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The best apps for drawing with iPad and Apple Pencil

best apps to draw with iPad

I've always wanted a real digital notebook where you can put sketches down. After several years my wish came true: iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are the most interesting tools for digital drawing I've ever tried. And now that even the basic iPad has Apple Pencil support, anyone can draw a masterpiece. In this article I would like to point out the best apps for drawing with iPad using Apple Pencil.

Even if you have never had an artistic vocation, iPad and Pencil make the art of drawing rather simple. The iPad is an excellent tool with which to do it, even with professional precision (and you don't have to spend money continuously on ink, pens and sketchbooks). The condition that you must also have a good pen like Apple Pencil both first and second generation which allows you to draw as if it were a real brush or pencil.

The best apps for drawing with iPad and Apple Pencil

But now let's talk about the drawing apps that can be used with the Apple tablet. If you want to use your iPad to create digital works of art, these are the best that you can find on the App Store, some free, others for a fee.

  • Notes
  • Line
  • Paper
  • iWork
  • procreate
  • Graphic
  • Affinity Photo
  • Animation Desk Cloud
  • UMake
  • Pigment
  • Astropad

Notes: only the basics

The app Notes Apple's default one but limited in both tools, both on textures and in the choice of colors, but a good starting app for anyone who wants to have a little fun with the Pencil without choosing a paid application. It also offers the shortest waiting time from the Pencil to the line of any other app on the market, thanks to the implementation of Apple.

Line: all-purpose design

Line app

Although I love Paper tools, the app Line by Iconfactory has supplanted it to become my favorite sketching application for all uses. Linea offers similar options such as pencil, ink and marker, but also offers users an initial set of layers, such as split screen, easy customizable export options, a nice color palette and the implementation of the preferred eraser compared to any other app. drawing.

Line really the best if you're looking for a digital drawing album rather than a full Photoshop clone. And since Linea can export to PNG, JPG or PSD including layers, it is also the perfect app to start a project before importing it into one of the heaviest graphics programs on iPad or Mac.

Download | Line

FiftyThree Paper: another option for all uses

FiftyThree Paper

If you want a variety of tools for scribbling or taking notes, Paper another excellent (and free) starting point besides Notes. It offers an assortment of options for starting a pencil, ink or watercolor drawing and works beautifully when paired with the Apple Pencil. Better yet, Paper can sort all these designs into separate digital sketch albums, and you can even share certain designs with Paper feed or Adobe's Creative Cloud or OneNote.

The disadvantages of Paper are not many, but it is worth highlighting them: the delay time of the Pencil is not exceptional when compared to other apps on the market and Paper is not a good way to fill from edge to edge on the screen without accidentally closing the application. It also does not provide options for layered export or transparency.

Download | Paper

iWork: for sketches for school and work

The suite iWork with Pages, Numbers and Keynote it has never been at the top of my list of the "funniest apps to use with Apple Pencil", but Apple's latest update has changed everything: the apps in the suite can now draw with the Pencil in various ways , including creation of small drawings, annotations on top of photos (and videos) and the use of new Keynote tools that allow rudimentary animation through the use of Line Draw and Match Move.

These apps won't beat the more professional tools found in other drawing apps, but they are a great option for anyone working on documents, video presentations and other multimedia projects (and you can also create hand-drawn ebooks).

Download | Pages

Download | Numbers

Download | Keynote

Procreate: for professionals

Procreate app

While Notes, Paper and Linea can help you find ideas and organize them, procreate the true master and commander to make these ideas reality. one of the few apps that rivals the experience of working in Photoshop on Mac, offering a truly incredible number of levels, customizable brushes and models.

For specific projects, you can even create your own tools. Procreate can export large images such as PSD, JPG, PNG or in the Procreate format, where you can then send or share them with friends, customers. It also offers a live streaming option and print-ready export formats.

Download | procreate

Graphic: for vector graphics

Graphic app

I'll be honest, until Autodesk's Graphic appeared on the scene, I hadn't worked with vector images since the disappearance of Macromedia FreeHand in the early 2000s.

But Graphic makes vector graphics even more fun and does it in a way that is completely accessible to everyone. You can draw vector lines directly with the Apple Pencil, place the knots by hand or combine them both. You can edit fills, colors and groups of vectors. All the fun of drawing with vectors, nothing of Illustrator's stress. Graphics not perfect for professional work, but a good start.

Download | Graphic

Affinity Photo: the closest to Photoshop on iOS

Affinity Photo

If you need more tools than a media app can provide – even Procreate – check Affinity Photo. The iPad version of Serif's popular Mac app offers a truly impressive number of controls and options for drawing, vector work, gradients, perspective projection and more. a little more dense to explore than Procreate or Linea, but this app is an excellent tool for professionals looking to do print-ready work on the iPad without compromise.

Download | Affinity Photo

Animation Desk: to create animations

Animation Desk

If you want to try making animation on iPad, Animation Desk Kdan's one of the few decent options available. Most of the other animation apps you find on the App Store are too limited for budding artists, unless you want to create clip art, the few that offer traditional animation tools with user interfaces prior to iOS 7 or are not optimized for iPad.

Draw animations frame by frame from scratch or create animations on videos, images, PSD layers. Animation Desk supports multiple import and export formats and allows you to create and share animations directly on your iPad and iPhone.

Download | Animation Desk

uMake: for 3D modeling

uMake app

3D modeling is not my forte. But if you want to create some 3D models on iPad Pro, uMake one of the best programs on the App Store. It offers comprehensive tutorials on creating customized 3D shapes or importing 2D images and creating them in 3D models; they are incredibly detailed and useful. If 3D modeling is a skill you would like to learn, it will be difficult for you to find a better iPad app.

Download | uMake

Pigment: coloring books for adults

Pigment app

When I was in high school, I had a good habit of "refraining from falling asleep in class": scribbling vast cobwebs of crossed dark lines, then slowly coloring them. It was usually fine for an hour of fun – and it gave my brain enough stimulation to stay awake while listening to lessons.

Pigment takes my high school doodle to the extreme, offering thousands of pages of elaborate coloring forms, whether you're listening to a lesson, or just want to have something to do with your hands while watching TV. The app can be downloaded and viewed for free, but a monthly in-app subscription is required to create a sketch on the models.

Download | Pigment

Astropad and Astropad Studio: use the iPad to draw with your Mac

Astropad Studio

If you have digitally drawn before the age of the iPad, you have probably used a Wacom tablet at least once in a lifetime: the combination of tablet and pen allowed users to draw naturally in apps such as Photoshop, using a plastic tablet or drawing directly on the screen via the company's most expensive Cintiq line.

Astropad essentially allows you to turn iPad and Pencil into a Cintiq WtiC, with or without wires. A wired connection to the Mac involves almost no delay and an extremely comfortable drawing experience, but also fantastic wireless. I can draw in Photoshop on my iMac retina from 4 meters away. If you want to use the iPad on the go, but also integrate it into the desktop workflow, Astropad is an incredible resource to have in the app library. For real professionals, a subscription version of the app is also available, Astropad Studio, which offers better inputs with Apple Pencil, magic gestures, faster latency and more.

Download | Astropad

Pixelmator, another excellent photo editing app, which has had great success for its graphic qualities but also thanks to its counterpart for Mac, offering itself as a valid alternative to Photoshop. Without any emphasis, but Pixelmator can be called the best photo editor for iPad. Read our review.