the best ipad for drawing for architects and designers

Top 6 Best IPads For Drawing

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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An iPad, with the Apple Pencil and the best drawing apps, can count as a powerful drawing device for digital art. The iPad of today can be used by many of those who are in the fields of art, illustration, and design to freely explore their creativity and materialize their work. Whether you want to begin your journey or level up your business, have a look at the top current best iPads for drawing.

If you're looking for the best drawing experience, the Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch is the way to go. The addition of the M1 chip, the stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, and the support of the latest Apple pencil renders the drawing experience with this iPad incomparable.

The Pad Mini 2021 is a great choice for those who are looking for a Pad with a very similar experience but have a slightly lower budget. Like the 2021 version, it comes with the M1 chip and is compatible with Apple Pencil but costs only a little less.

Finally, if you're starting with digital art and want a more entry-level option, the 2021 Apple 12.9-Inch IPad Pro is worth the purchase. Although it doesn't have all the special features of iPad Pros, it still supports Apple Pencil and is large enough to be suitable for drawing. After all, the best iPad for drawing is determined by budget and needs, although these three devices are most definitely worth looking at. Dive in to learn more.

1. Best Overall: Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch

Sale
Apple 2021 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Silver (9th...
  • Gorgeous 10.2-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • 8MP Wide back camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center...
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • Stereo speakers

When it comes to art, the difference in screen size sometimes makes all the difference. If you need the best screen ratio to create and express your ideas, the 2021 Apple iPad 10.2-inch is one of the best options. With its 4:3 aspect ratio, this Apple iPad offered me a different drawing experience from the larger screen, unlike the more common 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratios found on most tablets and laptops.

Best IPad For Drawing
Besides, I greatly appreciated the 102-inch Retina display that was perfect for drawing, painting, and sketching as it was bright, clear, and sharp. Moreover, it gave me accurate colors and a large viewing angle. Another great feature was the True Tone technology, which adjusted the color temperature of the display in response to the ambient light, which made the colors look more natural and reduced eye strain.

In addition, the iPad 10 was probably my favorite. It was supported by Apple Pencil, which helped me draw, paint, and sketch precisely and easily. The Apple Pencil's responsiveness and the palm rejection technology made drawing on this iPad so fun and easy.

Image Credit: amazon.com

In addition, I found the A13 Bionic chip to be powerful enough to handle most drawing and painting apps without lag or stutter. With its 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front camera, I could take reference photos, video chat, or record your art creation process time-lapses. I could also use it to draw and paint for a full day since it has a battery life of up to 13 hours.

If you want an iPad with the Ipad screen ratio for drawing and creating art, the Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch is an excellent choice. With its bright and clear Liquid Retina display, Apple Pencil support, and powerful A13 Bionic chip, I found it a great device for digital artists on a budget.

Pros:

  • Supports first-generation Apple Pencil
  • Plenty of space with a 10.2-inch display
  • Has full sRGB coverage
  • The battery lasts up to 13 hours
  • Apple Pencil Support
  • Affordable iPad

Cons:

  • A13 is outdated compared to other Ipad models
  • It only works with first-generation Apple pencil

2. Best Portable: iPad Mini 2021

Sale
Apple 2021 iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (6th...
  • 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color
  • A15 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • Touch ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
  • 12MP Wide back camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center...
  • Available in purple, starlight, pink, and space gray

Being an artist, I never know when the inspiration can hit me, but I love my iPad Mini. It's very portable, small, light, and therefore, I can take it anywhere. Apple iPad Mini a must have for artists who travel as it is both lightweight and is very potent for drawing.

The 7. 9-inch Liquid Retina display renders lively images, which showcases my artwork nicely. Tandem with the Apple Pencil 2, I can sketch or draw nicely and accurately wherever I am.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The A15 Bionic chip of my iPad Mini makes my drawing apps run smoothly without facing lag or stutter. Not to mention, the whole-day battery lifelong allows me to do the art for long hours without the need to worry about recharging.

