size, clarity, and portability of an iPad begs for it to be used as a digital
oil painting canvas or sketchbook page, and now you can do just that. I'm consistently amazed at the apps for
artists that are being released on smartphones and tablets. Developers have
reached new levels of realism, with paint that smears and layers like the real
thing. To me these are the most interesting apps--ones that mimic the tactile world
of painting and drawing, just in a more portable and less messy way.
ArtRage painting of
by David Jon Kassan @StonehengeNYC.
is arguably the best app for capturing
the experience of putting paint to surface. The app keeps track of how much paint
you put down and how "wet" it is, so you can blend, smear, and build up color
with the brush and palette knife tools. The watercolor option is particularly
lifelike: It measures the wetness of the brush and the paper you're using to
create hard-edged strokes or soft gradients. Surface options include fine to
rough canvas, watercolor paper, sketchpad, and special substrates.
The app also has the ability to import photos and "pin" them for
reference, and you can even convert the pixels of a picture to appear with the
texture and properties of oil paint. Watch artist David Jon Kassan use ArtRage to create this portrait.
The Brushes app is an oldie but a goodie that focuses on--you guessed it--the brush.
There are loads of brush and size options, a color wheel/picker, and layers.
Perhaps the best part of the app
is the playback feature, which creates a slideshow "video" of your work so you
can play it back and watch the magic unfold.
Brushes is quick and easy to use,
making it one of the most popular painting apps out there; the New York Review of Books revealed that artist
David Hockney is a closet Brushes fan.
always there in my pocket, there's no thrashing about, scrambling for the right
color," Hockney told the publication. "One can set to work immediately, there's
this wonderful impromptu quality, this freshness, to the activity; and when
it's over, best of all, there's no mess, no clean-up. You just turn off the
Drawings by David
Hockney, using Brushes.
|Jorge Colombo 2009 New Yorker cover.
Additionally, artist Jorge
Colombo used the app
to create the June 1, 2009, New Yorker
cover. It took him an hour, using just his finger, an
iPhone, and the Brushes app.
To really feel like you're
painting, however, you need a real brush. The recently released Sensu stylus for tablets simulates the feel
and response of an actual paintbrush. On one end there's a rubber stylus, and on
the other end a paintbrush made of synthetic hair.
hair is infused with conductive properties that help your tablet react to the
brush as it would your finger.
With this brush, and your device,
you can truly paint anywhere. Check out Sensu in action.
Watching artists use these new digital tools
to create art has been inspiring for me. How about you? Have you integrated a smartphone or tablet into
your artistic process? If so, leave a comment and let me know how, and what your favorite apps are.
Even better, upload a pic of your digitally created artwork!
Amy Petriello is the art director of American Artist magazine.