Design

Five Best Tablet Drawing Apps

If you have a tablet and want to express your creativity, there are plenty of great apps you can use to doodle or create digital art. If you have a stylus, they’re even easier to use, but most of them only require a steady finger and a good imagination to make something beautiful. This week we’re going to look at five of the best tablet drawing apps.

Photo by Marcus Kwan.


Sketchbook Express for iOS (free) and Android (free)

Autodesk’s Sketchbook series comes in multiple flavours for multiple platforms, and in each one of them you get a clean UI and plenty of tools to make your ideas come to life. The app comes with a full multitouch interface that works best with a stylus (but doesn’t require one), layers, lots of brushes, pens and drawing tools, and the ability to undo and redo — all things you would expect from a well-built drawing app. If you want more brushes or tools, you can always get more via in-app purchases. When you’re finished with your masterpiece, you can save it to your gallery or photo roll or share it with the world. You can also get Sketchbook Pro for iPad ($1.99) and Android ($4.91).


Paper (iOS: Free)

Paper is iOS only, but it’s made waves for its unique and beautiful approach to a drawing app. Create your notebooks based on date, theme or whatever you want to draw, and get to work. You get some basic brushes and colours out of the gate, so it’s perfect for idle doodling, but you unearth the app’s real potential pretty quickly when you start playing with watercolours and the app’s multiple pen and brush styles. Finally, your work is saved as you progress inside of the app, but you can always share your photos with friends on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr. Paper is completely free — all of the additional brushes, notebooks, features and tools are available through in-app purchases when you need them, and you can try them before you buy.


Procreate (iOS: $5.49)

Procreate earned high praise for being immensely feature rich, fast and full of tools for the price you pay. The app offers hundreds of drawing and illustration tools packed into a streamlined interface, including 16 layers to your images and the ability to control them all, a wealth of brushes and drawing tools and the ability to tweak those brushes and styles with dozens of options, 100 undo/redo strokes, auto-saving while you draw, all wrapped up in a gorgeous UI that makes being creative that much more fun. When you’re all finished, you can save your work to your gallery, or you can even export your image to Adobe Photoshop so you can take over on the desktop.


Artrage (iPhone: $1.99/iPad: $7.49)

ArtRage for iPhone and iPad do a great job at bringing the long-standing and popular ArtRage for Mac and Windows to tablet screens. The app combines a natural drawing interface with lots of brushes and tools you may be accustomed to using on canvas or paper. Sure, you have a paintbrush and a pen, but you also have a palette knife, watercolour brush, and the ability to control all of those brushes while you work. Don’t let the price tag fool you — it’s feature-packed and friendly for both beginners and experienced illustrators.


Infinite Design for Android (Free/Pro $4.79)

The only entry in our roundup that’s Android-only, Infinite Design gives you the tools you need to doodle, make handwritten notes, and draw beautiful and intricate designs on your Android device’s display. Infinite Design features an infinitely zooming canvas, canvas rotation and canvas-wide effects you can apply to your artwork, and multiple brushes and drawing tools you can use to make your ideas come to life. The app allows you to draw vector graphics, tweak them using multitouch gestures, and your work is saved as you draw. When you’re finished, you can export your work to your gallery as JPGs, PNGs or SVGs so you can work with them again later. The app is fast and works just as well for quick sketches and doodles as it does for meticulous designs and drawings. If you like Infinite Design, Infinite Painter, from the same developer, is also worth a look.


Honourable mention this week goes out to Sketch Club (iOS: $2.99) for its great price and online gallery full of user-submitted artwork.

Is there another app that you think should be on this list? Tell us in the comments below.