The dual camera system, with a 12MP back camera and a 7MP front camera, is perfect for shooting reference photos and taking quick selfies for my artwork. The Touch ID gives trusted and simple access to my small iPad, and the Wi-Fi 6 ensures fast and stable internet linkage.

On the whole, the iPad Mini from Apple is an ideal tablet for artists who prefer portability and simplicity but do not like to compromise on drawing power. It is not important to me whether I am in a coffee shop or traveling in remote areas; my iPad Mini accompanies me everywhere.

Pros:

  • PortableA15 Bionic
  • Good battery life
  • Better cameras with Center Stage
  • New 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display
  • Second-generation Apple Pencil compatibility

Cons:

  • Small screen size is not ideal for everyone

3. Best Screen Ratio: 2021 Apple 12.9-Inch IPad Pro

2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 256GB) - Space...
  • Apple M1 chip for next-level performance
  • Brilliant 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion,...
  • TrueDepth camera system featuring Ultra Wide camera with Center...
  • 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide camera, and LiDAR Scanner for...
  • Stay connected with ultrafast Wi-Fi

For any artist looking for an iPad to create and express their digital art ideas, you are definitely in for a surprise if you choose the 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I had never experienced capability from a device like this before. This iPad surpasses any of its predecessors and assures you power when ranked with other drawing tablets, iPads, or, arguably versus, Apple laptops.

The difference between the old M1 and the new M1 was clear. I felt advanced performance with the new M1 chip. 9 Liquid Retina XDR Display among the best screens found in this kind of gadget. I also liked how the camera had a 12MP wide and 10 MP Ultra-wide camera, making it easy to capture those clear photos for reference and projects. These cameras allowed a perfect filled the best AR (Augmented Reality) with the support of LiDAR scanner, which added more realism and depth to my photos.

Image Credit: amazon.com

On the other hand, you will become overwhelmed with the 12. Choose between 9-inch and 11-inch models according to your artistic needs. Whereas you will get an XDR Mini LED display only with a larger size. This new generation of 2021 iPad Pro is my best pick as it provides all-day battery life, ultra-fast WiFi, and extra hard drive options to increase internal storage.

Pros:

  • Amazing Mini LED screen
  • High-Level performance CPU
  • Incredible camera quality
  • Great audio
  • Great battery Life
  • Fast WiFi and 5G capability

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not the best at multitasking
  • It doesn't have substantial apps on the OS
  • Offers no dual monitor support

4. Best Alternative: Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Silver...
  • Brilliant 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion,...
  • M2 chip with 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU
  • 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide back camera, and LiDAR Scanner...
  • 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • Stay connected with ultrafast Wi-Fi 6E

If you are looking for a non-traditional iPad to express your creativity, I have discovered the Apple 2022 12. I think the 9-inch iPad Pro will be perfect. This tablet is the most mighty of all the previous versions and it blows others drawing tablets, iPads and even some laptops away when it comes to the capabilities it possesses.

Boasting the latest M2 chip from Apple, I realized that it provided unsurpassed performance, so I was able to work with the most resource-consuming applications and software and switch from one to the other smoothly. In addition, I also found the breathtaking 12. 9 Liquid Retina XDR Display, which is hailed as one of the best displays to be ever incorporated into a tablet. Displaying this monitor, I faced these things: rich colors, deep blacks, and the level of detail which makes my artwork to be outstanding.

Image Credit: amazon.com

The 2022 iPad Pro camera system is spectacular. With its 12 MP wide and 10 MP ultra-wide camera, I could take pictures of high quality as a reference or art. The iPad Pro, too, had a LiDAR scanner, which was responsible for creating an immersive AR (augmented reality) experience, among other things, and for adding more depth and realism to my pictures.

