Sketching on an iPad
My reluctance to sketch on an iPad surpassed my resistance to use a cell phone and email. My children forced me to use a cell phone a decade ago when they wanted to keep track of where I wandered. Email became a necessity for running the business end of my life as an artist. From the sidelines I watched the development of computer graphics, tempted, but never enough to spend more time sitting at my computer.
My first encounter with a stylus dates back to the early 80’s when I had designed computer workstations for corporate environments. During a trade show, I infuriated my boss by spending my breaks and lunch hour three aisles down at another vendor’s booth. After playing with their new technology of using a stylus in place of a mouse to draw on a surface that I think was glass, I was invited to demo for them throughout the show, whenever I wanted. None of the technicians could draw. They enjoyed watching contour drawings develop on the giant display monitor above their booth. Even more, I think they liked the crowd of people that gathered at the booth during the demos. Two years later I was offered a job traveling around the country doing drawing demos at trade shows using the latest and greatest of the stylus technology. I declined. I was pregnant with Alexis and Nicole. I hadn’t picked up a stylus since then until a week ago after Skibra nudged me to try out the new FiftyThree Pencil for the iPad app called Paper.
After a week of playing with several of the drawing and painting apps available for iPads, I have embraced the technology and decided to get good at it. I always like new tools in my toolbox. One of the reasons I decided to finally give it a try is that I have needed a method of projecting my workshop demos so that more than six students can easily see what I am doing. I also have wanted to project the live sketches that are created during musical performances. Drawing on an iPad connected to a mini projector makes this possible.
My goal is to become skillful enough that my iPad art looks similar in stroke and wash to my sketchbook drawings. I want the look of spontaneity in some and carefully detailed observation in others. If I can accomplish that, it will open up incredible possibilities for teaching larger workshops when traveling. I’ll be able to travel with just my backpack instead of taking an additional suitcase with me.
The three apps I have spent the most time playing with are Paper, Sketches and Procreate. I am using the Fifty Three Pencil on all three. I have another stylus on order and I will compare the two as soon as it arrives and I’ve had time to test it out. To be fair to the apps, I will not review them at this point. Instead, I will post samples of sketches and indicate which stylus and which app I have used to create them. I will also post the notes I make for myself as I experiment with the tools in the apps.
No need to worry that I might give up pen and brush for a stylus. That, I can guarantee, will never happen.
Top image: South Mole Street, Philadelphia – drawn with 53Pencil stylus using the Sketches App.
Small image in upper left corner: Aloe Plant – 53 Pencil stylus in Sketches App