Bring out your inner Michelangelo with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

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Animation Desk Cloud

animation-desk-cloud

Animation Desk Cloud isn’t a new app, but what is new is the software’s compatibility with the Apple Pencil. As the title suggests, Kdan’s Animation Desk probably isn’t for you if you’re simply into sketching — what it is good for, however, is animating. It’s a relatively basic app, to be sure, but one that comes at a price of zero dollars and zero cents if you don’t opt for the in-app purchases. If you’re looking to try your hand at animation, Desk Cloud is the app to do it with.

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iTunes

Pigment

Pigment

Pigment is the ultimate adult coloring app for grown-ups and kids alike. It actually feels like you’re using a coloring book and colored pencils. It supports the Apple Pencil — which makes it extra fun to color inside the lines — and offers more than 200 professional illustrations, along with eight different kinds of pencils, markers, and brushes. Your color choices are unlimited, and when you finish your masterpieces, you can instantly share them with family and friends or print them out to stick on the fridge. Plus, there are paid add-ons for those who want more options and coloring designs.

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iTunes

Concepts

best ipad pro drawing apps concepts app1

Like Animation Desk Cloud, Concepts is built with a specific purpose in mind — design. Home design, industrial design — you name it and Concepts can help you envision it. The app includes many of the tools you would expect from a design app, including support for infinite layers (or at least as many as the iPad can handle), and the ability to export in both SVG or CAD formats. Don’t take our word for it, though, because the reviews speak for themselves. The current version of the app has a cool 4.5-star rating on the App Store. Like many other apps on this list, the app is free but offers in-app purchases.

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iTunes

uMake

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 12.48.59 PM

This app is great for modelers and designers who make 3D objects or plans. With uMake, designers can draw in two dimensions on an axis to render 3D images on the iPad Pro. You can make sketches revolve or extrude for a recursive effect. Once you’ve sketched out the design in 2D, you can alter the 3D rendering to meet your exact specifications. When finished, uMake offers the ability to export your creations in PNG, IGES, and OBJ file formats. The app is free, but to get the full feature set, you’ll need to pay $10 a month or $100 a year.

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iTunes

Pixelmator ($5)

pixelmator

Pixelmator may not be free, but it also isn’t a bad app. From cropping to retouching, sketching to blending, Pixelmator does it all — and the results speak for themselves. The app includes a host of tools and pays close attention to how you use your Apple Pencil. In fact, dozens of the brushes included in the app feature full support for the Apple Pencil, meaning it could possibly replace the professional tool set you may have used before the iPad. Sure, the app is $5, but it also doesn’t have any in-app purchases. It’s also important to note that Pixelmator places its emphasis on its robust tool set rather than its simplicity, at least according to some of the app comments. If you’re willing to take the time to learn how to use the software, however, this might be the app for you. If not, it might be better to look elsewhere.

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iTunes

Procreate ($10)

Procreate

Procreate is perhaps the most professional and well-rounded drawing app on this list, but it will set you back $10. It comes equipped with a full set of drawing tools that expertly imitate real creative implements, such as soft pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, graphite pencils of varying hardness, acrylic, oil, watercolors, and more. Whatever the medium, Procreate’s digital tools will give you the full effect and appearance of the real thing. You can even smudge, blur, and manipulate your strokes just as you would on paper or canvas.

Its 64-bit painting engine, Silica, is lightning fast and responsive, and on the iPad Pro with Pencil, drawing or painting on Procreate feels even more natural. You can add a number of layers and decide how high-res you want your canvas to be. On the Pro, it can go up to 16K resolution with 64-bit color, and you can export your artwork as PSD, PNG, JPG, or Procreate files. The app also helps you build a portfolio and share your work if you so desire.

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iTunes

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper

FiftyThree’s Paper has long been one of the best iPad drawing apps, but it’s become even more versatile in the past year. The app now has diagramming and note-taking tools in addition to the standard creative tool suite it’s always had. You get a watercolor brush, calligraphy pen, pencil, marker, ballpoint pen, eraser, paint roller, scissors, and a ruler. You can even import or take pictures, and mark them up with text or drawings.

All your creations are easily shared to FiftyThree’s creative community called Mix, your camera roll, other apps for further edits, messaging apps, or to the social network of your choosing. Of course, using Apple’s Pencil and iPad Pro with the app is seamless, as FiftyThree worked closely with Apple to optimize Paper on the new hardware.

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iTunes

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Adobe

Adobe’s entire iOS app suite works extremely well on the iPad Pro, but we’ll highlight Sketch in particular as our favorite drawing app of the bunch. You can create expressive drawings and paintings on it without opening a sketchbook. Artwork can be sent as layered PSD files to Adobe Photoshop CC or resized up to 4 times in Illustrator CC to print high-resolution copies.

The app includes 14 tools, a digital ruler, and graph guides. You can also import your own images or stock photos to work on top of. Using the Creative Cloud connection, you can send a file to Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC on your PC or share your art with the Behance creative community.

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iTunes

Zen Brush 2 ($3)

best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

With Apple Pencil support, Zen Brush 2 lets you create beautifully drawn art that focuses on the look and feel of the East Asian ink brush. The app lets you choose from a big collection of backgrounds to show off your art or calligraphy. The app also allows you to share your work right to your Facebook or Twitter feed. If you don’t have an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, you’ll be happy to know this app is also compatible with the Wacom Intuos and Adonit Jot.

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iTunes

Tayasui Sketches

Tayasui

Tayasui Sketches looks simple and clean, but it offers a number of different brushes for free and a clutter-free space to draw. You get a pencil, rotring, watercolor brush, felt pen, and eraser for free. You can import photos, too, if you want, and it’s really easy to share your sketches on social networks or via email.

It’s great for illustration and quick sketches, but if you make the in-app purchase, it can become a professional drawing app with surface pressure, layers, types of paper, more brushes, and the ability to change brush sizes. The app lets you try the pro features for an hour, so you can decide if it’s worth the $5 price tag. Regardless of whether you pay for the pro, you can organize your sketches and creations into different notebooks in the app, which makes it easier to keep track of everything. Thanks to the backup feature, you won’t have to worry about losing your work.

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iTunes

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