Is Adobe Fresco Free on iPad? (Yes, here’s how)

Adobe Fresco on iPad provides a portable and intuitive platform for digital painting and drawing, ideal for artists on the go or those who prefer a touchscreen interface.

While the desktop version offers more advanced features and precision, the iPad version offers greater flexibility and convenience, allowing users to create art anytime, anywhere, with ease.

If you’re wondering whether Adobe Fresco is free on iPad, here’s my answer:

Yes, Adobe Fresco has a free plan for iPad with a set of basic features to explore drawing and painting. However, for the full experience with extensive brushes, Photoshop integration, larger cloud storage, and other advanced features, a paid subscription to Adobe Fresco or Creative Cloud is necessary.

Overview of Key Features: A Comparison Table

This table provides a quick summary of the core features of Adobe Fresco free vs. paid and how they stack up against each other.

Apologies for the oversight. Here’s a comparison table summarizing the key features of Adobe Fresco plans:

FeaturesFree VersionStarter PlanFull Creative Cloud
Realistic Brushes✔️✔️✔️
Vector Tools✔️✔️✔️
Live Brushes✔️✔️✔️
Cloud Storage QuotaLimitedIncreasedExpanded
Access to Premium Brushes✔️✔️
Photoshop IntegrationLimitedFull Integration

What is Adobe Fresco? How Does it Work?

Adobe Fresco stands out as a premier digital painting and drawing app, offering a wide array of features tailored to artists and creative enthusiasts.

With realistic brushes, vector tools, and innovative live brushes, Fresco provides users with a versatile platform to unleash their creativity and bring their ideas to life on the iPad.

Whether you’re a professional artist looking for a powerful digital painting tool or a hobbyist eager to explore your artistic side, Fresco offers the tools and capabilities to support your creative endeavors with ease and precision.

Adobe Fresco: Pricing Plans

When it comes to pricing, Adobe Fresco primarily operates as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service.

However, Adobe does offer a free version of Fresco with certain limitations, making it accessible to a broader audience.

This raises the question: Is Adobe Fresco truly free on iPad, or are there caveats to consider?

Let’s delve deeper into the details to understand what the free version of Fresco entails and whether it meets the needs of aspiring artists and creative individuals.

Here are the 7 core features you get with Adobe Fresco’s free plan:

  • Essential Brushes: Access to a solid selection of essential brushes, including pixel, live, and vector brushes for painting and sketching.
  • Basic Layering System: Create your artwork with multiple layers, allowing for flexibility, edits, and blending effects.
  • Drawing Aids: Take advantage of rulers, grid overlays, and shape guides for precision and structure.
  • Cloud Storage (Limited): 2GB of Adobe cloud storage to save your projects and access them on other devices where you have Fresco installed.
  • Creative Cloud Assets: Utilize some basic fonts, colors, and shapes from your Adobe Creative Cloud account within your Fresco projects.
  • Touch Shortcuts: Convenient touch-based shortcuts designed for efficient tablet drawing workflows.
  • Community & Tutorials: Learn from other artists through the Fresco community and access educational resources to grow your skills.

What Adobe Fresco ‘Free’ Gets You on iPad

The free version of Adobe Fresco on iPad provides users with access to a range of essential features for digital painting and drawing.

While users can enjoy the core functionality of the app, including realistic brushes and vector tools, there are certain limitations to be aware of.

For instance, the free version may offer a limited selection of brushes compared to the paid plans, restricting users’ options for artistic expression.

Additionally, users may encounter constraints on cloud storage quotas, which could impact their ability to save and access their work seamlessly across devices.

Despite these limitations, the free version of Adobe Fresco still offers a valuable opportunity for users to explore their creativity and experiment with digital artistry without committing to a paid subscription.

What ‘Free’ Doesn’t Include

It’s important to understand that while the free version of Adobe Fresco offers a range of valuable features, there are certain capabilities reserved for paid subscribers.

These include access to a broader selection of brushes, including premium brushes designed for specific artistic styles and techniques.

Additionally, paid subscribers may benefit from seamless integration with Adobe Photoshop, allowing for easy transfer of projects between the two applications and access to advanced editing tools.

Who Benefits from Free Adobe Fresco?

The free version of Adobe Fresco is well-suited for a variety of users, particularly those who are just starting their journey into digital art or who engage in occasional creative projects.

Casual doodlers, beginners looking to explore their artistic talents, and individuals hesitant to commit to a paid subscription may find the free version of Fresco to be a valuable tool for unleashing their creativity.

By offering essential features at no cost, Adobe Fresco provides an accessible entry point into the world of digital painting and drawing for a wide range of users.

Is Free Fresco ‘Enough’?

While the free version of Adobe Fresco offers a solid foundation for digital artistry, some users may find themselves wanting more advanced features and capabilities as they progress in their creative journey.

