The 9 Best Drawing and Painting Apps for Digital Artists

Whether you’re an experienced digital artist or have never created digital art before, it’s always good to know your options when choosing a drawing program. And luckily, there are plenty of apps to choose from.

Whether you’re just looking to paint for fun or want to learn more professional creative techniques, these apps will help you on your artistic journey. So, let’s take a look at what they are, shall we?

1. Procreate

It’s one of the most popular paint apps out there, and there are a host of reasons why it’s a favorite among most illustrators. It’s an art studio that has everything you need to create digital art, including the ability to create your own brushes, maintain a portfolio that you can share with friends, and much more.

Procreate also includes comprehensive courses for teachers and students, such as color harmony, 3D product design, character exploration, Procreate tools, tips and tricks, learning animation, layers, blending modes, and artistic topics spanning science, math, and humanities.

And finally, you can add a personal touch to your work by adding your signature to your artwork in Procreate.

To download: Procreate for iPadOS ($14.99)


2. Studio Astropad

This art studio is perfect if you own an iPad and is unique for its ability to mirror your screen to your laptop! It includes customizable tapping gestures to modify the tools as you wish, pen pressure adjustments such as line drawing, curves and smoothing, and offers crystal-clear image quality.

With unlimited upgrades and maximum battery life, if you’re an artist who has a specific way of using digital pens, this app will be your best friend.

To download: Astropad Studio for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

3. Sketchbook

Still have piles of sketchbooks that you don’t have room for? No need to keep buying books to draw. With the screen having a paper-like feel, Sketchbook is a great tool for interior designers, architects, and artists to draw inspiration from on the go.

There are hundreds of brushes to choose from, you can use linear and radial gradients, and the user interface is clean and crisp for all users to enjoy. From visual communication students to industry professionals, you’ll find a use for this amazing app.

To download: Sketchbook for Android | iPadOS (Free in-app purchases available)

4. Clip Studio Painting

Do you dream of creating a series of comics or manga? Clip Studio Paint comes from a Japanese software company and has it all in terms of design, illustration, and storytelling tools. We recommend it for more professional artists, but online tutorials will help beginners.

You can rely on Clip Studio Paint to put together amazing concept art, character artwork, artwork for design, web-toons, and even animations. There’s a powerful brush engine, thousands of customizable brushes, vector lines, decoration brushes to help with repeating design elements, converting photos to line art, lettering features, creating panels, a fast coloring, etc.

With all of these tools, you’ll be well on your way to a career in animation in no time.

To download: Clip Studio Paint for Android | iPadOS (Free in-app purchases available)

5. Inspire Pro

This app was designed to be easy to use, so you can start creating right away, even if you’re a beginner. Amazing blending effects let you blend colors using pen pressure, which you can also use to blur. The brush size and rotation of over 150 brushes will give you the flexibility you need to create a masterpiece.

Its unique paint engine makes this application incredibly fast for the iPad, giving you precision, high quality colors and speed. Rendering is reliable, with up to 120 frames per second, which means you’ll have an easier time managing your work.

To download: Inspire Pro for iPadOS ($19.99)

6. Zen Brush 2

Would you like to learn the art of Japanese calligraphy or lettering? With a strong emphasis on the East Asian ink brush, Zen Brush 2 is excellent for those who want to embody the teachings of Zen!

This drawing program includes red ink and black ink, ink scattering making it appear more 3D, 92 background patterns, ink tone levels, finger pressure simulation, tilt sensitivity and, of course, the ability to share your work with others. So try something new and different with Zen Brush 2.

To download: Zen Brush 2 for Android | iPadOS ($2.99)


Originally released in 1998, GIMP still trumps many apps we know today! The best part is that it is completely free for Mac, Windows and even Linux operating systems.

GIMP is great for creating fun icons or avatars, UI components, and overall graphic design. What’s so unique about it, you ask?

If you are good at coding, you will be able to customize scripts and plugins. You can integrate programs such as Python, Scheme, Perl and others. There’s nothing GIMP can’t do.

To download: GIMP for Windows | macOS ($14.99)

8. Paintstorm Studio

As a professional digital design canvas, Paintstorm Studio can help artists with any technique, genre or idea in mind. You can use this software for traditional art styles, comics or manga, concept artwork, or your design work.

The user interface is high quality, allowing you to use custom panels, quick layer selection, keyboard shortcuts for brushes and sliders, and even includes guides for 2 and 3 point perspective drawings.

You can use the color correction tools and canvas textures in this app to bring your work to life.

To download: Paintstorm Studio for iPadOS ($12.99)

9. Artistic Rage

Are you less of an expressionist and prefer to draw old-school realistic art? Then Art Rage might be for you. It is unique to have a canvas suitable for oil paints, wax crayons, crayons or watercolors.

Replicate thick oils to bring natural colors to your work. Draw and shade, or paint with watercolor textures. The options for your traditional canvas are at your fingertips.

To download: Art Rage for iPadOS ($2.99)

Experiment with digital art using these apps

Whether you’re new to digital art or an expert, it’s a good idea to try out all your options with the apps available. You may discover a technique that works better for you. And if you’re just starting out, Google Canvas might be another option to consider.

Google Canvas is a drawing app for Doodles

Read more

About the Author

Marilyn M. Davis