The 12. Apart from that, XDR Mini LED, which is the main feature of 9-inch model, raises screen quality of the device to a new level. Besides of its wonderful performance and display, the 2022 iPad Pro also has all-day battery life, ultra-fast Wi-Fi and many storage options. It is ideal for those artists who need to do creation on the go without any limitations.

The 2022 Apple iPad Pro can be considered one of the best alternatives if you are looking for an iPad for drawing and digital art. Its amazing performance, superior display, and great camera system will make it an indispensable tool for any artist who wants to move to the next level and elevate their artwork.

Pros:

  • Superfast processor
  • Expansive liquid retina display with Promotion technology
  • Apple's M2 chip
  • Improved cameras with Center Stage
  • Supports second-generation Apple Pencil
  • Great storage options

Cons:

  • It can feel big for others

5. Best Budget: Ipad Air 5th Gen, 2022

Apple 2022 iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB)...
  • 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone, P3 wide color,...
  • Apple M1 chip with Neural Engine
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • Up to 256GB of storage

I was a user of this item and would like to inform you that the eighth-generation iPad is a good option for people starting to use iPads and are budget-conscious. These basic iPads with the older A12 Bionic chip still deliver amazing performances, and they are head-to-head with other famous drawing devices that are on the lower side. If you enjoy expressing your ideas without being of poor quality, then I would suggest this device to you.

Conversely, the iPad Air 5th Gen has a 10. Retina display, which is a 9-inch liquid screen that offers a bright and clear view for all of your artistic activities. Certainly, the True Tone function, which automatically adjusts the display color temperature to match the environment lighting, is my favorite part. This avoids viewing under different lighting conditions which equates to a more faithful representation of the work of art.

Image Credit: amazon.com

As a proud user of this amazing device, I would like to share with you its outstanding features. The 12MP backside camera and 7MP front camera are excellent for capturing references or selfies. The good thing about them is that you can use them as a reference or email your work to others without any hassle.

But that's not all! For artists, the Apple Pencil 2 was a sensation since it brought unmatched precision and control to their drawing or sketching experience. Moreover, as it magnetically attached to the side of my iPad, I loved the fact that I could grab it anytime I needed it.

For the artists who don't have so much money, iPad Air 5th Gen is the right gadget. Its stunning specs and features make the price very attractive and they are sufficient to handle all your photographic needs. Do not neglect this incredible device!

Pros:

  • Lighter than iPad Pro
  • Great color choices
  • Laminated true-tone display
  • It has a sleek design

Cons:

  • Limited storage options

6. Best Value: IPad Air 4

Sale
2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Green...
  • Stunning 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3...
  • A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • Touch ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
  • 12MP back camera, 7MP FaceTime HD front camera
  • Available in Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue

For an artist, balancing price, performance and screen size is quite an important thing. That's why the iPad Air 4 is the device for me!With a 10. Additionally, with its 9-inch display, there is enough space to draw and paint, while also being lightweight and portable.

But what I love is not just its size—this iPad works with the Apple Pencil 2, which thus provides me with all the newest capabilities and functions. Besides the A14 Bionic chip, this machine is blazing fast, and it can deal with all my art apps without any lag or stutter.

Image Credit: amazon.com

This laminated True Tone display is a deal breaker for me. It generates outstanding pictures with a higher dynamic color range, and True Tone automatically adjusts the display's temperature to the room's lighting; therefore, I always enjoy the highest quality display. If I want to shut it off, the Control Center makes it simple.

Even though the iPad Air 4 doesn’t feature Face ID and ProMotion display technology, it comes with a new dual-camera array, which includes a LiDAR sensor along with an extra 10MP ultra-wide rear-facing camera. To sum up, this tablet is the ideal choice for any artist who seeks a powerful yet lightweight gadget at a decent price.

Pros:

  • Superb balance of price and power.
  • Fairly large screen.
  • Apple Pencil 2 support.
  • Great display.

Cons:

  • No ProMotion display.
  • No Face ID.

