Castle Painted on Android Galaxy Note 8 in Sketchbook Pro

Best Painting Apps for Android Tablet or Phone

Drawing and painting apps for Android tablets and phones have been looking up lately. True, there are still not nearly as many Pro level Android offerings as you can cram into an iPad. Still, if you like a variety of versatile tools, you now have a wider choice of painting apps for Android devices with offerings above kindergarten level.

Is Sketchbook Pro still the best of the painting apps for Android bunch? A day or two ago I’d have said yes. Now I’m not so sure.


Photoshop Touch has blossomed out with 24 new brush tips for its painting tools. 24 flowers made from Photoshop Touch brushes

New Brushes in Photoshop Touch. Stems are the strokes. Flowers are the dabs.

Added to the new brushes, Photoshop Touch has some natty wysiwyg (What You See Is What You Get) brush adjustment sliders. Once you get the hang of them, these are exceptionally easy to use.


I painted these mountains in Photoshop Touch a while ago. Delighted to have the new brushes.

Battle of the Brushes

The two main contenders for the crown of the Painting Apps for Android kingdom are created by giants of the graphics world.

Autodesk makes Sketchbook. Adobe makes Photoshop Touch. Smaller makers are now joining the fray. Infinite Painter, Serious Paint and Art Flow all bristle with tools, layers and other geeky pro gizmos for the Android artist.

Infinite Painter is Pro to the point of being overwhelming.

  • There are well over a hundred Infinite Painter brushes, each with a wide range of settings and fine adjustments.
  • Brushes can have their own colour, or at the tap of a button go into blend mode and pick up colour from the canvas. This can give beautiful effects. (One down for Sketchbook here in the painting apps for Android contest. Infinite Painter is in contrast to Sketchbook, which only allows a one-brush blender, only in the Pro version, and even there shamefacedly buries it four brush palettes deep).
  • An interesting addition to Trace mode here is Rub. This allows you to paint a clone from an original much in the manner of doing a brass rubbing.
  • Infinite Painter artwork can be up to 2048 pixels square.

Not for nothing does Serious Paint call itself Serious

  • You start off in Serious Paint with a mere 25 default brushes. These are simply presented.
  • Long press a selected brush, however, and complication looms again.  You have a huge range of editing options. As with Infinite Painter, this choice allows very fine tuning, but can be daunting to all but the dedicated digital art enthusiast.
  • Still, the choices are clearly set out. Pick, choose and fashion a brush exactly as you want it for a specific effect, and you can save it for future use.
  • Serious Painter has not raised any objection when I’ve opened a canvas 4000 pixels square. This is the same as in Art Flow but considerably larger than Infinite Painter allows.

Art Flow is easiest to use  

  • Although there are over 70 brushes in Art Flow, these are simply presented, subdivided into 9 groups to choose from.
  • Then, refreshingly, you have only the few most useful adjustment sliders for each brush. Custom brushes can be saved.
  • You can smudge with only one brush, but this has a useful demo bar where you can see the effect of sliding the sliders for Size, Flow and Softness.
  • Your canvas in Art Flow can be up to 4000 pixels square.

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Valerie Beeby

We used to say 'Seeing is believing'. Now it's more like 'Believing is seeing'. We see what we expect to see. Look again and who knows. Does it really match what's actually there? ...I've always been fascinated by how our minds work. As a writer and artist, I'm particularly interested in new research into how we perceive this extraordinary world we live in, where things are not always what they seem.

4 thoughts on “Best Painting Apps for Android Tablet or Phone”

  1. I have had so much fun on Serious Paint. I am not an artist but this app, makes me feel like one. However, I recently bought a new phone and I can’t transfer my artwork from the old phone to the new one. This is really disappointing because many times I would print them and use them as greeting cards. I also printed them and framed them and hung them on my walls. I have had a lot of compliments on them. It makes me feel good about myself. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Thank you.

    1. Hello Darlene. Congratulations on your success with Serious Paint! It would indeed be a shame to lose your artwork. As you have been using Serious Paint it sounds as if your phones are Android phones. If so, they could have memory cards. (Not SIM cards but SD cards, usually with 16, 34 or 62 gb of extra memory for things like pictures.) Just export your pictures on your old phone from Serious Paint to the memory card, move the card to the new phone and hey presto!

      Apple iPhones don’t have memory cards, but on an Phone as well as on an Android phone you can use Google Photos. Install Google Photos from your Play Store and you could set it up to hoover up all your images into its Cloud. From there you could download them into your new phone. (Once again you’d need to export from the Serious Paint gallery to the phone’s system photo gallery first.)

      There are other ways. If you have a desktop or laptop computer it’s a good idea to keep copies of your pictures there, and of course from there you can copy to your new phone. You could use Drop Box. If you are still confused, I’m sure they would help you at the shop where you got your phone.

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