The Top 5 Drawing Apps For Your iPad in 2021

The 5 Best Drawing Apps For Your iPad

The world of design and graphics is very diverse. It can be challenging to find the right hardware and the right software. Since you have landed on this post, you must be looking for the best apps on iPad for drawing.

You've come to the right place! In this blog, we'll talk about the best apps for drawing on your iPad. Be sure to check out this top 5 drawings apps for your iPad!



Table Of Contents:

#1 Procreate – The Best Overall Drawing App

#2 Autodesk Sketchbook – The Best Drawing App for Free

#3 Adobe Fresco – The Best Beginner-Friendly Adobe Drawing App 

#4 Affinity Designer – The Best Vector & Raster Drawing App 

#5 Clip Studio Paint – From Comics to 3D Modelling to Animation/Best

Honorable mentions


It’s understandable that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed while trying to pick a drawing app to use. 

What makes a good drawing app? According to digital artists, there are several features they’d like a drawing app to have. Examples of these features are the ability to use layers in your artwork, a wide variety of brushes, and a customizable color palette. I’ve kept my eyes open for these features while doing research on what are the best drawing apps for the iPad. In this post I am going to present you with the best drawing apps for your iPad!


The best Drawing Apps for your iPad:

#1.  Procreate – The Best Drawing App for beginners AND professionals

Procreate is a drawing app that is optimized for the iPad, Apple Pencil, and is specifically made for artists. It has a very intuitive design with which you can do almost everything that your creative heart desires. From sketching to animation, from paintings to illustrations, everything is possible with the Procreate app. That is why its popularity has skyrocketed! This app is also one of the best drawing apps for iPad for tattoo artists, as the layers and various brushes make it so easy to design amazing illustrations.

While it offers a great number of free brushes, there are also thousands of importable brushes on the internet for free. Besides that, you also have the possibility to create your own brushes, so the chances of you not finding what you like or need are very slim. This drawing app also supports PSD files, has layers, and lets you add your personal color palette! The only downside is that there is a slight lack of vector supporting features

With this many great features, Procreate is more and more becoming the leading application for graphics and design, while also being picked up by several comic artists such as DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee, who used it to sketch Batman and the Joker, art directors such as Raphael Lacoste from Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, and even by Disney and Pixar.

Although Procreate is not free of charge, with the one-time payment of €10.99 it is surely one of the cheapest and best drawing apps for the iPad. This was also confirmed by our audience, after conducting a survey on our Instagram account, to see which apps are being favored/used the most. Needless to say that Procreate was the overall winner, with quite the gap.

 Price: 10.99 (one-time payment)      

Difficulty: Beginner/Professional

Download here | App Store



#2 Autodesk Sketchbook – The Best Free Drawing App

Autodesk’s Sketchbook is a name commonly known amongst digital artists, mainly because it’s one of the few reliable and completely free drawing apps on the market. With premium features such as layer support, import/export layered PSD, dozens of free brushes, a distraction-free UI, and the ability to zoom in up to 2,500%, Autodesk offers almost an unbeatable price-quality ratio that a lot of art novices, as well as professionals, will appreciate. 

Another exciting feature is that the camera also acts as a scanner, meaning if you have come up with something cool on paper and you want to transfer it to your iPad, just take a quick snapshot and your artwork is ready to be continued. It is also compatible with the Apple Pencil and other styli.

Not a problem! Autodesk made a significant contribution to many artists that run on a low budget in April of 2018, where they got rid of the subscription model and ultimately published a free “pro version” in which all the features named above were unlocked and many more. That is why Autodesk’s Sketchbook has won a special place in our heart, on one hand, because of the many features that it brings along and on the other hand because it is a free and full-fledged application that is going to bring a smile to a lot of artists, professional or up-and-coming.

Price: Free (Honestly)

Difficulty: Medium/Professional

Download here | App Store



#3 Adobe Fresco – The Best Beginner-Friendly Adobe Drawing App

Fan of Adobe? Fresco is one of Adobe’s newest additions to their arsenal. Fresco is specifically designed for the iPad and the Apple Pencil and enables Apple users to use raster, vector, and live brushes all in one application. At the same time, they offer the world’s largest and most advanced collection of vector and raster brushes, including your favorite Photoshop brushes and brushes from the world-renown Illustrator, Author & Designer Kyle T. Webster.