Factors To Consider When Buying The Best IPad For Artists

1. Apple Pencil Support

The Apple Pencil is the instrument that allows everything to take shape. It's a simple, intuitive, and natural stylus that mimics the real pencil feeling. It is great for making notes, drawing, designing logos, painting, and editing photos and videos. This iPad-Apple Pencil combination is amazingly perfect for making your most fantastic and creative ideas come true.

The Apple Pencil is undoubtedly the best stylus in the market if you want to draw on an iPad. At the moment, there are two Apple Pencil generations on the market. Both models are similar, but the latter has more benefits.

First of all, it provides better, more comfortable charging. While you had to plug the 1st generation Apple Pencil into a Lightning port, the 2nd Gen will magnetically attach to the side of your iPad to charge. In addition, it resembles the real pencil in feel and thus comfortable to handle.

The size is also a bit different, with the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil being lighter and shorter. It is not so glossy, hence, it can hold a firm and non-slippery texture. In true Apple form, the 2nd gen can be viewed to be more user-friendly and practical.

Nevertheless, each is an exceptional drawing stylus that helps to upgrade digital drawing performance. My first preference would be the 2nd gen Apple Pencil, which is a little pricey but works solely with some iPad models.

a). Apple Pencil 2nd generation is compatible with:

  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and 4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st and 2nd generation)

b). Apple Pencil 1st generation is compatible with:

  • iPad (6th, 7th, and 8th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

2. RAM

The processor and RAM are the basic components of performance when using drawing and painting programs. The quicker the processor and the more RAM an iPad has, the smoother the experience will be when dealing with big files or complex illustrations.

This also means more layers, especially in creative apps like Procreate and Adobe Fresco.

You must have at least 4GB RAM on your iPad if your work requires a large palette and innumerable layers. If it's more for fun then you don't need much space in your memory. Try an iPad with an A14 or A15 Bionic chip.

Unfortunately, Apple does not reveal the RAM specifications for its devices, so we must rely on the given source for detailed technical information.

  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch 20206GB
  • Apple iPad Pro 11-inch 20206GB
  • Apple iPad Air 20204GB
  • Apple iPad 8th Gen 2020 3GB
  • Apple iPad Mini 20193GB

3. Storage

When you have your mind set on using your iPad for reference images or for taking pictures of your paintings, it is advisable to choose an iPad with a good camera. Memory works with short-term while storage works with long-term but the principles are the same.

The amount of storage you need will be determined by the kind of art you create and the amount of media you plan to save on your device. The big files like high-resolution images and videos need to have more storage space.

The more storage the better. Usually that kind of data is about 20GB per year for regular users.

128GB of storage should be enough to hold all your favorite drawing applications and your artwork for many years to come. A heavier user could then need about 256 GB.

4. Display

A high-quality display is necessary for artists who want to achieve fine and precise details. Screen size, resolution, and color accuracy are of paramount importance. A bigger screen size makes working on intricate artwork easier, and high resolution ensures that your artwork looks crisp. Color accuracy is necessary to maintain consistency across different devices and when printed.

When choosing a device, make sure that it has a high resolution, sharp colors and good brightness. In addition to the True Tone feature that adjusts the display to the ambient lighting.

5. Battery

Battery life is one of the most critical factors when choosing a drawing tablet. The last thing you want is your 'canvas' running out of juice after a few hours of use. The good news is iPads generally have very impressive battery life.

Apple ensures that a single, full charge can last about 10 hours if mostly web surfing. However, drawing on an iPad is a more demanding process that consumes more resources and power. But you'll still get a more than decent 6-7 hours of drawing on a fully charged iPad Pro.

6. Connectivity

LTE is a feature that is not indispensable in digital art but is helpful if you have them. It's mainly used in the field drawing or at a place without internet. However, be wary that this simple problem can easily be fixed by connecting the iPad to your phone's hotspot.

