Drawing on an iPad

A physical pad of paper? Why would you need that? You might have already come to rely on your tablet for presentations and productivity, so wouldn’t it be smarter to utilize technology to exercise your creativity, too? Thankfully, there are a number of iPad drawing apps available through the iTunes App Store.

With a much larger touchscreen display compared to the iPhone, the iPad provides a much better surface to let the creative juices flow. While image editing apps are certainly useful, sometimes it’s even better when you start with a blank canvas. These iPad drawing apps are great for the iPad mini as well.

ArtRage for iPad

Drawing on an iPad

Drawing on an iPad

iTunes App Store: $4.99

This drawing app contains a full suite of real world painting tools, allowing you to explore painting with oils, watercolor, paint rollers, pencils, crayons, and more. Each of them act quite differently, just like in real life, except you don’t have to deal with the messy cleanup afterwards. You can even blend the “wet” paint together and the canvas grain adds to the realism. Unlike real life, though, this app comes with an undo/redo function.

Auryn Ink

Watercolor Painting with Auryn Ink

Watercolor Painting with Auryn Ink

iTunes App Store: $3.99

Rather than dilute itself with a variety of digital paints and media, Aurya Ink specializes in watercolor painting. You can choose the paper or canvas that you’d like to use, including both wet and dry. There are multiple brush sizes, brush pressure effects, and a full color wheel of paint colors. Since it’s watercolor, you can “lift” color with water, too. Draw whatever you’d like, saving and sharing your creations with friends, family, and art critics alike.

Brushes 3 by Taptrix

Brushes 3 on iPad

Brushes 3 on iPad

iTunes App Store: Free

It doesn’t hurt when you can do a little painting for free on your iPad, right? This free app utilizes an accelerated OpenGL-based painting engine to provide you with a smooth and responsive experience. There’s full support for Retina displays and you can create paintings as large as 2048 x 2048 pixels. Interestingly, it’s also possible to record and replay your paintings to further explore the creative process.

Draw Free for iPad

Draw Free iPad App

Draw Free iPad App

iTunes App Store: Free

Among this list of iPad drawing apps, Draw Free is probably the one that most resembles the simple and intuitive experience you might have with something like MS Paint. It’s meant to be easy to use, letting you choose from pencil, brushes, crayons and buckets, using any color that you’d like too. Your drawings can then be saved and easily posted to Facebook or emailed to friends.

Paper by FiftyThree

FiftyThree's Paper Drawing App

FiftyThree's Paper Drawing App

iTunes App Store: Free

It’s just a tad misleading to say that the Paper app by FiftyThree is free. Yes, you can use it for free and have a lot of fun drawing your sketches and diagrams, but there’s also an in-app store that lets you buy additional tools for added functionality. The “expressive ink engine” is perhaps one of the biggest draws here (no pun intended), as it “reacts to your movements to optimize each tool for the process of creation.”

Procreate iPad Drawing App

Procreate on the Apple iPad

Procreate on the Apple iPad

iTunes App Store: $4.99

No, this app isn’t about the birds and the bees and how to make a family of little iPads. Instead, it’s a great painting app that is used by novices and pros alike. There are 48 different brushes in here, including a variety of pencils and inks, as well as digital tools. It’s also very fast and offers multitouch functionality, multiple blend modes, an advanced dynamic layering system, and even the ability to export a multi-layered PSD file.

SketchBook Express for iPad

SketchBook Express by Autodesk on iPad

SketchBook Express by Autodesk on iPad

iTunes App Store: Free

This is the free version of the app offered by team at Autodesk, but they have other premium iPad drawing apps that you can buy too. With this version, you get a full screen workspace and an intuitive drawing experience, complete with a multi-touch interface and up to three layers of drawing. The color wheel and eye dropper let you pick whatever colors you want too.

Image credit: mortsan / Flickr

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