Five Best Tablet Drawing Apps

Five Best Tablet Drawing Apps If you have a tablet and want to express your creativity, there are plenty of great apps you can use to pass the time doodling or to create beautiful digital art. If you have a stylus, they're even easier to use, but most of them only require a steady finger and a good imagination to make something beautiful. This week we're going to look at five of the best tablet drawing apps, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week, we asked you which tablet drawing apps you used when you felt creative. You responded with some great nominations, and now we're back to take a look at the top five.

The poll is closed and the votes are counted! To find out who took the top prize, head over to our weekly hive five followup post to see and discuss the winner!

Sketchbook Express for iOS/Express for Android/Mobile for Android/Pro/Pro for Android (iOS: Free/$4.99, Android: Free/$1.99/$4.99)

Autodesk's Sketchbook series comes in multiple flavors for multiple platforms, and in each one of them you get a clean UI, plenty of tools to make your ideas come to life on your tablet's display even if you're using the free versions of the app, a full multi-touch interface that works best with a stylus (but doesn't require one), layers, tons of brushes, pens, and drawing tools, and the ability to undo and redo—all things you would expect from a well built drawing app. If you want more brushes or tools, you can always get more via in-app purchases. When you're finished with your masterpiece, you can save it to your gallery or photo roll or share it with the world.


Paper (iOS: Free)

Paper is iOS only, but it's made waves for its unique and beautiful approach to a drawing app. Create your notebooks based on date, theme, or whatever you want to draw, and set to work. You get some basic brushes and colors out of the gate, so it's perfect for idle doodling, but you unearth the app's real potential pretty quickly when you start playing with watercolors and the app's multiple pen and brush styles. Finally, your work is saved as you progress inside of the app, but you can always share your photos with friends on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. Paper is completely free—all of the additional brushes, notebooks, features, and tools are available in the app through in-app purchases when you need them, and you can try them before you buy.


Procreate (iOS: $4.99)

Procreate earned high praise from many of you for being immensely feature rich, fast, and full of tools for the price you pay to get it. The app offers hundreds of drawing and illustration tools packed into a streamlined interface, including 16 layers to your images and the ability to control them all, a wealth of brushes and drawing tools and the ability to tweak those brushes and styles with dozens of options, 100 undo/redo strokes, auto-saving while you draw, all wrapped up in a gorgeous UI that makes being creative that much more fun. When you're all fnished, you can save your work to your gallery, or you can even export your image to Adobe Photoshop so you can take over on the desktop.


Artrage (iPhone: $1.99/iPad: $6.99)

ArtRage for iPhone and iPad do a great job at bringing the long-standing and popular ArtRage for Mac and Windows to tablet screens. The app combines a natural drawing interface with tons of brushes and other painting and drawing tools you may be accustomed to using on canvas or paper. Sure, you have a paintbrush and a pen, but you also have a palette knife, watercolor brush, and the ability to control all of those brushes while you work. Select whether you're working on canvas or paper, with watercolors, oil, or acrylic paint, even reference images to "tape" on your canvas to look at while you work or trace in pencil. Where other drawing apps walk the line between being an illustration studio combined with a causal doodling tool, Artrage very much a serious painting and drawing tool. Don't let the price tag fool you, it's feature-packed, and friendly for both beginners and experienced illustrators.


Infinite Design/Free (Android: Free/$4.99)

The only nominee in our roundup that's Android-only, Infinite Design gives you the tools you need to doodle, make handwritten notes, and draw beautiful and intricate designs on your Android device's display with ease. Infinite Design features an infinitely zooming canvas, canvas rotation, and canvas-wide effects you can apply to your artwork, and multiple brushes and drawing tools you can use to make your ideas come to life. The app allows you to draw vector graphics, tweak them using multi-touch gestures, and saves your work as you draw. When you're finished, you can export your work to your gallery as JPGs, PNGs, or SVGs so you can work with them again later. The app is fast, and works just as well for quick sketches and doodles as it does for meticulous designs and drawings. If you like Infinite Design, Infinite Painter, from the same developer, is also worth a look.


Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to vote for the all out winner.


Honorable mention this week goes out to Sketch Club (iOS: $2.99), which many of you praised for its price and online gallery full of user-submitted artwork. Based on the nominations, it's clear there aren't too many popular drawing apps for Android devices and tablets yet (or at least none with enough momentum to earn your nominations), but we're hoping that changes soon.

Have something to say about the nominees that we missed? Did your favorite not get enough nominations to be included? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it's not because we hate it—it's because it didn't get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it's a bit of a popularity contest, but if you have a favorite, we want to hear about it. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Photo by Marcus Kwan.

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