Top 5 Apps for Artists


"Jason" by Jessica Canterbury
"Jason" by Jessica Canterbury; created with Brushes

Auryn Ink
Useful for the watercolor study, as well as a great learning tool for the beginning watercolorist, this app ($3.99) mimics painting with watercolor on its touch user interface; so much so, that paint even appears to flow down the screen when the device is tilted. Other simulated watercolor effects include backruns, granulation and edge darkening in real time. The user has the choice of surface texture, brush bristles, paint flow, color and paint mixture. The “surface” can even be pre-wet.

Eazel for Photoshop
This Adobe app ($2.99) acts in the same way as Auryn Ink, letting the user choose either wet or dry media. With the Nomad Brush ($24) and the particle-stroke painting feature, the app allows the paint to spread for a few seconds before it “dries.” It also includes the ability to send the image to Photoshop from any location.

SketchBook Pro
Autodesk’s app ($4.99), now available for the Android tablet, is a digital canvas and brush set that allows the use of both fingers and styluses for sketching. Included are more than 60 different brush tools, a six-layer capacity for each file and the option of exporting works to Photoshop.

ArtStudio for iPad
This app ($2.99) may be categorized among the photography apps, but it’s designed for the painter. A digital platform like SketchBook, it combines photo-editing tools—everything from filters and borders to noise and edge detect—with painting features such as brush settings (size, opacity, spacing, jitter, speed-based thickness and more).

Used to create the image above, this app ($4.99) has been updated with capabilities to incorporate photos from a photo library, which you can paint over, outline and manipulate with various other settings. Plus, with the coordinating Brushes Viewer software, each “stroke” can be played back, which essentially creates an animated step-by-step of the painting.

Do you have a favorite painting app? Tell us how you use it at [email protected].




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