Are These the 8 Best Painting Apps?

Suffering from App Overload, I decided to limit myself to just 4 of the best painting apps for my iPhone 6+ and Android Galaxy Note 4.

Paintings of carrots in my 8 best mobile painting apps
8 Imaginary Carrots Show Off My 8 Best Mobile Painting Apps

Were the apps I chose the best painting apps for my purposes? I was surprised by how much I learned just by daubing an imaginary carrot in each app.

In the picture the top row were painted on iPhone 6+ in (L – R):- Procreate Pocket, Sketchbook, Art Rage and Photoshop Touch. Bottom row were created on Galaxy Note 4 in:- Painter Mobile and the Android versions of Sketchbook, Art Rage and Photoshop Touch.

One thing I learned was that I had paid too little attention to the size of these images. Displaying all eight at 100% and taking the screen shot you see, I found my paintings often failed to take advantage of the actual maximum megapixel size each app is capable of.

Photoshop Touch for both Apple and Android will make images up to 9 megapixels. (I tested up to 3000×3000 pixels and Photoshop Touch will probably take more). Painting my carrot on the iPhone I missed that advantage. The image was too small for much detail at 400×600 px.

On the other hand, Art Rage for iPhone 6+ is a really cut down version, yet I puffed up my imaginary vegetable right to the maximum size that Art Rage for iPhone can manage: 0.7 megapixels (640×1136 px).

Art Rage is more versatile for the Galaxy Note. It will make you images at 4.2 megapixels (2048×2048 px). I only went up to 480×853 px. Smaller than the ArtRage-for-iPhone version.

Ah well.

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My Bear. A Drawing on an iPhone 6+.

Bear created from patterns on my iPhone 6 Plus
My Bear

When you start drawing on an iPhone 6+ you never know quite what your creation is going to turn into. I started out with the Symmetry mode in Sketchbook, duplicating and transforming the resulting lacy lunacy on another layer.

I’m never too keen on sharp lines and symmetry, and wanted to rough things up a bit, so I tried all kinds of special effects in Photoshop Touch.  None were quite right. I was just about to give up, when I suddenly noticed a bear looking at me. Gave him a shaggy pelt in Art Rage, a few more hairs in Sketchbook and a light in his eye.

On to Autodesk Pixlromatic for a frame and more beariness.

I have to confess to a few finishing touches in Painter 15 on Mac, but My Bear is really almost entirely a drawing on an iPhone 6+.

Which Version of Sketchbook?

Which Sketchbook is best?

Autodesk Sketchbook comes in 57 varieties. Well, not quite up to Heinz, but Autodesk admit to at least 14 versions of Sketchbook. It’s difficult to know the differences when you can only try one at a time. What are they and which version of Sketchbook is best?

For a start there are 3 levels of Sketchbook:

Starter. Free. Only about 8 brushes, but does include taster versions of many of the tools.

Essentials. Unlocked when you sign up for a free Sketchbook account. Brings you more brushes, a couple of Copic markers, simple layers, a blending brush, rulers.

Pro. The paid for version of Sketchbook. The full tool box.  Yet more brushes you can fine tune to your liking. Unlimited layers. Full Copic colour library. Magic wand selection, perspective guides, symmetry tools and more.

Not so long ago Sketchbook Pro was revised and hugely improved. It now seems to be listed as simply Autodesk Sketchbook. The app is much the same on an iPad Air 2, an iPhone 6+ and an (Android) Galaxy Note 4.

Two pigeons, one black, one white. Sketchbook painting.

Pigeon and Antipigeon

Painted in Sketchbook on (Android) Galaxy Note 3

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