Drawing and digital arts are a natural fit for the tablets, thanks to the large, high definition screens and responsive displays. Users have a plethora of such apps to choose from, and it’s tough to separate the gems from the fool’s gold. Here are eight of our favorite drawing apps, ranging from free and easy to use doodling tools, to high end professional suites that can turn your mobile device into a handheld art studio.
Sketchbook Express (Android, iOS) (Free, in-app purchases)
If you’re looking for a free, but powerful, drawing app Sketchbook Express (Android tablet, iPad) is the best place to start. Powered by the same engine as Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro software, the app provides a silky smooth drawing experience with your fingers. Plus, it comes with the features of a full-on graphics suite, such as configurable brushes, undo and redo history and up to three layers, all on the free version. A smartphone version (Android, iPhone) is available optimized for smaller screens, and if you’re looking for more power, the paid Sketchbook Pro unlocks tons of additional features and settings.
Paper by Fifty Three (iOS) (Free, in-app purchases)
While other drawing and painting apps take on many of the features of full desktop art suites, Paper by Fifty Three tries to preserve a more analog and minimalist feel. Paper works to replicate the feeling of working with note paper note. The free version comes with a basic fountain pen tool and color palette, without any funky settings to get between you and drawing and sketching. The ink engine is incredibly slick and responsive, providing a very natural feel to drawing on a touch screen. Other tools, such as a pencil, watercolor mode and a custom color mixer are available as in-app purchases.