I love drawing on glass and have been on a search to determine the best drawing app for the iPad Pro. Having downloaded about a dozen apps, clearly an app I like may not be one that you like because they all work differently and have different interfaces. At the moment, my top three drawing apps for iOS (in no particular order) are Sketchbook Pro, Procreate and Pixelmator. This post focuses on Pixelmator.
Pixelmator for iOS has a good reputation as a Photoshop replacement. Many reviews suggest Pixelmator is nearly enough. For my needs, it’s enough. I consider Pixelmator a Photoshop replacement on the iPad (as well as on the iMac).
At work, I use Photoshop on an iMac for manipulating photos. I may combine two or more images, color correct them, add or remove things, etc. Sometimes I add text to create a layout or ad. Sometimes I bring the newly created image into another application like InDesign or Illustrator. Pixelmator allows me to do almost everything I normally do in Photoshop on my iPad. Since Pixelmator was upgraded to version 2.3, I don’t think there’s ever been an instance when I could not produce the same work. (Unfortunately, I recently determined it does not support text on a curve.)
The reason Pixelmator is MORE than Photoshop for me not just because it does what Photoshop does but because I love drawing with it. I don’t have a Cintiq at work. All of my digital drawings have always been done on iPad. The iPad Pro 12.9″ is an amazing device for drawing and Pixelmator is a great option for this.
Pixelmator has a generous selection of brushes. Unlike Procreate and Sketchbook Pro, Pixelmator eliminates most of the customization features. In other words, with Pixelmator, you select your brush, its thickness, opacity and color – that’s it. The other apps allow things like angle adjustments, jitter and pressure sensitivity curves. I found all this control too much of a good thing and constantly played with the settings. With Pixelmator, you just pick a brush and draw. Sometimes less is more!
Accidentally, I discovered how well Pixelmator integrates with iCloud. While Procreate and Sketchbook Pro gobbled up my iPad Pro’s storage space, Pixelmator only took sips. It stores everything in iCloud without fuss. Sketchbook Pro does a decent job with iCloud but not as efficiently as Pixelmator. Procreate only allows you to upload your drawings to iCloud manually.
Overall, Pixelmator is a winner! It does almost everything Photoshop does and offers an excellent platform for illustrators to indulge themselves without having to carry around a sketchpad. I love it and recommend it highly. It’s one of my favorite apps not only for what it does but for how productive it allows me to be.