One of the greatest things about smartphones is how the right app can make complex tasks far more approachable. Animatic is an animation tool designed for anyone. You scribble on the canvas, add a new frame, see the previous one faintly so you can line things up, and then scribble some more.

A few dozen frames later and you’ll (hopefully) have an animation you can play and export as a movie or GIF. Nothing you create is going to trouble Pixar, but the scribbly, sketchy quality of Animatic output is full of character – plus it’s far less hassle than doodling flip animations on a notepad.

Download Animatic


On the desktop, Adobe powerhouse Illustrator is most known for enabling creative types to fashion anything from logos to elaborate illustrative fare. Illustrator Draw brings much of the tech to Android, but is mostly concerned with creating freehand artwork.

This is an impressive desktop-oriented app, in terms of feature set. There’s a layers system for separating elements or tracing over an imported photo, a 64x zoom, multiple configurable pen tips, perspective grids, and shape stencils to temporarily plonk on the canvas when you fancy some accuracy. Export options are limited unless you subscribe to Creative Cloud, but that’s the only drawback.

Download Adobe Illustrator Draw


Much like stablemate Adobe Illustrator Draw, Adobe Photoshop Sketch utilises the smarts of an Adobe desktop app to provide you with a seriously impressive Android-based fingerprinting environment. This one’s all about natural media – scribbling with digital takes on thick acrylic paint, pastels, inks, and watercolours.

The app excels in terms of features, with a layers system, configurable brushes, and you being able to stash favourite tools and colours in the toolbar. Again, export’s a bit limited if you’re not a Creative Cloud subscriber, but you can at least output work to Gallery for sharing online.

Download Adobe Photoshop Sketch


There’s an awful lot going on in PicsArt. It seemingly wants to simultaneously be Snapseed and Prisma, although it’s not as good as either of those apps. So why’s it in this round-up, then? Collages – that’s why.

Fire up PicsArt, select a bunch of snaps and a layout, and you can fiddle around with placement, borders, effects, and dividers, and then hurl the end result at your social network of choice.

Download PicsArt Photo Studio & Collage


It turns out that colouring in is good for relieving stress – although that’s not the case when you spill paint all over the furniture or accidentally grind pastels into the rug. Fortunately, Pigment provides a safe digital alternative – and one far beyond its contemporaries.

This isn’t just a rubbish tap-to-fill pretender (although you can use that input mechanism if you’re feeling lazy). Instead, you get a range of tools to use – markers; brushes; fancy gradients – and can even choose whether the app helps you ‘stay between the lines’. There’s IAP for unlocking new illustrations, but plenty are available for nowt.

Download Pigment