David Di Franco


Best Creative iPad Pro Apps for Apple Pencil

The most unique aspect about the iPad Pro is, without a doubt, the Apple Pencil. In my eyes, it’s much more than just a stylus. With the amount of technology Apple managed to cram into such a thin and usable device, I would be surprised to find someone who is not impressed by what it can do.

It’s only been a few months since the iPad Pro launched and there are already quite a few creative apps that are fully compatible with the Apple Pencil. In other words, these apps take full advantage of pressure sensitivity and even the ability to shade with tilt.

The following are some of my favorite apps that are compatible with the Apple Pencil, with more on the way as they become apparent.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

What quickly became an instant favorite of mine, Photoshop Sketch is a simple app that encourages users to sketch on paper using a variety of tools. Each project by default presents five blank canvases, leaving room for plenty of ideas.

While the pencil tool is my personal favorite, Photoshop Sketch offers the option of using a pen, marker and even watercolor. Use the watercolor brush and you’ll notice the paint actually runs, as if you’re using paint on a real canvas.

And finally, if you are looking for a bit of inspiration, the app includes a gallery called Community Sketches. This gallery features actual sketches that were created using Photoshop Sketch. Each submission also includes the ability to like and comment, encouraging feedback from the community.

Adobe Illustrator Draw

Illustrator Draw is very similar to Photoshop Sketch, except it offers tools that are a lot more vibrant and fine-tuned. This is the app you would use if your sketches are already complete and you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Playing around with the pen tool, you’ll notice that each stroke begins and ends with a fine point. This attention to detail is important to illustrators, as it can allow for some incredible artistic pieces. The same can be said for the rest of the tools available.

Like Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw also features a community of drawings submitted by users like you and myself. This is an excellent way to get inspired and try new ideas.

Adobe Photoshop Fix

Moving away from drawing and illustration for a bit, let’s talk about Photoshop Fix — one of my favorite iPad Pro apps currently available. What could be probably marketed as “Photoshop Lite,” Photoshop Fix is a powerful app that enables users to repair existing photos.

Similar to the desktop version of Photoshop, this mobile app offers all the tools you need to fix your photography work. Looking to cover up a particular spot in a photo? Use the Healing brush. Need to adjust someone’s smile in a portrait? The several Liquify tools can help you. And so much more…

For a free app, Photoshop Fix is quite impressive and will likely reside permanently on my iPad Pro.


Surprisingly, Procreate is the app that I have used the least — and not because it’s weak in features. It’s actually because of the complete opposite. Procreate is astonishingly huge and arguably the best creative app available at the moment.

With a ton of brushes and adjustments to use, as well as full support for layers, Procreate is the closest you will get to using desktop-class software on a tablet. You can also work on a variety of different canvas sizes, including custom.

Unfortunately, unlike Adobe’s apps, Procreate does not include a community gallery of any kind. However, it does come preloaded with a handful of illustrations and paintings to experiment with.

Zen Brush 2

Are you looking to relax for a while? If so, then you need to give Zen Brush 2 a try. Unlike other apps I’ve talked about, this one is solely based on making calligraphy with a limited set of tools. 

With only a few brushes to work with and two colors (black and red), Zen Brush 2 encourages a simplified approach on art. Put the Apple Pencil to surface and you’ll quickly realize how soothing calligraphy can be, especially after witnessing how the ink runs as if it’s actually wet.

Offering a ton of different canvas types and backgrounds, Zen Brush 2 is sure to keep you occupied for a while. It’s exactly why this is a favorite app of mine, right up there with Photoshop Sketch.


Probably the least complex of them all, Pigment is a digital coloring book that is suitable for creatives of all types. It’s very basic on features, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

While most of the illustrations are only accessible via the $4.99/month premium service, Pigment does feature several projects to keep you occupied. From wild animals to ocean waves, these illustrations can be completed using a variety of tools. Some users may prefer going the detailed route with pencils and markers, but the paint bucket tool does the job for me.

Once your project is finally complete, you do have the option of exporting it to your Photos app. Just be aware that the Pigment logo will be watermarked if you are not a paying customer.

I still have so much more to say about all these apps, which is why I encourage you to watch my walkthrough video below. If you have an app that you think I should check out, please feel free to suggest it in the comments.