Best drawing and sketching apps

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While I don’t think that colored pencils and a pad of paper will ever go out of style, it’s certainly helpful to have something you can grab out on the go to work on without having to lug all of your art supplies along. If you’re the kind of person who draws on the subway or wakes up in the middle of the night with a great idea for your next drawing or digital artwork, then this list is for you!

Today we’ve compiled 6 of our favorite drawing and sketching apps for all ages. Whether you’re looking for something to occupy your child, or you’re wanting a professional drawing app for your business or hobby, here’s a few ideas:

Sketchbook

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If you’re just practicing or if you’re looking to create a detailed piece of art, we highly recommend downloading Sketchbook by Autodesk. This app is sleek and easy to learn how to use, and full of all the features an artist could want digitally. Upon downloading Sketchbook, you’ll get the free version which will give you some basic tools to become familiar with the app, which includes more than 10 different brushes, up to 3 layers, and more.

With the pro version (which is super affordable at just $4.99), you’ll get access to over 100 different brushes, unlimited layers, full color library, blending modes, and a ton of other awesome features. For artists young and old, for professionals and those proficient in scrawling stick figures, Sketchbook will help you improve your skills and learn about some new tools along the way!

Download it now: Google Play

Adobe Illustrator Drawing

adobe-illustrator-app

If you’re a graphic designer or artist who has yet to check out the Adobe Illustrator Draw app, don’t miss out for a second longer—go download it! You’ll be able to take your design and artwork to a whole new level. And while the ol’ fashioned sketchbook is certainly fun, designing and drawing on a tablet is sure to offer a fun, different experience for those days when you just can’t seem to get the angles to work the way you want them to.

One of the great features of Adobe Illustrator Drawing is that you can send your work directly from the app to Photoshop CC or Adobe Illustrator CC. So whatever project you’re working on, it can go from your tablet to laptop in seconds. You’ll be able to use several different brush/pen tips, take advantage of multiple layers, and even zoom in to work on every little detail. That’s what I call having your cake and eating it too.

Download it now: Google Play

Draw Something

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You may have heard of Draw Something before, and it’s certainly not for creating or drawing lasting graphics, but it sure is a fun game to pass the time all while brushing up on your doodling skills in the process. Some people play it as all fun and games and hobcobble a quick doodle together to send off, while others get extremely elaborate, right down to every detail, and give Da Vinci a run for his money.

In Draw Something, you’ll get to play against a random opponent, or your friends. You’ll go on to choose a word, and then draw a picture that describes that word (things like Jay Z, telephone, pineapple, etc). Your opponent will then watch you draw, an they’ll have to guess what exactly it was. With different challenges and ways to play, Draw Something is a fantastic drawing game, great for a few minutes here and there or for several hours while you’re killing time.

Download it now: Google Play

ArtFlow

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ArtFlow is another professional drawing app that will give you the ability to create breathtaking digital artwork straight from your tablet. The app is free, but there are special features within ArtFlow that you can purchase if you decide you like it. Drawing in ArtFlow is a breeze, and it’s so easy to export your created images with options to share to DropBox, your email, and much more.

One of the awesome features in ArtFlow that we’ll know all artists out there will love is the stylus pressure support. That’s really what makes these apps so fantastic, is that it really is akin to drawing on an actual pad of paper or sketchbook. Depending on how heavy you want your lines and shading to be, you can adjust your pressure on the stylus just as you would a pencil, producing perfect results every time.

Download it now: Google Play

Sketch

sketch-app

Sketch is a fun little sketching app, perfect especially for more “leisure” drawing or for kids, rather than professional artwork. You can choose from a bunch of different colors, stickers, and brushes to craft a beautiful work of more whimsical nature. You’ll also be able to choose from and manipulate different fonts to add to your sketch.

Another cool feature that Sketch has is being able to browse other people’s sketches in the gallery. There you’ll find that users have taken this app and have created some pretty amazing works of art with it, despite it not having a ton of features besides the basics. If you want, you can also feature your artwork from Sketch in this gallery as well, making it the perfect place to browse, find ideas from others, and even share some of your own!

Download it now: Google Play

Paint Joy

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Paint Joy is another great one for kids. Nothing too professional, users will be able to color to their heart’s content and take advantage of different shades of colors from more muted tones to vibrant, electric, glow-in-the-dark-esque tones. These apps are extremely handy to have on a phone or tablet for your kids in a waiting room or if they’re on the verge of one of those ever-so-convenient tantrums at the mall.

Similar to Sketch, you’ll be able to view what other people have created with Paint Joy. And also similar to Sketch, you’ll notice that some artists have drawn fantastic things in Paint Joy. That just goes to show that so many artists aren’t limited by just a basic set of features. So by all means, if you’re up to a challenge, try it out—you never know what you can do until you try!

Download it now: Google Play

Closing

Whether you came here looking for a professional sketching app with unlimited features, something a little more basic, or something to pass your kids’ time in that waiting room, this list has a little something for everyone.


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • ricardososa

    Thanks Brad. I’ve been looking for sketching apps that allow the user to record the process of drawing, do you know of any? Ideally in a video format. Thank you

  • Dean Schulze

    I’m impressed with Autodesk SketchBook, but I can’t activate the pro version on my tablet (Samsung Galaxy Note Pro). Has anyone else noticed this problem?

    • Twisted Empire

      If you have the a galaxy tablet you can download sketchbook from the samung store. It comes with all the features of pro and it’s free.

    • Fiona G

      Yes. still trying to resolve!

    • Fadeaway J

      you hav to dowbload paid version apk
      from regular browser intall it as if you´r using a computer

  • Fiona G

    I need to print my artwork at 150-300 dpi. Can you tell me which app will allow this on a Samsung Galaxy Note?

  • Larry Brennan

    I’m not impressed with ArtFlow. It’s hard to use and not at all intuitive. I realize the limits of using a tablet but this program is a major disappointment.