8 Best Drawing and Painting Apps for iPad for Beginners

By | May 1, 2022

Beginning artists everywhere should have an iPad, Apple Pencil and one of these great drawing and painting apps.

The Apple iPad is a great device for anyone who wants to explore their creative side. Especially when paired with Apple Pencil.

For those who are environmentally conscious, iPad offers a large selection of hassle-free drawing and painting apps. You don’t need brushes, palettes and water to paint anymore. The Apple Pencil (or your finger) is more than enough.

With that in mind, here are the best iPad apps for drawing and painting. Allows everyone from beginners to professionals to unleash their imagination on digital paper.

Art Set 4

Art Set 4 is an excellent app for beginners who are into digital painting. Even though it’s digital, it’s almost a real paper tool.

There are several choices of painting tools such as watercolors, oil paints, pastels, and crayons. You can also change the paper texture by clicking plus icon next to the pen tool.

The free version has a “slow draw” option where there is a break between the drawing and your Apple Pencil, and a “dry” option that lets you dry the paper quickly to create more layers on top of it.

One drawback of this application is the absence of touch gestures. As you will see in future applications, touch gestures are very useful for undoing and redoing any line or stroke.

Art Set 4 is free to download but a one-time subscription gives access to other great features. Includes a variety of pens, brushes, paints and textures.

Download: Art Set 4 (Free, in-app purchases available)


Sketchbook is another great tool for beginners. It has more features when compared to Art Set 4. You can record your painting process, and add pictures. Plus, the app has a fantastic library of brushes, pens, and textures to explore.

The app also has the option to create multiple layers of paper making it easier to paint and erase.

Similar to the Art Set 4 app, one of the downsides is that there are no touch gestures. However, the app is completely free, which makes it a great choice for beginners.

Tayasui Sketches

Tayasui Sketches is one of the basic yet sleek iPad painting apps for beginners. The cool thing about this app is that you can create sketchbook folders to organize your artwork into different collections.

The app has a basic set of 14 tools that includes a pencil, fine liner, brush pen, ink, and watercolor pen. But this pen tool is versatile and can be used to create different effects by applying pressure or tilting the Apple Pencil. It also includes a smudge tool that can be used to create a blur effect.

Tayasui Sketches also offers the option to create multiple layers. The pro version has more features with the flexibility to back up and sync your work to iCloud.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Although Adobe has discontinued improvements to Adobe Photoshop Sketch due to its focus on Adobe Fresco, this app is perfect for beginners. Similar to Tayasui’s Sketch, it’s simple and minimal, but it also has touch gestures for convenience.

Photoshop Sketch lets you choose a screen size for a new project. After that, it opens to a screen where a set of pen tools is shown on the left side and options for multiple layers are on the right. The app also has basic shape stencils that can be used to trace outlines.


Concepts is similar to Tayasui Sketches. It also has options to select the background texture and paper type. The design is minimalistic with a circular guide in the upper left corner that expands to show color samples, flow size, and color opacity.

The unique thing about Concepts is that it has unlimited size options for the sketchboard. So it’s great for drawing mandalas or painting sequences, because the paper stretches indefinitely. It also has a touch gesture to undo or redo paint strokes, which is useful when drawing.

There are many options for one-time purchases as well as monthly and yearly subscriptions.

Download: Concepts (Free, in-app purchases available)

IBis Paint X

iBis Paint X offers some great features, but the price you pay has to be put up with ads in the corners of the app. It has a large collection of pens and brushes for beginners as well as advanced artists.

It also has touch gestures which are useful during painting. There is an option to set different filters that are unique to this app only.

iBis Paint is great for beginners exploring comics and manga as there is an option to add text boxes too.

iBis Paint X opens a gallery where you can click plus icon to open a new project. It also has the option to create multiple layers and download the artwork without the background as a transparent PNG file.

There are options for a one-time purchase as well as a monthly subscription.

Download: iBis Paint X (Free, in-app purchases available)

Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco is one of the newer iPad painting apps on the market, but it has created a buzz among amateurs and professionals alike. The cool thing about Fresco is that it has live brushes that mimic real watercolor and oil paint brushes.

This app is similar to Photoshop Sketch but has other features that make it a fantastic app, especially for fans of watercolors and oil.

The digital live brush glides like a dream and the watercolor effects blend into one like on real paper which is fun to watch. Fresco has three types of brushes: pixel, live, and vector. Pixels and live brushes can be used on the same layer while vector brushes work on separate layers.

Fresco is free to use, but with an Adobe subscription you can download and try over 1,600 brushes from the Adobe website.


If you’ve been scouring the web for painting apps to start your creative journey, chances are you’ve heard of Procreate.

This app is considered a holy grail for artists and creatives. Unfortunately, it’s not free and requires a one-time subscription of $9.99, but the app is intuitive and detailed, and has tons of brush options.

Procreate can seem overwhelming at first, but after some tinkering, you realize it’s intuitive and easy to use.

This app is a good choice for beginners who want to maintain creative habits in the long term, and don’t mind paying for the privilege.

This App Can Help Unleash Your Creativity

Drawing or painting is a great hobby that helps you relax and be more mindful. With several options available to iPad users, these are some great apps that can help you get started with painting.

While iBis Paint is great for comics and manga artists, Adobe Fresco is best for watercolors and oil paints. Sketchbook and Adobe Photoshop Sketch are great for beginners to digital drawing or painting, but you can also opt for advanced options like Procreate to help kickstart your art career.