasts – to the design and development of cross-platform applications and games. For Creative Bloq, she has written about an array of subjects, including animation, web design and character design.