There’s an app for that! This certainly is true for the growing number of free-hand drawing apps made for the popular iPad, but also for other tablet devices.

We will go over 4 of the most popular free drawing apps to give you a taste of what is on offer.


Which One?

We recommend when you are just getting started to always go for the free apps first. This allows you to do a test run without any monetary investment.

Next you must know your preferences. Do you prefer to draw on your device with a pen or to simply use your finger. The apps that we have reviewed are all finger-touch enabled, as this is the most common choice and requires no purchase of digital pens. However, if you prefer to draw with a pen; they are priced from as low as $10 and up with features such as Bluetooth and pressure-sensitivity. This is a personal choice, so you will need to shop and see for yourself if working with a pen is for you.

The App Store and Google Playstore are the best places to look for your drawing app. We chose our review apps for the iPad; as this is currently the most widely used tablet around the world.


Let’s start with the most popular app!

Paper by 53


This free app allows you to draw with a black pen and according to the speed either draw small or thick lines. Each tool option does a remarkable job of creating it’s respective line types. A palette of 20 colors is that applies on the screen like watercolors. The app is ideal for quick and lively sketches, but precision work is more challenging as the line is sometimes just too thick and hard to control.

The drawings can be shared on different networks or saved in the picture gallery of the iPad. Additional drawing tools may be purchased such as the “pencil” tool for creating softer lines, or a “bowl” for mixing colors.

The main weakness with Paper is the correction function – it is not easy to maneuver, therefore, when you want to erase something you may actually find yourself drawing. Overall Paper is fun with creative free-hand tools.



Harmonious is a clever smart-sketch app that can produce some cool results.




Drawing in Harmonious is simple — draw a line, and the app will work its magic. There is the “Simple” brush that draws plain lines and also more complex brushes like the “Long Fur” or “Sketchy” brushes. The usual result is a combination of the app’s smart-sketching and your own intentions. It can get a bit tricky as there is a bit of a learning curve.

The color wheel allows you to mix the colors not only for the sketch but also for the background. Images drawn using Harmonious may be uploaded to an online gallery or simply save them on your device. This app is ideal for doodlers as a novelty application.




A powerful artistic tool and simple enough for beginners.




This free app offers a variety of textures so you can enhance the color on the screen to avoid it looking cloudy, streaky, or spotted. You can select different stroke sizes, opacity, and mix colors as desired. Brushes also enables you to work on multiple layers separately to change the color, opacity and size.




Tip: you can place a picture below the lowest layer and “trace” the image.

Another unique feature is that it has a playback function that allows you to see any art redrawn onscreen. This handy feature will also show the tracing step.



Adobe Ideas



The free Adobe Ideas app is more or less like the Brushes app. It too features layers (with zoom function), and different drawing tools; where width, opacity and color can be chosen. The difference is that the lines are converted into a path (vector), so that the finished image can be printed to the size of a soccer field if needed without losing any of its line integrity or image quality. Therefore, if you want to need to create blurred lines or soften the focus, you will need to work with low opacity in the same place.

Your images may be emailed as PDF files for editing in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or for viewing with any PDF viewer.


This is a brief overview of the most popular free apps with very different applications. As you do your own research and look further into drawing apps, you will find the ones that best fit your needs for fun and for work!


Written by: Neuland staff
Illustrations by: Thies Thiessen