Paper app turns your iPad into a sketch book [50 Essential iOS Apps #47]

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Cult of Mac logo poorly painted with Paper app
Paper by FiftyThree might not make you a good artist, but it does make it fun and easy.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Paper app For the past several years, the iPad has served as a tool to digitize the analog world. Board games are now virtual, books are electronic, and with the art app Paper by FiftyThree, your sketches and artwork are turned digital. Thanks to the incredible touch interface of the iPad and Apple Pencil, the app makes your device feel like its analog counterpart.

What is Paper?

Paper is a drawing and sketching “notebook” for iOS (best suited for iPad). The app features several different drawing “tools” to emulate brushes, pencils, markers, highlighters, and more. Within the app, different notebooks can be created for various projects or functions. With a Pro subscription, you can also unlock a multitude of syncing and artistry features to expand the app’s function.

Why the Paper app is great

By design, Paper is incredibly simple to use. The interface provides a full-screen canvas for drawing, writing, or sketching your ideas. This makes the app feel more akin to traditional, analog creativity.

Another great feature is the flexibility it offers. Unlike some drawing apps, Paper allows you to fully customize brush sizes (with Pro subscription), canvas color, “ink” color, and even provides a “paint mixer” to allow for slow adjustments to color as you draw or paint.

Paper app tools, templates, and drawing
Paper offers an immersive collection of art supplies and a variety of canvas templates to help you create.
Screenshots: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

A final great feature is the ability to add images or pre-made templates to your canvas. Within the templates, you can add lined paper, storyboards, grids, comic panels (Pro subscription), and more. These prove useful for making it an all-around notebook for a wide range of creative and artistic tasks.

Who it’s for

Anyone that loves drawing, coloring, or painting will appreciate the simplicity and flexibility the app has to offer. If you are looking for a way to express your artistry without the cost and space constraints of an art studio, Paper is the best art app on iOS.

Bottom line: Paper is the best art app

The iPad is a fantastic device for creating unique art, and Paper is the best art app. It enables you to flex your artistic muscles, or practice becoming the next Monet, quickly, easily, and beautifully.

Price: Free (upgrade to Pro for $7.99 for 6 months, $11.99 for a year)

Download from: App Store

See more of our 50 Essential iOS Apps

Want more essential iOS app reviews? Check out our ongoing series, 50 Essential iOS Apps.