The truth is that if you own an iPhone, the latest iOS updates have made setting up a personal hotspot with your iPhone or iPad very easy. For example, an iPad without LTE built-in is a great way to save money.

7. Apps Compatibility

Nowadays there are many top-notch drawing programs. Besides, you might be confused about which ones can work with your iPad. In effect, all of them will work with your gadget. It looks like both big and small utilities run well on iPads. You can pair Procreate and Adobe Fresco with ArtRage, and Graphic.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Drawing And Painting IPads

1. How Is The IPad Display Suited To Drawing?

It is usually hard to discern real colors from stand-alone drawing tablets unless you have a better monitor for comparison. In contrast, the iPad displays are amazing for drawing with good quality of resolution, hue, variety, and nuance. The iPad Pro is remarkable in this regard, especially.

2. How Are The IPads With Glare And Parallax?

Parallax and glare are aggravating for an artist. For an uninformed user, glare is the reflection of light from above and behind the screen, thus making it harder to see and recognize details. However, parallax is the distance between the nib of a stylus where it touches the screen and the image that corresponds to it.

The iPad Pro, Air, and Mini use a glare-reducing reflective coating and fully laminated displays for parallax. Furthermore, the fact that their surface is brightly illuminated, highlights some of the best features on the tablet market. It could never occur to you that the smallest details will fail to be seen.

In addition, all the iPad features mentioned above are state-of-the-art and made with artists in mind. They have precision, sensitivity and quick response so no swiping, glaring and parallax ever ruins your workout.

3. What Is The Expected Latency With These IPads?

The forecasted latency while drawing on an iPad may be affected by some factors, for instance, the model of the iPad, the stylus used and the drawing app.

In general, the latest iPad Pro models (2021) show the lowest latency when you draw with an Apple Pencil. These iPads feature a 120Hz refresh rate and a 5ms latency, which is especially suitable for artists and designers who need high-quality and responsive input.

Yet, the latency of the previous generation iPad Pro models (2020) is also very low at 9ms, which is also regarded as very good for drawing.

Other iPads, like the iPad Air or Mini, can also be used for drawing, but their latencies may be higher because of their lower refresh rates and processing power. If you are a graphic artist and looking for the best iPad for drawing with minimum latency, then go for the recent models of iPad Pro.

4. Which Model iPad is Best for Drawing?

The 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best iPad for drawing. I highly recommend it to any artist looking for a powerful and versatile device to create and express their ideas. Please refer to our review above for more information on its features and capabilities.

5. Is an iPad or Drawing Tablet Better for Drawing?

IPads and drawing tablets have their own pros and cons in terms of drawing.

The portability, convenience, and versatility of iPads has made them popular among people who draw. Users of the iPad can have a more natural drawing experience with the Apple Pencil that has pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition, and palm rejection. iPads also feature multiple drawing apps with infinite options of drawing tools for digital artists.

However, drawing tablets are specially designed for drawing purposes and provide a more natural and accurate drawing experience. Drawing tablets are bigger and are equipped with better technology such as pressure sensitivity and precision. They often feature more sophisticated elements such as customizable buttons and hotkeys for easy access to frequently used accessories.

Lastly, the preference of using an iPad or a drawing tablet will be based on your needs and choice. If mobility and flexibility are the considerations for you, then an iPad will suit you better. Nevertheless, a drawing tablet would be the method of choice for a professional digital artist who needs the best level of accuracy and precision.

6. Which IPad is Best for Gaming and Drawing?

iPad Pro 2021 or 2022 versions are the best option if you are looking for a tablet powerful enough for gaming and drawing. These iPads have powerful processors, large amounts of storage, and big, high-resolution screens, which make them perfect for these apps.

Alongside the iPad Pro models, the Apple Pencil 2 is available for those who love to create their art with precision and accuracy. The iPad Pro is equipped with high-performance hardware that can manage demanding graphical games and is, therefore, an outstanding choice for gamers.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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