More about iPad drawing apps
iPad drawing apps that work with the Apple Pencil
I’m looking at three more drawing apps for the iPad using the Apple Pencil. I've got three more lined up so I'll be back in a few weeks with more reviews. Now on with the drawing app show.
This is not -just- a drawing application, no, no, no … it is an entire digital drawing and painting studio in an iPad app. Its depth is honestly, overwhelming for my needs. But I know of at least 2 artists who told me they are doing final work for clients in this app. You open the app and a collection of all your art is simply displayed, ready for you to get to work or create a new file.
Procreate takes the natural media drawing and painting environment to the extreme by offering an infinitely adjustable collection of tools and processes.
Right off the bat you can tell this is more than a digital sketch book. It lets you create any custom canvas size with access to not only width and height but also ‘dots per inch’ (for us old print folks) and it supports the standard color models. So you can do professional work destined for print as long as you can convert your millimeters and inches to pixels (a print ready(300dpi) 9x11 page is 2700 x 3300 pixels)
The interface is smart and well thought out. Every drawing tool has additional palettes of adjustments available. And some of those adjustments have adjustments. You can create additional layers on your canvas and they smartly have always-on-screen brush, opacity and undo adjustments. It also has an eraser tool always on-screen and a ‘smudge’ tool for finger painting fun. It supports the Apple Pencil beautifully.
If you want to do full paintings on the iPad there is no other app I’ve tried that will serve you better. The app is created by a software company called Savage in Tasmania, Australia. It’s pretty amazing that they have created THE painting app on the iPad well advanced when compared to offerings from Adobe or good old, sort of limping along Corel (Fractal) Design Painter which is the grandaddy of natural media digital drawing but seems most obsessed with developing tools to manipulate photos these days. Highlyrecommended for those who really want to Paint on the iPad.
I’m new to this app having just bought ($4.99) version 2. It was created by iconfactory who for many years has developed icons for the MacOS and worked as a design/development studio.
At first glance, Linea is more a traditional ‘sketch book app’ compared to a natural media painting app like Procreate. But it’s not REALLY just a digital sketch book app. It has more nuanced aspirations.
When you open Linea you see your ‘Projects’ and each project can contain many pages. Right away Linea seems to be telling us it’s not just a creative app but a creative-business app. It’s ready for you to create projects which can include note taking, imported photos, vector-like straight line designs as well as freehand style natural media sketches.
The interface is advertised as minimal and unobtrusive and it is. It’s smart and you can easily hide the tools while working with an always available icon in the lower left side. I like getting rid of all the tools on screen once I’m drawing.
You can add up to 5 layers to each drawing page and that seems like plenty to me. You can easily import, resize and control the translucency of imported items.
It offers various paper grains as well as grids and preformatted storyboard layouts in different aspect ratios.
Linea is really a sketch/design app as they also have custom layouts for app and icon design. They have all the drawing tools you’d expect and a double tap brings up preset sizes for brushes.
They call attention to a feature they call ZipLine. Basically when you hold your Apple Pencil (or finger tip) for a second before (or after) you draw a line, it will straighten the line for you. Great way to create perspective roughs for a drawing. Or keep interface and design elements on the straight and narrow … so to speak.
I think the digital drawing tools are reasonably good at recreating the look of pencil or pen on paper. But I don’t think that’s the point of this app. Linea wants to be more than a digital sketch book that recreates natural media drawing and painting tools. I find myself using it to brainstorm interfaces for a mobile game I’m working on as well as for jotting down notes or quick doodles. The tools don’t feel as organic from a natural media drawing perspective compared to Adobe Sketch or Paper by 53, but it’s not trying to be just a sketchbook app.
Highly recommended if you plan on buying only one drawing App. and want it to do more than be just a digital sketch book.
SketchClub is a weird app. It has amazingly robust drawing and canvas tools. It offers layers, layer adjustments, and drawing tools galore. It has opacity and brush size controls always available on the bottom of the screen, in-depth adjustments for every brush, patterned brushes, the ability to generate your own patterned brushes, full screen adjustments for brightness, contrast, hue and saturation … the list goes on and on. It offers built in screen recording so you can share a ‘video’ of your drawing in action.
That said the tools often have a unique take on the standard digital drawing tools, but they work well with the Apple Pencil (and other styluses).
The app is directly tied into sharing your art with the SketchClub community. You can easily upload your art and get feedback. It’s like a Deviant Art app.
All this for $2.99?! Yup. All this for under three bucks.
When you first open the app you make the choice to visit the CLUB or get busy on a SKETCH. Each new ‘sketch’ is an individual file and as with every other aspect of this app you have custom control over the scale, size, and resolution of the file you want to create.
I used this app a great deal for a year or so, but slowly I have migrated away from it and I don’t know exactly why. I’m not that interested in sharing my drawings, I’m usually working on book ideas and character designs that aren’t meant to be shared. The busier I got with ‘real work' the less I wanted to be encumbered by an app built to share. NOTE: You can turn off the sharing aspects of the interface in the app from the System Preferences in iOS Settings. (I just learned that!)
If you are looking for a robust digital drawing/painting app, that’s updated regularly and a supportive community to share your art with, you can’t beat SketchClub.