As well as Procreate, it offers an intuitive design with tools that are more beginner-friendly compared to Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator. The essence of Fresco: Create artwork without the hard work. With that being said, Fresco promises to provide you with an intuitive interface that: 

Works for both left and right-handed users and lets you work in full-screen mode to reduce distractions. Fresco allows you to take your art wherever you want to, even when you are steady on the run, especially with its interconnectivity with other Adobe programs and the fact that you can use the Creative Cloud for seamless integration of your personal Library assets, brushes, and fonts make Fresco a must-have if you are already part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and you want to be able to work from anywhere.

While the normal price of Fresco is €10.99 a month, they do offer a free version. Fresco’s free version gives you a chance to sneak a peek at the app before investing your money into it. And, of course, if you are satisfied with about 85 free brushes and 2GB of storage you might as well just stick to the free version. Adobe, as an already established brand, obviously tries its hardest to ensure that the app is constantly up to date with almost monthly updates for new brushes or new functionalities.

Price: Free / €10.99 (subscription)

Difficulty: Beginner/Professional

Download here | App Store



#4 Affinity Designer – The Best Vector & Raster Drawing App

While Procreate does a beautiful job at accommodating most functions that are important to digital artists, it falls back slightly when it comes to vector drawing. That is where Affinity’s Designer app comes into play. The design may remind you of Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator, though Affinity Designer gives off a more in-depth feeling than Procreate does, while still offering the raster drawing functions.

But what about it makes it so much more in-depth, and does in-depth directly mean better? First of all, Affinity’s Designer is a full-fledged application that offers the perfect support for the Apple Pencils’ pressure, tilt, and angle sensitivity, having arguably the best pen, pencil, corner, curve editing, and smart shape tools available to guarantee better control and more precise lines. Secondly, due to its feature to zoom in to up to a million percent, it is the perfect tool for creating marketing-based work such as logos, icons, print-projects, websites, UI or concept art, thus vector graphics.



However, Affinity Designer is also an application that may be hard to understand as a total beginner. Its in-depth ness and professional interface give it a steep learning curve. There is so much you can do that it might be hard to find out how to do those things at first if you are not familiar with the product or if you are not a professional.

Having won plenty of Design Awards, Affinity Designer provides artists with a perfectly balanced pro-end workhorse that always gets their jobs done, fluent and responsive. With a Pan and Zoom at 60 fps, customizable keyboard shortcuts, support for PSD, AI, PDF, SVG, JPG, TIFF, and EXR files, and an unlimited amount of layers, Affinity Designer is an incredible application that can handle high-performance artworks without any struggles and without sacrificing features. 

Price: €21.99 Full Version

Difficulty: Professional

Download Here | App Store



#5 Clip Studio Paint – From Comics to 3D Modelling to Animation

Clip Studio Paint was originally tailored for comic and manga artists, but now its functions have become so wide-ranged that you can now also use it for 3D modeling, illustrations, designs, and animations.

With them being located in the motherland of manga's, it is no surprise that they started as the so-called Manga Studio, until the year 2016 where the name was deprecated and they started to sell the software in all markets as “Clip Studio Paint”.

Nowadays it is sold in different editions with varying feature sets, while the full version is a page-based, layered drawing program with support for raster and vector art. Additionally, there is a whole community that is uploading up to thousands of new materials on a daily basis, including customized brushes, patterns, and 3D data, called Clip Studio Assets. And of course, customizing your own brushes is optimized as well and easy to do.

If all of those features scare you a little bit, do not be discouraged because this app actually has an appropriate learning curve, making it possible for either beginners or professionals to reach their full potential. While their Pro version pays particular attention to creating character/concept art and illustrations for a cheaper price, the EX version(or full version) of Clip Studio Paint allows you to create comics/manga's which you can even bring to life with the animation tools.

