Technology

Taking Some Time Away From Social Media by J. Logan Carey

Got this  Rustic Lantern with an Edison Bulb  for next to my bed. It kicks ass. The vintage embalming fluid crate is our cat Bradbury’s bed.

Got this Rustic Lantern with an Edison Bulb for next to my bed. It kicks ass. The vintage embalming fluid crate is our cat Bradbury’s bed.

One of the hardest things we have to do in terms of our digital content intake these days is decide when it’s taking too much of our time and energy away from the things we really want to be doing.

Certainly, for creative people, it can be invigorating to see all the other work that other artists are doing. It can be a lot of fun to converse with talented people and cheer them on. But there comes a time when instead of getting inspired, we’re just feeling like we’re not measuring up.

We have to remember, people aren’t sharing all the pages and pages of sketchbooks before showing that finished piece. We start to think that maybe everyone else can just hammer these amazing pieces of art on the daily, but it’s a curated image.

If you start feeling that you aren’t doing good enough, remember, you are, and maybe it’s just time to take a break from the never-ending timelines of margaritas and masterpieces (new band name).

That’s kind of where I’m at these days. I’d just much rather sketch and finish stuff and post it on my blog where it exists for longer than the 15 seconds of spotlight you get on social media in the hopes of grabbing a few precious “likes” so you can tell yourself you’re good enough. Let the site autopost the links and just forget about it. Hell, I’ve even deleted my social media apps from my devices to make it just a little bit harder for me to check back in on the roaring tide of…nothing much at all.

So back to sketching and working on new things to share on this art journey of mine. If you want to say hi where I’ll see it, leave me a comment below.

Best Vector Apps for iPad by J. Logan Carey

A quick note for iPad artists,

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about if wearing an artist glove with your iPad makes a difference. IT DOES. Mainly it helps the side of your hand slide more easily across the screen and prevents smudge marks from the natural oil of your skin which saves you time wiping it off. I wear mine all the time.

They’re all kind of flimsy, but personally I recommend the Huion Artist Glove as they’re a good name, it’s simple, and inexpensive.

Also, if this post has been useful, you can support me by checking out my comics that I've created with these apps on Gumroad by clicking here! Thanks!


When most people think of Vector-based apps, they typically think of the apps running on desktop computers. Well the iPad is changing all of that kind of thinking, especially with the release of the iPad Pro. Paired with the Apple Pencil, these apps are powerful, capable, and enjoyable to use. So here’s my list for the best Vector apps for iPad

While these are all Vector-based apps, there is a separate post for Raster-based apps called, Best Drawing Apps for iPad, please check those out too.


 
Concepts.jpg
 

Concepts

Free | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Concepts is an app that I don’t think gets enough love. Whereas Autodesk Sketchbook blends an app that can work for artists and designers alike, Concepts steps further and farther into the designer field. The most common use-case scenario I’ve seen is people using the app for technical sketching and industrial design. The developers have been continually pushing out improvements in the overall design of the app and adding new features on a regular basis. Concepts can handle creative artwork reasonably well, but it is exceptionally well-suited to architects, home renovators, and landscape designers.

 
concepts.jpg
 

Key Features:

  • Infinite Canvas

  • Snappable grids

  • Shape tools

  • Text

  • Copic Color Library

  • Dynamic Color Palettes

Tools are nested in an intuitive wheel design which takes a little getting used to, but is pleasing to use. The app itself is free and that gives you a lot of things to play with. There are also a few things you might potentially spend money in the Pro Shop. You can purchase a variety of extra features so as Infinite Layers and extra export formats like PSD for a few bucks. Not bad at all.

Concepts also stocks it’s own Marketplace which supplies a variety of clipart-like objects, many of which cater specifically to industrial and product design as well as extra brush sets. Should you wish, you can subscribe monthly or yearly to get access to every brush, object, palette…everything they offer in the Marketplace and the new stuff as soon as it releases.

 
 

 
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Vectornator Pro

Free | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Vectornator Pro is about one thing and one thing only: graphic design with vector images. While Affinity Designer only just recently appeared on the scene, Vectornator Pro has been around for a while. I’ve seen the app continuously improve and become a viable competitor with any other desktop vector software that’s out there.

The current iteration of the app has a gorgeous UI design that takes advantage of iPad Pro’s touch capabilities.

