Best iPad for drawing in 2023

The iPad is an incredibly capable device. Every model, from the base iPad all the way up to the giant iPad Pro, can handle almost anything you throw at them, and drawing is no exception. Many iPad models can address the needs of artists, though each has its own creator niche. All iPad models feature high-resolution displays with accurate color palettes that make drawing enjoyable, and the speedy Apple processors, from the A13 to the M2, will easily handle all the best drawing apps.

Whether you’re looking for the absolute best iPad for drawing, the easiest one to throw in a bag, or the most affordable model for basic doodling, there’s a suitable device for every artist and budget. Just remember that none of these tablets come with a stylus, so you’ll need to purchase one if you’re serious about drawing on your iPad.

Our favorite iPad for drawing

Apple iPad Air (2022)

Best overall

The sweet spot between price and performance

$559 $599 Save $40

The 2022 iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 processor, which isn’t Apple’s latest, but it’s still more powerful than most. Plus, it’s more affordable than the iPad Pro, which is great for the artist on a budget.


  • Just the right size
  • Apple Pencil 2 support
  • Speedy M1 chip

  • Not as powerful as the iPad Pro

The iPad Air is the sweet spot for most people. It features a large 10.9-inch screen and the M1 chip for excellent power. It supports the Apple Pencil 2, which feels more like a real pencil than a stylus. It also has a convenient flat edge that serves as a button for shortcuts and other functions. It’s not necessarily a game-changer, but it’ll provide a nice experience for artists or writers. The iPad Air also comes with a lower price tag than the iPad Pro, making it a more comfortable purchase.

When jumping from the regular iPad to the Air, one of the most underrated upgrades is the P3 wide color compared to the sRGB color spectrum. This offers a wide range of potential colors, which is essential for artists who want to see everything as accurately as possible. Beginner artists probably won’t notice, but for the more advanced creator who wants the best color experience, it might be worth spending the extra money to get an iPad Air.

Overall, the iPad Air sits in the sweet spot between features and price. It’s not cheap, and nothing about how it performs feels budget-friendly, but it takes a slightly more gentle toll on the bank account than the top-end models.

New Project-2-1

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)

Premium pick

The iPad for the artist who needs it all

$999 $1099 Save $100

The new M2-powered iPad Pro has the most powerful mobile chip and a gorgeous mini-LED panel that gets bright and bold, which is perfect for drawing and creating. Add in the Apple Pencil 2 support, and you have every artist’s dream tablet.


  • Powerful M2 chip can run all kinds of apps
  • Apple Pencil 2 support
  • Large screen to work on

  • Expensive
  • Large and not very portable

Regarding iPad models, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the cream of the crop. It has the biggest screen, which is excellent for drawing, and it has the most power, making it capable of running even the most demanding art applications. If you can afford it, you’ll be ready to go for years to come before you’ll need an upgrade. It also supports the Apple Pencil 2, which is a key iPad accessory, so you get the lighter feel, comfortable flat edge, and capacitive button for quick commands.

You get the latest M2 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and a gorgeous mini-LED screen with vibrant, accurate colors. Artists will love knowing that what they see on the screen is the most colors thanks to the P3 wide color support. Accuracy is everything when drawing, and this feature helps with that a great deal. The speedy 120Hz refresh rate makes creation more enjoyable because it’ll refresh the images faster as you draw, making it feel more like pencil and paper.

Outside of art, the overall power of this iPad makes it something truly special. It’s a bit expensive, but you get what you pay for, including a Thunderbolt USB-C port, a TrueDepth camera system with a LiDAR scanner, and an M2 processor. You’ll get an iPad that does it all and then some.

New Project-2-1

Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2022)

Alternate pick

A great mix of portable and powerful

$749 $799 Save $50

The 11-inch iPad Pro is a powerful device that’s packed with features that make it great for drawing. Every detail is included, from the high-resolution display to Apple Pencil 2 support. It’s also portable, thanks to the slightly smaller display compared to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.


  • Same M2 chip found in larger iPad Pro
  • Vibrant display for accurate drawing
  • Apple Pencil 2 support

  • The smaller screen offers less room to work
  • Still not exactly budget-friendly

Only some people need or want a 12.9-inch tablet. It’s big and not overly easy to carry around. That’s where the slightly smaller iPad Pro fills the void. It offers all the same features as the larger model but with an 11-inch display and a friendlier price tag. It’s still not cheap, but for the value it offers and the features it brings to the table, it’s an excellent option for drawers of all skill levels.

Like the bigger model, you get the full power of Apple’s M2 chip, so there’s nothing on the App Store it won’t run. And speaking of the App Store, you have the entire Apple ecosystem and all the apps that come with it. Whether you’re looking for a rudimentary sketch app or more advanced art software, you’ll find something you like on the iPad Pro. You also get support for the Apple Pencil 2, which gives you access to the more comfortable stylus with the useful flat edge that serves as a shortcut button.

This device features a Thunderbolt USB-C port, a TrueDepth camera system with a LiDAR scanner, and a 120Hz refresh rate display. If there’s a feature you can imagine a tablet having, chances are the iPad Pro has it. Everything from the processing power to the bright display perfectly suits anyone looking to draw.

Apple iPad Mini 6 on transparent background

Apple iPad Mini 6

Best portable option

For the artist on the go

$469 $499 Save $30

The iPad Mini 6 is the best small tablet ever made. It has a powerful processor, Apple Pencil 2 support, and it comes in a portable form factor, making it perfect for the artist on the go.


