3 Ways To Use Your iPad For Your Art

Ikh Nart argali head study
1. Ikh Nart argali head study

An iPad is not a substitute for traditional media. It’s its own media and can let you make images that wouldn’t be possible any other way. But it can also be used for some of the same things as pencils or pens and paper. Here are three ideas on how to do that, all using my current favorite app ArtRage.

1. Color and detail studies- One can do a fairly finished study drawing to learn a subject, its form, structure, proportions and colors. If I do a painting of this argali, I’ll already know it pretty well and can concentrate on my brushwork. I like how easy it is to make corrections, zoom in and out and keep working layer after layer until I get what I’m after.

Mongol horse running
Mongol horse running

2. Preliminary study sketches- The iPad is great for sketching and finding out if a reference animal draws well. This is a horse I saw last year. I did one sketch of the whole animal,then zoomed in to do a close-up of the head and finally moved down to do the two front legs. Once again, it’s not that this can’t be done with pencil and paper, but the iPad offers other tools like a watercolor brush that would easily let me, for example, add a watercolor wash for the shadow areas. There’s also an eraser tool for making changes or cleaning up lines. It’s also convenient not to have to scan anything. The drawings are already digitized.

Mongol bokh thumbnails
Mongol bokh thumbnails

3. Thumbnails- ArtRage works just fine for doing thumbnail sketches for working out composition ideas, like these two bokh, or Mongol elk species, fighting it out during the rut. They were way up on a hillside and as they bugled and sparred, with cows and calves  running past them. It took only a few minutes to do these six ideas, using the pencil tool with a light warm grey color for the marks. That’s another nice feature. You can do drawings like this in any color and easily change the color.

New iPad Drawings Using A New App, ArtRage!

An artist friend and colleague, Guy Combes, just told me about a iPad art app called ArtRage. So of course I had to buy it and try it. Below are a few of my first pieces using it.

ArtRage provides tools that correspond to all the regular media and tools artists use…pencils, brushes, pastels, pens, palette knife, airbrush and also chalk and crayons. You can also pick your “paper”. The app is designed for the tools to make the same kind of marks on the different virtual papers that they would on real papers and canvas.

I think it’s a good complement to Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro, which is more illustration oriented in terms of the tools it offers. ArtRage is definitely targeted towards fine artists. But both can be easily and productively used by either depending on what one wants to do. I like having both! Here’s what I’ve done using Sketchbook Pro.

So far, I’ve only messed with the watercolor brush on watercolor “paper”. I’m interested in being able to use my iPad for location painting in addition to sketching and I think this will work, once I get the hang of it.

Young horse
Neighborhood sheep
White-napped crane, Bronx Zoo