Top mobile drawing apps

A range of free and affordable apps to get you painting and drawing

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These articles were written and submitted by young people across Kent, between August 2016 and July 2019. We are no longer adding new articles or maintaining old ones. Read more about Art31.

It can be quite intimidating to get into art with the expensive technology, endless paint or pencil choices and high-quality professionalism. Many people get put off trying out a new craft when they see the prices and complexity of digital art applications. ‘I can’t afford to buy Photoshop’ or ‘I can’t buy a drawing tablet’ stop people from exploring their creativity. However, there are a range of affordable and even free apps for your devices that allow you to create professional-looking digital art or even just play around!

Procreate 4 by Savage Interactive – £9.99 (iOS App Store)

We’ll start off with one of the more expensive apps on this list. Procreate is a widely used and loved art app, being used by many professional artists around the world. It even won the Apple Design Award! This app lets you paint, draw and sketch with over 130 brushes and the option to create your own for the perfect image. It can range from small art to a massive canvas for any artistic need, and work in many layers. Keeping it up to date, the app supports multi-touch gestures and 64-bit colour to make sure you have the best work.

Procreate was recently redesigned to make it easier to use with toolbars, responsive sidebar sliders and action menus that light up. The only downfall for this app is that it’s only available on iPads.

Sketchbook by Autodesk – FREE (iOS App Store and Google Play Store)

It may sound basic, but this app offers great features to help you create. With ten fully customisable brushes, up to three working layers and six blending modes, it’s not wonder this is a favourite amongst artists.

What makes this app so amazing is the simulated pressure sensitivity allowing you to mimic real life tools to form deeper or lighter strokes. It also allows up to 2500% zoom for precision!

The pro version includes an extra 100 brushes, more layers, loads of blending modes and tools which recently has been made free for all users (although you will have to make a free account). The app is available on Apple and Android devices as well as on desktop so there’s no missing out!

PaperDraw – FREE (Google Play Store)

If you’re someone who prefers traditional pencil art then this is for you. This app imitates real like strokes and pencils to help you develop your skills. It has a range of different brushes to use just like the other apps. The big difference is the tracing feature that allows you to import photos that you can trace over. This is a great tool to help you learn how to draw and get familiar with shapes and designs.

Although the app is free, you can unlock extra features for £4.99 such as layers, custom colours and airbrush. As the app is quite basic, its a lot better for those starting out or just want a place to doodle.

Adobe Illustrator Draw – FREE (iOS App Store and Google Play Store)

This app is from Adobe who are famous for their outstanding creative technology such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. The draw app allows you to use these amazing Adobe features for free! For anyone familiar with Adobe desktop software this is a breeze to use and doesn’t miss out on any creative features, however has a simplified layout that even newbies can work.

There are six brushes available which can be edited such as size, opacity and colour, as well as a ‘Colour History’ feature that allows you to keep track of each colour you use. You can also draw over images imported into the app. Adobe brings us layers, merge options, configurable pen tips and even more tools. Other basic features like line tools and shapes are included to help you out.

While the app is free, you can choose to connect it to a Creative Cloud subscription that allows you access to desktop Adobe programs. By connecting the app, you can transfer your work directly to Photoshop or Illustrator and gain feedback from others.

Chloe Walker

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I'm a second year Journalism student at Canterbury College with an interest in Fashion, Arts and Business.