Assessing whether the free version of Fresco is “enough” depends on individual preferences and the specific needs of each user.

For casual users and beginners, the free version may provide all the tools they need to explore their creativity and create stunning digital artworks.

However, more experienced artists and those with specific artistic requirements may find that upgrading to a paid subscription offers access to a broader range of features and enhances their overall creative workflow.

Upgrading to Adobe Fresco Paid Plan

Here are 7 core features you gain access to by upgrading to a paid Adobe Fresco subscription (in addition to the features already available on the free plan):

  • Massive Brush Library: Unleash your creativity with thousands of premium brushes, including a plethora from famed illustrator Kyle T. Webster. These cover everything from watercolor effects to textured charcoal, drastically expanding artistic options.
  • Photoshop Integration: Seamlessly work between Fresco and Photoshop on desktop. Import PSD files with layers intact, or easily send your Fresco artwork into Photoshop for refined editing.
  • Full Adobe Fonts Access: Choose from thousands of professional-grade fonts for text elements within your artworks. Great for typography enthusiasts and those who need variety.
  • Increased Cloud storage: Upgrade to 100GB of cloud storage, ensuring enough space for larger projects and backups.
  • Time-Lapse Export: Record the magic of your artistic process! Fresco can automatically create time-lapse videos of your work, ideal for sharing on social media.
  • Advanced Selection Tools: Precisely target parts of your artwork with robust selection and masking tools, making complex edits more efficient.
  • More Professional Features: Liquify tools (transform sections of your art), perspective snapping, and other power-user features expand your creative capabilities.

Adobe Fresco Starter Plan (The Affordable Alternative)

For users who require additional features beyond what the free version of Adobe Fresco offers but may not need the full capabilities of a Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe offers the Fresco Starter plan.

This plan serves as an affordable alternative, providing users with access to enhanced features and functionalities at a more accessible price point.

With the Fresco Starter plan, users can unlock additional brushes, expanded cloud storage options, and other premium features to elevate their digital artistry experience without committing to a full Creative Cloud subscription.

Using Fresco alongside Other Adobe Apps

One of the key advantages of Adobe Fresco is its seamless integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications, such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

This integration allows users to leverage the power of Adobe’s full suite of creative tools, enhancing their workflow and expanding their creative possibilities.

By using Fresco alongside other Adobe apps, users can easily transfer projects between applications, access shared assets such as fonts and colors, and take advantage of advanced editing features to bring their creative vision to life with precision and efficiency.

Adobe Fresco Free Trial on iPad: Testing Before Committing

To allow users to experience the full capabilities of Adobe Fresco before committing to a subscription, Adobe may offer a free trial period for the app on iPad.

During this trial period, users can explore all the features and functionalities of Adobe Fresco without any financial commitment, giving them the opportunity to determine whether the app meets their creative needs and preferences.

Through the free trial, Adobe allows users to make an informed decision about whether to subscribe to Fresco or explore alternative options based on their experience with the app.

Alternatives to Fresco

While Adobe Fresco offers a robust set of features for digital painting and drawing, it’s not the only option available to artists and creative professionals.

Several alternatives to Fresco exist, each with its own unique strengths and capabilities.

Let’s dive into the world of Fresco alternatives and find the right iPad drawing tool for different needs:

1. Procreate

Procreate is a digital art powerhouse built for professionals and those who crave a vast, customizable toolkit. Suited for illustrators, painters, and animators on iPad.

  • Key Features: Extensive brush customization, intuitive interface, animation tools, 3D painting features, Time-lapse video recording
  • Pros: Beloved by pros, wide array of brushes & textures, streamlined and focused, one-time purchase cost, robust creative community
  • Cons: Less emphasis on vector work, no subscription = no major updates, limited text handling

2. Sketchbook (by Autodesk)

Sketchbook is perfect for concept art, casual drawing, and those who prioritize a natural, uncluttered drawing experience. Great for artists of all levels.

  • Key Features: Traditional tool feel, perspective guides, predictive stroke for smooth lines, clean interface, COPIC color library
  • Pros: Completely free with no feature limitations, great for sketching, works on various devices, excellent brush engine
  • Cons: Lacks advanced animation features, less focused on ‘final’ artwork polish, fewer organizational tools.

3. ArtRage Vitae

For artists yearning to replicate traditional canvas sensations with digital flexibility. Best for painters and those who love experimenting with texture and blending.

  • Key Features: Realistic simulation of traditional paints, oil paint blending, layer referencing, metallic paints, tracing & stencils
  • Pros: Superb for traditional media emulation, intuitive color mixing, affordable options exist, great for painterly styles
  • Cons: Steeper learning curve for digital natives, interface less beginner-friendly, weaker vector toolset.

4. Affinity Designer

Primarily an iPad vector illustration tool, offering unparalleled vector precision and control. Suited for graphic designers, UI designers, and illustrators seeking meticulous line art.

