In our minds, an artist is always a person who works in physical mediums—carrying around pencils and sketchbooks to draw in the park, setting up an easel and watercolours to create a painting, or throwing a lump of clay onto a wheel to produce a unique sculpture.
Yet with the rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets like the iPad, more and more artists are turning to digital applications to help them create artwork. It seems “iPad art” is the hottest new trend on the scene.
There are literally thousands of art apps for you to experiment with, and writing about all the best ones would fill a couple of novels. But here are 5 art apps that I think are really cool, and whether you’re using art apps for fun or to create serious art, I recommend you give these a try:
1. Sketchbook Pro
Sketchbook Pro is a fantastic drawing app designed by Autodesk. Basically, this is a professional sketching and painting program that works on your iPad. The ultra-responsive pencils, pens, brushes and markers have been created with the professional designer and/or artist in mind; while Sketchbook Pro’s high-end features like layers, guide tools, styles and advanced blending enable you to create high-quality artwork right from your digital device.
You can also import and export photoshop-friendly files, annotate images and integrate Sketchbook Pro with your favourite stylus to transform your iPad into a uniquely portable sketching device.
Designed by FiftyThree to assist artists with quick sketching, the Paper app features a minimalist interface and responsive fountain pen for capturing ideas on the go. The app is designed to be very basic, and organizes your ideas into a virtual sketch journal with pages that you can thumb through. You can buy additional add-ons such as writing and color modes to further enhance its usability.
If you use your iPad as a portable sketchbook, instead of a tool for creating polished images, Paper is perfect for helping you to record your ideas.
Created by Algorithmic Botany, the FREE TreeSketch app has a very defined function: quite simply, it helps you draw trees. Epic trees. Beautiful trees. Trees with trunks as curly or straight as you want them to be. You’ll have a blast setting different parameters for branch droopiness, quantity and color of leaves and style of pruning. After playing around with this app for a while, you’ll never approach drawing trees in quite the same way again.
4. Auryn Ink
Auryn Ink, designed by Auryn, who produce many apps for children, is one of the best watercolor apps on the market. Some of Auryn Ink’s many tools allow you to control brush pressure, blend color pigments and change the dilution of water, creating a near-reality watercolor painting experience. You can use your fingers or add a stylus, choose your paper style (dry or wet) and instantly get started on a watercolor creation.
Another one of those random apps with a really specific function that artists will love, Typedrawing by Hansol Huh enables you to create truly unique art images based on typography. You begin by typing in a sentence, and then you start moving the mouse around and creating an image. The inbuilt tools allow you to experiment with shading, changing colours and mixing shapes to produce artwork and, while it might be more of a “fun” app, it’s definitely popular and has resulted in some unique and aesthetically beautiful images.
Have you ever used an iPad app to create a piece of artwork? What are your favorites?