iPad drawing


The number of creative apps is almost uncountable! For experimenting it’s advisable to start with free apps, some pay for service apps offer demo versions for a trial period. You will discover very quickly if you feel comfortable with the interface and if the app provides the necessary functionality and usability for your purposes.

Try it yourself!

Get a first impression on working creative digitally


Painting and drawing with every material imaginable. The results are impressive.

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procreate icon


Painting and drawing app with a simple interface that provides diverse techniques.

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icon sketches app

Pic Collage

This app offers endless ways to edit photos, make collages or add text.

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icon pic collage app

iPad drawing

Pro’s and Con’s

Mixed media

Paintings, drawings or clay sculptures can be photographed, then edited within an app (Photo collage, drawing or writing on pictures, etc.) and therefore gain a completely new context. In general the iPad offers a lot of possibilities to experiment with different material and combine photography, drawing, painting and text in one piece of work.

Movement disorders

As you don’t need more than one finger to work with the iPad, it offers great possibilities to people with movement limitations or psychomotor disabilities. However, these limitations also can be a contra indication if they for example cause uncoordinated movement of the hands.

Joy of experimenting

Due to their various functions most apps invite to experiment. As most clients aren’t familiar with working creatively on an iPad, expectations are low and the new technique can be tested playfully, without a fear of failing.

Alternative to the classic form of Art Therapy

Clients who don’t trust their own creativity due to negative experiences or do not want to work with colors, brushes and pencils can use photos or pictures to create collages and come to creative expression anyway.

Limited time ressources

If there is no time for an extensive art therapy intervention, the iPad offers diverse possibilities to work creatively even within a short time span.

Shortage of space

The iPad is a portable artist’s studio with almost unlimited possibilities for creative expression. It’s handy and easy to carry which makes it perfect for the use in hospitals at the patient’s bedside.

Patients in quarantine

As the iPad can be sanitized very easily, it can be used with patients who are under quarantine without hesitating. It’s difficult to bring other art materials to these patients because nothing may leave the room without being sanitized.

Guided Art Therapy

When clients don’t want to work creatively themselves it’s yet possible to work with symbolic pictures that are stored in an album on the iPad.

Possibility of nonverbal expression

Especially the photo album with pictures that symbolize emotions is used regularly when working with clients who aren’t able to speak due to their illness. With the help of photos they can tell their story by mean of images. Surely there are a lot of other art therapeutic interventions that offer this possibility. But the photo album turned out to be especially low-threshold which can be very useful at the beginning of the therapeutic relationship.

For all age groups

I use the iPad in art therapy with children, adults and elderly people and couldn’t find any contra indication due to age. Basically the iPad is suitable for all age groups. Choosing the right app is the key.

No affinity with the technique

Some clients cannot handle the apps despite repeated explanations, can’t memorize the work steps or are getting frustrated because the touch screen doesn’t react on their actions in the right way.

Need for movement

If clients aren’t limited physically and the urge of making expressive motions can be used therapeutically, the work surface of the iPad isn’t big enough.

Movement disorders

In case of difficulties in coordinating the movement of hands and arms working with the iPad can be frustrating as the screen responds very sensitive to every touch. In other cases of movement limitations the iPad offers a good opportunity to create something with little input of the body.

Three-dimensional work

Working with 3D apps cannot replace the haptic experience of working with real clay, wood or stone.

iPad drawing


Note: This website often refers to an Apple iPad because the author is using such a device. Of course other tablet devices can be used as well if the respective app stores offer comparable apps and the graphic features of the device are sufficient.

Know your apps

As therapist I need to be familiar with the apps I’m offering my clients. Only then I can guarantee to be able to explain the app sufficiently. Moreover it’s important to keep in mind that clients who already are familiar with the use of tablets out of a different context will be able to use the creative apps more differentiated from the beginning than clients to whom the device is completely new.

Print the work

In contrast to other art therapy techniques the work initially only emerges digitally. Therefore it’s important to think about ways to give the work to the client. On the one hand it’s possible to transfer the file via a data carrier or via e-Mail. On the other hand it’s also really useful to have the possibility of printing. Together with your client you can think about a suitable printing size. The moment the printed version is handed over to the client has own therapeutic value as the work becomes tactile during that moment and often is accompanied by a proud feeling.

Judicial aspects

If you work with photo albums only use your own pictures to avoid any conflict about copy right.


It’s important to sanitize the iPad after every use. Therefore you also need a sanitizable cover and disinfection tissues that are normally used for ultrasonic devices because they are also suitable to clean the screen.

Data protection

All client and patient work needs to abide to local data protection laws. Generally speaking, the therapist has to make sure that their devices and patient information do not get into the wrong hands. Moreover it’s important that the work of clients is stored safely and not visible in public folders. Existing apps enable to create different folders but these are usually not ‘lockable’ in any way. Thus the therapist has to make sure that the client doesn’t open any folders- except every client has their own device. Furthermore it’s important to check with the client if they agree on sending the work via E-Mail. Files also can be provided with a password so that only the person who knows the password can open the file.