Mobile Art Tools

Mobile Art Tools


I would like to share with you some of the tools and apps I use for creating art on mobile devices (see my Mobile Art gallery page on my art site Whilst on this page I refer primarily to the iPad, the styluses will work with most mobile devices with capacitive screens. I also use other mobile devices besides the iPad for making art, including the Microsoft Surface Pro and the Wacom Cintiq Companion. One of the inspirations for painting on my iPad is David Hockney, whose magnificent large format prints and video replays of his iPad drawings I first saw at the Royal Academy in London and then, subsequently, at the de Young Museum (where I performed live iPad drawing at the opening of the exhibition). The David Hockney: Bigger Exhibition at the de Young served as a great learning opportunity. I ran a couple of two day Inspired by Hockney iPad painting workshops based on visits to the exhibition. I am excited to bring the inspiration, lessons and energy of Hockney to my mobile painting workshops such as my upcoming Paint on the Go!.

Which Stylus to Choose?

Mobile painting is in an exciting period of growth with new styluses, devices and apps being developed, improved and introduced continually. Thus whatever I share and recommend here on this page is a snapshot of my current faves at the time of writing. When it comes to styluses, there is a huge amount of choice. I find that different styluses are good in different circumstances. My top three are currently:

the brand new Adonit Jot Touch with PixelPoint (pictured below) that just came out and has a precision tip and pressure-sensitivity (with Jot enabled apps);


the Pencil by Fifty Three (pictured below) with a wonderful wood option that looks and feels like a carpenter’s pencil and gives a silent soft painting experience;


and the Sensu Artist Brush (pictured below) that is great for washes, glazes and watercolor type brush work. A downside of brush styluses is that in some apps when you press down and the brush hairs splay out, that causes the canvas to wildly resize and rotate.


Besides the newest Adonit Jot Touch please note there are other pressure-sensitive iPad styluses on the market that you may wish to consider, such as the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, Ten One Design’s Pogo Connect and HEX3 Jaja.

Painting in the Tate Britain cafe. The Sensu brush is on the iPad cover and I am holding the Adonit Jot Touch in my hand.

Which Painting Apps to Install?

My current favorite painting apps on the iPad are Sketch Club and Art Rage. These are just two of many great drawing and painting apps out there, all inexpensive, mostly under $5. I would recommend experimenting with them and then honing in on the ones that resonate for you. Each have their own fan base and loyal aficiandos. Here are some of them: Zen Brush, Brushes, Procreate, SketchBook Pro, Inspire Pro, MyBrushes Pro, ArtStudio, Art Set, Auryn Ink, Sketji and ASKetch. One of the challenges I initially found exploring many different painting apps on the iPad was simply recognizing which app I was in! It was surprisingly difficult since most do not have an identifying name or logo within the app UI (user interface) itself. Each app involves finding things in different places and using different shortcuts and conventions etc, so recognizing which app you’re in is essential. Each app allows you to create a unique look and feel of artwork that is specific to the range of brushes and media of that particular app, and you can easily move work from one app to another, building up on different looks.