 
Vectornator Pro.png
 

Key Features:

  • Desktop class performance

  • Complete suite of features you would expect from a professional vector app

  • Prefab library of standard user interface elements for UI designers

  • CMYK color space

  • Supports external keyboard shortcuts

  • Supports’ iOS’s Drag and Drop

  • Custom font support

  • Unlimited layers

Besides all the features the app has, probably the most compelling thing about the app is that it appears to have gone permanently free. The original price of $7.99 wasn’t much to get in a tizzy about anyway, but considering that the big name in vector software on the iPad is Affinity Designer that sells for $19.99, anyone looking to test out the iPad’s capabilities for graphic design should definitely give Vectornator Pro a try first.

 
 

 
Graphic-iOS-Icon.JPG
 

Graphic

$8.99 | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

A little background on Graphic; it used to be called iDraw, and then was called Autodesk Graphic and now appears to be owned by a different developer and so is called just…Graphic. Now that we got that out of the way…

Graphic is an impressive and affordable vector-based design app that’s actually available for both of Apple’s platforms: iOS and macOS alike. Most graphic design applications can have a pretty big learning curve, Graphic does an exceptional job at trying to bridge that gap in knowledge by providing a 116 page User Guide and Tutorial section for free. That may be compelling for those comparing it to the $19.99 cost of Affinity Designer and the $49.99 cost of the Affinity Designer workbook.

Graphic App.jpg

Key Features:

  • Syncs with iCloud

  • Exports to DropBox

  • PSD import / export

  • PDF and SVG import / Export

  • Available on both macOS and iOS platforms

Where I think Graphic might work particularly well where others are lacking is if you want to use the same application on your Mac as well your iPad to work with vector illustrations and get used to one particular type of workflow. The macOS version is $29.99, so it’s definitely not going to run you too much to pick up the app on macOS and iOS. To be sure, you can also do this with Affinity Designer, but Affinity’s versions are slightly more expensive, so you may want to take that into account.

 
 

 
Affinity Designer Icon.png
 

Affinity Designer

$19.99 | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

The Affinity suite of apps from Serif are incredibly impressive and seem to get more so all the time. They are quickly becoming many artists and graphic designers alternative to the expensive Adobe Creative Cloud as they are pay-one-time applications and are very reasonably priced for apps that are so fully-featured and capable.

Affinity Designer is akin to Adobe Illustrator, it is a complex and quality vector-based application. Where the Affinity suite of software really shines is modern user interfaces designed for simplicity and ease of use. A vector app like Designer can do A LOT, the program needs to not make you toggle down into endless menu windows to find what you are trying to do. I think they’ve largely found many innovative was of solving these types of problems. The app though, to be sure, can be complicated, and is certainly not as intuitive as something like Procreate. But to be fair, it is a professional level design app that can do a hell of a lot more than Procreate.

Key Features:

  • iPad version is optimized for touch and Apple Pencil

  • Fluid shapes, extremely customizable

  • Stabilization allows excellent freehand drawing

  • 1,000,000% zoom

  • Pixel Persona

  • Over 100 built-in brushes

One of the standout features of Designer is the Pixel Persona, which is a raster mode built right into the app so you can sketch out your ideas before working in vector. This is genius.

I swear, Apple should just buy Serif, the company that makes the Affinity programs and build them into iWork and then they could include Adobe competitive software with all their hardware out of the box. But I digress…

Another great thing about Affinity Designer is that there is a large and growing userbase so the app is very well supported with extra tools and user tutorials. There are a lot of quality official Affinity tutorials on their website as well and they also have created the well-reviewed Affinity Workbook which teaches the program through a series of projects. I’ve ordered this myself since it was on a 20% off Christmas Sale so I’m excited to start working on some pieces.

 
 

 
 

Inkpad

$6.99 | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Inkpad is a simple and easy-to-start-using vector app. It has a very nice minimalist user interface that is probably more well suited to those just starting to work with vector design. I don’t mean that the app is incapable, just that the simplicity lends itself well to beginners. It might be the perfect choice for that burgeoning graphic designer in your family. I think it would be an ideal choice as an app to teach high school students vector design on the iPad.

Inkpad UI.png

Key Features:

  • Simple interface

  • Unlimited layers

  • Dropbox import/export

  • SVG, PDF, PNG, JPEG export

There aren’t any in-app purchases to unlock more tools, something that I can really appreciate. Interestingly, Inkpad is Open Source. It is well maintained and updated frequently.

 
 

 

Didn’t Make the Cut:

Assembly

Assembly was built on a neat idea: have a vector design app where the shapes were already pre-created and users just picked and manipulated an extensive list of objects to create their design. The result being a really clever little app that has virtually no barrier of entry for simple graphic design. The app was severely hamstrung when it was changed into a subscription model to use the full features of the app. They want a laughable $3.99 a week, $4.99 a month, or $29.99 a year for an app that is kind of a novelty at best.

