Best App for Sketching or Painting



Brushes Screenshot

Simple or Sublime: While mere mortals will likely make simple sketches, many Brushes artists have made astonishingly complex works. Paint by moving your finger across the screen. Change the brush shape or size by tapping the dock's brush icon, and change color by tapping the eyedropper or color sample at bottom right. The corkscrew buttons let you undo and redo nearly unlimited strokes to clean up unruly paint spatter.


Brushes Screenshot

Up Close: Brushes lets you zoom in up to 800% for fine work. Pinch to zoom in or out, and use two fingers to scroll. Paintings are small, the same size as the screen itself (320x480 pixels), and Brushes saves them to your photo library. Mac users, however, can also export to Brushes' free desktop software which can convert images to larger sizes. And get this: The desktop software can even play a movie to recreate your painting stroke by stroke.


Brushes Screenshot

Color Picker: Tap the color wheel to choose from millions of colors, using the bars below to adjust brightness or transparency. Transparent colors are great for smoothing transitions, or for tinting the painting with the app's fill tool. As comprehensive as this screen is, it's a lot of work to come back every time you change hues. Instead, daub common colors onto the canvas and grab them with the eyedropper when you need them.


Brushes Screenshot

Savvy Sampler: Brushes' elegant eyedropper makes it easy to sample any color already in your painting. Tap the dock's eyedropper button, and a ring circles your finger on the screen, changing color to match what's beneath. You can also get the eyedropper to appear by tapping and holding the screen—easy and convenient.

Top Pick


Version reviewed: 1.1
Steve Sprang

If any app can uncover the painterly masterpiece lurking inside your iPhone, it's Brushes. The app makes your screen a canvas and your finger a brush, with a keep-it-simple approach that's perfect for both quick sketches and ambitious paintings. Its secret is its simplicity: Brushes gives you three realistic brushes, a limitless selection of colors, and that's it. (You provide the index finger.) With so few tools to master, you can focus on your canvas.

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The iphone apps just continue to amaze me. For creative people this is just fantastic. Now I can paint up my masterpieces anywhere. Waiting at the doctors office, on the bus. I can't wait to get started.

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