Beyond Instagram: Apps for Sketches, Selfies, and More

We recently shared photo editing and typography apps and alternatives to Instagram. Here are a few more photo apps on our radar — most of these offer tools to create drawings and sketches from photos, as well as enhancing selfies. Take a look, and have fun!

Sketch and cartoon effects

Sktchy (iOS, free)

An app in which users and artists connect, Sktchy is all about collaborative photo sharing. In this community, artists around the world create portraits inspired by photos shared by users like you. Artists browse the Sktchy photo gallery to find a “muse,” and then create drawings, paintings, and more based on that picture. Thinking of replacing your avatar with a fun new canvas? This app might be for you.

Paper Camera (iOS $2.99| Android $1.99)

With Paper Camera, you can import photos and videos to “paperize” them. While this app can be challenging to use, and you must work with appropriate (and well-lit) shots, the final hand-drawn effect is pretty cool.

PicSketch (iOS $4.99 | Windows, $1.99)

You can convert your photographs into gray or color pencil drawings, and choose from a number of sketch styles and paper textures. There are editing tools as well, including the ability to adjust the outlines, intensity, brightness, and contrast.

Fantasia Painter (Windows, free)

A photo painting app for Windows users, Fantasia Painter has more than 30 brush styles and powerful effects (from face swapping to body shaping), which help you to transform a photograph into a work of art.

For selfies, collages, and more

Frontback (iOS, free)

You, and what you see. That’s the app’s tagline, which hints at what it does: you take a photo with your front camera, another with your back camera, and then share them both in a single split-screen image. You can also add a caption and your location before sharing it with your friends.

#selfie360 (iOS, free)

Want to take your selfies to the next level? This app brings your self-portraits to life in 3D animations. There are three selfie options: portrait (animated 90-degree rotation), panorama (full 360-degree animation of your surroundings), and full 3D (360-degree animation of a subject).

PhotoGrid (iOS | Android | Windows — all free)

If you’d like to compile photos from Instagram into collages, PhotoGrid is a collage-making option. You can rearrange photos into different templates, and add text, stickers, frames, fonts, and backgrounds.

Phototastic (Windows, free)

A collage app for Windows, Phototastic lets you add frames and borders, stickers, and numerous image effects, and offers many layouts to choose from.

Vintage Deco (iOS, free)

Finally, to add a vintage or retro vibe to your images, consider Vintage Deco (or an Android alternative like Retro Camera). Experiment with vintage and classic stamps and frames, which add a slice of the past to your images in a stylish way.

Do you use any photo apps not listed here? Share your favorites.

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  1. I found one recently called Waterlogue (on iPhone and iPad – not sure about Android) that turns photos into watercolour. I did a whole blog posts of holiday photos turned into watercolour paintings. Pretty sure it’s my new favourite app – everything is good in watercolour!

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  2. I apologize in advance for jumping off-topic, but what is WordPress doing about the crazy amount of Spam comments that have been coming through in the last 48 hours. In that time frame, more spam comments have hit my blog than in the past 3 years of running the blog.


  3. Ha! When I first saw the post (and the Sktchy pictures), I thought “what – and you mean I’ve been painting with watercolors for hours when ‘there is an app for that?'” But once I read that Sktchy is not an app but a community of artists, [Insert sigh of relief!], I felt liberated to read the rest of the post and really appreciate your sharing these valuable tools/resources. Be blessed.

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  4. I have literally now just spent the past two hours trawling and stalking that sketchy app! Haha what an incredible idea! Thank you for posting! Xx


  5. I like these! I recently switched from an iPad to a PC and miss all my apps. Do you know if apps like these (or ones commonly found in itunes for ipad) are available as a ‘program’ for pcs? I miss my diptic and a+signature!

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    1. When I visited these apps’ official websites, I pulled any/all versions available (and focused on mobile apps, FYI). I didn’t see PC desktop versions, for example. We might run a post in the future on more desktop photo editing programs (ie like PicMonkey and Pixlr, but with specific focuses).


  6. I use pip camera (IOS & Android now) You can make up some pretty fun photos. You just need the photo then open pip camera and go through all the options to find something you like and apply it.

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  7. Definitely taking note of these! My personal favorite photo-editing app at the moment is called “A beautiful mess.”

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  8. As an artist, I feel love to use the sketch feature of Instagram app. It’s new and exciting way to create real paintings from the sketch. Nice attempt Cheri!

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