At the time of its release, the iPad was marketed and visualized as a device that would let people lay back and consume content in a relaxed, princely manner. And anyone who has used the iPad over a period of time knows that it is a wonderful device for browsing the Internet, watching videos and doing a dozen other things that do not require anything more than an occasional tap or swipe.
However, the iPad has a very smooth and responsive touch screen that makes playing games and doing other hands-on activities fun. iPad application development has matured over the years, and a slew of innovative iPad apps has now made it possible for artists to create paintings and sketches using nothing more than an iPad. With the right apps – and the right skills – you can create amazing art using this tablet. There isn't any app that can instantly make you a skillful artist, but there are apps that will let you unleash your creativity through the iPad. Let's take a look at seven of the best iPad apps for sketching and painting.
Brushes is one of the oldest iPad app catering to the needs of artists who want to create awesome sketches and paintings on the iPad. The third version is better than the previous two, and it makes your life easier by not being too complicated. It uses an accelerated Open-GL engine which makes the painting experience smooth, life-like and fun. What I love about it is the feature that allows me to replay my whole painting process.
This iPad app won iPad App of the Year 2012, and for good reason. When you want to do a quick sketch and get your idea on virtual paper, you don't want to get bogged down by a complicated interface. At the same time, you want all the tools that you need to be handy. Paper by FiftyThree provides a simple, cluttered sketching experience and it is easily the best app when you have a rough concept in your mind and want to get note it down quick.
Paper is awesome for a quick jot, but Sketchbook Pro is the real deal with a brush library with a 100 brush presets, complete support for multi-touch gestures, support for any device orientation, time-lapse record saving, and a huge color library. As the name suggests, this app is for professional sketches who are looking to do some serious work on their iPad. Any sketching you can do on a paper, you can do through this app.
For graphic artists and painters who wish to create high-end images and paintings on their iPad, Procreate is a natural choice. It has a lovely interface, it uses the powerful Silica painting engine, has a large number of brushes and pencils, it renders strokes with 64 bit precision and makes painting on the iPad almost more real that it is on a canvas or paper! If you are a creative artist who has to work on the move, this can the best weapon in your arsenal.
Inspire Pro does all the Procreate does – it uses a powerful paint engine Open-GL 2, it renders images with 64 bit precision and it makes the painting experience smooth and fun. What sets this app apart from most others is the speed with which it responds and the way you can just install it and start using even its most advanced features.
What if you don't really want to start from scratch but draw or doodle on an existing image? As the name indicates, Layers let you create layers upon layers of art on existing or fresh images. Transparency between the layers makes your task easier. You can try out the standard version for free, but if you want access to more brushes and tools, you will have to buy the Pro version. It is more of an image editor than a creator, but it is very well-conceptualized, easy to use, and super-fast at creating images.
Having used Adobe Photoshop all my little life, I am, like many designers and some developers, pretty familiar with most of its features. While this may not be the ideal app for hardcore painters and artists, Adobe Photoshop Touch is perfect for designers and graphic designers. In addition to the usual Photoshop staple, this app also has features for layering, adjustment, filtering, scribbling, etc. If you are not an artist and cannot do much with a pencil or a stylus, this is the app you are looking for.
There are dozens of free and paid iPad apps for painting, drawing and sketching, but the apps listed here are, in my experience, the best. Have I omitted to mention your favorite iPad app for creating art? Please tell me about in the comments section!
Ryan Benson is fascinated with how apps can expand the functionality of mobile devices and he is always on the look out for offbeat apps. Currently he works for a iPad application development company that builds innovative apps for the iPad and the iPhone.