Monday, 3 October 2011

Sketching On An iPad

Created using the 'Brushes' for iPad app 

Having got my hands on a second hand first generation iPad, I was eager to see how this would become a useful artists tool beyond a library of reference photos or source material. I wanted to see if it would serve me well in terms of sketching out ideas or working out colour compositions before painting.

 There is a lot of exceptional iPad art out there but I only wanted to use it for basic playful sketches, not for finished masterpieces taking many hours or more to produce, but its nice to know it's possible. I like real paint and real materials, but this to me offered convenience.

My first sketch using SketchBook Pro app.
My first sketch on the iPad was with the app SketchBook Pro and my finger. I felt strange using my finger as I've spent forever using a stick, be it a pencil, pen, charcoal or paint brush - but you get used to it with practice. The app is great at mimicking real materials like the texture of a pencil etc.

The main problem with drawing on an ipad is that the tablet is not pressure sensitive... yet. So you have to learn how to play with transparency and opacity levels. The software tries to get around this by the speed of your movement, so the quicker the stroke the thinner it tends to be, not quite natural but you adapt to your tools.

iPad & Wacom's 'Bamboo' Stylus.
I decided to get myself a good stylus despite the fact that the iPad was designed for finger use. After some research I came across Wacom's 'Bamboo' Stylus and being convinced it would suit my requirements I purchased it. It is rather pricey compared to other stylus' out there but with Wacom being the leading industry in digital drawing tablet's, it has to count for something.

Wacom also has an app called Bamboo Paper to accompany their stylus, it's more of a notebook and very basic, like using gel ballpoint pen, but it works great with the stylus, no lag and it's smooth. I drew this character using this app and the stylus.

Sketch using BambooPaper app and stylus.

The stylus doesn't work well with certain apps like inspire pro, a great painting app when using your fingers only, I felt a lot of lag which is annoying. The app in itself is fantastic and worth getting.

I then tried the stylus using the app Brushes, I imported the drawing I did in the Bamboo Paper app as a base. The stylus was great and using this software was a pleasure, I liked it a lot.

So this was my initial experience sketching on an iPad and using a stylus over this weekend. Obviously there is a learning curve when using painting software and adapting to it but I'm pleased with what I've experienced so far.

The video below shows the painting process of my character using the 'Brushes' app.

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