For those who can’t afford a fancy drawing tablet, or those who simply wish to have a more convenient way of drawing, mobile drawing apps are the perfect solution. They’re quick to access, don’t require any extensive set-up, and are usually free to use or try out.
The iOS app store in particular has quite a few drawing apps, which have a variety features to make for high-quality drawing programs.
Best drawing app for iPhone
After Adobe Photoshop Sketch announced they were no longer supporting the app at the start of 2022, there’s a real gap in the market for drawing iPhone apps. Adobe Photoshop Sketch has been the front runner for a while, but there’s plenty of competition.
We’ll go through 5 of the best drawing apps for iPhone in this article. These apps were chosen with price in mind, and the range of features available. They’re either a free drawing app or have low one-off payments and limited in-app purchases too.
#6 – Infinite Painter
Pro version – £8.99 (one-time payment).
Infinite Painter is free to download, but most features are locked unless you purchase the pro version. There’s a 7-day free trial that starts immediately after installing the drawing app, so you have time to try the it out.
Infinite Painter is an award-winning drawing program, with a variety of features designed to suit artists of all levels.
They have all the basic drawing program features, as well as some tools more unique to the app. The app has almost over 150 brushes, including watercolours, calligraphy pens, and charcoals. You can also create your own custom brushes using the brush editor settings.
Furthermore, Infinite Painter has one of the best sensitivity settings amongst mobile drawing apps. You can alter the sensitivity levels to your liking, in the settings.
There’s also a time-lapse feature, which records your drawing progress whilst you’re on the app. This is convenient for creating drawing videos, and sharing it with others.
Overall, the app has great sensitivity, which allows for more control over your brush strokes. It also has a great range of features, and many brushes to choose from.
#5 – iArtbook
Pro version – £4.49 (one-time payment).
iArtbook is completely free to use, but some features are locked or limited unless you purchase the pro version.
iArtbook is a free professional painting program.
The app has a stabiliser automatically enabled, which can help control or smooth out lines. This allows for more accurate drawing, and is especially helpful if you’re drawing with your finger in place of a stylus.
There’s a wide range of brush options to choose from, many of which can be combined to create different brush types. You can also customise each brush option individually, and create custom brushes this way. You can also add and customise new brush options, and create different combos.
The app also has a time-lapse video recording feature, which is enabled by default. This allows artists to record their drawing progress, and share the videos with others.
Overall, the app is great for those who wish to have a lot if control over their brushes. The program is also free to use, and offers a good variety of tools in the free version. The pro version is also one of the cheapest amongst drawing programs, and doesn’t require a subscription.
#4 – Procreate Pocket
Price: £4.49 (one-time payment).
Procreate Pocket costs £4.49 to download. There’s no subscription services.
Procreate pocket is a version of Procreate, which is a widely popular iOS drawing program, optimised for iPhones. The app has almost all the same features Procreate has, but at a lower price.
You can customise or create custom brushes, manipulate your artwork with the editing features (such as warp meshes, and bounding box adjust and snapping).
There are also a range of gradient maps to choose from, and a time-lapse feature for recording your drawing progress.
Overall, the app allows for professional drawings, and great brush customisation. If you enjoy Procreate, or wish to use it on your phone, consider purchasing the app.
#3 – Sketchbook
Sketchbook is completely free to use. There’s no pro version you can purchase, and all features are available for no cost.
Sketchbook is a free drawing program with a clean UI and no adverts. This allows for a completely disruption-free user experience. The app has all the basic drawing tools, as well as customisable brushes, rulers, and stroke tools. You can collapse all the settings to make for a clean drawing UI.
The app also offers additional features, such as a transform tool selection tool, text, perspective guide, symmetry tool, and more. There’s even a time-lapse tool, which you can use to record your drawing progress.
You can have an unlimited amount of layers, but the layer options are quite limited. You can lock them, or toggle their visibility.
Overall, the app is quite simple, but has a fair range of tools to choose from. Sketchbook’s UI is one of the neatest ones amongst drawing programs, and can appeal to those who want a minimalistic or simple drawing UI.
#2 – Tayasui Sketches
Free. The pro version is available for a one-time payment of £4.99.
We tested out the Tayasui Sketches app and found the free version fairly basic, though very easy to get to grips with the layout and UX of its design.
There’s various different realistic drawing tools for you to choose from when using the app, with some canvas customisation and limited zoom features within the app too. You don’t necessarily need to unlock the premium features, but they can make the app much more fun to use.
This is also essentially a sketching app, as it offers a sketchbook you can add all of your drawings too when you’re finished. You can create drawings from scratch on a blank canvas, or you can start with
It has a simple layers system in comparison to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but it’s still worth checking out if you want freeform drawing on iPhone.
You can also check out our full Tayasui Sketches review for a more in-depth guide.
#1 – ibisPaint X
ibisPaint X is a free drawing program. There is a small banner ad on the bottom (or top when drawing) of the screen unless you pay a one-time payment of £7.99 to remove the ads.
The ads are quite non-obstructive, and there are no pop-up ads, so it’s not really worth it or necessary to remove the ads.
You can also pay for a prime membership at £2.79/month, or £27.49/year (+ a 1-month free trial). The benefits to the membership are all very non-essential features, such as more fonts, and more filters.
None of them necessarily pertain to drawing, and all these features are available in the free version, to an extent. Thus, the membership is in no way necessary for getting thorough access to all the app’s features.
Certain brushes are locked, but they can all be unlocked for 18 hours, if you watch one ad. You gain a lot from minimal effort, and doesn’t cost any money.
ibisPaint X is a popular and multi-use drawing program, with various features such as screentones, a stroke stabiliser, fonts, and filters. The app has 2000+ brushes, 1100+ fonts, 2700+ materials, 75 filters, 27 blending modes, and 46 screentones.
The app has a very large variety of tools to choose from, and offer manga tools as well as the basic drawing tools. This especially supports manga artists, as well as artists of other mediums.
ibisPaint X also has a stroke stabiliser, which helps make lines more accurate or smooth if need be. The stabiliser’s strength can be altered according to preferences. This is very helpful for those drawing without a stylus.
There’s also basic editing tools, such as select tools, lasso tool, and FX. This allows artists to manipulate photos as well as their drawings if need be.
You can have an unlimited amount of layers, clip layers to each other, and merge layer together.
The app also has a time-lapse recording feature enabled by default. Artists can record their drawing progress, and share the videos.
Overall, the app has an overwhelming amount of features mostly available for free. All the important features are free to use, and the ads are non-obstructive.
It’s a great app for those who want a free drawing program, especially for those wanting to create manga.
In conclusion, there is a range of different drawing programs for iPhones. Most of them are free to download, but some require a one-time payment in order to unlock all the features. Most of them offer quite a range of features, which can make choosing a drawing program difficult.
However, you can simply look at the different features they each offer, along with their price, and decide whether the app is worth purchasing or trying out. Most of them are quite cheap, so the investment would be fairly low.