Our favorite Free iPhone Sketching and Design, drawing, painting, layout, and animation.


Sketching and Design

Paper is a sketching tool based mostly around jotting down ideas quickly. Your drawings are stored in little digital notebooks, which you’ll be able to open and flip through. Tap a page, and you’ll be able to scribble with a finger or stylus using the app’s selection of brushes.

There’s a smattering of extra handy tools within the free version, most notably the power to add text notes to any image, and the means to export a note or book. However, some options sit behind monthly IAP, together with image import, copy/paste, and auto-correct when drawing geometric shapes and lines.

Despite these limitations – and the app rather oddly reorienting your sketches on iPhone once you return to browsing – Paper remains one among the first pleasing apps of its kind, not least if you keep a passion for real-life versions of the little notepads the app depicts.


Sketching and Design

WhatTheFont is a tool for distinctive typefaces, and it’s straightforward to use. You’ll be able to either load a picture from your iPhone or take a photograph using the app. It figures out where all the words are within a couple of seconds. Otherwise, you can drag out a selection yourself. You then tap on a specific word, and the app scoots off to find matches.

The probability of excellent matches is slim – it depends on having a clear image to start with, and the font being obtainable on the MyFonts service – but throughout testing, the app was bang-on many times. Even when it wasn’t, it offered up something that at least captured the flavor of our original font.

Whether you’re a jobbing designer or someone who puts along the odd newsletter, WhatTheFont is a wonderful freebie.

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Sketching and Design

Canva is a graphic design tool for the rest of us. It’s not about to send professionals scurrying for the shadows, however with its mix of templates, filters, and editable style elements; it offers the typical iPhone owner a fighting probability of working up an invite or poster during a lunch hour.

Layouts are well targeted and classified, and move beyond regular posters, greetings cards and flyers into social media territory (Twitter headers, Instagram posts and weblog posts), and even business (cards, logos, and presentations).

You can import photos, add text, and fiddle around with an extensive range of drag-and-drop components before sharing directly to social media, or saving your work to your iPhone.

For anyone who desires to design something for his or her burgeoning home business, or just for fun, Canva could be an excellent spot to start.


Sketching and Design

Arty initially resembles yet another filter app – and, to be fair, it does have a bunch of filters lurking that may turn a photo sepia, or create it so vivacious that your eyes hurt. However, this one’s principally about its alternative tools, that have been fastidiously designed for jobbing artists working with real-world media.

There’s a grid, and numerous image-tweaking settings to fine-tune a photo for the magic bit, that is comparing your image with whatever’s lurking below your iPhone’s camera.

So if you’re within the midst of creating a lifelike drawing from a reference picture, your iPhone will currently be a handy guide to see how you’re getting on, instead of a tool primarily for procrastination.

8bit Painter

Sketching and Design

With 8bit Painter, you’ll be able to pretend some of the decades of technology evolution never happened and made digital pictures like it’s 1984. On firing up the app, you select a canvas size – from a tiny 16 x 16 pixels, all the way up to a relatively large 128 x 128. You’re then faced with a grid and a small selection of tools.

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There’s nothing particularly advanced here – this isn’t Pixaki for iPhone, and it lacks that tool’s layers and animation smarts. But you do get the fundamentals – pencil; flood fill; eraser; color selection – required for tapping out a small creative masterpiece.

And, significantly, you’ll be able to pinch-zoom the canvas for adding subtle details and export your image at scaled-up sizes. Therefore it’s not minuscule when viewed elsewhere. For a freebie, this one’s pretty nice.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Sketching and Design

Adobe has no interest in bringing full Photoshop to iPhone. However, the brand’s targeted Photoshop-branded apps provide a smattering of the desktop product’s power within the palm of your hand. Adobe Photoshop Sketch is a drawing and painting tool, designed for anyone who fancies dabbling in natural media.

Select a canvas, and you’ll be able to work with virtual pens, markers, acrylic, ink, and watercolor. Acrylic is nicely gloopy, and watercolor may be realistically blended because it bleeds into the ‘paper.’ A layers system provides scope for complicated art, and stencils enable exactitude when needed.

For free, the app’s arduous to beat; and for Creative Cloud subscribers, work may be exported to layered PSD for additional refinement in full-fat desktop Photoshop.

Brushes redux

Sketching and Design

Back in 2009, Jorge Colombo did some deft iPhone finger painting using Brushes, and the result became a New Yorker cover.

It was a turning point for iOS and appropriately handy ammunition for tech bores who’d been dismally banging on regarding the fact an iPhone might never be used for proper work. The app sadly stagnated, but was made open source and returned as Brushes redux.

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Now free, it’s still an excellent art app, with a secure layers system, simple controls, and an impressive brush editor that starts you off with a random creation and permits you to mess about with all manner of properties, from density to jitter.


Sketching and Design

Developer Pixite is best known for its impressive filter apps, and so Assembly was quite the surprise. The app is all regarding building vector art from shapes.

Individual elements are born on to the canvas, and might then be classified or have designs applied. It feels a bit just like the iPhone equivalent of playing with felt shapes. However, you shortly realize that astonishingly complex compositions are attainable, not least after you view the ‘inspirations’ tab or start messing regarding with the ‘remix’ projects.

For free, you get much stuff to play with, but cheap IAP unlocks all types of bundles with new themed shape sets to explore.


Sketching and Design

It’s fascinating to see how so much the App Store has come. Time was, Apple banned apps that gave you the possibility to make prototypes. Now, Marvel is welcomed by Apple and is entirely free.

Using the app, you’ll be able to build on photographed sketches, Photoshop documents, or on-screen scribbles. Buttons can be added, and screens may be stitched along.

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