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Best Drawing Apps for Kids

One of the most important things we can do for our kids as teachers and parents is to encourage their creativity and artistic self-expression.
 
The 3 P’s: paper, pencils and paints remain our tried-and-true tools. Still, there are many wonderful iPad and Android drawing apps - some free, some very inexpensive - that let children express their artistic side. Some of the art apps also let kids collaborate with each other, or share their artwork with parents or with other children.
 
Take a virtual coloring book or easel with you wherever you go with these playful and colorful drawing apps. You could never carry this many paintbrushes, crayons, or sticks of chalk in your purse, and now you don't have to.
 
Do you want to be the next Picasso? Even if you prefer to draw with pen and paper over a stylus and tablet, these apps and games are perfect picks to turn your device into a digital sketchbook. Kids of all ages can learn how to draw their favorite characters, explore their interests in animation and comic creation, and even gain inspiration from museums all over the world. There are also valuable apps available for advanced artists to refine their skills. 
MoMA Art Lab

This unique app does more than simply encourage artistic creation. It introduces young learners to the masterful works of modern art from MoMA. The app includes nine activities inspired by famous works of art, including creating a mobile, making a chance collage, and creating a shape poem. There’s even an activity where students collaborate on a group drawing. The app lets students share their artwork via email or on Twitter, and even send it to MoMA.

MOMA matches an artist’s work with the activity to educate children about modern art while creating their own masterpieces. KinderTown really likes how the activity directions can all be read aloud to children making the app accessible to children as young as four.

The Anti-Coloring Book App

The Anti-colouring Book app is a unique concept by Susan Striker that steps away from the traditional colouring book pages and encourages the child to use their imagination and critical thinking skills rather than colour in a pre-conceived drawing. Overall we love the concept of the Anti-colouring app and how it will open young minds to creativity and imagination. It’s a great idea that will appeal to an audience of all ages where the possibilities are endless.

Upon opening the app the user is shown several options: To begin a new drawing, to look at the art gallery of saved drawings or to learn more about the author. We believe that the latter options should have been left off the main menu as this stage. The graphics here are self-explanatory if not a little pixelated.

Richard Galbraith's Cartoon Workshop 1

Richard Galbraith's Cartoon Workshop 1 is a neat app for iPads that helps children learn to draw in a cartoon style. The app contains seventy two different cartoon drawings, each of which is broken down into steps to make it easier to copy and follow the process. A second iPad app, called "Richard Galbraith's Cartoon Workshop 2" is also available, which follows exactly the same format, but contains an additional seventy two drawings that can be used for children who want to learn more, or for variety of content.

Throughout the app, the style is very simple and user friendly, and each of the cartoon illustrations is designed well to appeal to children. The themes will also be engaging to the target audience, with the first app containing simple drawings, heroes, villains, animals, cute cartoons and funky food, whilst the second app contains people, fantasy drawings, the sea, aliens, robots and cool stuff. Each category has twelve drawings within it, and the style and design is consistently high throughout both apps.

ExplorArt Klee – The Art of Paul Klee, for Kids

ExplorArt Klee is an interactive art appbook from Lapisly that is designed to introduce children to Paul Klee and his work. Paul Klee was a prolific  20th Century Swiss- German artist who combined influences from many different artistic movements, including Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. He greatly admired children’s artwork and  tried to achieve a child-like simplicity in his own work.

The app would be a great way for a teacher to introduce and support a unit of work based on Paul Klee's work.  It is also a wonderful source of inspiration for talking points and lessons.  It could even become part of some cross-curricular work.  How the veins of a leaf define the shape of a leaf and their similarity to trees, can cross to science lessons.  For music lessons, the strong link between this artist's work and music belie his talent with a violin.  It isn't explicitly said so in the app, but it also touches on fractals for maths lessons.

Start With Art

Start With Art By Madcap Logic, LLC is a great art educational tool that is curriculum based and offers high quality animated videos and learning activities through four lessons. The app features three fun characters – Furnace, Ruby and Tickles - that help children learn about the world of art and creativity. The app meets the National Standards for the Visual Arts,  and for all the content that you get it is very good value for money.

What we liked about the Start With Art is that it suggests activities outside the app and that encourages learners to find more about art and explore the subject. This is a multi award winning app and a joy to play and learn with it. Don’t let the price discourage you from trying this app! It’s totally worth it!

How to Draw-Full Version

How to Draw-Full Version contains seven drawing "episodes" that teach kids -- even younger kids -- how to sketch a dog, cat, space shuttle, princess, and more. The verbal instructions, given by a childlike voice, are clear and very step-by-step. The on-screen cues disappear after a line is drawn and the user moves to the next portion of the lesson, which means only your kid's rendition of the drawing is left visible for him or her to color, erase, save, and send via email. In the end, it really looks like your kid "freehanded" the entire drawing, which is sort of the case -- just with a lot of help.

With How to Draw, kids learn practical steps for drawing specific objects like animals or a space shuttle while also learning more about shapes and part-whole/whole-part relationships. It's instructional for kids to see, step-by-step, how shapes such as circles of various sizes or a triangle play a role in various parts of the body of an object or animal. Kids also learn some drawing vocabulary, practice following directions, and build patience. Learning to draw isn't easy for some kids, but this step-by-step app removes most of the frustration while increasing the fun.

If you have any additional recommendations to the above list of apps, let us know down in the comments.

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