drawing apps

Best drawing apps

Drawing, sketching and painting are aesthetically pleasing and therapeutic hobbies. Like photography and other visual art forms, they can also become very expensive. However, did you know you could indulge in this activity from the comfort of your everyday phone? 

There are a variety of apps available for both Android and iPhone that allow you to draw and paint to your heart’s content. Here’s our list of the best drawing apps available in 2023.

Best for relaxing - Paint By Number


Available on Android and Apple

Paint By Number is a calming, simple and uncomplicated method of painting. It is, perhaps, one of the most popular beginner apps. This app has a drawn picture that you can fill in with colour, similar to colouring books, but virtually. 

Simply choose a picture you want to colour from the app’s Library, and then use the palette provided to paint each section in. 

Best for learning - SketchBook


Available on Android and Apple

SketchBook gives you a blank canvas that you can just draw anything onto. There are no rules or restrictions on what you can draw. You can either sign in to the app and save your creations, or just start drawing without an account. 

The app will want access to your device’s media to store the array of drawing tools on offer, such as the line art scanner, different brush volumes, and predictive stroke to guide your drawings. You can also add edits to your art, like symmetry and text, as well as choosing certain drawing tools and colours. 

You can save and share your drawing once completed. 

Best for realism - Infinite Painter

Free, but in-app purchases for more options

Available on Android and Apple

With access to over 160 preset brushes, the ability to create your own brushes, and a bunch of advanced tools, this painting app offers a more technical approach to the art form. 

You can create realistic digital paintings on different paper textures, adjusting colour, pattern, filters from pre-taken photos, or painting your own using different guides like Line, Ellipse, Pen, Lazy, and Protractor. You can also draw in 3D and transform any image using a large collection of tools: Translate, Scale, Rotate, Flip, Distort, Crop and Skew.

Once you are happy with your completed project, you can export the images as picture files, add them to your gallery, or share with the Infinite Painter community. Try their time lapse feature to showcase your painting process.

Best for experienced artists - ArtRage

£4.79 on Android and £4.99 on Apple

ArtRage is another app that allows you to paint more professionally, using a wide range of tools to create watercolour and oil digital pictures. 

Available on smartphones, tablets, Windows and Mac computers, it contains a variety of canvases, paper textures, pencils, brushes, crayons and rollers. It monitors the amount of “paint” you have placed on the page, and allows you to smudge and blend paint that is still considered to be wet. 

With Photoshop blending models also supported by ArtRage, this app is perfect for the avid designer. 

Best for Adobe users - Adobe Illustrator Draw

Free, but in-app purchases for more options

Available on Android

Much like the other creative software launched by Adobe, they also have a drawing app available for smartphones and desktops. 

You can pick your virtual canvas sizes (up to 8K) to print your photo true to size. And with the option to zoom up to 64x, you’ll be able to see all the finer details, even on a little screen. The app also offers five different pen tips for various types of lines and appearances. 

You can export your painting onto other devices to save your work.

Bonus - Best tablets for drawing

It’s all good having a list of drawing apps, but if painting is your passion, you’ll want a device specifically designed to create your digital masterpieces on. While smartphones are handy for portability and convenience, tablets are a better option for drawing, as they have larger screens.

Here’s a few tablets that are perfect for budding artists:

XP-PEN Artist12

  • HD Display - provides clear, vivid colours and sharp details for paintings, without blurring and losing focus when you zoom in
  • Touch bar - this touch bar can be programmed with different hotkeys to make digital painting easier, such as zoom, scroll, or selecting different areas of the canvas
  • Grip - it has a non-slip grip which, combined with the hexagonal shape of the electronic device, makes it easier to hold onto for longer periods
  • Eraser - the touch pen also has an eraser on the end to remove errors

Wacom One

  • Beginners - better for beginners as the budget-friendly device was designed with amateur artists in mind
  • Sizes - you can get this tablet in either 22 or 45 inches
  • Battery-free - the tablet and pen are battery-free, so you can work whenever you want to. Simply plug it in with the USB cable
  • Pen - the drawing pen responds to 2,000 different levels of pressure, so you can design anything you want, without having to worry about being restricted based on your application method

Huion H420

  • Graphics - this tablet is suitable for graphic designers who draw in a professional, business capacity, as it’s compatible with multiple platforms like Corel Painter, Adobe’s creative software, Corel Draw, Autodesk MAYA, and Macromedia Flash
  • Pen - again, the pen responds to more than 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity so you don’t have to compromise your style or technique to accommodate the digital pen

There are many other tablets out there that can also be used for the job. Anything with a big enough screen is suitable for these drawing apps, but you can also simply download them on to your smartphone. Prefer a phone over a tablet? You can browse Asda Mobile’s online range of mobile phones.

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