Top three drawing apps review from the Google play store

There are now a plethora of apps available in both the Android and Apple platform catering to drawing. In this post, we review the top three drawing apps review from the Google play store. What was good maybe six months ago, may have brought in newcomers who change the way we draw. Now that many of us have access to phones and tablets, there is more to just social media interaction and more on activities that open up your inner creativity.

1. Ibis Paint X

This app has been at the top of the Google play store for a number of years and for good reasons. It has evolved into a usable app that is much loved by the anime community since it was launched in Japan. There are hundreds of brushes to choose from and has many drawing tools and effects that allow users to expand their creativity.

Ibis Paint X screenshot

Out of the box, the app is not easy to navigate and you need to go over it several times to see and locate what is what. From the Gallery, you can go on to your drawings and create a new drawing depending on the size of the canvas you want. From the canvas menu, you have up to 400 brushes to choose from and you need to ‘unlock’ it by watching a video in order to use it. It has several settings for adjusting the thickness of the brush on the ends as well as set opacity and other settings. Most users will typically use a minimum number of configurations in order to draw but for some hard core users who enjoys playing with effects, this is ideal. You will see later that the Paintology app has a different approach to drawing, demonstrating that many tools are not necessary in order to create stunning drawings. Like many other drawing apps in this category, there is the smudge, blur tools designed mainly for avid users of the previous digital drawing technologies ie graphics tablets hooked to a PC or laptop.

The Online Gallery is a web based version of other artists posting their artworks for other uses to like and make comments.

The best way to review a drawing app is to create a drawing with this Ibis Paint app, please see below.

You can see the video of this drawing on my youtube channel or you can simply click on the image above.

I did the drawing on my Galaxy Tab A and found the drawing tools were fluid and easy to use. You can create many interesting effects to create many different types of background. An interesting feature of this app, is the app can ‘smooth’ your drawing strokes and hence the appeal for many to use on creating cartoon characters such as anime.

The Galaxy Tab A has a built in stylus and thus allows for a bit more accuracy than say using a standard stylus which you can use for many tablets and phones with a capacitive screen. My other tablets for drawing consist of a range including the Samsung S6 Lite, Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite, Amazon Fire HD 10 and they all use a native stylus except for the Amazon Fire HD 10. You can see reviews of the drawings through these tablets on the Paintology Channel.

It is a myth that you need to use these tablets with their native stylus in order to create good drawings. I have used my Huawei P30 Lite phone (6.15 inch screen) to make good drawings with the Paintology app. Watch the time lapse video here. The reason I prefer the stylus is that I can draw much faster with a stylus be it a native stylus or a standard stylus for capacitive displays.

In conclusion, the Ibis Paint X is a good drawing app that allows users many tools to create many effects and is good for doodlers and people who are serious about illustrations or anime. There is a bit of a learning curve to use this app but the additional features outweigh this. However, there are constant ads that you need to watch in order to select new brushes for a pre-determined amount of time.

Summary (Ibis Paint X)
For:          good for drawing genres in Illustrations, anime, learning digital effects, a big user base
Against:   takes a bit of getting used to, many in app ads, no tutorials


2. Paintology

A new kid in the block is the Paintology drawing app. Although, it would be too immature of me to refer to this fine app in this manner, since the app first appeared in 2012 and has been relaunched only last year. With so many tablets and phones that support the ease at which you can draw on these devices, there has been an increased demand for a good drawing app. I believe Paintology fits this niche perfectly as I will explain later.

Paintology home screen - Oct 2020

There is much more power under the surface of this drawing app than meets the eye. The home page looks simple enough but when you go under the hood, for example, the Community section, you literally have an Instagram built into this app! Go to the ‘Draw’ section and you have the ability to make drawings in ‘trace’, ‘overlay’ and other modes all designed to improve your drawing skills. The Video Tutorials has many in app video tutorials organized by categories to cater to artists of all levels. The underpinning of this app is to get EVERYONE to draw and engage with each other, it sort of reminds me of a modern version of the old Sony Sketch.

As explained earlier, the Paintology app has continued to demonstrate that the art of drawing is pure simplicity. It does away with other mainstream digital drawing apps in providing a limitless amount of control over your drawing and is still capable of creating stunning drawings. In actual fact, this app will push your drawing skills to the level of photo realism like nothing seen before in the digital world. You can give two people an easel, canvas, oil paints and brushes and one can produce a stunning artwork over the other only because they are master of their tools. This completely describes Paintology.

The above is a drawing that I did with the Paintology app on my Samsung S6 Lite. The app lived up to it’s promise that simplicity is the key to great drawings… I used one brush tool, called shade with no opacity or other settings except adjusting the brush size.

Summary (Paintology)
For:          good for drawing for all genres, simple but yet powerful, fully fledged community for sharing your artwork
Against:   requires you to develop drawing skills, not for techies


3. Sony Sketch

Unfortunately, the Sony Sketch underwent significant changes in the last year. The company decided to disband their online community section and also stopped supporting the app altogether. Although you can still download the app on the Google play store. You can find more information including links on the articles posted here.

Sony Sketch amassed a huge following since launch back in 2014 and had a growing community of users totaling about half a billion.

The app itself is very easy to navigate and has tools that a beginner can pick up right away. The drawing feel was smooth and worked well on most Android devices. 
sony sketch canvas - Oct 2020

The Sony Sketch is similar to Paintology in that by offering the essential tools is all that is required to create a community of artists. Unlike the Ibis Paint, the Sony Sketch was designed to cater to artists of all levels and not necessarily a specific genre such as anime. The brush tools of the app are easy to understand for any newbies and has a simple degree of control such as size, strength, which can mean opacity for Ibis Paint and hardness for Paintology. Unfortunately, I can’t elaborate on the community section of this app which is now defunct, but you can find out more information on this app, from the search on this site. Here is a link for your convenience.

You can see the drawing made with the Sony Sketch above.

Summary (Sony Sketch)
For:          good for drawing for all genres, simple to use, fluid drawing experience
Against:   no community, no longer supported and therefore not updated in the Google play store


In summary, my assessment of the three drawing apps with a drawing has helped to understand it’s weaknesses and strengths. As a long time traditional artist, my preference is to keep things simple and tools are the ways to achieve the final artworks and tap into my creativity. With that in mind, I will hand down recommend the Paintology app for it’s elegance and simplicity, providing a canvas that has been designed to bring all your creativity to bear. After all, artwork is a measure of the painting and drawing phenomenon that emanates from the artist itself and not the tools that he or she uses.

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