Vellum for iOS: A Beautiful Black and White Drawing App

Vellum For I Os Review

For owners of iOS devices, drawing apps are not something that the App Store lacks. In fact, we have already

written about Adobe Ideas

, a great, free drawing and sketching iPhone app. However, as simple as an app like that might be, it definitely could be made simpler, especially for those of us who prefer something streamlined and with as less menus and options as possible.

This is exactly what Vellum ($2.99, universal) is: A polished, elegant and super simple drawing app that nonetheless allows you to create pretty amazing drawings or just simple sketches if you so choose to.

Here’s a better look at Vellum, how to use it and what you can do with it.


One of the first things that strikes you about Vellum is its minimal design. No menus or options are visible and once you bring the few options available into view, they show as an elegant strip at the top of the screen.

Vellum Main
Vellum Palettes

Another aspect that I really like about Vellum is how much care has been put into the different palette textures. Drawing and sketching with the app feels really natural due to the textures looking so real and the app registering touch with so much sensitivity.

Vellum Palette 1
Vellum Palette 2


Using the app, as mentioned, feels very smooth. Just select a texture and start drawing. In order to keep things simple, Vellum does not offer a vast color palette or even any kind of drawing tools like shapes and such. Instead, all you get are a few different black-and-white palettes that you can alternate to create simple drawings.

Vellum Drawing 1
Vellum Drawing 2
Vellum Drawing 3
Vellum Drawing 4

This, of course, might be seen as a negative by some, but it falls in line with the app’s promise of simplicity and helps keep it coherent with its premise.

The top of the screen is home to the menu bar, which displays the palette that is currently in use, the share button and the button to start a new drawing. Tapping on that last button once will prompt you to create a new sketch, but if you press and hold on it you will be able to open any pic from your camera roll to draw on it.

Vellum Start Again
Vellum Choose Image
Vellum Draw On Image

Tapping on the screen once will display the various palettes available, and tapping on each of these displays their opacity options.

Vellum Opacity 1
Vellum Opacity 2

If you want to undo something, sliding three fingers across the screen will delete the previous traces you made.

Vellum Undo

Final Thoughts

Trying to fully describe an app like Vellum can be quite tricky. You can call Vellum just a sketching app and you would be right, but you actually need to use it to understand why there is nothing this polished on the App Store right now. Sure, it lacks options and you can’t even draw using colors, but it is exactly this focus on purity what makes Vellum do what it does so well.

Of course, you might not need a drawing app to start with, but even if it is to just sketch something, Vellum might prove worthy for you if you can live with its limitations.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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