It’s no secret that technology is an increasing part of our daily lives. This is especially true for artists. Of course, as artists, it’s a welcomed thing since exploring new mediums is a crucial part of growing as an artist. This is true whether you are just starting out or have years of experience. And now with the ever-growing demand for digital art, there is an ever-increasing large variety of tools available.
In this article, I will sift through the myriad of different drawing apps and narrow it down to the 7 best drawing apps of 2020.
In no particular order, I have listed them below.
Table of Contents
At this time of writing Procreate is in it’s 4th and best version in my opinion, and it is easily one of the best drawing apps on the market.
Procreate has a ton of features and it is suitable for artists of all levels.
Some of the main features include 136 brushes with customizable settings for every brush, ultra-high-def 4K canvases, up to 128 layers, 250 levels of undo and redo, special effects and drawing guides.
It is a feature-packed app for an iPad and works great with the Apple Pencil. What I personally like most about the Procreate app is the friendly user interface. Out of all of the apps tested in this article, Procreate is near the top of the chart for user-friendliness without a doubt.
Like any app, it’s not perfect and it does have some faults. One of the main being it’s only available for iPad or iPhone which does put me off as I use an iPad and Android mobile phone combination. It also does not have any animation tools and as the app is quite pricey there is no free version to sample the app.
Platform : Android & iOS
Tayasui in Japanese translates to “simple”. Therefore the whole purpose of this app is to allow artists to create art in a digital medium with ease. Quite often apps don’t live up to the hype but this one did.
Tayasui Sketches is known for having the most realistic brushes and a sensation that mimics the feel of a pen and paint on paper. Other features include unlimited layers, patterns, gradient, color mix and a variety of gesture controls.
Despite all these features, the user interface and app functions still retain a clean look and are simple to use. What I liked most about the app is when you open it for the first time it feels like a sketchbook, a blank canvas ready to be transformed into something amazing.
The only problem I have with Tayasui Sketches is that the brushes are not as customizable as some of the other apps in this article. Now that’s not the end of the world but it’s worth bringing up because maybe the developers will consider adding more customization in the future.
Platform : Android & iOS
Art Rage is another great app that is worthy of a mention in this article. Initially, it was designed as a free app but now has moved more over to a paid app with a hefty fee of $79.
ArtRage was designed to focus on art, not navigating a mass of tool settings. Where this app particularly excels is in the unique way it handles traditional tools. The colours mix not only looks like paint but also behaves like paint. While interacting with the canvas there is a visible impasto thickness, smooth flowing brushstrokes, and grainy texture.
The kind of texture that you have to create in other software with layer overlays comes completely naturally with every stroke in ArtRage.
Some of the user experience is awkward, for example when changing brushes and brush sizes I often found myself hitting other brushes and settings that I didn’t mean to. The fee is also off-putting for hobbyist artists.
4. Art in a Sec
Art in a Sec is a brand-new way to create original art with the help of artificial intelligence. It produces visually stunning artworks from your already existing photos or drawings.
This is for someone who is looking to simply pick an art style, upload a photo and let the AI do the rest. There is nothing else quite like it.
What I like most about Art in a Sec is that the AI software allows you to create art in the style of your favorite artists in seconds. If your a hobbyist or you’re still trying to find your style it can give you a lot of inspiration.
The AI does all the work so you don’t really get to create the art in a traditional way.
ArtFlow aims to turn your real sketchbook into a digital workspace. Some features include palm rejection to prevent accidental zooming, smudge tool, gradient fill, 10 layer filters, custom brushes from imported images, and all kinds of other stuff which make this an interesting app to try.
Lacking in layers and unlimited undo can be problematic and caused me quite a bit of frustration when testing the app.
Platform : Android and iOS
SketchBook offers an uncluttered workspace with quick access to your tools. SketchBook has a wide range of features such as 190 brushes that you can customize, predictive stroke assistive technology that will make your lines smooth and straight.
Furthermore, SketchBook can also transform your paper-based line drawings into digital form.
Some quick how-to demos within the program would be helpful as there is quite a steep learning curve initially.
Platform: Any device
MediBang is very popular for creating comic art and manga.
It sports many features like customizable brushes, pressure sensitivity, layer control, and tutorials. I included MediBang in this list as it’s different from all of the apps listed and discovering new types of art styles should be something we all aspire to do.
The advertisements that pop up when opening the app can be annoying at times but overall they don’t distract too much away from the drawing experience.
As artists, it’s important to find the optimal way to express our creativity. An approach we often take is to narrow it down based on which features are most important for our workflow and which cons are an absolute dealbreaker.
In truth, any one of these apps is a great tool for an artist. The most important thing, as always, is to enjoy the process.