Anna knew I was excited about tablets, and got me an iPad for Christmas. It was the very last thing I expected, but what a great gift it’s turned out to be. As a creative tool, the iPad has so very much potential, and I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I can do. I’m sure Apple has just scratched the surface too. It’ll be interesting to watch how tablets evolve.
I do have a few projects in the works right now that I’ll write about at a later time. Projects that’ll use the iPad to create and distribute, but it’s probably too early to say too much about that. So I’m just going to write about the iPad as a drawing tablet.
Well, where to start? The iPad is extremely portable, and I don’t have to cart around all my pens, pencils and markers. The display is beautiful and interacting with the screen feels completely natural. The iPad doesn’t have any kind of pressure sensitivity, which might bug some people, but doesn’t bother me much.
I’ve been using my iPad to draw almost every day since I got it. The first app that I started using to draw is called Sketchbook Pro. This is a very good and powerful drawing app, and it is very cheap too, costing only $7.99. Sketchbook Pro has a very good user interface, color palate, and a lot of different bushes to use while drawing. My only complaint would be that it bogs down sometimes with some of the brushes and while blending colors. Actually, the blending brush slows the iPad down so much I’ve quit using that specific brush altogether. Also, since Sketchbook Pro is pixel based, if you try to make the image larger in Photoshop, you really only end up stretching the pixels and destroy image quality.
I still use Sketchbook Pro a little bit, but have found myself using Adobe Ideas for drawing these last couple of weeks. On the surface, it probably doesn’t seem to be as powerful as other apps. You don’t have as many fancy brushes for one thing. It also took me a long time to develop a technique that I liked for shading. But now that I’ve used it and feel completely comfortable, I doubt I’ll use the other drawing apps very much. Maybe one of the main reasons that I like Adobe Ideas the most is also because it is vector based, which means that I can send the file to my laptop, open it in Illustrator and enlarge the image to whatever size I want without losing any quality. Currently, Adobe Ideas is free, although you can unlock features for $5. Actually, they only have one additional feature right now, and that feature will give you additional layers to play with. Well worth it. Hopefully, they will develop more features soon. I’d be happy to buy more brushes for $5. Ideas does have a drawback though, and that is, the more complex your image gets, the slower the refresh rate. Image render time can get very s-l-o-w. As a matter of fact, I have a very complex and detailed drawing in the works that has crashed Ideas a few times. I figured out a way around this issue, but it seems like a lot of extra work. Still, for me, the vector format is worth that extra effort.
There is also an app called Brushes that I hear a lot of people use. I’ve downloaded and installed it, but haven’t done enough work in it to comment. I’m afraid you’d have the same resolution problems you’d come across with Sketchbook.
Anyway, I’ve included some of my iPad drawings in this post. I’ve been doing figure drawing on my iPad once a week at the Kings Cottage Gallery all month, and that is where most of these drawings come from. I did mention that the iPad is portable. Perfect for this kind of project!