  • A smaller screen makes for a more portable device
  • High-quality display for accurate art creation
  • Apple Pencil 2 support

While it’s nice to have a large screen for creating art, there’s something to be said about the portability of a small tablet. That’s where the compact iPad Mini comes into play. It has the smallest screen of any iPad at 8.3 inches, giving it the smallest overall dimensions. It is perfect for the traveling artist who doesn’t want to carry around a heavier tablet.

Outside its smaller size, the iPad Mini is still a powerful tablet, featuring the A15 Bionic chip, a 6-core CPU with two performance cores and four efficiency cores. This will allow artists to multitask, meaning they can flip back and forth between creating and talking with friends, watching videos, or playing games. Any art app available on the App Store will run just fine on it. However, it’s less powerful than the M1 and M2 chips in higher-end models, which are essentially full computer processors running in tablets. Additionally, the iPad Mini comes with P3 wide color support, which gives it a broader color range than the cheaper iPad models.

This is also the smallest tablet with Apple Pencil 2 support, which gives artists the most advanced stylus features to make drawing feel more natural. You’ll need to purchase the stylus separately, but the accessory is necessary to use the tablet as a drawing tool.

iPad 10

Apple iPad 10

Best value

Affordable without being cheap

$399 $449 Save $50

The iPad isn’t as powerful as the Air or Pro and not as affordable as the iPad 9, but it does have a place as a perfect device for artists just getting started. It introduces a complete chassis overhaul from the iPad 9 and also supports the Apple Pencil 1.


  • Good balance of power and price
  • 10.9-inch screen
  • Quite affordable

  • Only supports Apple Pencil 1
  • Minimal updates from the ninth-generation model

Anyone just starting out in their art career will do well with the latest base model iPad. It has a 10.9-inch display, which is a good size for drawing. The speedy A14 Bionic chip is included, offering optimal performance for any apps you could ever want to run and then some.

Sadly, this tablet only supports the Apple Pencil 1, which is somewhat disappointing because it doesn’t have the more comfortable flat edge or extra button for quick actions. Thankfully, drawing performance is still great with the older stylus, although you lose some of the shortcuts and the more comfortable feel. This shouldn’t be a problem for beginner artists, as the extra features offered by the newer model won’t shine through until later in their art career.

The upgrades between this and the iPad 9 (listed below) aren’t massive. Still, you will get a slightly larger screen, a newer processor, better cameras, a better-placed front-facing camera, and the option to get 5G connectivity. It might be worth getting this model if those sound important to you. If not, you should check out the budget pick outlined below.

Apple iPad 9th Gen (2021) render with two color options and one showing the display

Source: Apple

Apple iPad 9th Gen (2021)

Budget pick

Perfect for artists on a budget

$279 $329 Save $50

The iPad 9 isn’t the latest and greatest, but it is the cheapest, which is great if you want to get into digital drawing without breaking the bank. Sure, it only has Apple Pencil 1 support, but don’t let that dissuade you from grabbing a great value tablet.


  • Very affordable
  • Decently powerful A13 Bionic chip
  • Quite portable

  • Only supports Apple Pencil 1
  • Somewhat outdated

If you’re on a tighter budget, there’s no question that the ninth-generation iPad is the one to buy. The upgrades to the 10th generation are minimal, so you’re still getting a powerful tablet that can handle any of the apps out there. You get the potent A13 Bionic chip and a sizable 10.2-inch display, which is only marginally smaller than the more expensive iPad. It’s still big enough to handle all kinds of art projects and powerful enough to run current apps, though the older A13 chip will be phased out sooner than the A14 found in the new iPad.

Like the newer model, you’ll only get Apple Pencil 1 support, but that’s fine, as the price is the real selling point here. An affordable starting price for an iPad isn’t necessarily what you expect. Apple still sells this model despite it being a year old, so you can get it with all the support you need.

Even advanced artists on a budget can enjoy what this iPad model offers, and anyone just starting in the drawing world will love that they don’t need to break the bank on iPad Air or iPad Pro to get into the Apple ecosystem.

Best iPads for drawing: Final say

It’s important to note that whichever one of these iPad models best suits your lifestyle, you’ll need to pick up an Apple Pencil to make the most of the drawing functionality. You can also look for a cheaper third-party stylus, but we recommend the official Apple model for maximum functionality and compatibility. Whichever way you go, though, without a stylus, you’ll be limited to drawing with your finger (which is doable but not ideal, especially if you need precision). Ensure you check whether the iPad you pick offers support for the Apple Pencil 1 or 2, so you get the right one. The iPad Pro M2 12.9-inch is the model for those looking for the best of the best. It’s the most powerful and has the biggest screen.

New Project-2-1

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)

Editor’s choice

$999 $1099 Save $100

The new M2-powered iPad Pro not only has the most powerful mobile chip in the world, but it also has a gorgeous Mini LED panel that gets bright and bold.

However, you can’t beat the 9th-generation iPad for how budget-friendly it is. While it’s affordable, it still has solid specs and a large screen that makes drawing fun and comfortable. And for overall value, the 11-inch iPad Pro does it all with its powerful M2 chip, large screen, and Apple Pencil 2 support.

And if an iPad isn’t right for you, there are some great Android tablets to consider as well.

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