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Updated by Teaching Palette on Jun 07, 2021
Headline for The Best iPad Apps in Art Education
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The Best iPad Apps in Art Education

What iPad Apps are most useful for student learning and engagement? We have listed our top apps that promote CREATIVITY and ORIGINALITY. Please help rank the most useful, leave a comment, and add to this list of the BEST apps for art education!


Paper by FiftyThree

Create virtual sketchbooks for each of your students.




Great way to send and retrieve documents and images.


Teach your students all sorts of symmetry applications including tessellations. Learn more and see student samples here:




Create and share presentations using images and embedded video. See how art students used them at the Art Institute of Chicago:




Pricey but it is a fantastic app if you want to do any video production with your students.




Lots of great textures and layers for making beautiful artwork. Student example here:


This is great for teachers to use to organize lesson plans or older students to organize resources. Check out this post for more ways teachers can use in the classroom :

SketchBook Express

Is a good drawing app with layers for more advanced interactions. Here is a nice review of the uses in the art curriculum:
Here is a video overview of the featueres:
SketchBook Pro offers more layers and additional features including the Photoshop format. Check out this video geared toward kids learning the basics of Sketchbook Pro.


Draw, paint and edit photos. Supports multiple layers for advanced artwork techniques.


Percolator app is useful to create abstracted effects. Nice introduction to using the iPad for younger students. See student sample here:

iMotion HD

Motion HD is an intuitive and powerful time-lapse and stop-motion app for iOS.
Take pictures, edit your movie and export HD 720p videos to your device or directly to Youtube. See how this was used for claymation:

Do Ink Animation & Drawing

Great animation tool useful for elementary art students too. See how it is used here:


Great way to integrate literacy into your art curriculum. Here are some student self-portrait examples:

Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity

Great for primary level students and integrates literature and symbolism too. Student examples: Check out our interview with the children's book author that inspired this app:“faces-imake”-3/

Auryn Ink

While this app could never replace the tactile feel of watercolor, this app does create amazing watercolor effects.

Brushes 3

I would have recommended this app as my favorite last year, but no longer. Brushes has changed their business model so that if you want to get layers, it is only done with an in-app purchase. For schools who do bulk purchases, it will not work. :(

Phonto - Text on Image

This app allows you to combine photos with text. A great way to combine literacy into traditional art projects. Check out these poetry examples:




This free app allows combination of photos along with audio recordings. A great way to reflect on student artwork.




Great App for basic drawing, has all the tools general needed and can be used for tracing existing images.


This amazing app takes creative work to the next level. Start with a photo of a student work with one main subject and remove all the negative space with the masking tool. A new image can then be placed in the background behind student artwork and even a cast shadow can be added.. The best part about this app is that the student image can be saved to the camera roll as a PNG file (transparent background) and used with ANY other app! For example, use DoInk animation to animate student artwork (PNG saved from Superimpose). Extend it further by loading the DoInk animation into iMovie and have the student record a description or story.


PhotoSync wirelessly transfers photos & videos between iPad devices and your computer. PhotoSync also transfers to Dropbox, Picasa/Google+, Facebook, Flickr, and more.


Nice video editing app, less expensive alternative to iMovie.

Procreate - Sketch, paint, create.

This is an advanced painting app for the iPad. I love the tools, textures, tilting canvas, and blending feature. I have examples here:

Pinnacle Studio

Likely too expensive to add to multiple iPads - but the video editing Pinnacle app has some AMAZING advanced features that make it definitely worth the purchase on a one iPad classroom.


Videolicious is great for creating a movie with images. Students describe artwork or learning process and post directly online.