When it comes to creating a work of art, the best drawing apps for mobile devices can make all the difference.
For creative people, iOS has always been a friendly operating system, with a variety of drawing apps and other artistic tools. What’s tough is separating the gems from the fool’s gold because not all drawing apps are worth their salt.
1. Adobe Fresco
Adobe Fresco is a free drawing app for iPhone that’s created with artists in mind. The app is a combination of Photoshop brushes, vector brushes, and Live Brushes so you know you’re using familiar tools with precision.
You can also use it as a painting app. The app provides oils and watercolors you can work with alongside the scalable vector brushes and create crisp, print-ready lines.
Other free features you can use include custom brushes, masking, selections, layers, and layer groups. Plus, you can migrate your creations to Adobe Illustrator Draw projects or Adobe Photoshop Sketch.
You can also create time-lapse videos to replay your drawings or paintings, export your work to JPEG or PNG, and teach content.
The app really comes into its own when you upgrade to a paid plan and unlock premium features like integrations with other apps, cloud storage, the ability to import custom brushes, and an expanded brush library.
However, if you just want basic painting and drawing tools, the free version will suffice.
Tayasui Sketches is a popular, simple, and free drawing app for iPhone that’s focused on sketching. The app provides a blank canvas upon which you can start drawing or creating your artwork, and tools like pens and paintbrushes to help you along.
You can change colors, add different layers for more depth, and the tools will be in the background whenever you need them so they don’t get in the way as you draw.
The app offers realistic drawing tools so you’re inspired to make your best work. As a user-friendly app, you can create paintings, illustrations, and sketches on the go and import pictures if you want.
Tayasui Sketches offers more than 20 realistic tools, a brush editor, watercolor wet brushes, layers, color eyedropper, export to PSD and PNG, and back up to the cloud. You also get pressure stylus support and syncing across devices.
When using the app, the brush strokes feel as though you’re creating sketches using a physical brush on paper. They adapt to the angle, pressure, and width of your movements.
The app has a unique interface with a minimal number of controls and buttons.
The painting tools handle naturally and quickly, whether it’s a watercolor, marker, or pencil. You also get multiple gesture controls you can use to zoom, undo, redo, move your canvas, and more.
3. Ibis Paint X
Ibis Paint X offers a solid arsenal of drawing tools you can use on your iPhone for free. If you’re a mobile artist, you can use the app to create amazing works of art.
In the app, you’ll find over 300 adjustable brushes, screen tones, filters, blending modes, stroke stabilization, unlimited layers, symmetry, rulers, and the ability to record your videos and share on YouTube.
You also get over 2000 brushes, 75 filters, over 1100 fonts, 46 screen tones, and other great features. The highly functional provides a smooth and comfortable experience thanks to the OpenGL technology and an SNS feature that lets you learn drawing techniques from other users’ process videos.
Manga features are included with an advanced text tool function that features horizontal, vertical, stroke, multiple texts, and font select functions.
The app is free to download but if you want to remove the ads, there are in-app purchases plus optional prime membership to unlock more materials, filters, and extra fonts.
Paper by WeTransfer is a drawing app that’s designed for sketching, painting, drawing, and creating collages without interface interruptions or distracting menus.
The app lets you add multiple photos to one page, cut, stick, move and fix the photos without hassling with layers.
It also comes with native storyboards and mood boards so you can visualize and execute ideas. You can also organize pages in journals and sync across different devices.
Whether you’re struggling to start out with an idea, the app offers a Paper Store with how-tos and guides so you can get all the tips and tricks from other artists to get started.
The app is free with in-app purchases but offers all you need for producing captivating drawings.
Plus, you can incorporate textual elements easily into your paintings or drawings. If you need to use the app for professional purposes, you may want to upgrade to the paid version.
SketchBook by Autodesk is a free sketching app on your iPhone with great features to help you conceptualize and draw. The app comes with perspective guides, vanishing point lock, snapping toggle, and horizon line visibility.
You can customize the app with infinite and constrained grid tools, draw curves using the curve ruler, and use double-tap functionality with the Apple Pencil.
The free app has the ease and power you need including a unified experience across mobile devices. It offers various brushes and drawing tools that are customizable, a gallery organizer, pinch to zoom, and you get support to save and store your work to the cloud.
Plus, SketchBook is great for freeform drawing, thanks to its elegant and sleek interface. When you need to be very precise, you can use the app’s grid tools and rulers to draw along.
It’s one of the most advanced apps on this list and it allows you to go back and review your work or save and share with others.
Also included are 15 tool options and brush packs you can buy from the app store. The user interface is fairly easy to use and there are no ads or payments needed.