Adobe Illustrator Draw

Adobe Illustrator Draw is another in Adobe’s line of extremely dumbed-down apps for iOS so they can say they actually develop for the platform. Draw is essentially a vector-based scratchpad for jotting down quick ideas and then exporting them to a desktop application where you could do more work on them. Of course they design the app so this pretty much has to be a Creative Cloud app. So if you have a CC subscription and had an iOS device and didn’t understand the other options you had like the aforementioned apps, then I guess I could understand using this. Other than that, not really.

 
 

Those are my picks for the top vector-based apps for iPad. I think we can safely say there are some extremely high quality apps that are worthy of professional graphic designers. Pair them with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and you have some fantastic options for design work. Thanks for reading!

Best Drawing Apps for iPad by J. Logan Carey

A quick note for iPad artists,

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about if wearing an artist glove with your iPad makes a difference. IT DOES. Mainly it helps the side of your hand slide more easily across the screen and prevents smudge marks from the natural oil of your skin which saves you time wiping it off. I wear mine all the time.

They’re all kind of flimsy, but personally I recommend the Huion Artist Glove as they’re a good name, it’s simple, and inexpensive.

Also, if this post has been useful, you can support me by checking out my comics that I've created with these apps on Gumroad by clicking here! Thanks!


No secret here, but I am a HUGE fan of the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil and what it can can do for a person’s creativity. The suite of art apps available for the iPad is impressive, affordable, and improves all the time. With that in mind, I'm posting this rundown of what I consider to be the top drawing apps available and what they can do for you. There will probably be more than you realize.

The standouts are judged on their quality, usability, level of continued support, and price is also a concern. Part of the benefit of going with iOS as your platform is getting away from the expensive subscription model of Adobe, but that decision is largely one of preference and perhaps how deep your pockets are. All these apps will also work on regular iPads, but where they’ll really shine are on the iPad Pro and the new iPad with Apple Pencil support.

While these are all Raster-based apps, there is a separate post for Vector apps called, Best Vector Apps for iPad, so don’t worry if they’re missing here.

There's a lot to choose from so here we go...


 
procreate-icon.png
 

Procreate

$9.99 | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

I mean…it’s Procreate…for anyone who has used the app, that’s almost all you need to say. Procreate is game-changing and there couldn’t be a more appropriate use of the phrase than in this instance. I’ve seen comic book artists, graphic designers, and illustrators of all styles making the jump from their Cintiq’s to iPad solely because of this app.

 
ipad_pro_2017_51_procreate.jpg
 

In the simplest terms, Procreate is a drawing/painting app that was developed to specifically to be just that and designed solely for the iPad. It is minimalist, easy-to-use, and requires almost no instruction to start creating. It is intuitive as HELL and has a huge, ever-growing following. Improvements and additional features have come quickly down the pipeline for Procreate users and many of the tools digital artists would consider essential in apps such as Photoshop have made their way into Procreate as well.

Key Features:

  • Over 130 built-in brushes, all editable

  • Custom brushes, see my post “Best Brushes for Procreate”

  • Multi-touch gestures

  • Built-in Gallery that supports iOS’s Drag and Drop

  • Time-lapse video

  • Perspective Guide

  • Warp, Liquify, and Symmetry tools

They also appear to be the tide that raises all ships in the mobile art app world. When an excellent new feature appears in Procreate, it’s not long before that feature pops up in many of the other top tier art apps for the iPad. I could write an entire book-length post about all the things Procreate does and does well, but honestly the best way to find out is to download it and start playing with it yourself. At $9.99 for a ONE TIME PRICE, how could you really not give it a try?

 
 

 
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Linea

$7.99 | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Linea was the first sketching app designed for Apple Pencil. It’s super simple and has just enough of the necessary things you’d want to use in drawing app without the complexity of additional tools designed for creating fully-rendered images. The suite of basic brushes you have to work with are simple, which means you’ll focus more on getting your initial idea down in a visual form than worrying about a finished image.

 
linea.jpg
 

The app really shines as an easy way to visually brainstorm your ideas or just mindlessly sketch without much concern for finished artwork pieces. It is the app that I would say most closely resembles physically tools right out of the box without much tweaking of brushes or settings. There are several default background textures to draw on such as Paper Grain, Butcher’s Paper (brown), Gray Bristol, Black Construction, and my favorite…Blueprint. A couple of white pencil lines on the blueprint background and I feel like some kind of futuristic industrial engineer. It’s just incredibly fun to play with.

