Created from scratch just for the iPad, Procreate is top favourite painting app for many digital artists. Behind its simple interface Procreate hides a high performance graphics engine.
Whether you work with stylus or finger, strokes in Procreate are swift and smooth. Choose from 48 brushes. Adapt them or make your own. Mould your eraser or blender just like a brush. Apply intriguing effects with 17 layer blending modes.
Photoshop Touch is an editing rather than a drawing/painting app, but it does sport a paintbrush. The brush tip is just a plain basic circle, but you can alter its size, transparency and fade-off.
Don't confuse Photoshop Touch with its disappointingly lame predecessor, Photoshop Mobile. Touch is a powerful app. To make up for the bargain basement brush, you have an Aladdin's cave of wondrous effects and tools. Photoshop Touch takes a little while to learn, but has helpful tutorials. It's a must for iPad or iPad Mini.
In Sketchbook Pro you have more than 70 brushes to choose from, all adaptable for width, taper, transparency and spacing. (Wide spacing gives you a dotted line.)
With multiple layers, a wide spectrum of colours and layer resizing, moving and rotating, Sketchbook Pro is versatile and responsive.
A cut down version with fewer brushes, Sketchbook Mobile, is available for the iPhone or iPod Touch.
A simple, fast and easy app, Adobe Ideas is a vector based drawing machine and has the sometimes annoying habit of smoothing all your lines. Many designers like it for what the name suggests, jotting down ideas.
Sketches can feed directly into Illustrator on the desktop.
I disliked the plasticky effect of the smoothed lines in Adobe Ideas at first, but have since come around to this app for its speed, responsiveness and handy handling of colour swatches.
PS: At time of updating this page, Adobe are promising more control over smoothing. Hurrah!
Drawing Pad is another simple but quick and responsive painting app, this time with realistic paint brushes and crayons loaded with luscious colour.
Drawing Pad was made for children, and is limited. As in real life, colours are restricted to the pen or brush they come on. You can't alter width or transparency. There are no layers. You can't zoom in on detail.
Never mind all that. This app is so gorgeous it's a joy to use.
There is a version of Drawing Pad for the (Android) Galaxy Note. The Apple variety (only for iPad) has a few extras. You can load your own background, draw with chalks and blend colours with a smudge tool.