I’ve been teaching with iPads for a number of years now and I thought I’d share what apps I’ve been using and found success with.

 Adobe Draw

This is the app I use most frequently, with students aged 11 – 18. I’m sure younger students could use it too. The eye drawing above and the line drawing portrait below are both created with Adobe Draw. As well as being a free app, the advantages are:

* It has layers so you can draw on top of a photo and then delete the photo

* You can create line and colour drawings

* It has a colour picker which perfectly matches colour

* You can use it to create compositions as it has layers

You can also use Adobe Draw for pointillism. Your finger or stylus will create dots on the screen. This fish was created by my daughter, aged 13.

Pic Collage

For artist research pages this is my go-to app. This has proved to be a real advantage over teaching without iPads as it really speeds up the process of creating research pages. You can also see what students have created on screen and make suggested improvements before printing. Students can adjust the size of images to improve presentation and add textboxes of information and annotation. The ‘Working with Clay’ collage here was created by a student aged 11. Tips for success:

* Tell students that the icons at the top of the page won’t print, so their images and text need to fill this space

* If students are then emailing the pic collage to you or themselves to print, ask them to save their pic collage to their camera roll first which should turn it into a jpeg, which is then easy to print

* Shake the iPad to straighten images

Essential Skeleton

This app is a favourite of mine even though it’s not even an art app – it’s designed for medical students – but look at the images you can get! What’s so cool about it is, not only can you zoom in but you can rotate the skeleton in every direction getting some really interesting viewpoints. Just screenshot the images you want.

Here’s a wonderful gallery of charcoal and ink drawings, inspired by Essential Skeleton images, created by students aged 14/15.

Handy Art Reference Tool

This is an art app and is so useful for students who choose this tricky subject matter. It has many different hand positions, male and female, and you can rotate, zoom in and change the lighting. It has the same for feet and heads with all these features. Brilliant!


This is a super-useful app that puts a grid on top of any image. Some of my students have appreciated this when drawing directly from the iPad or of course you could make your own resources. I have lots of art grid drawings made for teaching here.

Google Art & Culture

‘Google Arts & Culture’ is a great way to keep developing your subject knowledge. With numerous and regular articles, paintings to zoom in on and virtual tours, it makes keeping up-to-date easy and entertaining.

It also includes the ‘Art Selfie’ which is just a bit of fun; you take a selfie and it searches 1,000’s of paintings and supposedly finds one that looks like you. What do you think? I’m not feeling very flattered!

Pip Camera

There are numerous Apps that manipulate photos – flipping them, turning them into negatives, adding filters. Many of them do one of the many tasks that photoshop can do. If you google what you want in an app you can usually find it. I recently wanted a double exposure app and found Pip Camera.

‘Pip Camera two image into one’ is a free App which creates a double-exposure effect with two photographs. Older students of mine have used this to create images to paint when they have been exploring distortion and movement as themes.

The advantage it has over apps that put two pre-existing images together is that you can faintly see the first image when you take the second, which allows for greater control over positioning. The disadvantage is there is no control over the transparency of each layer which you could get with photoshop.

Pop Art Lite

Great if you’re delivering a Pop Art or Andy Warhol project, Pop Art Lite is really easy to use. You can upload a photo, perhaps of a celebrity, or take a photo in the app. Such fun. The photos below are me playing!

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