Five Best Apps for Artists
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What are the top five applications artists use and love? This post will explore the top five best apps for artists: Procreate, Photoshop Express, Sketchbook, Inspire Pro, and Affinity Designer.
It’s amazing what creatives can do on their mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, nowadays. In many ways, you really don’t need a lot of fancy stationary equipment to make art. Instead, you can capture, transform and create beautiful works with the help of your smartphone while utilizing these five apps for artists.
Procreate App for Artists
Procreate quickly gained popularity amongst artists of all levels. It is one of the best apps for beginners and aspiring artists. It allows you to create digital paintings and drawings with hundreds of brushes and design tools at your disposal. Because the program is very user intuitive, artists of all skills and professional levels enjoy using it. Initially, the app was designed for use on the Apple iPad. If you are interested, please check out our best iPad for digital creators post.
Now Procreate also offers a Pocket version for iPhone users. This enables users to make art virtually anywhere. We must note that the Procreate Pocket works exceptionally well on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Unlike Photoshop, you can download it on the Apple Store for a one-time $9.99 price with no recurring fees. And $4.99 for the Procreate Pocket version. Pretty sweet.
Procreate Pros and Cons Summary
|Easy to use||Available in iOS only|
Adobe Photoshop Express
To put it simply, it is a super stripped-down Lightroom application version. It allows users to quickly and effortlessly transform and edit images. Photoshop Express works in Android, iOS, and Windows. The app is free, but you will need a Creative Cloud subscription to use its premium features.
It has a clean interface and allows artists to perform the following tasks:
- Adjust photos
- Use filters and apply effects
- Add layers
- Create collages
- Export and share images
In addition, iOS users can add text and use recently introduced Retouch tools (not yet available in Android).
Photoshop Express Pros and Cons
|Variety of photo editing tools||Requires a subscription in order to use premium features|
|Simple interface||Certain features available in iOS only|
This one is more technical. In fact, many architects and interior designers utilize this application regularly. Still, the app is very user-friendly, which means it is relatively easy to navigate, even for beginners. Sketchbook supports both a stylus pen and a touch input and works in Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
It is one of the best apps for artists because:
- You can start and fully finish your project within just this one app
- It allows artists to import paper stretches and drawings by scanning them with a tablet or a smartphone camera
- Access to hundreds of customizable brushes.
The downside of this app is that even though it is pretty easy to navigate, there is still a learning curve if you are an aspiring artist. It might take a while for you to learn its core features.
Sketchbook can be downloaded with a free trial, but there is a $29.99 yearly subscription plan.
Inspire Pro is another great app for Apple iPad users. Many digital artists choose this application for its simplicity paired with a lot of useful tools and features. Inspire Pro works both on the regular iPad tablet and the Pro versions, but needless to say, the Apple iPad Pro can offer a far better drawing experience.
As we noted, it is great for beginners, as it is relatively easy to learn. Inspire Pro also offers tons of blending options, and many brushes come preloaded. Yet, you will have to pay to unlock all of them, in addition to a $9.99 one-time app purchase. Another downside is that you can create artwork within a single layer only. Plus, you will need a stylus, and the app will not work on your iPhone.
The Affinity Designer can be compared to the Adobe platform in many ways. However, it is a bit tricky to learn and is aimed at professional artists and designers. Not the best choice for a beginner.
Needless to say, the application is very complex in terms of features: you can have an unlimited number of layers, create keyboard shortcuts, work in any color, switch between pixel and vector drawings, to name a few. While it is just as good, if not better, than Adobe Illustrator, it will cost you much less in comparison. Affinity Designer desktop version works both in Windows and macOS. It will cost you a $49.99 one-time purchase, regardless of the OS version. They also have an iPad version, which is compatible with the following models:
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air 3
- iPad Air 4
- iPad 2017
- iPad 2018
- iPad 2019 (10.2-in)
- iPad 2020 (10.2-in)
- iPad Pro (all models)
- iPad Mini 5
Affinity Designer for Apple iPad costs $19.99.
There are, of course, many more creative applications currently available on the market. Yet, we highlighted the five most popular ones among professional and aspiring artists. They all vary in availability, features, and complexity, but picking the right one would depend on the type of artwork you create. Yet, in the professional world, you must know how to utilize Adobe Photoshop. But if you are a self-taught artist and a freelancer, Procreate might come in handy. The app has gained a lot of traction in these past few years—many young artists who share their works on Instagram resort to Procreate almost exclusively.