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My top 4 apps for iPad newbies, and outdoor sketching on the iPad

There's great beauty to be found using our devices for creativity. Firstly it gets us out of what I refer to as the dark hole of devicedom, in that it forces us to look outside the device, instead of just deeper and deeper into it. Next, it's great for risk taking. Once you own the device and the app, hack away at your doodles and drawings. You won't be wasting paper, paints, or other "precious" materials, that often inhibit us from going for it. Lastly, you've lost all excuses to be creative--you've got an entire studio in that device and it's often, if not always with you! All of the below images were done live on the tube, or in the market. Something that would've been quite tricky with watercolours or other traditional mediums.

Live drawing on London Tube using Paper by 53 app.
Having a mobile device is like carrying around an entire studio of colours and mark making tools--without the mess!

Asking an artist who uses apps to push pixels around "Which app do you use" , is a bit like asking a traditional painter which paint brush do you use. It really depends on what mark you are trying to make, how familiar you are with the tools (we all have a our favorites), and what is ultimately your end goal.

For relative beginners, and for quickly capturing a moment when out and around, I would recommend an app that limits your choices, much that same as using a limited palette, or a limited set of paintbrushes. When there's too much to choose from, you get lost in the tool choice, and lose the flow of creativity.

4 of my favorite apps for rapid single layered work, are below (each app is linked to its website and/or a review--stay tuned for demos and tutorials on my blog--until then Youtube tends to be a great reference):

Paper by 53--I love the watercolour like effects of the brush, and the calligraphic effects of the nib. It's an easy to learn app that allows you to capture the light and energies of a moment.

Borough Market, London done live using Paper by 53
Live in Borough Markety, London, UK

Art Set Pro--My favorite tools here are the charcoal, the blender, the eraser--the oil paints, the medium, and the brushes. It's a very simple interface that allows you to draw the same way you would using charcoal without the mess, and on a myriad of surfaces. You can layer and blend the oils and control opacities using the medium.

Drawn live in a local London Pub using Art Set Pro on a simulated textured paper surface

Art Rage--I love this app for its inking tools and for the oil paint tube and roller. It allows for rapid layer and covering, and the textures are unbeatable. I also love the developer of this app, as he donated 30 licenses for me to give to the refugees I do workshops with. It's also got a great feature where you can pin a photo to use as a reference, digitally onto your screen.

A quick sketch at a river terasse restaurant in London, using Art Rage on the iPad.

For my layered works I often use a combination of apps, with the resultant images woven together in Procreate. In future blogs I will discuss this be informed when I post please subscribe


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