Five Apps To Take Your iPad Art From Boring To Beautiful



If your iPad doodles are a little primitive, there are a few apps that can get you canvasing the art greats from Caravaggio to Picasso and creating some deft original strokes of your own.

So says Sumit Vishwakarma in a talk for Macworld/iWorld 2013, adding that if you’re willing to forgo one cinnamon latte at Starbuck’s, that money spent in apps will take your work to the next level.

Vishwakarma is an iPad art advocate whose work has been featured at the first Mobile Art Festival in Los Angeles, the Apple flagship store in San Francisco, and the Mobile Creativity & Innovation Symposium. He also teaches free workshops to promote iPad art and animation to kids, teens and adults.

Here are his top picks:


This is one of the “best apps to create art work close to traditional media,” he says. He demos by splashing some yellow and red across his iPad, then uses the palette knife tool to blend across what looks like dimpled drawing paper. You can control the pressure of the brush, use thinner and control the loading of the paint on the brush, and there’s no mess or wasted paper, either. The watercolor canvas takes the “paint” just like real watercolors, each one bleeding into the next.

Sumit Vishwakarma's demo with ArtRage.
Sumit Vishwakarma’s quick demo with ArtRage.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, Vishwakarma suggests a shortcut that takes of an iPad advantage: working in layers. In about 15 minutes with this app, you could get a lush still life by sketching a pear, then duplicating it. That same pear can be made smaller, poised on its side, perhaps given a few rotting bruises a la Caravaggio. He used the same technique to copy the impressionistic streetlamps from one side of his “Rain Walk” work to the other. The app also allows you to work with Photoshop, importing or exporting the image with the composites intact.

Zen brush
This is his go-to app for a minimalist interface and brushstrokes that change with the speed of your hand. He draws a quick cartoon with a black brush that makes Picasso look like child’s play.

Photo apps plus art apps are the best way to pump up your work, he says. There are some amazing art mashups you can’t always get by painting, including hexagonal work in the glove in his Spiderman portrait.

Sketchbook Ink
Finally, get your art off the small screen and into real life with this Autodesk app. It allows you do bump up the size to 200 gigabytes 200 MB, making it easy to bring it into the real world with your friendly local printer.


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