Best Drawing Apps for iPad to Try in 2023

Best Drawing Apps for iPad to Try in 2023

Best Drawing Apps for iPad to Try in 2023

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Drawing can get really expensive, especially with all the sketchbooks and markers you’ll want to buy. But if you already have an iPad, there are a ton of awesome drawing apps available to you.


I use a third generation ipad air and a first generation apple pencil. But regardless of your iOS device, the best drawing app for iPad is one that helps you be creative and express yourself. So whether you can draw a symmetrical face or have more of a Jackson Pollock flair for splatters, you (and digital artists everywhere) will be sure to find the perfect app from our picks of the best drawing apps for you. iPad.

Learn more:Best iPad for 2023


The Procreate iPad drawing app — a CNET Editors’ Pick for 2022 — costs $13 to download, but its suite of art tools and creative features are worth it. The digital illustration app is accessible whether you are a design professional, a seasoned digital artist, or new to the world of digital illustration. I’ve been using Procreate for a few years and I’m still discovering features that improve my illustrations (check out all the best Procreate tips I’ve found so far).

Procreate lets you customize gesture controls so that the app is ultimately personalized to you. Regardless of your artist level, Procreate features such as Quickshape, blending mode, layering, alpha locks, and clipping masks can add a new level of professionalism to your art.

There’s a lot going on in this app, so I wouldn’t download it if you’re just looking for a place to doodle. For quick in-app reference, check out the official Procreate manual.

Read our Procreate review.

Autodesk Sketchbook

The Autodesk Sketchbook app is free, but it’s surprisingly packed with art tools that aren’t blocked by paywalls. You can use the free version for seven days, then you will be asked to create an Autodesk ID, which is also free. It’s a little less daunting than Procreate when you start your digital art journey. When you download the sketch app, you get a quick tutorial on where all the basic tools are.

Autodesk has an extensive library of well-organized brushes, and with its customizable brushes, it’s easy to adjust settings like size, opacity, and brush pressure. Even with a learning curve typical of a new drawing app, the toolbar is fairly easy to understand. I also liked that even when zoomed in heavily, the app doesn’t lose its “drawing” feel by letting you see the pixels of your stroke.

One of my favorite parts of Sketchbook is the focus on making it easy to transition from paper to screen. You might have done some cool sketches in a notebook, and with Autodesk you don’t have to redraw the sketch in the app. Your camera doubles as a scanner so you can import your art. The image is imported with a transparent background so you can immediately get to work in the application.

Art set 4

Art Set 4 is one of the most basic and realistic drawing apps. It’s free to download, but most of its tools are unlocked through Premium Pro features, which cost $10. This app would be best if you’re new to digital illustration – it’s like having physical tools and paper in front of you. I love its user interface. If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of ​​getting into a more complex application like Procreate or Autodesk, the Art Set 4 drawing tool is a good place to start. It’s also fun if you just want to doodle.

What I really love about Art Set 4 is how easily even the free tools work together in a room. It’s also nice to be able to switch between multi-colored paper styles like canvas and the rough surface of thick, cold-pressed watercolor sheets. You can choose styles from burlap, cardboard, and grids without messing up a design you’ve already done.

As you explore the app, all items that require Premium Pro will be locked. If you tap on a locked item, Art Set will ask you if you want to upgrade and unlock everything. Premium gives you full access to over 150 brushes, 3D paint, fluid watercolor, the ability to layer and use masks, enable a “wet canvas”, drawing guides like symmetry , shapes, fill, and dozens more ways to customize your workspace.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Not everything you create in an art app has to be a massive undertaking that ends in a masterpiece. Having fun is the most important part. The simple act of coloring can create a creative and relaxing afternoon. Lake is a free ASMR art app filled with coloring sheets – in all styles – from artists around the world.

The app’s audio element is particularly cool. For example, if you are digital painting with the brush, you will hear quiet brush sounds. If you choose the spray paint tool, you’ll hear a rattle of ball bearings like you’re shaking a can of paint. You can disable ASMR in the settings.

Another thing I liked was the ability to stay within the lines and add more color for shading and effects. This gives you more room to be creative instead of just typing and filling (although you can do that if you want). Also, the artist of each coloring page sets up an optional palette that you can use if you are unsure of the colors.

You can stay on the app dashboard and choose from daily free images or explore All Art in the toolbar. Lake sorts the coloring pages into collections of artists, kids, abstracts, animals, cities, feminists, portraits, mandalas for relaxation, and satisfying symmetrical images.

On the free Lake tier, you get nine free coloring pages per day. If you subscribe to the premium – $10 per month or $40 per year – you’ll get access to all coloring pages, more color variations in the wheel, and the option to use a blank canvas.

More art apps to check out

ShadowDraw: Learn to draw: ShadowDraw is a useful free app (with in-app purchases and subscription plans for premium content) if you struggle with proportions or draw specific things like faces, bodies, or animals.

Drawing tablet: THE Drawing tablet app is a good simple app for those looking for a casual doodle app. It has a free version with ads (which can be a bit annoying if you’re in the middle of a play), or you can upgrade to the premium version for $7 per month or $30 per year.

For more on drawing, check out these five online drawing lessons you can take right now. If an iPad isn’t your favorite graphics tablet, read our list of best tablets for 2023.

More iPad tips


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