You also get 190 fully customizable native brushes, eclipse tools, and more.
Clip Studio Paint is a free iPhone drawing app that allows you to create digital drawings or paintings on a fun and intuitive platform.
The app is full of features that offer the tools you need to create stunning drawings and paintings. You can select from a wide range of pens and brushes, pick an airbrush, watercolor, oil, or paint style.
Plus, its stabilization and correction tools help you when drawing lines the way you want them to look, and reduce the need to keep using the eraser.
You can also import images into the app and paint over them, or create automatic poses by using the Pose Scanner feature.
You can create artwork with a natural feeling through Clip Studio’s expressive brush strokes, which are more than 30,000 and made by creators across the globe.
You can also use fingers to adjust shapes of drawn lines and thickness, use your fingers to adjust the shape and thickness, and place or pose 3D models to draw different objects at tricky angles.
The AI colorizer helps you get coloring inspiration for your drawings, and create backgrounds quickly. Also included are freehand 2D animators that you can animate with the app’s fully-featured animation suite, and create short social media clips or full-length TV-quality animations.
If you have an older iPhone model, you may not be able to create high-resolution drawings or paintings because the app is designed to work with newer models like the Pro Max or newer.
The free version also has a few limitations, meaning if you want more features or advanced tools, you have to upgrade to the paid plan and use the app without restrictions.
Brushes Redux is an app originally designed by Jorge Colombo in 2009 but is now open source and completely free to use.
The first-rate, art and drawing app offers straightforward controls, a simple layers system, and a great brush editor that begins with random creations and lets you play around with all types of tools.
The iPhone drawing app has a completely rewritten and new version, with an OpenGL painting engine that’s responsive and records all strokes. This way, you can play back your process and create amazing artwork using all the brushes and settings you need.
The painting app is designed for iOS and runs on your iPhone or iPad. You can move paintings between devices and work on the go.
The accelerated OpenGL-based painting engine allows for a smoother and more responsive painting experience even with huge brush sizes. The brushes capture each step of your painting, and you can display your creativity by replaying the paintings on your iPhone.
Other features include full support for all Retina devices, unlimited undo/redo, a simple and approachable interface, full-screen painting, simulated pressure, adjustable opacity, and more.
You can create up to 10 layers, lock and hide layers, adjust their opacity, change blending modes, and import or export your drawings when you’re done creating them.
Gestures include zoom in or out, with a two-finger pinch or double-tap. There’s also toggle interface visibility, and you can place your images from your photo album into paintings.
EazyDraw is another drawing app for iPhone that works as a productivity tool to help you express and transmit your ideas. The app supports iOS devices and Macs, but the latter only works with the premium version of the app.
You can draw graphic elements and move them seamlessly between your iPhone or Mac. You also get cross-device access via iCloud, copy and paste, or the Files app for mobile devices.
The app works on iOS 12 or newer and comes with a vector drawing tool, light and dark mode support, scalable keyboard, color picker, Bezier drawing, intelligent mapping, text fonts, symbols, and more.
The vector-based drawing app allows you to create and edit your drawings, especially those that are not photographic, technical, stylized art, and illustrations. The creative keyboard has different sets each offering eight tabs to select keyboard keys.
The keyboard sets are configurable, and you can drag and drop to reorganize your tools and graphics for optimum productivity when drawing.
The app also supports emoji, and third-party fonts, math, and scientific equation symbols.
Vectornator offers all the tools necessary to draw or illustrate vector-based designs on your iPhone. These tools include the ability to maximize your screen space, pseudo filter app, layers tab, style tab to select the paintbrush, and auto-tracing.
You can swipe the tools away and look at what you’ve created in just seconds.
The app combines advanced features, vector tools, and functions you need with a high-performance and intuitive interface.
You can use it for branding, illustration, graphic design work, and anything you can imagine.
The free app allows you to create detailed vectors using the brush, pen, node, and shape tools. You also get advanced vector operations including Boolean, Corner radius, and more, a typography tool with full control over font import, kerning, tracking, and more.
Vectornator lets you turn bitmap images with Auto Trace and make them into vectors automatically. You can also work with different artboards in one document, add over 80,000 icons to your designs, and use a color picker to blend different shades.
The app is compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud and Illustrator and offers a wide range of import or export options including PNG, JPG, SVG, PDF, AI, Figma, and Sketch.
It also supports drag and drop, custom fonts, split view, and keyboard shortcuts.
SketchAR is a free drawing app for iPhone that you can use to draw or paint using Augmented Reality (AR). You can develop your creativity through unique AR drawing, gamification, and photo editing.
