The NeoLucida lets you trace images from real life.
So you have your iPad and your apps, and you even arranged a bowl of fruit/nude model (delete as applicable). But what about hardware? After all, only stupid babies fingerpaint, right?
If you’re doing a lot of iPad painting, you should pick some kind or drawing tool. But what kind? Styluses can be had as dumb pencils, as brushes or even in Bluetooth pressure-sensitive versions.
And then there are the other accessories that’ll make painting a little easier.
Wacom makes the best graphics tablets for Mac and PC and now it wants to do the same for the iPad. The Bamboo stylus is already my favorite iPad stylus, but the ICS, or Intuos Creative Stylus goes one better with pressure sensitivity.
The iPad’s screen is binary in terms of touches: It might detect multiple fingers, but they’re either touching or not. So the pen itself has to measure how hard you’re pressing and send that info to the iPad. In the case of the ICS, this is done via a low-power Bluetooth 4 connection, with the pen communicating 2048 levels of pressure. This wireless connection also means you can use the button on the side to control various functions: undo/redo for example, or to pop up a color picker.
The ICS uses a single AAA battery, has a replaceable nib, and comes in a natty box which carries extra batteries and nibs.
This, as they say, is the Rolls Royce of styluses.
You have your pens and pencil, but what about somewhere to keep them? A pencil case is traditional, and the Wacom comes with one. But Adonit’s Jot Tote case is made to hold your iPad and also let you clip on a stylus. And while it’s designed for Adonit’s own Jot, you can use it with pretty much any pen-shaped object.
The case is a rear shell with a grippy finish, and on the back is a steel strip which slides out of the side and grabs onto the pen, holding it both safe and handy until you need it. This might not be strictly necessary, but for serial pen-losers it’ll be sure to save you some cash.
While a pen is nice and all, nothing quite beats the feel of a good hogs-hair brush when you’re smearing on the oils. When I first saw a Nomad capacitive brush years ago, I thought it was just a gimmick. Then I tried one, and I loved it. You can’t really scrub and stipple the paint of course – the iPad sees the brush as just another pink digit – but that doesn’t mean that the action of stippling, scrubbing or stabbing isn’t more pleasing to the brain. It really does feel like you’re painting on canvas. Well, not canvas, as canvas has a stretch and give that the glass screen lacks, but it is like painting on wood or card.
Now nomad has a range of brushes, but my advice would be to go for a set of whole brushes. The kits with the single handle and screw-on tip look good in theory, but these things take up so little space it’s nicer to have the convenience of quickly grabbing the brush you want without dicking around changing the tips.
One thing that was essential to me when I painted in oils was a palette. I went the traditional route with a thin plywood board in the familiar shape, which is easy to hold in one hand, but I know people who just mixed their paint on tabletops or any nearby flat surface (including one of my own paintings).
Remote Palette is an app which lets you use your iPhone as a palette to mix paints. You can swoosh your colors around until you have the exact hue you need and the color will be automatically loaded into your brush in the iPad app. It works via Bluetooth so you can use it anywhere.
The only downside is that you have to paint using the Remote Palette app on the iPad, which is pretty limited. It’s not MS Paint, but neither does it come anywhere close to something like Procreate. Still, it’s cheap and fun.
The NeoLucida isn’t really an iPad accessory, but it can certainly be used as one. It’s a modern version of the camera lucida, an optical device used by artists throughout history (well, since the mid–1800s anyway) to make their drawings more accurate.
The principle is simple: the unit has a prism on the end of a flexible arm, and this lets you see both your paper and your subject at the same time. This allows you to “trace” the image from real life as if it were projected onto your paper.
And of course when I say “paper” I also mean “iPad.”
The NeoLucida was made by university art professors Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin because antique versions are too expensive for working artists and students to afford. Their Kickstarter was super successful, raising almost half a million on a target of just $15,000, and they’ll be back in 2014 with a retail version. Until then you might want to speak to your bank manager before hitting Ebay.
The Nomad Brush Flex is the latest in Nomad’s line of capacitive touchscreen brushes. That’s right — brushes. When you’re painting into an app like Brushes or Procreate on the iPad, then you really do want to use a stylus os some kind. And if you’re going to go to the trouble of using a stylus, why not make it a brush?
Kyle Lambert is one of the best iPad artists on the web. He also happens to be a big fan of Pixar’s animation team, so when he started following Lee Unkrich – the director of Toy Story 3 – he noticed how passionate Lee is about Stanley Kubrick and his film The Shining. Combining Toy Story 3, with Lee’s obsession for The Shining and Lambert’s iPad drawing talent resulted in one of the more interesting artistic mashups we’ve seen in a while – Toy Shining.
We could tell you more, but we’ll just let you oogle at Kyle’s awesome iPad drawings of Woody occupying Jack Torrance’s spot in Kubrick’s cinematography masterpiece, but remember, everything was created just using an iPad.
Are you just now coming out of your holidays hibernation and venturing back into the real world? Some of us are still struggling with that too, so we wanted to remind you guys about our Ultimate Designer Toolkit bundle that will be expiring in less than 16 hours. Head over to Deals.CultofMac.com to get it before it’s gone.
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"Il Pensatore," by Matthew Watkins, one of the MobileCon organizers, with Brushes app on iPad.
The iAMDA (International Association of Mobile Digital Artists) is gearing up for the second MobileArtCon taking place at the New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and other big apple locations, September 30 – October 2.
If your audio taste is anything like mine, you’ll want to mute this music video for “Undivided,” the first single for the group Blush, feat. Snoopy Dog. It’s like someone vomiting jolly ranchers down your cochleas.
That said, make sure to watch it, because it was made by animator Shawn Harris using iOS app Brushes. Impressive, right? And we have the making off too!
Cult of Mac is making it rain again with some great apps for your iPhone and iPad. We’ll pick 5 random winners to win 6 great apps. If you want a chance to get your hands on some great apps this week, then follow the instructions carefully below:
Tag us Cult of Mac in your status and mention we’re giving away free apps.
Your Status Tag will be your entry into the giveaway, only ONE entry is allowed per person, and the giveaway will last until 11:59pm tonight. We’ll contact the winners on Tuesday or Wednesday and how to get the codes!
Optional step – Tell us what you think about these apps if you own them already in the comments section.
Special Thanks to Appular for helping us put together these app code giveaways! If you’ve got a mobile app that you’d like marketed effectively, contact the good folks at Appular!
After Jorge Colombo’s iPhone art was featured on the cover of the New Yorker, it seems everyone wants to get their fingers in the pie.
The Brushes app Colombo used to finger paint a late-night scene in Manhattan sold 2,700 copies when the cover debuted Monday, earning slightly over $13,000. It usually sells around 60-70 copies a day.
“A painting app seemed like a natural fit for the iPhone,” 32-year-old Brushes developer Steve Sprang told the NYT Bits blog. “You’re touching the screen, so it’s a natural step to want to draw on it.”
Sprang said the results dwarfed when Brushes was chosen as the app of the day on iTunes and that the app had sold 40,000 copies to date, earning him six figures.
If you’re itchy to get busy with fancy fingerwork, Sprang has knocked the price down a buck, to $3.99, in honor of the New Yorker cover.