Art and Photo Apps for the iPad

One of my sixth grade students asked what art apps I recommend for the iPad and I promised him I would post a list of my favorites on this blog. I have a lot of favorites, but I find myself drawn more to the photography apps rather than the art apps. I guess I am still a little frustrated with painting and drawing on the iPad. At first it just felt odd to be using my “pointy” finger to paint. I bought a couple of nice styluses (styli?) from Boxwave and they made a big difference. I would like to find a way to achieve the tactile pleasure of the wetness of paint while painting on the iPad, as I believe that’s what is missing for me.

As much as I struggle with painting on the iPad, world renowned artist, David Hockney, has had tremendous success with it and genuinely seems to be having fun – so much so that he has had 3 exhibits of his work already: .

Mr. Hockney’s work is so inspirational, it makes me want to give painting on the iPad another shot. Here is a video from one of his shows:

David Hockney’s iPad art:  

I was lucky to be included in an iPad pilot with our 7th grade last year, and am hoping to acquire a class set of iPads this year to use with my 6th grade students. To save on overall cost, we used only free apps for art in the pilot program. Trust me, there are sufficient free apps to not only cover the curriculum, but to do some amazing things as well while students work on their 20th century skills. Some of the apps we used for the pilot program are included below. All of these apps are under $10.

Painting and Drawing Apps: 

Brushes – this is the app David Hockney uses ($7.99)

Sketchbook Express – we used this a lot in the pilot. It is a great free app to introduce students to the concept of layers.

Paintbook – you can create a sketchbook with this app

Art Set – this app has a wonderful array of drawing tools

Art Studio – sophisticated app with layers and masks

Art Rage – also uses layers

Spray Paint – simulated (legal) graffiti

Photography Manipulation Apps:

Photoshop Express – stripped down Photoshop (really stripped down – I want more)

Photo Wizard – I use this a lot for its great effects

Pic Grunger – fun and funky

PhotoSynthesis – a little complicated, but an interesting app

Painting/Photography Apps:

Inspire Pro – really fun to upload photos and paint on them

Paint FX – also for painting on uploaded photos

Color Splash – use to create the “apple on the Twilight book” effect

And I promised to mention my favorite painting app for our pets:


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