The first Astropad app did a fantastic job of turning your iPad into a video graphics tablet for you Mac, making for an excellent companion for anybody using Adobe Photoshop and similar software Astropad has since upped its game with the new Astropad Studio a subscription version of the app aimed squarely at graphics professionals using the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil!
Designed to work through Wi-Fi or a USB connection, Astropad Studio boasts improved responsiveness and features, shortcuts, gesture controls and more.
The app comes with a free 7-day trial, after which it will cost you $11.00 per month, or £79.99 for a year’s subscription really great for professionals!
YouTube video -https://youtu.be/56w9CdCpNnY
Pixelmator’s iOS port delivers a powerful image editing and digital painting tool to mobile devices that syncs well with its bigger OSX version. Pixelmator on iOS supports editing images of up to 100 megapixels in size, with numerous colour correction and manipulation tools and effects, as well as handy pre-sets for fast edits.
On the painting end, the app comes with more than 100 different brushes, simulated paint effects, layers and layer effects, and support for a variety of active stylus devices like the Apple Pencil. You can import and export Photoshop files. JPEGs PNGs and other popular image and photo formats, and iCloud support means your projects can sync across to all your devices and to your Mac – Cool stuff!
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/aIctWi0wJ4c
The Sketchbook app (Android, iOS) has all the power and ease of use you could need, as well as unified the experience across Android and iOS. Sketchbook comes with a variety of drawing tools and brushes, all of which you can customise on the fly, pinch to zoom a gallery organiser, and support for saving and storing your works to Dropbox or iCloud.
In addition, users can create a free Sketchbook account to gain access to more features such as layer and symmetry tools. A premium subscription unlocks more pro tools such as an expanded brush library, and more powerful layer and selection tools.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/XJqzTd9QlUA
Adobe Photoshop Sketch is a free app that provides users with a set of expressive drawing tools. Users can choose from utilities that mimic a graphite pencil, ink pen or marker. The app supports a variety of Bluetooth styluses on the market such as Adobe Ink, Pencil and others by Wacom and Adonit.
Sketch aims to replicate the analog drawing experience, augmented with a few digital flourishes such as a colour picker and an undo history. Users can import in assets from other Creative Cloud tools such as custom brushes and colours, and your creations can also be exported into Creative Cloud as layered PSDs to Photoshop, or flat images for Illustrator. Totally Awesome!!
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/1WL0TRM2ClY
Adobe illustrator is a versatile vector graphics drawing app that can be further enhanced with Creative Cloud integration. Users can mess around with five customizable pens, stylus support for popular device such as Adobe Ink, and the ability to create up to 10 layers to create images on the app.
Users can import in assets from Colour CC and Shape CC, and can export drawings straight to Illustrator CC on the desktop, or PNG files to Photoshop CC, allowing you to begin a creation whenever inspiration takes you, and then flesh it out fully on a desktop rig.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/d0LTzbksUiU
Pigment is the ultimate adult colouring app for grown-ups and kids alike. It actually feels like you’re using a colouring book and coloured pencils. It supports the Apple Pencil — which makes it extra fun to colour inside the lines — and offers more than 200 professional illustrations, along with eight different kinds of pencils, markers, and brushes. Your colour choices are unlimited, and when you finish your masterpieces, you can instantly share them with family and friends or print them out to stick on the fridge. Plus, there are paid add-ons for those who want more options and colouring designs.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/GkLmAUGwfus
Pixel art has hit something of a renaissance, used in everything from retro art to computer games. Rizer’s Pixaki turns your iPad into a full-on pixel art studio, loaded with a ton of features you’d expect from a proper professional art app. Don’t let the retro look fool you, though: Pixaki comes with drawing, shape, selection and palette tools, and support for up to 50 layers, with the option to import images and photos as layers for you to draw over, as well as animation features. Images can then be exported to a variety of formats, such as PSDs, GIFs, PNGs sprite sheets and more! Go Pixaki!
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/oBzc7iMqHwc
Concepts by TopHatch is another really cool mobile art app that combines the ease of pen-and-paper-style drawing with the powerful tools of a vector graphics app. The free version is already a perfectly serviceable drawing tool, coming with five-layer support, an infinite canvas, vector brush tools, and support for a variety of Bluetooth active styli from Apple, Adonit, Fifty Three and more.