The app merges Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AR to speed your learning experience and make it more fun to create drawings and paintings.
If you’re a creator and have always wanted to start a drawing but haven’t found the chance to, SketchAR is worth considering.
You can see an AR sketch on the canvas through your smartphone camera. SketchAR also offers AI portraits so you can use a single tap to turn your photos into illustrations.
The app also offers AR masks for Snapchat so you can create your own AR mask and share it to Snapchat. You also get mini games to train your creativity and other useful skills, course drawing lessons, drawing tools with step-by-step guides, and a platform where you can share your achievements with friends.
Doodle Art is a popular drawing app for iPhone that’s available for free. It’s easy to use, user-friendly, functional, and perfect for drawing, sketching, and doodling.
With the app, you can create wonderful paintings, dazzling sketches, and awesome illustrations.
The app also has every color you need to add to your drawing, and you can customize it as you wish. You can also import pictures from the gallery or capture a new photo, draw your own and have fun while you’re at it.
With an easy-to-use and convenient user interface, Doodle Art doesn’t need much instruction to use. Just make your imaginations come alive in your sketches, and when you’re done, you can save them to your gallery or share them on any social network you want.
The app also has 200 cool stickers you can use for free and you can rotate and scale your photos as much as you want. You can also change brush size and opacity settings, undo and redo your every action, and use different rulers and shapes.
12. PicsArt Color
Picsart Color is another drawing app for iPhone that’s free to use and allows you to draw, paint, and color digital illustrations.
You can draw and create digital art easily while having fun. The full drawing suite comes with tons of functionality whether you’re a pro or amateur artist, or even if you need the app for your kids.
You can work with multiple layers, use the color mixer to combine different colors, and use customizable texture brushes to add amazing textures.
The app also has tools that let you doodle on your photos to create fantasy worlds and an intuitive interface that ensures you spend more time drawing or coloring your illustrations instead of searching for tools.
Picsart Color also offers pressure sensitivity so you can use your Apple Pencil for maximum effect, text tool for drawing and erasing using text, pattern and color fill, and auto-recovery.
iArtbook is a professional painting app that’s based on unlimited layers with masks and blend modes.
The app comes with dry, glossy, and wet brushes, which you can use to create masterpieces on your iPhone. You can use any brush with three pro-level real-time calligraphy technologies including rope stabilization, correction, and line delay – you can combine them for the best results.
If you’re drawing with your finger, the line will be even smoother with 100 percent calligraphy. The app also supports textured brushes, and if you want to draw with simple round brushes, you get quick settings for ovality, hardness, and rotation of your brush shape.
If you prefer realistic brushes, you can get new brushes of any type along with a large pro-library of shapes with over 1000 textures.
iArtbook also supports Apple Pencil, including Predicted Points, Touch Force, Azimuth, and Tilt. There are also settings for each Pencil ability, and you can either disable finger-painting or use gestures to perform different actions.
By default, time-lapse recording is enabled, and you can create animations with unlimited frames, animation layers, and export them to MP4, GIF, HEVC, and PNG. Advanced features include a selection tool, transform instrument, PNG with transparency creation, and the ability to flip the canvas horizontally.
14. Infinite Painter
Infinite Painter is a free iPhone drawing app with an excellent design, and that brings a powerful, rich set of features to artists – new or professional – for their hobbies, passions, or careers.
The app comes with best-in-class pencils, group layers, a minimal and intuitive interface, and time-lapse recordings you can share with your social networks.
You can also use the native brushes for calligraphy, chalk, glow, charcoal, airbrushes, pencils, markers, lasso fills, screen tones, and spray paint among others. There are over 100 customizable settings for every brush and you can organize them however you want.
You also get a clean clutter-free canvas with a customizable interface, smart shape detection, seamless pattern projects, Pencil support, pixel-perfect editing, and everything else you need to create.
15. MediBang Paint
Medibang Paint is an easy-to-use, free drawing app for iPhone. You can use it to paint your artwork with several brushes, textures, backgrounds, book fonts for comics, and other tools to make your ideas come to life.
There are over 1000 brushes and tones, drawing pens, painting tools, and tons of resources to help you learn how to create your great pieces of art. The free comic book fonts give your comics a professional look, and comic panels are easy to work with across your canvas.
You can also edit your work, add layers, and use the auto-recovery feature to back up your work in the event of a crash so you can pick up where you left off.
There’s a whole slew of drawing apps ideal for a screen the size of your iPhone, so you can sketch or paint anywhere inspiration strikes.
When picking the best drawing app for your iPhone, consider things like stylus support, a variety of pens, brushes, nibs, layering options, painting options, and vector graphic support.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.