10 Best Apps For Book Illustration: Bring Your Stories To Life From Your Phone!

You have a story to tell, but don’t have the skills or equipment to make it come to life? Don’t worry – your phone can help! There are many great apps out there that can make the process of illustrating your book easier. 

The following is a list of the 10 best apps for book illustration. There’s sure to be an app on this list that fits your needs, whether you are an experienced artist or just starting out! 

10 Best Apps For Book Illustration: Bring Your Stories To Life From Your Phone!

The Top 10 Book Illustration Apps

I have separated the apps into two sections; best book illustration apps for beginners and best book illustration apps for professional designers.

Best Book Illustration Apps For Beginners

The following apps are perfect for beginners looking to get into the digital world. These drawing apps are easy to use and learn. What’s even better is that they all have a lot of great resources available for complete newbies, as well as, large communities to offer support.

1. Procreate

Those who have never used a design or illustration app before may find this application a bit intimidating.

Even though it can be helpful to experiment with all the different features and tools, to really get the most out of this application and build proficiency, check out the Procreate Community page.

Artists of any skill level can find many tutorials and skilled artists to support them. Don’t forget to use the animation feature – it really makes your work come to life.

Best Used For:

You can create wildly different kinds of artwork with Procreate because it is so customizable. Authors and publishers have used it to create soft, textured illustrations for coloring books, graphic novels, mangas, character art, and so much more. Possible illustrations include:

  • Botanicals,
  • lettering projects,
  • hard-edged tattoo motifs, 
  • cartoonish illustrations, 
  • And so much more.
ProsCons
There are a lot of helpful tutorialsNot vectorized (it does not scale well, so you must pay attention to what the image looks like when you’re resizing as it will become pixelated)
The ability to export animations is easyThe brush doesn’t bleed like other vectorized brushes
The purchase is one time onlyIt is impossible to “finish” a drawing without bringing it into Illustrator to clean up lines and vectorize it
There are a lot of preset brushes already installed
Pricing: 

One-time purchase of $9.99

Perfect For:

Beginner

Compatible Platforms:  

iOS devices

2. Adobe Illustrator Draw

Adobe Illustrator Draw is intended for graphic designers who are already a part of the Adobe family. CC Libraries makes it easy to open Illustrator files created in Adobe Illustrator Draw on the iPad.

Despite its beautiful design and simple interface, the learning curve for those who aren’t familiar with design software can be quite steep. On the plus side, however, the app’s tutorial platform makes it easy to engage with the community regardless of the user’s experience level.

Best Used For:

Illustrator Draw is Adobe’s popular vector-based drawing program, optimized for touchscreens. You can draw on the Android screen using a variety of tools, just as you can with the desktop version. There are all the tools you could ask for in a good drawing app in this app. 

Pros:Cons:
A simple and clean layout for beginnersStorage space is limited, but more storage can be purchased for an additional monthly charge
Customizable brushes for vector graphics and can easily be integrated with Adobe CaptureReviewers have reported that it can crash easily
Because it’s part of the Adobe family, it’s easily compatible with Illustrator and Photoshop
Pricing: 

Users of iPads or Android devices with Adobe ID can access it for free.

Perfect For:

Beginner

Compatible Platforms:  

3. Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Adobe Photoshop Sketch is a tried and true drawing application. As with other Adobe products, Photoshop Sketch features a clean and simple interface. Using the brush panel on the left and minimal design tools on the right, you can create a large digital canvas.

For publishers/authors who want to add a digital component to their work, this app offers clear, simple tools that let them focus on what they do best — create!

Top Features:
  • Designed to be used as part of the Adobe Family of Applications. You must have an Adobe ID to use it.
  • A Photoshop-style layout with brushes, but with pressure sensitivity.
Pros:Cons:
Easily integrates with Adobe StockStorage space is limited, but more storage is available for an additional monthly charge
It is made by a seasoned company (Adobe), which offers more resources and support than any other design softwareNo other features (like animation) are available; another app must be used
Connects easily to Illustrator and Photoshop since it’s part of the Adobe familyThose who are new to design software will have a steeper learning curve
Pricing: 

Users of iPads or iPhones with Adobe ID can access it for free

Perfect For:

Intermediate to expert level

Compatible Platforms:  
  • iOS
  • Android Used to be available then became Adobe Fresco which is not available for Android, unfortunately.

4. Pixelmator Pro

Despite its designation as more of an “image editor”, this application has all the features to be a top contender for the best digital illustration app.

Pixelmator Pro gives you the capabilities to enhance the text with different vector graphics, clipping masks layered effects, and color adjustments.

Using this app, artists can make their wildest graphic design and photography dreams come true. With some additional graphic tools available, Pixelmator Pro is similar to Lightroom and Photoshop for editing photos.

Best Used For:

You can use Pixelmator Pro to paint digital paintings, edit photos, create designs, create illustrations, and be creative in any way you can imagine.

Pros:Cons:
A simple layout for beginners as well as for creatives who need to make quick edits on the flyThe creative process is still lacking a few features
Support or resources can be obtained from a large community of usersYou can’t import or rasterize vector files – the tools are less in-depth
Pricing: 

$4.99

Perfect For:

Beginner to intermediate

Compatible Platforms:  

iOS device

5. Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco features live brushes that bleed across the screen, stunning vector graphics, and 3D blending effects. What’s even better is that you can easily export your illustrations to Photoshop to work on them using more powerful tools.

