Top Five Art Apps To Bring Out Your Creative Side — New iPad Owner Starter Kit


If you are an artist and just happen to be a new iPad owner, you are in for a real treat. The App Store has a wide variety of apps for inspiring creativity and producing artistic results. Once you’ve made your first painting on an iPad, you’ll never go back to pencil and paper. Check out or five favorite apps for artists.

Sketchbook Pro for iPadSketchbook Pro for iPad ($4.99 on sale for $2.99) – It might be called a sketchbook, but this behemoth of an art app lets you do so much more than doodle and draw. Users can create works of art on custom canvas sizes and choose from more than 60 preset brushes, including pencils, pens, markers, and more. Each brush can be fine-tuned by circumference, ink build, and pressure sensitivity. You can import images from your iPad’s camera, duplicate, merge and reorder layers, and adjust different layers for opacity, size, blend and more. You can chose from an immense amount of colors using the color wheel with HSB and RBG color space. Once you’ve finished your work, you can export it as an image, or layered file through iTunes file sharing or Dropbox, or save it to iCloud for access on multiple devices.

Paper by fiftythreePaper By FiftyThree (Free) – Apple was right when they chose this as App of the Year for 2012. This creativity-inspiring artist journal redefines what it means to have a realistic digital canvas. There are no bells and whistles here. For the free download, users can sketch simple line drawings with the included “Draw” pack. For a few dollars more, you can add a large selection of brushes, colors, and more. You can send your entries to Tumblr, post them to Facebook and Twitter, or email them directly to friends and family. The minimalist design lets artists create without distractions. There are no brush adjustments or fine-tune tools. This is an artist journal and is meant to be simple in order to allow for immediate expression of inspiration.

Brushes 3Brushes 3 (Free) – Another fabulous art app comes in the form of Brushes. If you have ever used PhotoShop, you’ll feel right at home with the multitude of layering options in Brushes 3. The free download does not include layers, but the multitude of brushes, including adjustable settings for spacing, jitter, and scatter make it seem remarkably cheap to spend the $2.99 on an upgrade. You can record and playback the creation of your artwork, adjust color opacity, desaturate color, adjust color balance and more. The app features Dropbox integration as well as the ability to post to Facebook and Twitter and save images to your photo album.

Zen BrushZen Brush ($2.99) – If you are interested in focusing on one style of painting or just want to slow down and relax with brush and ink, this app lets you reproduce the effects of Chinese watercolor art. Users can select from 62 different background templates, adjust the size of the brush, choose from three different ink shades, and more. This minimalist artist canvas is intended to keep your creativity flowing. That is why there is only one automatic undo allowed at a time. The idea is that you are simple letting the brush tell you where to move instead of trying to force the art to produce itself.

Inspire ProInspire Pro ($7.99 on sale for $3.99) – Quite possibly the best painting app in the App Store comes in the form of Inspire Pro. This full-featured artists’ companion simulates the pliability of oil paint so you can blend, build and create stunningly beautiful paintings right on your iPad. Chose from five essential oil painting brushes, including fan, round, flat, palette knife and clumped. The size of the brush can be adjusted and each hair on the tip can rotated 360 degrees around for a realistic application of the paint. You can use the dry brush feature to achieve a variety of blending effects. Users can choose from two different canvas sizes to create Retina quality paintings for both the iPad and iPhone. You can save your artwork to your iPad’s camera roll, send them to friends and family through email, post them to Facebook and Twitter, or print them out directly from your iPad using the AirPrint feature.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • Davekyte

    You missed the gold standard of art apps for the iPad, Procreate.

    Wonderfully fast with the best looking brushes. Retina size canvas size. Support for pressure sensing stylus and layers. Easy to use brush size and opacity right on the screen.

    • pg_roberto

      Thanks for the tip! :)

  • tannerc

    If you’re looking for a simpler sketching app without a lot of frills or unnecessary features, try Drwer (which is free right now, for a limited time).

    • lorygil

      Thanks for the suggestion! We’ll check it out.

  • Savvy Sleuth

    Thanks for this info. Just got my first iPad and am loving the experience, but trying to be selective about apps I add. I did put Paper on it, but will also look into Procreate and Drwer too, per other comments. I’m looking forward to learnning a lot here!