So I don’t know about you but who here loves art? I know I’m currently just words on a screen and I can’t see you physically see jumping out of your chair and belting out “MeEeEeE!!!” At the top of your lungs, but that’s how I choose to imagine the readers of this article are reacting when reading this article…. no…. it’s only me who does that… ok… I’ll go home. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a quality Shane Dawson reference.
Anyway, let’s get back on topic. So I guess I should give some credentials on why it might be safe to trust my opinion when it comes to iPad art apps. I’ve been doing graphic design since I was 15 when I took an elective my freshman year of high school and fell in love with it. I’m almost 26 now, so you do the math. I’m not here to do math, I’m here to teach (I think). So here it goes, these are the 5 iPad apps I think every graphic designer/artist (from beginner to seasoned veteran) should have in there arsenal.
1. Procreate ($4.99)
This app is a game changer for me personally. You will need an Apple Pencil for this, but hopefully you already have one. If you don’t, it’s a pretty solid investment for someone who owns an iPad. There is just so much you can do with it.
I was always the type of person to doodle in my sketchbook with my trusty pen or pencil. Which I still love to do, but with procreate you get all the same freedoms (and more) as using paper/sketchbook/canvas which is such a cool idea to me. I never really have much direction when I’m doing my personal doodles, so having access to every color or brush you could imagine is one of the most freeing experiences when your sitting down to have some some artistic release.
Pretty much anything you want to accomplish artistically you can do within this app. You can paint/spray paint, do calligraphy, word art, cartooning, realistic paintings… etc. ANYTHING. To me it’s like an easier version of Adobe Illustrator. So, you get all the “pro’s” of pen and paper, and access to layers, effects, and so much more. I feel that procreate has made me a better artist by having so much freedom to really get creative with my art.
The last HUGE plus to procreate is that when your finished making your personal masterpiece, you can export it to pretty any format you would like, and you have the ability to export a time lapse of your entire drawing.
2. Adobe Lightroom (“free”)
By “free” I mean you will need a subscription to adobe to use all the features that Lightroom has to offer, but the iPad app is a free version with the majority of the features available. Adobe has tons of pricing plans, to fit your needs, especially for students. Adobe is currently under the impression I am a student, but shhhh, don’t tell on me. Plus that subscription will come in handy with a couple other apps on this list.
Lightroom is an amazingly simple to use app that you can create/edit the most beautiful pictures. The biggest downside is that it is such a powerful app that you can over edit your pictures until they are a Frankenstein of your original image, and not in a good way. Most typically, Lightroom is used by photographers but I believe learning to use it can take your art to the next level.
3. Adobe Spark Post ($10.99 a month)
So this is a newer app by Adobe specifically made for their mobile and iPad users. It is $10.99 a month for this single app. Or you can sign up for certain packages that include Adobe Spark.
I use Spark to create Instagram layouts for branding for a couple companies I do work for. It’s also great for making advertisements and fliers for all platforms. It has almost any sizing presets you could ask for. It’s perfect for creating fast, engaging, advertisements and fliers. Overall it just makes your life easier, and who doesn’t want things to be easier.
4. Adobe Sketchbook (free)
Now this is pretty similar to procreate, with less features, but is perfect for you if you are working with a small budget. It’s great for doodling and sketching to your hearts content. It’s pretty intuitive with your Apple Pencil and overall has a pretty good UI. It just doesn’t have the amazing features that would make it the “full package”, that’s why it’s not higher on the list.
5. Pigment (free)
Ok, ok, ok. I know this isn’t your typical design app, because, well… you can’t design anything. It’s a coloring book on your iPad. I know that some people are thinking, “why would I want a coloring book? I’m not 5 years old.” Well I think it’s a great thing to have because sometimes it’s nice not to think and just have some fun. I love all the different themed books to choose from, especially the marvel comic book pages.