Try the NEW Participate Learning!
$5.99 Download
The best painting app for iPad for any serious or aspiring digital artists
$9.99 Download
The best virtual art museum app
$1.99 Download
Action photographer George Steinmetz's greatest hits
Free Download
MoMA comes to your home and school
$9.99 Download
A move towards sophisticated photo editing

About the Apps


By the time students reach high school, they have likely figured out if they have a talent for art. At least this is true for anything formally taught in the classroom.

The best art apps for high schoolers appeal to both students who dedicate a part of their curriculum to visual arts, as well as others who might not realize they have the talent in their first place. Putting together a list for this category might be more subjective than one for, say, Spanish or algebra. Yet regardless of one's personal taste and preference, these apps for reasons described below off the best mix for high school students.

With that in mind, we are showcasing five apps that either allow students to create with some of the more sophisticated iPad apps, or just see great works of art right on their laps.

For making art we recommend Procreate for painting and drawing, while Photoshop Touch for iPad is the app of choice for photo editing.

Procreate is, quite simply, the most sophisticated drawing app in the App Store. The proprietary engine allows for real-time brush strokes. Although the tool set is incomparable, the interface is not complicated.

Photoshop Touch is the companion app for the desktop version, although it works fine as a stand-alone app as well. This photo editor isn’t anywhere near as feature-dense as PS proper, but it does go beyond fun filters, simple cropping, and rudimentary touch-up tools. This app supports layers, which is a key concept to master in digital art, and boasts a powerful feature set with an accessible touchscreen interface.

For art history we turn to Art Authority (although you might want to consider Art Authority K-12 if your school prefers not to show any nudity or controversial images at this stage.) This app boasts 10,000 works that span thousands of years from ancient artefacts to modern and contemporary works. They take deep dives into The Renaissance, Impressionism, and other major movements.

We also want to acquaint you with the great museum apps out there, which offer virtual highlight tours of permanent collections. You can find everything from The Hermitage to the Tate to The Getty. We like MoMA AB EX NY because it focuses on a specific exhibition in a very interactive way. We also think the sophisticated subject matter contained within this app is always a great conversation starter.

As for photographers, again they are well represented in the app store along with many free collections of works by gifted amateurs. We chose Above and Beyond: George Steinmetz because its National Geographic images are breathtakingly wondrous, and also because the series has wonderful features to explore Mr Steinmetz’s thoughts and processes. These features help students put the photographs in a geographical and scientific context.

Comments & Suggestions Have a suggestion for an educational app for this category you think we should feature? Let us know.

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