Plus, if simplicity is the goal, Fresco’s streamlined approach gives you the ability to get their ideas across without being bogged down with other tools.

Best Used For:

A simple and streamlined drawing and painting app for beginners.

Pros:Cons:
Blends and bleeds like real bruisesThe free version is limited to 2 GB of storage
It can be used with Adobe Photoshop on the iPadThere is no canvas option
A member of the Adobe familyText cannot be added
Pricing: 

Free for mobile devices

Perfect For: 

Beginner

Compatible Platforms: 

6. Inspire Pro

Inspire Pro is a great introduction to digital drawing. The simple layout is easy to navigate and offers a lot of great tools for creating. This app is a contender for one of the best drawing apps in the App Store due to its fast rendering times.

Best Used For:

Drawing and painting – it offers the fundamentals of digital drawing. It is not as robust as other drawing apps.

Pros:Cons:
There are a few tools missing from the current version to aid in creation. For it to become more user-friendly, it may take a few more iterationsIt’s still pretty new, so expect some bugs
There is a lot of blending options with pre-loaded brushes that have high-quality brush strokesEverything is on one layer
Simple to learn
Pricing: 

One-time purchase of $9.99

Perfect For: 

Beginner

Compatible Platforms: 

7. Vectornator

In many illustration apps, the user interface leaves a lot to be desired. Similar to Adobe Illustrator, many of its functions are hidden under complex submenus.

However, Vectornator’s intuitive user interface drastically reduces the learning curve for designers just starting out with vector drawing. We also offer tutorials and templates to assist you.

What it does:

You can use Vectornator for Mac, iPhone, and iPad to create vector graphics. Vectornator combines all the vector tools, advanced features, and features that you need to design graphics in an intuitive, high-performance environment.

Pros:Cons:
The app is freeDoes not have the same trace image option as the illustrator, to quickly detect graphics instead of starting from scratch.
It has so many features for free that other programs/apps charge for, and it is easy for beginners to learn.Since it is an iOS app, there is a learning curve; since the interface and commands are different, it may take some time to get used to them.
With Vectornator, any pixel-based drawing can be converted to vector-based drawing and it is super easy to learn and use.
Editing is done in a very reliable way that you would expect from a desktop vector program. 
It’s really easy to navigate and find the options and settings you need.
Pricing: 

Free

Perfect For:

Beginner 

Compatible Platforms: 

iOS

8. Assembly

Assembly is often described as a “Mobile Vector Design” tool. It comes with a graphic designer or illustrator’s dream toolset and has beautiful shape packs that make it easy to use.

An intuitive user interface maximizes canvas space for easy creation. Plus, there is a growing community of creatives using this app making help available all across the web. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also fun tutorials to help you get started inside the app itself.

Best Used For:

Vector graphics and illustrative work with shapes. So, think anywhere from children’s books, coloring books, or even some activity books all the way to graphic novels or character art.

Pros:Cons:
It offers better tools compared to other applications, such as vector SVG output and typography toolsOnly allows you to export in PNG, SVG, JPG, PDF.
No experience is required, according to the advertisementThere may be bugs in a new application
The app works on both iPhone and iPad, allowing users to switch between the two devicesSubscription-based rather than a one-time purchase
Pricing: 

Basic Assembly is free

There is also a $29.99/year subscription fee for the Pro version

Perfect For: 

Beginner to intermediate

Compatible Platforms: 

iOS device available on the app store

Best Book Illustration Apps For Professional Designers

The following apps are a bit more robust and can be easily integrated into an established professional career. If you have never dabbled in design or illustration before, the learning curve may be a bit steep, but once mastered, the rewards can be immense.

9. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is comparable to Adobe’s design platform. There seems to be no limit to what can be created with its robust layout. It has a large library of tutorials and a growing community of creatives who use it to enhance their creative process. 

The application and the desktop version are both one-time purchases, so it’s no wonder this app has attracted the attention of many who are looking for the best digital drawing program available.

Best Used:

As an extension of the Affinity Designer desktop, this illustration app can be used to create vector and pixel graphics (can switch between the two). The app was designed for both digital and print designs.

Pros:Cons:
You can switch between vector and pixel designsExpect some bugs since it is a newer software
There are more options in terms of functionality:A higher learning curve is not suitable for beginning artists
With the keyboard extension, you can create keyboard shortcuts
Designed for use on computers and mobile devices
Artboards are available
Design layouts that are closer to Photoshop or Illustrator
No limit to the number of layers
Pricing: 

A one-time purchase of $20.00 for the mobile app ($50.00 for the desktop application) no subscription required.

Perfect For: 

Intermediate to advanced

Compatible Platforms:  

10. Autodesk Sketchbook

This is the application to use if technical drawings and fine details are your passions. Autodesk Sketchbook’s scanning capabilities takes drawing into the digital age.

This handy little tool has been integrated into the workflow of many publishers, architects, industrial designers, and other professionals.

Best Used For:

To create technical drawings or finely detailed illustrations.

Pros:Cons:
Can finish projects within the app, rather than moving them to another app to finish itHas a steep learning curve
Autodesk ID can be used to connect to other devices
With the camera, you can scan paper drawings and import them into the app with a transparent background
Support from a large community of users
Pricing: 

With an Autodesk ID, the software is free for individual use; multiple licenses are $85/year

Perfect For: 

Intermediate to expert

Compatible Platforms:  

iOS or Android devices

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