Key Features:

  • Move / Transform tool

  • Image Import

  • ZipLine

  • Supports iOS’s Drag and Drop

  • 5 Layers total

  • Touch Eraser

The iPad version has recently changed name from Linea to Linea Sketch and they’ve just released a version for iPhone called Linea Go. Additionally, you can get Linea Link from the Mac App Store which will allow you to import your Linea sketches into any desktop art app to render the image further should you wish.

 
 

 
sketchbook.jpg
 

Autodesk Sketchbook

Free | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Autodesk Sketchbook, or just “Sketchbook” for regular users, is a powerful entry to the iPad art landscape. The software has been around for a while in the form of two versions; Sketchbook and Sketchbook Pro. “Pro” had a variety of extra features for a yearly subscription price. Well, since the beginning of 2018, Autodesk has made the total suite of features found in the Pro edition, free for everyone! The updated app is now simply, “Autodesk Sketchbook”, the “Pro” having been dropped from the title.

 
Autodesk Sketchbook iOS.jpg
 

Now that we got that bit of background out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks which sounds like it hurts. Sketchbook is excellent at a variety of artistic uses. It has a very minimalist UI and even the minor toolbars that you see you are able to hide with the touch of one button which gives you a true 100% drawing field that takes up the whole screen. It’s fantastic at sketching (sure hope so) as well working on completed art. It has had useful features such as Symmetry for a long time before Procreate got them. It also has a couple of key features that Procreate still lacks, a basic shape tool and Predictive Stroke. Both are very pleasing to work with on the iPad. In addition, it also includes the Copic Color Library which is absolutely wonderful.

Key Features:

  • Scan Sketch, imports line art via camera with transparent background

  • Incognito UI

  • Over 190 built-in brushes, all customizable

  • PSD compatible

  • Predictive Stroke

  • Copic Color Library

Sketchbook excels at creating art AND for more “practical” applications such as industrial design, something very few apps can say. The best part of all? It’s FREE. So there really isn’t any excuse to not give it a test drive.

 
 

 
Artstudio Pro icon
 

Artstudio Pro

$11.99 | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Artstudio Pro looks and functions a lot like if someone had redesigned Adobe Photoshop for the iPad with an increased focus on drawing and simplified the interface. For those who have used Photoshop in the past as their primary art creation software, Artstudio Pro may make for an easy transition to working on an iPad. It’s even fully compatible with Photoshop brushes.

 
Artstudio Pro.png
 

Key Features:

  • Photoshop brush compatible

  • Multiple open documents

  • Unlimited layers

  • Non-destructive layer effects

  • 27 blending modes

  • Customizable brushes

  • Professional photo editing capabilities

  • iCloud integration

  • Screen recording

At $11.99, it’s not the cheapest of the top tier art apps for iPad, but it’s only a couple more dollars than most others out there and may make for the easiest transition for those going from Photoshop to the iPad.

 
 

 
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MediBang Paint

Free | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

I’ll admit, I’ve kind of been sleeping on MediBang Paint and forgot it was around. When it came time to dive into again for this blog post, I remembered that there are some genuinely great things about this app worth looking at. It’s a very capable drawing and painting app that is built with creating manga or comic books in mind.

MediBang strikes me as a cleaner version of Clip Studio Paint (which I talk about later) as though someone figured out what the issues of the CSP interface was and fixed them. Oh, and then gave you the app for free. The UI of MediBang isn’t perfect though, there are occasionally issues with certain tools just not being intuitive enough to figure out without experimenting with almost every tool.

medibang paint ipad.png

Key Features:

  • 800 premade tones and backgrounds

  • Easy comic panel creation

  • Comic book fonts and word bubbles

  • Free cloud syncing

  • Transform tool

  • Tutorial video section

  • Shape tool

Cloud syncing is done via MediBang after registering for a free account, so I’m not quite sure about the reliability without testing it more extensively, but so far, so good. The app hasn’t seen much in the way of updates over the last year, but I don’t think there’s anything glaring that needs to be fixed, except I would love to see the small ad banner they display on the menu page be removed, blah, and of course the never-ending quest to make the simplest and most intuitive menus out there. It’s a worthwhile addition to your digital art tool set.

 
 

 
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Infinite Painter

Free / $7.99 for Full Version | Developer Website | Tutorials

I love Infinite Painter if nothing else than their spunkiness. They describe the app on their website as “the most advanced painting app on mobile”. You have to admire the confidence.