A $7.99 in-app purchase unlocks the Pro Pack which adds a ton of new features, such as CAD-style tools, import and export options transformation tools and a variety of object libraries that simplify work.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/gq_dHT6FWV0
This app is great for modelers and designers who make 3D objects or plans. With uMake, designers can draw in two dimensions on an axis to render 3D images on the iPad Pro. You can make sketches revolve or extrude for a recursive effect. Once you’ve sketched out the design in 2D, you can alter the 3D rendering to meet your exact specifications. When finished, uMake offers the ability to export your creations in PNG, IGES, and OBJ file formats. The app is free, but to get the full feature set, you’ll need to pay $10 a month or $100 a year.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/begRCk6VPWM
Forge takes a more design- and productivity-oriented approach, providing users with plenty of brushes and market tools as well as the organizational tools to create their own idea boards, project walls, and storyboard galleries. Besides drawing on their tablet, you can import photos sketches, and notes from your camera roll, Dropbox, and Adobe Creative Cloud, which can be viewed and labelled beside the drawings you’ve created in app.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/B_UKsL-59JI
Infinite Painter might not have the easy name recall of the Adobe or Autodesk brand, but it’s garnered a well-deserved cult following among Android users. Infinite Painter features 80-plus natural brushes and the ability to create custom ones, infinite layer support, paper textures, a variety of transformation tools and perspective aids, colour blending, pattern and gradient tools and more. Works can be exported into PSD, PNG or JPG. The app is free with a 7-day trial, after which premium features are available as in-app purchases. While originally an Android exclusive, Infinite Painter has since made the leap to iPad screens, operating under the same free trial model. Awesome!
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/YgV-dy0tc-A
Previously an iOS exclusive and now available on Android, Tayasui Sketches is another app that aims to mimic the fell of pen and paint on paper, with a simple slide cabinet interface for its brushes. Painting tools handle quickly and naturally from pencil to marker to watercolour.
Numerous gesture controls allow you to easily undo, redo, zoom, move the canvas and more. In-app purchases unlock further features, such as layer editing, more drawing tools and stylus pressure support for a variety of peripherals.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/JsXFZrznmA8
For something more zen and meditative lol, try out the aptly name Zen Brush 2, which replicates the feel of using Chinese-style ink brushes in a simple to use painting app – very cool! Users can play around with brush and ink settings, templates, guide lines and composition aides, while taking advantage of support for simulated finger pressure as well as a variety of active stylus tools such as the Apple Pencil or Wacom Intuos.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/KP4XMTg9Af4
The ArtFlow Android digital art studio comes packed with features and tools, both in free and paid tiers. ArtFlow’s free version is already a solid drawing app, with nine customizable brushes a symmetry tool, colour picker, six-step undo and support for two layers.
A premium version massively expands the tool selection, with more than 50 brushes, expanded history support, the ability to create up to 16 layers, stylus pressure support and custom palettes. ArtFlow’s premium version has more features than any normal user would probably know what to do with, but it’s great for seasoned and aspiring digital artists looking for a great Android art app.
YoutTube video - https://youtu.be/vrKbzvpJd0M
More than just a clever play on words, Procreate brings a fast, feature-packed digital arts studio straight to your tablet. Procreate features support for ultra-high def 4K canvases, up to 128 layers, 250 levels of undo and redo, and more than a hundred customizable brushes. From transformative tools to video capture of workflow, multi-touch gesture commands and GPU accelerated filters. Procreate offers impressive performance to artists. It’s overkill if you’re just looking for something to doddle with but if you’re in the market for a robust, professional quality art app on an iPad, Procreate deserves a look.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/5j3pNNzBGU4
Where many apps try to take fullest advantage of the digital experience, ArtRage tries to do the reverse, delivering a set of drawing and painting tools firmly rooted in the analog art of applying graphite on paper or paint on canvas. ArtRage features a series of tools that aim to mimic real world painting tools and mediums, such as oil paints watercolours, a palette knife, paint rollers, etc.
The painting engine is designed to mimic the effects of paint thickness, thinner and other real-world behaviours of tools and media. That said, ArtRage doesn’t totally eschew digital features, with layer control, a recording feature and undo/redo.
YouTube video - https://youtu.be/KWYtn6sWuPU
Sketch Club provides iOS users with a wealth of drawing tools, such as brushes, colour effects, and up to 64 layers, but perhaps the biggest draw of the app is its online social features. True to its name, Sketch Club offers a community aspect with an online space for users to share their artworks, as community challenges and drawing prompts, a shared online library of brushes, textures, tutorials and other resources.
YouTube video – https://youtu.be/OG0gpz9k0BU