Sketch Club


Zen Brush

Auryn Ink


Inspire Pro


SketchBook Pro



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14 Comments added

  1. February 12, 2013
    Very interesting subject Jeremy!! Love to read and see it I think a lot of people 'need'that information. What brush is your favourite so I can buy one too!! Does these brushes work on all tablets because I've got a Asus..? greetings from Holland Ad Reply
    • February 12, 2013
      Hi Ad, Great to hear from you! I am an admirer or your wonderful paintings, both digital and non-digital, and can't wait to see what you do with "mobile" painting (of the words are inadequate - plein air painting is already "mobile"...) Currently, if I were to recommend just one brush (meaning stylus), it would definitely be the Sensu brush. I love the feel of this brush. I have only used it on an iPad so I can't vouch for other mobile devices. On their web site ( they say the following: "The Sensu works with capacitive touch screens like the iPad and iPhone (all versions), Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy, HTC Desire S, Google Nexus S, the Motorola Atrix, and many more." Not sure if your Asus will come under the "many more". Hope this was helpful and look forward to seeing you in the Netherlands sometime. Tot ziens! Jeremy Reply
  2. February 14, 2013
    Jeremy, Enjoy getting your periodic updates. Really like the info on ipad art. Thanks for sharing. Gerry Triangle Institute, Pittsburgh, PA Reply
  3. March 11, 2013
    Hello! I'm pretty excited with my new iPad mini! (Of course I run Painter 12 on my iMac with a Wacom Board).. I am so used to my stylus, that I got a sore finger going through the iPad tutorials! I have been navigating on this site, as well, and have been looking at the different 'brush' - stylus types. I looked at the Jot Touch, but felt it was more than I needed. I'm glad I read through the page to find your comments! I'm going to check-out the Sensu brush, after all! And, THANKS! Kathy Reply
    • March 14, 2013
      Hi Kathy, Thanks for your comment. The more I use the Adonit Jot Touch the more I love it!! Once you start using the pressure-sensitivity in apps like Sketch Club, Art Rage, Brushes, etc it's difficult to go back to anything else, even the Sensu. I would say the Jot Touch is well worth the investment. The newest version, Jot Touch 4, is the best yet and works with the iPad Mini. Cheers, Jeremy Reply
      • March 18, 2013
        Brilliant! Thanks for your reply! I just got my Sensu brush, and agree the Jot would be helpful ... Now I want to know where to get painting Aps for my iPad! I'm still looking through your suggestions! Thanks again, and I wish I could get to your class in SF on the 30th. It's just a day trip from the Sierra Foothills, if I can 'Paint' by then! Kathy Reply
  4. March 30, 2013
    Hello Jeremy! I'm enjoying the site. If you could pick an app for iPad that will save and send my drawings to my computer somehow, that would be great. I'm going to be using an iPen 2 when it comes out. Kathy Reply
    • March 31, 2013
      Hi Kathy, Thanks for your comment and question. Glad you're enjoying the site. You can save your paintings from any iPad painting app into the iPad Camera Roll Photos Album and export from there to your regular PC or Mac for printing, or just email from the app to yourself and then download via email. In any case there is no limit on the apps you can use with regard to printing. As to which of the many painting apps you'll enjoy most, that is very dependent on what your style is and what you're trying to create. I love using Zen brush for simply black and gray ink brush painting, Auryn Ink for watercolor, Sketch Club for quick sketching and convenient exporting of replay to QuickTime with musical accompaniment, and ArtRage for oil effects. Cheers, Jeremy Reply
  5. January 7, 2014
    Happy New Year, On this iPad just to make sure, you can download painter X3? Reply
    • January 21, 2014
      Hi Donna, Thanks for your question. Corel Painter X3 exists for Mac and PC but not iPad (oh how I wish it did:-). There is a Corel iPad app called Cinco that is a companion for Painter X3 and allows you to control shortcuts from the iPad but Cinco is not a painting app. The closest to Painter on the iPad is Art Rage. Cheers, Jeremy Reply
  6. February 27, 2014
    Loved your presentation in Marin last Monday the 25th-- 'm trying very hard to change my plans on 15th so that I can take your class on the iPad Painting. I'm scheduled to teach an iPhone Workshop that day-if I don;t have enough students I will be able to cancel my workshop and take yours-- Love your ART !!! Reply
  7. March 21, 2014
    I loved the Hockney exhibit and was searching for ideas to introduce IPad art to my 3rd grade students. Is there a free app you would suggest we start with? Reply
    • March 21, 2014
      Hi Gwen, Thanks for your comment and question. The Hockney exhibit was indeed very inspiring. For getting going in iPad painting there are two wonderful free apps: Paper by Fifty Three (in app purchases offered) Brushes (the app Hockney uses) Please let me know if you have any other questions and whether I can be of any more help. You'd be welcome to bring your kids down to visit my studio one day if you wished.... All the best, Jeremy Reply