The UI is probably the most minimalist of all the art apps on iPad, it’s very pleasing to look at. The default brushes are all very impressive as well as customizable. You can also create your own brushes from imported images which opens the doors for all kinds of possibilities. Like Procreate, Infinite Painter gives you a choice of Light or Dark mode which I always enjoy.

infinite-painter-app.jpg

Key Features:

  • High quality default brushes

  • Export to PSD

  • Gorgeous minimalist user interface

  • Perspective guides

  • Symmetry tools

  • Shape guides

  • Fill tools

  • Cropping

The app is free to download and you’ll get all the extra tools and features for an in-app purchase of $7.99. I like what Infinite Painter has done so far and I’ll be following future developments to see where they go.

 
 

 
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Tayasui Sketches

Free / $5.99 for Pro | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Sketches by Tayasui is another quality entry to the growing field of simple, but capable art apps for the iPad. It’s comparable to Adobe Photoshop Sketch in terms of the layout and tools. It even has the ability to share right to Creative Cloud from the app. You can create sketchbook folders to hold your drawings akin to Paper by 53’s style of sketchbook organization. They’ve taken their time making the tools very life-like and the result is impressive. Olivia de Bona coloring book.

 
Tayasui Sketches iPad.png
 

A slightly hidden feature in the sketchbook library section of the app are free coloring books for you to play with. One is filled with intricate illustrations by acclaimed artist Olivia de Bona and another is the kid-friendly “Carl’s Coloring Book”. Tayasui also has a coloring book app that focuses and just these for those interested.

Key Features:

  • 20 realistic tools

  • Incredibly realistic watercolor brushes

  • Import and export PSD files

  • Folders

  • Export to Creative Cloud

The basic app has a lot to play with for free, but you can also upgrade to the Pro version for only $5.99. That’ll give you unlimited layers, more tools, gradients, color palettes, color mixing, brush size and opacity customization, collapsible UI, screen recording, paper textures, lined and grid paper.

 
 

 
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Astropad

Standard $29.99 / Studio $79.99 yearly | Developer Website | Official Tutorials

Astropad, simply put, is the app that allows you to use your iPad like a graphics tablet for your Mac. This is a great way to go if you want to utilize the same art creation software you are used to on your Mac with the added convenience of the iPad’s sleek and minimal design and the excellent Apple Pencil.

astropad-app.jpg

There are two flavors of Astropad: Standard and Studio. Both work incredibly fast and smooth. You can use your iPad either via USB or WiFi to your Mac and enjoy working from your couch with battery life that isn’t diminished by using the app.

The differences…

Standard: Standard is pretty much just that, a standard way of broadcasting your Mac’s screen to your iPad.

Studio: Promises more customization, frequent updates to the app, priority customer support while also offering gestures and other unique controls Astropad has created specially for their platform.

The other major difference that stands out is that while any iPad-compatible stylus can be used with Astropad Standard, Astropad Studio is Apple Pencil only. Honestly I don’t think that’s that big of deal as after using a variety of the styli available, Apple Pencil is the one you’ll want to use for serious creative work anyway. I think Astropad Standard is more than enough for the majority oof users and it’s absolutely worth the money if you want to use the convenience and quality of an iPad Pro and Apple pencil with desktop software.

 
 

Honorable Mentions:

Comic Draw

Price: Free for 14 Days, then $9.99

comic-draw-ipad.jpg

Comic Draw is the only app I’ve seen that focuses specifically on creating comic books from start to finish. It may just be the perfect app for the budding comic book artist. The app itself is divided into three sections: script, artwork, and lettering. The script portion is pretty handy as you can pull from it easily when you get to the lettering step. The art creation portion of the app is relatively simple, honestly it can’t complete with most of the other top tier drawing apps out there in this regard. The lettering portion is really cool since it’s the only app I’ve seen on the iPad that does this.

The app is an excellent example of the possibilities of an app focused on creating one type of thing only; comic books in this case. However, updates are few and far between and I haven’t seen any significant improvement of the app after its initial release. I’d love to use it more if it was refined as other apps have been and the art and lettering capabilities improved.

