I’ve been playing with iPad art-making since 2009, mostly because I have fun doing art. Okay, yeah, it makes me feel good every time I finish a piece and my ego swells a bit when a piece is “successful.”
A few months ago, I got a gift of a big iPadPro (12.9 inch) and since then, I’ve had even more fun with digital art. “Paintings” I did on the smaller iPadair look more impressive on it. Size does increase impact. And deeper and brighter colors give images added oomph.
The first things I produced were paintings of flowers I photographed last June. Since colors shine on my new iPadPro, I wanted to celebrate colors with these pictures.
I used an old Autodesk app, SketchbookPro, which unfortunately (at least, I think so) has been replaced by another version I find a little more constricting. (Have you noticed that as apps/software become more user-friendly (or simpler), they also take away some choices you used to have? They become just a little dumber each time they’re ticked for user-friendliness.)
Using a few art apps that have been languishing in my old iPad, I also decided to reproduce an oil painting I did of my son when he was four years old. I like this painting a lot because I caught him in an unusually pensive mood. Besides, once in a while, I get nostalgic about old times.
Of the apps I used, ArtRage wins for the most “painterly” experience. It’s closer to the experience of painting with oils or acrylics than Procreate or SketchbookPro. You can mimic impasto with it, for example. Two of the art tools available are a paint tube and a palette knife. I slathered paint directly from the tube and sloshed it around with a “clean” palette knife (no paint loaded on the knife). You can also choose preloaded brushstrokes.
Using pencil and ink tools, you can draw free-hand (which is what I did) or trace a picture you want to paint. It also allows you to display the reference image for as long as you need to.
Most iPad artists tout the Procreate app, maybe because it’s supposed to make the best use of the Apple pencil. Me, I still like SketchbookPro better. I find it more versatile and more precise in its strokes.
One thing people might like about Procreate is its “filters.” You can deepen colors, for instance, by simply applying a filter to a layer. If you find an adjustment you like, it saves time and effort if your initial painting isn’t exactly as you envisioned it. This very capability takes Procreate farthest, of the three, from the actual painting experience. But, to each his own.