Wednesday, April 11, 2012

best things in small packages

Work in progress: 
illustrations using iPad app, Art Set

Work in progress: 
no photoshop!

Work in progress: 
Art Set: the best sketching and painting app for iPad in the world ever!

Browsing billions of apps is crazy and trying them all could be very expensive, sometimes frustrating. So here's a helpful review of one of the various sketching and painting apps I tried on the iPad. Some popular drawing apps available now are: Sketchbook Pro, iDraw, Adobe Ideas, and Paper. Most of these apps are very complicated for the iPad, while others are too simple and limiting. Each app is appropriate for a particular illustration style: Sketchbook Pro works almost like Photoshop, iDraw is for vector drawings while Bamboo and Paper are best for notes and sketches. My favorites are Bamboo and Paper, but the best painting app on iPad for me is Art Set.

Art Set is the best painting app on iPad for illustrators like me because it's very easy to use. The user interface is delightful, looks almost like an artist's toolbox, only virtual. Art Set has every art material I use for illustration and painting: pastels, colored pencils, crayons, tech pens, markers, ballpen, and oil paints. The materials also behave like real media, with unnoticeable lag time on screen sensitivity. What more can you ask for? Not only that, you can also have some sponge, a tissue, water, smudgers in case you want to create some cool effects. Various canvases in a range of colors and textures complement the media. While drawing or painting, you don't have layers like in Photoshop, so in effect you'll feel like actually painting on paper. You can only undo/revert up to ten steps, beyond that you'll have to erase or paint over. There's only one thing I'd wish this best painting app on iPad could have, that is to have more export options like bigger resolution and PDF compilation. I think the current resolution is okay for online publishing, but I'm quite apprehensive using the illustrations for print. Lastly, the best thing about Art Set being the best painting app on the iPad for me is because it's inexpensive. How about just 99 cents for all of these awesome features? I know you're thinking this review is exaggeration but I'm not getting anything from it, I'm just too happy for this app and now sharing the love.

Now, sketching and painting on the iPad is much fun and more intuitive with a stylus. Again, finding the best stylus available in the market today is difficult and expensive without reading reviews and actually trying them out. I have read good reviews about Adonit, unluckily it's not yet available locally. So far the best stylus I'm using is the one from CD-R King (a local electronics and accessories supplier). The stylus is quite small, perfect for mobility. The other end is a pen. Like most stylus, the tip is rubbery but small, making drawing intricate details much easier, thus saving my poor fingers. And most of all, this stylus is also inexpensive. You can have it for 30 pesos. Beat that!

The CD-R King stylus poking head

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