Clip Studio Paint

Price: Free for 6 months, then $4.49 or $8.99 per month

Clip Studio Paint.jpg

The desktop version of Clip Studio has a huge following worldwide. Comic book artists and illustrators have enjoyed it as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop for artwork and the app itself is focused on comic and manga art. When CSP announced that they would be releasing a 1-to-1 translation of the software for iPad, it was met by much fervor by the devoted fanbase. For me, I found the desktop version to be a clunky user interface without much in the way of any design aesthetic and since the iOS version is identical, it brings over all the same issues. That may sound pretentious, but in the age of clean, minimal mobile apps, CSP looks like something that was designed for Windows 95.

On top of all that, the makers of Clip Studio Paint have decided to go with a subscription model to use the app. That’s a non-starter for me personally. They won’t even allow you to sync your work to the cloud unless you subscribe and even then it’s the proprietary CSP cloud which I have read numerous complaints about. If you’re 100% invested into Clip Studio, then hey, this probably is awesome for you, but if not, there are cheaper and easier-to-use options out there. I would honestly give it more of a try if they just dumped the subscriptions and went with a one-time purchase price, but what can you do?

Tayasui Memopad

Price: Free, $1.99 for all tools

Tayasui Memopad.jpg

Memopad is another slick, minimalist drawing app from Tayasui. It’s probably the cleanest and simplest drawing app that’s out there for iOS. If you just want to doodle or you are looking for an app for children to play with, this is a great option. It’s also free or only $1.99 to unlock all the tools so it’s not much of an investment.


Inspire Pro

Price: $9.99

Inspire Pro was one of the first painting apps that I can remember coming out for iPad. It really gave us a glimpse of the awesome possibilities of the iPad as the hardware and OS improved. The current version of the app still works well, but it may lag behind some of the other art apps out there like Procreate or Artstudio Pro in terms of tools and user interface, but not by much.

For an app that has been created by a small group of developers from Ottawa, Canada, there’s a lot to play with here and enjoy. They’re promising a larger update in the future as well, so time will tell what the future of Inspire Pro looks like.

ArtRage

Price: $4.99

ArtRage.jpg

ArtRage is one of those apps that most artists haven’t run into even though it was one of the original art apps for the iPad. I really only see people using it in Europe or advertisements in the English magazine ImagineFX. It focuses primarily on recreating the effects of physical materials and textures almost to a fault.

The app itself seems like it’s still stuck in the skeuomorphism of early iOS apps. It’s an interesting option and pretty cheap at only $4.99, but it may only appeal to certain artists going for a certain look. ArtRage might also be a good option to give to the kids to play with as it resembles natural media so much. The app is updated frequently, but it doesn’t appear they are going to update the basic look and function of the app anytime soon so it’s hard to recommend to most users.

Forge

Price: $3.99

Forge.jpg

Forge is an interesting app that focuses on brainstorming, ideation, and prototyping. You are able to start a “project” which can include imported images or drawings created within the app.

The drawing tools are limited, but they’re designed that way so you focus more on the raw creation of your idea. It’s probably the closest thing I’ve seen to a whiteboard in app form. You can touch, move, and reorder images all around your project space like they were post-it notes on the wall.

It’s pretty impressive actually. For cloud syncing you can link with Dropbox or Creative Cloud. For a purely artist use, it doesn’t make much sense to use it, but for creative teams, it could be pretty amazing.


Didn’t Make the Cut:

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper was one of the original sketching apps created for iPad back when all we had to play with were those awful rubber stylus’. It wasn’t great, but it was better than nothing. Paper has retained the skeuomorphism style of that period of apps which can sometimes be disorienting. The basic app is free, but the real reason I can’t recommend it is that they’ve put the advanced tools and iCloud syncing behind a subscription paywall that costs $11.99 for a year or $7.99 for six months. Bad, FiftyThree. Bad

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Adobe Photoshop Sketch…what a ridiculous name. It’s not Photoshop, and it’s sketching capabilities aren’t that impressive. The main selling point here is it’s a way to quickly get some ideas down and then have those ideas accessible to your suite of Creative Cloud apps, providing you’re a subscriber. Without being invested into Creative Cloud, there isn’t much reason to use it compared to all the other great options.

Morpholio Trace

An app designed specifically with architects in mind. It’s an impressive app in the vein of Concepts, but unless you’re an interior designer or an architect, it’s nothing that you’d really need. It also uses a subscription model for unlimited access to all the tools which is why I couldn’t recommend it. You guys are killing me with these subscriptions. Knock it off.

That’s all my reviews of the standouts of drawing apps for the iPad. I’m working on another post that will discuss all the vector apps worth talking about. I left them out of this post because vector apps are typically used for graphic design purposes rather than freeform drawing or painting. Plus this post was getting crazy long if I included those. Until the next one…