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How to Draw and Use Fun Effects on FaceTime for Free

Have you ever wanted to add a bit more pizzazz to your FaceTime calls? Or needed to visually collaborate with a remote coworker? Well my friend, you‘ll be excited to learn that you can easily doodle and apply playful effects on FaceTime 100% free!

In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to access the drawing tool within FaceTime and use it seamlessly. I‘ll also provide tips to have you looking fantastic on video calls. Read on to level up your FaceTime skills and become a mobile Picasso!

Accessing the Drawing Tool

So first things first – how do you even find the drawing feature in the FaceTime app? It‘s simple:

  1. Start or answer a FaceTime video call
  2. Look for the little "Effects" star icon at the bottom of the screen and tap it
  3. Select the pencil/marker icon from the effects menu

The FaceTime drawing tool will open up, and you‘re ready to start sketching!

Now I bet you‘re wondering: how can I use this drawing tool smoothly on my iPhone‘s touchscreen? Here are my pro tips:

Optimizing Your Canvas

Make sure to maximize the size of your FaceTime window before drawing. You can do this by tapping your own thumbnail to make it bigger. This expands your drawing canvas and helps avoid accidentally exiting the sketch mid-stroke!

I also recommend turning off "Mirror Front Camera" in your FaceTime settings. This makes your drawing appear more natural instead of mirrored.

Stabilizing Your Hand

Rest your pinky finger on the edge of your phone case to steady your hand. Bracing your whole arm instead of just drawing from the wrist also improves control.

When first getting the hang of touchscreen doodling, use a thicker tool like the marker or crayon. The pencil tool requires more precision which can be tricky until you get comfortable drawing on a slick screen.

Don‘t fret about mistakes either! The eraser makes it easy to tweak your work.

Adding Playful Effects

Now for the really fun part – decorating your FaceTime calls with cool visual effects!

After tapping the "Effects" icon, you‘ll find options to add filters, Animoji, Memoji stickers, text captions, and more. Here‘s a breakdown of what they do:


Filters spice up your FaceTime camera feed with tints, vintage vibes, artistic renders, and other cool overlays.

To use them:

  1. Tap "Effects"
  2. Select the overlapping circles filter icon
  3. Swipe horizontally to preview each filter
  4. Tap a filter to activate it

I love the black and white filter for an artsy look or the butterflies filter when I need a dose of whimsy!

Animoji & Memoji

These are definitely the most hilarious effects to play with. Animoji use animated emoji characters like pandas and robots that mimic your facial expressions. Memoji are customized animated versions of yourself!

To animate your FaceTime call:

  1. Tap "Effects"
  2. Choose the Animoji/Memoji face icon
  3. Select a character from your list
  4. The animation will overlay onto your face, reflecting your expressions
  5. Tap again to remove

I highly recommend the baby Yoda animoji for cuteness overload!

Text & Stickers

If you have a wordy thought or want to cheer up your chat visually, you can add text captions and fun stickers.

To do this:

  • Tap "Effects"
  • Select the text box or stickers icon
  • Customize and place your text/stickers anywhere on the screen
  • Resize and rotate with your fingers

The text tool is great for timestamping memorable moments. I like to surprise my best friend with silly stickers during our catch-up calls!

Top Third-Party Drawing Apps

While FaceTime‘s built-in effects are awesome, third-party apps provide expanded tools for next-level drawing and visual collaboration.

Here are my top recommendations to try out:

Explain Everything Whiteboard

This lets you brainstorm together on an infinite shared canvas. The screencap and shape tools are killer features.

  • Platforms: iOS, MacOS
  • Cost: Free or paid Pro $9.99/month


A sophisticated sketching app made for Apple Pencil. Has an infinite zoomable canvas and professional tools.

  • Platform: iOS
  • Cost: Free + in-app purchases


This dream app lets you draw in augmented reality! Doodle in 3D and see your art overlayed onto your camera view.

  • Platform: iOS
  • Cost: $3.99 on the App Store


Beautiful digital sketchbook optimized for iPad & Pencil. Great natural toolset for sketching.

  • Platform: iOS
  • Cost: Free

These apps open up a world of possibilities for getting creative on your next FaceTime call!

Lookin‘ Good on Video

Of course, you still want to put your best face forward on video chats while doodling and applying zany effects.

Follow these pro video call tips and tricks to look like a star:

Light it Up

Proper lighting is key for looking your glowiest. Position yourself facing a window or lamp to avoid shadows. Never sit with a light source behind you.

According to a 2021 Ringlight study, 93% of consumers said good lighting improves their video call confidence.

Find Your Angle

Hold your phone about a hand‘s length away, slightly above your eye line, with the camera pointed down towards you.

This creates a slimming perspective. Shooting from under your chin never flatters!

Background Check

Stage your backdrop by sitting in front of a cute-but-simple area. A blank wall allows your radiant face to pop while bookshelves and plants add personality.

70% of workers reported judging colleagues by their video call backgrounds, per a 2020 Virgin Media study.

Makeup & Hair

Amp up your makeup a touch since webcams can wash you out. A bold lip always dazzles. Tame flyaways and style your locks so they frame your face perfectly.

Eye Contact

Look directly at the camera often when chatting so you appear warm and interested. Limit scrolling on your phone which can seem distracted.

Making eye contact over video feels more natural if you look at the camera instead of your screen.

Pro Tips for Flawless FaceTime

A few final tips to polish off your video chat skills:

Prioritize Quality

Check your WiFi signal strength if calls are glitchy. Reboot your router and reset network settings to troubleshoot lag.

According to the CTA, 72% of consumers won‘t use a video service with reliability issues.


Utilize FaceTime‘s amazing accessibility features like zoom, magnification, color filters, and live transcripts.

Group Calls

You need iOS 12.1+ on your iPhone or iPad to make group FaceTime calls with up to 32 people. Super fun for game nights and virtual parties!


Android and PC users can join FaceTime calls via web browser links. This opens up your contact possibilities.


Wired earbuds or AirPods reduce background noise for crystal clear conversations.

Let Your Creativity Shine

Thanks for sticking with me through this hefty guide! Let‘s recap the key points:

  • How to easily find the FaceTime drawing tool
  • Pro tips for smooth, lag-free doodling
  • Adding fun camera effects like filters, Memoji, text, and stickers
  • Top recommended third-party drawing apps
  • Tricks for looking fantastic on FaceTime video
  • Bonus tips for quality, accessibility, and group calls

Now you have all the tools to take your FaceTime game up a notch! Dazzle your contacts with your technical know-how and on-screen charisma.

Use the built-in effects for quick creative twists. Try out one of the third-party apps if you need to visually collaborate. And don‘t forget those lighting and makeup tips when you want to look like a star.

Most importantly, relax and have fun experimenting with all the artistic possibilities. Let your inner Picasso shine bright on FaceTime!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.