A Brush With Creativity: 6 Painting Apps

A Brush With Creativity: 6 Painting Apps

Jason Rodway
Jan 18, 2012

Although some prefer the old fashioned brush on canvas touch, it's become increasingly more common for creatives to turn to their tablet or smart phone as yet another art tool. Here are some of our favorite painting apps we've tried out, all perfect to partner up with a 10¢ DIY tablet stylus...


Left: Brushes - Right: Sketch Club
Brushes - iPad / iPhone/iPod Touch The first thing you'll notice about Brushes is its simple interface which has everything within reach. There are many painting apps out there with cluttered buttons or menus that detracts from the experience. With 19 different brushes to choose from, layers and a deep undo/redo memory, Brushes has everything an artist could need. But where Brushes truly shines is in the replay function that replays the entire progress of your painting stroke for stroke. iPad: $8 - iPhone/iPod Touch: $5

Sketch Club
The surprising array of features Sketch Club offers will make you wonder how they fit it all into one app. To start there are 8 layers rather than the usual 6, a broad undo/redo function of 100 levels, video recorder (and direct upload to YouTube), AirPrint support and 40 different brushes. What really makes this app unique is the integration with Sketch Clubs own online gallery and community to share your own creations or comment on others. $4


Left: SketchBook Pro - Right: Sketch n Draw
SketchBook Mobile/Pro - Tablet / Mobile AutoDesk's powerhouse program proves to be adaptable for the small (and 10") screen. The scroll wheel from its desktop predecessor has been modified for use with touchscreen controls in mind, for quick opacity and brush size modifications on the fly. Brush types and colors can be pinned for quick access on the side. Sketches can be e-mailed, saved to Dropbox (as .pdf or .jpg), sent to photos or onto an SD card. Tablet: $5 - Mobile: $2

Sketch n Draw
Sketch n Draw is a handy app for those on a budget or are just curious about touch screen tablets. Although simple, there's a lot of power to tap, with multiple canvas sizes from 480 x 320 up to 1280 x 800, alongside an alpha scale and an easy to use menu. There are 12 different brushes/eraser types, undo/redo, color picker and the option to draw over saved photos or sketches. Free

Windows Phone 7:

Left: Fantasia Painter - Right: Paint

Fantasia Painter
We're still eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Windows 8 experience on the tablet, but Fantasia Painter is a painting app optimized for the small screen of WP7 phones. With 28 unique brushes and effects like mold and clone, users can mimic the look of several mediums and techniques. The interface is easy on the eyes and is effective in cramming all the features onto a handheld screen. $2

Paint is plain and simple, just as the name implies, but that doesn't mean it's inadequate. A plain color or photo is displayed in a background layer, while painting is done on a foreground layer. A unique feature is the option to choose a second color to surround brush strokes for creative new effects. On top of that, there is the 'stroke straightening' option that lets you snap vertical, horizontal or diagonal strokes to allow free hand movements. $1

(Images: Jason Rodway)

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