iPad Pro helped persuade New Yorker artist to paint digitally

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iPad Pro image
Mark Ulriksen has been a celebrated magazine artist for years.
Photo: New Yorker

New Yorker cover artist Mark Ulriksen went from “technologically illiterate” to loving working on his iPad Pro, a new profile article reveals.

Ulriksen painted by hand using acryclic and gouache paint until last October when he splashed out on a fancy new iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and copy of the app Procreate.

“I’m technologically illiterate and I’m still trying to learn how to paint,” the San Francisco-based artist told Business Insider. “But I really wanted to eventually work digitally because it seems like that’s what the art buying public is looking for in the world of illustration these days, and I like the speed of it.”

The artist said that, in his experience, almost all the art created for the New Yorker is now done digitally. Not only has this changed the way that work is distributed, however, but also the way that it is created.

“When I would see digital work in a publication, I go, ‘how do they that, how do they get that that texture, how do they get the splatter? How they get it to look so, you know, rough and tumble,’ because I don’t know how to do that as a painter so well,” he continued. “And so all of a sudden it’s like, it’s the brushes! That’s how they do it. There’s texture brushes and there’s splatter brushes and there’s paint roller brushes. Now I’ve learned that secret.”

Thanks to the iPad, Ulriksen says his work process has been greatly sped up. For example, recently he created a piece for Mother Jones which, at the last minute, was switched from vertical to horizontal orientation. “What might have taken a few days to do (with a smidgen more money and even less desire) instead took a little over an hour,” he said. “I copied the art, placed it in the requested format and then added to the background.”

Other artists also use iPad

Ulriksen is far from the first painter to use the iPad. As he notes, a large number of New Yorker artists use the iPad to create work for the magazine. One is long-time New Yorker art editor Jorge Colombo, who frequently uses his iPad to whip up memorable images for the publication.

Employing his  trusty 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and the app Procreate, Columbo has created a memorable image of the Staten Island ferry and one of kids playing basketball in Brooklyn Heights. His first iOS creation, meanwhile, traces all the way back to 2009 when he used his iPhone and the app Brushes to paint a late-night scene in Manhattan.

Are you an artist who uses the iPad (or any Apple products) to carry out your work? Let us know in the comments below.