  • Key Features: Professional grade vector illustration, pixel-based tools, seamless raster/vector workflow, unlimited artboards, isometric design support
  • Pros: Unmatched vector power on iPad, typography tools, robust export options, single purchase vs subscription
  • Cons: Drawing focus less intuitive than pure painting apps, complex tools need study, primarily illustration – not freehand sketches

5. Clip Studio Paint

Beloved for comic and manga creation, with specialized features for panel layouts, 3D reference, and animation. Also excellent for illustrators who enjoy its dynamic brushes.

  • Key Features: Popular with comic/manga artists, paneling tools, 3D model posing, animation capable, vast community assets
  • Pros: Ideal for story-based art, excellent value for price, tons of tutorials, brush engine depth
  • Cons: Interface is dense, not for minimalist UI lovers, subscription model, heavier system requirements

Important Notes:

  • ‘Best’ depends on your project style: Painting? Comics? Design?
  • All these offer trials or free versions – take them for a spin!
  • iPad hardware (screen size, Apple Pencil generation) influences tool enjoyment

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Digital Painting and Illustration Platform

  1. Features and Capabilities: Consider the specific features and capabilities offered in each plan, such as access to premium brushes, cloud storage limits, and integration with other Adobe apps like Photoshop and Illustrator. Choose the plan that aligns with your creative needs and workflow requirements, ensuring you have the tools necessary to bring your artistic vision to life.
  2. Cost and Pricing: Evaluate the cost of each plan and determine which option provides the best value for your budget. Consider factors such as monthly subscription fees, annual billing discounts, and any additional expenses associated with upgrading to a higher-tier plan.
  3. Flexibility and Scalability: Assess the flexibility and scalability of each plan, taking into account your evolving creative projects and workload. Choose a plan that offers the flexibility to adjust your subscription as needed, whether you require additional features or wish to downgrade to a lower-tier plan during periods of decreased usage.
  4. Integration and Compatibility: Consider how each plan integrates with other Adobe apps and services, as well as its compatibility with your existing workflows and software tools. Ensure that the plan you choose seamlessly integrates with your preferred creative tools and allows for easy collaboration and file sharing across platforms.
  5. Customer Support and Resources: Evaluate the level of customer support and resources provided with each plan, including access to tutorials, forums, and customer service channels. Choose a plan that offers comprehensive support and resources to help you maximize your productivity and creativity while using Adobe’s software suite.


Let’s get some answers to common questions out of the way:

Is Adobe Fresco free on iPad?

Adobe Fresco offers a free version for iPad users, providing access to essential features for digital painting and drawing. While the free version includes a range of brushes and tools, there are limitations compared to paid plans, such as a restricted selection of brushes and cloud storage quotas.

Users can upgrade to a paid subscription to unlock additional features and capabilities, including access to premium brushes and seamless integration with Adobe Photoshop.

What features are included in the free version of Adobe Fresco?

The free version of Adobe Fresco includes core features such as realistic brushes, vector tools, and basic editing capabilities. Users can create digital artwork, edit images, and experiment with various brushes and effects.

However, certain advanced features, such as access to premium brushes and Photoshop integration, are reserved for paid subscribers.

Who can benefit from using Adobe Fresco?

Adobe Fresco is suitable for a wide range of users, including artists, designers, students, and hobbyists.

Casual doodlers, beginners exploring their artistic talents, and individuals looking to experiment with digital art can benefit from the accessible features and intuitive interface of Fresco.

Additionally, professionals seeking a versatile digital painting and drawing tool for their creative projects can leverage Fresco’s advanced capabilities to bring their ideas to life.

Is Adobe Fresco available as a standalone app?

Adobe Fresco is available as both a standalone app and as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service. Users can download Fresco from the App Store on iPad and use it independently for digital painting and drawing.

However, for access to additional features and integration with other Adobe apps such as Photoshop, users may choose to subscribe to the Creative Cloud.

How does Adobe Fresco compare to other digital art apps?

Adobe Fresco offers a comprehensive set of features for digital painting and drawing, making it a popular choice among artists and creative professionals.

Compared to other digital art apps such as Procreate and Sketchbook, Fresco stands out for its seamless integration with Adobe’s ecosystem, extensive library of brushes, and intuitive interface.

However, the best app for individual users ultimately depends on their specific needs, preferences, and workflow requirements.


While Adobe Fresco on iPad offers a range of powerful features for digital painting and drawing, it does come with limitations.

The free version of Fresco includes a restricted selection of brushes and imposes cloud storage quotas.

Despite these limitations, Fresco is an ideal choice for casual doodlers, beginners exploring digital art, and individuals looking to experiment with creative expression.

It’s best suited for those seeking an intuitive and accessible platform for artistic exploration and experimentation.