Best iPad for Drawing: Top 5 Devices for Creatives in 2023

Written by: Emma Morris


Best iPad for Drawing! Picture this: You're an up-and-coming artist looking for the perfect digital partner to explore your illustrative talents.

But which iPad should you pick?

Quick answer: iPad Pro takes the cake for top-of-the-line features, but pay attention to other players like iPad Air and iPad Mini.

Stick around and explore the best iPad for drawing with

Ready to get your hands on an Apple device? Check out our curated collections of Apple refurbished iPads and refurbished iPhones deals for gadgets you won't want to miss.

Key Takeaways:

  • iPad Pro is the star of the show with features you can't ignore, but it comes at a premium.
  • iPad Air packs a punch without emptying your pockets, making it an excellent middle-ground option.
  • iPad Mini is your pocket dynamo; fabulous for artists on the go.
  • But let's not forget the iPad 9 or iPad 10 for an artist on a budget!

Essential Apple iPad Features for the Best Drawing

Procreate iPad

When looking for the perfect iPad for your artistic talents, you need to know the best features to suit your needs.

We want to avoid getting frustrated at an iPad with an extremely small screen.

So, let's explore the best iPad features for drawing together.

Processing Power

We're talking the engine room, the backstage tech crew of your creative process.

Don't skim on a good chip. You want your digital brush to move as soon as you think it. Lag is an artist's worst enemy, right up there with a dried-up paint tube.

So, aim for something like the A14 Bionic chip or above; it keeps you in the fast lane, making sure your imagination doesn't get stuck by tech limitations.

Screen Size

Bigger or smaller? It's like choosing between a sprawling canvas and a pocket-sized sketchbook.

A larger screen gives you room to play, to let those details sprawl.

But, if you're the coffee shop doodler or the on-the-train sketcher, maybe the iPad Mini's more compact size is your match.

Size impacts portability, so balance your needs.


Sharper is smarter in the digital art world.

Imagine going into all the trouble of creating intricate details, only to have them blur.

Nope, not on your watch! A higher resolution means you see what you get, down to the last pixel.

So, aim for that high ppi (pixels per inch) to keep your art as crisp as a winter morning.

Colour Accuracy

Look, you need your yellows to be sunflowers, not lemons. When your colour palette is accurate, your art shines, literally and figuratively.

Pay attention to features like True Tone and brightness levels so your artwork looks like your iPad's creation once printed.

Just watch out for screens with a bluish tint! It could disturb your artistic process.


Think of this as your digital attic. The more space you have, the more you can store—be it multi-layered PSD files or a large drawing in apps like Procreate.

Anything less than 4GB of RAM, and you'll feel like you're trying to stuff a masterpiece into a matchbox.

Go big on storage and keep your creative playground expansive.

With these factors at your fingertips, you're not just buying tech; you're investing in your art. 

These aren't just specs; they're the silent partners in your creative journey. Choose wisely.

For those of you juggling both art and academia, don't miss our guide on the best iPad for students. It's a game-changer.

Suitability of Each iPad

Before we begin, the table below shows a quick insight into the tablets we'll look at and the best-suited artistic level. 

Note: If you're a beginner and are considering purchasing an iPad Pro, go for it! This table is simply for those seeking a tablet that best matches their skill without overspending

Skill Level iPad Models
Advanced iPad Pro 6th Gen
Intermediate iPad Air 5th Gen, iPad Mini 6th Gen
Beginner iPad 10th Gen, iPad 9th Gen

Now that's out of the way, let's see what's in store. 

The Glitter and Grit of the Refurbish iPad Pro 6th Generation

The iPad Pro flexes its muscle with an M1 chip, elevating your drawing experience to a realm you've only dreamt about.

Think flawless brush strokes and seamless transitions between palettes, all without a glitch.

  • Apple Pencil 2 Support: This isn't just a stylus; it's a magic wand that pairs perfectly with the iPad Pro. 

    The stylus responds to pressure and tilts like a dream, turning your tablet into a true canvas.

  • Screen Magic: The liquid retina display on the iPad Pro is nothing short of a visual feast. 

    Choose from two sizes—11-inch and 12.9-inch—to fit your creative ambitions. Bigger screen, more room to explore.

  • When Portability Meets Power: For the artists always on the move, size and weight are no trivial matters. 

    The iPad Pro strikes the ideal balance. It's easy to carry, yet packed with enough juice to handle your most demanding projects.

Now, for the cherry on top: it's arguably one of the best iPads for artists in terms of sheer capabilities and polish, making The iPad Pro an investment in your art and, by extension, yourself.

But, if the cost of an iPad Pro is making you concerned, there are less pricey alternatives like our refurbished iPad Pro range at Take a look today.

The Refurbished iPad Air 5th Generation

The iPad Air 5th generation—the David to the Goliath of iPad Pros for artists.

It doesn't have the iPad Pro's M1 chip, but the A15 Bionic chip it comes with isn't a slouch either.

We're talking heavy lifting on digital art projects, snappy animations, and zero time wasted on slow iPad.

  • Affinity Designer and You: Dream of using Affinity Designer to create intricate vectors or complex illustrations? The iPad Air 5th Gen has got your back.

     Explore and design to your heart's content with nifty drawing apps.

  • Apple Pencil 2 Compatibility: Good news for all you doodlers and notetakers: this tablet plays nice with the Apple Pencil 2. 

