Top Five Artists Paint and Draw Apps Artists have some excellent choices in the painting and drawing app category. These are full artists studios, with multiple media and serious controls. Most also have iPhone apps, and can use the camera or clipboard. Many have control over things like taper and drop-off on the strokes. All of these are very strong, and it would be difficult to pick a favorite.
My top five favorites in alphabetical order are:
ArtRage ... ArtRage is principally a traditional media simulator,and has been around for several years before the advent of tablets, so it is quite well developed. It has many different media, each with a set of controls (up to 8 variables, for watercolor) and some useful pre-sets for each, (up to 12, again for watercolor.) The presets are a handy way to learn how the variables work: load in a preset, then go to the control panel and see what has changed. The layers have nine control options, and way too many blending modes. It can load in an existing image, or start from scratch. A reference photo can be pinned to the screen which is particular useful. It can record the actions, but cannot play them back due to memory constraints. It is a memory hungry app, especially if there are layers involved, and work best with no other app in active memory. Particularly strong oil paint. No filters or global color manipulations. It can resize up to 2048 x 2048. The iPhone app has a smaller subset of functions.
ArtStudio ... ArtStudio is a hybrid, with both paint and image processing functions, and is the most like Photoshop of any so far. In addition to traditional and some digital media, it also has text, clone, heal, blur and sharpen, dodge and burn. It also has strong basic editing and color adjustment functions, multiple filters, and very good selection tools. It can paste from the clipboard or import from several sources, (it will resize images that are too large) and all the usual export options. The iPhone version seems to be as large as the iPad. Very large, well designed.
Procreate ... Procreate has tradiational and digital brushes and media, and places to make sets of your favorites. The smudge and erase functions use the same controls as the brushes. It has very good layer tools, which can be resized, rotated, and flipped. The global color manipulations can be found in the l;ayer tools. It has great smudging and good pastels, and can record the actions.
SketchBook Pro ... Sketchbook Pro also has both traditional and digital media, with many, many preset brushes or you can make your own. It has excellent controls for most options, and some fun special effects. It has text, layers, and symmetry functions, but no filters or selection tools. It also has the capability to time-lapse record your actions.
Sketch Club ... Sketch Club, also with some traditional and digital media brushes, has symmetry options and an assortment of shapes and abstract brushes.. The global color controls can be found under the layer control options. It can record, has some resizing options, and can work with Pogo and other pressure sensitive styluses. No camera function.
Nancy Freeman is a native of California who lives now in Washington, DC. A lifelong artist, she paints portraits and other commissions for a living, which keeps her traditional skills tuned and supports her decades-old obsession with computer art, and pastel painting.
She is currently using her 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th computers, but remembers when Dick Tracy had to make do with a two-way wrist radio.