News: Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: PaintingWhereas yesterday's segment of Making Art on Your iOS Device focused on the technical elements of drawing from life, today we enter the painterly realm of David Hockney and Jorge Colombo.

The apps below can be categorized under "painting"—or more accurately, the digital creation of 2D imagery with a focus on color, texture, brushstroke, etc.

Both Hockney and Colombo have created some lovely works on the iDevice (see Colombo's New Yorker cover to the right; Hockney's work below), all of which seem effortlessly "finger-painted" on the touchscreen.

Creating images with the apps below is a lighter and quicker execution than physical painting, a digital process unlike the laborious mixing, matching and application of oils on canvas. But in terms of crafting the illusion of physical volume with elements such as value, shading and color, the principles are one in the same. 

Hockney attests, "After all, this is a medium of pure light, not ink or pigment, if anything more akin to a stained glass window than an illustration on paper... with an iPhone, I don't even have to get out of bed, I just reach for the device, turn it on, start mixing and matching the colors, laying in the evolving scene."

Many of these apps allow you to get pretty advanced results (if you've got the skills of course)—just check out this guy.

1. Brushes

Brushes is the app used by both Hockney and Colombo; as a result, it is perhaps the most popular, and certainly the most well known. Its counterpart Layers (see #2 below) is more highly reviewed, and offers a superior/larger variety of actual brushes. Regardless, Brushes has its fair share of glowing reviews, and has received a lot of good press. See a more detailed review here. Specs/Flickr group:

  • High-quality brushes/erase more/eyedropper tool
  • Layers (rearrange, merge, fill with a color, and adjust transparency); import multiple photos as layers
  • Wide range of colors
  • Extremely responsive zooming from 70% to 1600% (*Perhaps most popular feature)

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Cost: $4.99
Compatible: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

2. Layers

Layers is a popular "natural media" painting application, particularly acclaimed due to its ability to export in PSD format. Its UI is clean and intuitive, and the highly rated app offers Photoshop-esque features:

  • Up to five paintable layers per drawing
  • Ten high-quality brushes, adjustable up to 64px
  • Paint brush, smudge tool, eraser, eyedropper tool
  • 30-level undo history that saves on exit

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Cost: $4.99
Compatible: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

3. Colors!

Colors! was created back in '07 as a simple painting application for homebrew Nintendo DS. It quickly grew to become one of the frontrunner "painting" apps and is a worthy competitor to Brushes—in fact, many feel it's a better product. Check out the app's community gallery here.

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Cost: $4.99
Compatible: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

4. PhotoArtista Oil

Like the applications above, PhotoArtista Oil is highly rated. However, the features/tools focus on recreating the physical look of oils, rather than the more digital feel of the above apps. Recreate realism, impressionism, expressionism or abstract genres in the texture of real-life oils. The tools/features include:

  • Textured oil
  • Different brush sizes, plus stroke variation
  • Color shift/tone
  • Canvas color/texture
  • Artistic edges
  • Lighting effects

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Cost: $2.99 (iPhone); $4.99 (iPad)
Compatible: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

5. Wasabi Paint

Like the aforementioned PhotoArtista Oil, Wasabi Paint also focuses on emulating the real-life texture of paint. The app appears to have a greater range of features, including the ability to blend as well as create fine details, a tool for throwing paint (Pollock-style), and a large spectrum of colored "paints" including metallics, fluorescents and pearlescents.

Making Art on Your iOS Device, Part 2: Painting

Cost: $2.99
Compatible: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

**Tune in tomorrow for Part 3, 3D Modeling. Check out yesterday's segment on Drawing if you missed it.

Did we leave out a painting app you recommend? Please list in the comment section below.

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