In general, this app is packed with utilities to be used for several purposes, all compatible with the Apple Pencil features. While this app has so much to offer, it is still one of the most expensive candidates on our list (for their “full version”) and has more of a focus on a specific kind of art than the other apps, and is, therefore, number five. Even though it is a great app and offers such a variety of features, it might also be a tad overwhelming for beginners who are solely looking for a good general illustration app. However, if you are an animation, comic, or vector artist, this app might offer you exactly what you are looking for!


Price: €4.49 Pro(Monthly) € 8.99 Expert(Monthly)

Difficulty:  Beginner/Professional

Download Here | App Store




I hope this article has helped you find the best drawing app for your iPad. If you have made it this far and you still could not decide which app is best for you. Worry not, because the perfect app for you might just be around the corner.

For those of you who couldn't find the right application, take a look at our honorable mentions. These apps did not quite make it into our top 5, but they still have some great features and potential.


Honorable mentions

Drawing apps that still offer helpful features and just slightly missed making it onto our top 5, are considered in our “honorable mentions”. They could still be helpful for some people since they offer some specific features, they are affordable and they allow you to at least sketch with them. Presenting some unexpected candidates and some newcomers in our honorable mentions. 



Linea Sketch 

For those who are a little bit intimidated by Affinity’s Designer or Savage Studio’s Procreate or simply do not have as much experience should maybe opt for Linea’s Sketch drawing app first. It does not support vector drawing but contains a layer tool. It has a user-friendly interface and it supports the Apple Pencil as it is exclusive to the App Store. The app is constantly being updated, which leaves room for a lot of potential growth, for one of the newest apps on our list. One of the latest additions to their repertoire is the “ZipLine tool”, which lets artists create straight lines with any tool by simply drawing a line which Linea Sketch will automatically straighten out, eliminating the need for a ruler. Check their website for more detailed information.

Price: Free for Download but requires a subscription of either monthly for 0.99€ or annually for 10.99€

Download Here | App Store


Sketch Club

Affordable drawing app with premium features for professionals and amateurs. This app comes with layer support, a choice between several brushes and vector tools, and an integrated art community that one can engage with. On their website, they host daily drawing challenges, regular competitions and you can even look for a draw-buddy who can either finish your project or vice versa. Also has tools for creating mangas and comics and allows you to scale canvases up to 15360 x 8640 (16k). Not only does Sketch Club provide helpful instruments that facilitate your drawing experience, but it can also keep you motivated through their competitions, challenges, and in general their community. And for 3,49€, Sketch Club is one of the best affordable drawing apps.

Price: 3,49€

Download Here | App Store


Adobe Illustrator Draw

Free/less expensive vector drawing app than Affinity’s Designer, that lets you mix in photos with your vector drawings for cool effects. Also has a very easy-to-use interface that can help your workflow, if you want to “just draw”. This application is very helpful for artists that are used to working with Adobe products/brushes, as you can easily implement PSD, AI, or other Adobe files into your projects. Illustrator Draw lets you choose between five built-in vector brushes, customize your toolbar, and use up to ten layers and another photo layer. Similar to Sketch Club, it is one of the more affordable applications on our list, or rather one of the best free applications for your iPad, if you do not require 20 gigabytes of storage for your cloud.

Price: Free or 1.99€ for 20GB storage

 Download Here | App Store




Although we are certain that these apps can satisfy most of your needs, we are aware that there are artists that are dedicated to creating or having a specific genre or art style such as comic artists or 3D modelers.

For those types of artists among you, if you would rather like to concentrate on an application that does exactly what you want it to do and not more nor lessthere is another post that may help you find what you are looking for. 

For everyone else that came, saw, and found. I hope this article was useful on your way to becoming a digital artist. If so, or if there are any inquiries/suggestions, please make sure to leave some feedback in the comments or contact me directly.

Until then, have a beautiful day and enjoy your new-found drawing app.


This article was written by Collaborations Manager and Content Marketer, Marvin Rusch.



For the Gifs we used

If someone wants access the gifs we used, just click on the gif you want to look at and it will open up the source's website.

Looking for more friction, less wear, and less noise with your apple pencil? Check out Pen Tips.


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