    So, you don't have to fork out extra for the Pro model just to experience the pencil's tip-top responsiveness and precision.

  • Colour That Pops: The 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display is nothing short of a visual feast. It's like having a personal IMAX screen for your art. 

    Think rich hues, deep blacks, and radiant highlights—making your digital canvas come alive, stroke by stroke.

So there you have it. The iPad Air 5th Generation has got a lot of bells and whistles, sans the expensive iPad Pro price tag.

It's a potent cocktail of function and finesse, specially crafted for the artist in you.

The Refurbished 2021 Apple iPad Mini

Don't let the 'Mini' tag fool you; this pocket rocket packs a serious punch.

Artists and creators who need a digital notebook for on-the-fly inspiration will find a worthy sidekick in the 2021 iPad Mini.

  • A Canvas in Your Pocket: the iPad Mini offers an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3 wide colour. 

    Basically, it's like having a tiny, vibrant canvas that adjusts to any lighting condition.

  • A14 Bionic Chip: Remember the A15 Bionic chip in the iPad Air 5th Gen? Well, the A14 Bionic chip in the Mini is no slouch either.

     With its high refresh rate, it's nimble, responsive, and ready to tackle your most complex Procreate layers.

  • The Stylus Situation: This petite powerhouse is also Apple Pencil 2 compatible. 

    If you're thinking of jotting down quick notes or sketching out rapid doodles, this could be the tablet for you.

To sum up, the 2021 iPad Mini doesn't skimp on features, proving that dynamite often comes in small packages.

It's the perfect partner for spontaneous creativity, offering the power and features that artists crave, minus the bulk.

Refurbished iPad 10th Generation

Ready to meet a versatile contender in the iPad line-up? 

Say hello to the iPad 10th Gen. It's got a lot going for it without burning a hole in your pocket.

Now, let's dig deeper into what makes this iPad tick.

  • Under the Hood: The iPad 10th Gen makes no bones about its A14 Bionic chip. 

    Similar to the iPad Mini 6, Think of it as the perfect middle ground—robust enough for demanding tasks but not so over the top that you're dishing out extra cash for performance.

  • Display: What's a tablet without a fantastic screen, right? A 10.9-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch display shines at the heart of this device. 

    Coupled with a pixel-packed resolution of 2360-by-1640 at 264 ppi, you're getting razor-sharp imagery, down to the last pixel.

  • Memory Matters: 4GB of RAM keeps everything smooth, whether you're multitasking or fine-tuning details in your digital masterpiece.

When it comes to a well-rounded option, the iPad 10th Gen is like that's an all-rounder.

Artists will find it to be reliable without overwhelming them with too many bells and whistles.

The iPad 9th Gen Refurbished Budget Warrior

If your wallet's feeling a bit light but you've got heavy-duty illustration ambitions, the iPad 9th Gen is your go-to guy.

It's the blue-collar hero of the iPad family, offering solid features at a friendly price point.

But, can this gadget keep pace with your artistic aspirations? Let's see.

  • Powerhouse on a Budget: Don't let its budget-friendly label fool you. 

    The A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine ensures you can tackle more than just doodles.

  • A Palette of Pixels: Coming in with a 10.2-inch LED-backlit display, the screen size is ample but not extravagant.

    With a solid 2160-by-1620 pixel resolution, each stroke of your stylus will be detailed to the last flick.

Artist concerns: Although this tablet is great for beginners, the screen veers towards a bluish tint, which is far from ideal for detailed, colour-sensitive work.

It's the Achilles' heel for this iPad model when it comes to illustration.

So, you might want to stay clear if you're an artistic perfectionist.

Must-Have iPad Accessories

Now you've got the canvas, but what about the brushes?

We're diving into the accessories that can make your iPad art journey the best it could be.

  • Apple Pencil: The Apple Pencil is the magic wand in an artist's toolkit.

    This pressure-sensitive stylus turns your iPad screen into a virtual art studio, giving it's a level of precision that turns your iPad from a sketch pad into a master canvas.

  • Cases and Grips: They give your hands a break and offer a sturdy grip, making those marathon sketching sessions feel like a walk in the park.

  • Wireless Keyboards: Need to annotate your work or dive into a bit of graphic design? A wireless keyboard is your silent partner.

    It lets you toggle between your creative apps and type up those essential notes without breaking your flow.

  • Digital Drawing Glove: A digital drawing glove keeps your screen smudge-free and reduces hand friction, letting your stylus glide like butter on a hot pan.

There you have it—your ultimate toolbox for bringing your digital art to life.

These accessories aren't just extras; they're essentials for anyone serious about creating on an iPad.

Ready for more iPad wizardry? Check out our articles on how to use iPad as second screen and how to unlock disabled iPad for more cool tips!

Best iPads for Drawing - Final Thoughts

So, that's the grand tour of iPads through the lens of an artist.

From powerhouses like the iPad Pro to hidden gems like the iPad Mini, each has its pros and cons, but all come with a liquid retina XDR display for the best drawing experience.

Plus, are you considering a cheap refurbished iPad from us? Well, not only are they budget-friendly, but they're also sustainable, making it a win-win for you and the planet.

Now, grab that Apple Pencil, slap on a glove, and let your creativity run wild.

You're digital canvas awaits.

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Emma Morris

Emma crafts insightful and informative articles about refurbished phones for Her expertise guides readers in making the smartest choices for their tech needs.