Top Pick

Painting and Drawing Apps

Artists, from amateurs to pros, are starting to see the value in using tablets and phones to sketch, draw, and paint. What mobile devices sacrifice in tactility they make up for in flexibility: zoom for nailing fine details, huge color palettes, and tons of different options for pens and brushes. And of course, students can stuff them in their backpack just like a sketchpad. These awesome painting and drawing apps -- our current favorites -- are curated for both younger and older students. For young students, there are more stripped-down but highly engaging options that make art accessible via the freedom of gesture and touch-based interaction. For older students, there are pro-grade apps with deep customizability and functionality that will let them produce artwork perfect for their portfolio. 

Draw and Tell - by Duck Duck Moose Publisher: Duck Duck Moose
Kids' drawings come alive with stickers, color, and voice recordings
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Musical Paint for Kids Publisher: Building Blocks Media
Create digital drawings, explore musical tones
Grades Pre-K-2
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Zen Studio: finger painting to relax & focus Publisher: Edoki
Musically accompanied drawing is zen, but grid can limit freedom
Grades Pre-K-3
Type App
Price Free, Free to Try
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch Publisher: Wonky Star Limited
Charming digital creation tool with fun prompts and a bit of magic
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Paper by FiftyThree Publisher: FiftyThree
Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Sketchbook Express Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Creation tools hook kids, connect them with global community of artists
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad Publisher: Bejoy Mobile
Ignore the ads to easily create and share sketches
Grades 3-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Brushes 3 Publisher: Taptrix, Inc.
Versatile, simple art app for many skill levels
Grades 5-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Sumopaint Visit Website: http://www.sumopaint.com/www
Impressive, easy-to-use tool for creating and editing images
Grades 6-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Autodesk Sketchbook Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art
Grades 7-12
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Procreate Publisher: Savage Interactive Pty Ltd.
Outstanding art tool supports the workflow of seasoned digital painters
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price $5.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say
ArtStudio - Draw, Paint and Edit Photo Publisher: Lucky Clan
Easy, amazing art with high-quality lessons, creation, and sharing
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Grafio 3 - Diagrams & ideas Publisher: Ten Touch Ltd.
Flexible app transforms sketches into pro-level designs and diagrams
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated