Monday, November 29, 2010

Should Artists Adopt the iPad?

Apples release of the iPad has been very well received.  As an artist, my initial interest was in drawing on the device.  I wondered if a lite version of Photoshop could be downloaded on it.  I was disappointed to find that there was only a Photoshop Express app.  This app is little more that a photo viewer and a minor editor.  A more robust version may have to come a little further down the road.  I do all my work on a PC with a Wacom Tablet in Photoshop.  Being able to consolidate these items would be great.  I also would like to draw right on the screen.  Drawing on the screen is much like drawing on paper but unfortunately, I don’t have an extra $2,000 to put down on a Wacom Cintiq. 

To my joy, there were a few notable apps.  I first found a FlipBook app which is a great little tool for bringing your doodles to life.  Continuing my research, I found two impressive apps.  Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro and the ArtStudio app are great little programs for drawing and painting on the iPad.  Both work with layers and can use different brushes.  However, it is a little difficult (but not impossible) to draw and paint with your finger.  It may be a good idea to purchase the Pogo Sketch Stylus if you plan to do a lot of drawing.

It looks like you really can have a “digital tablet” that can be used to quickly produce compositions of different qualities wherever you are.  Sitting at the airport, you can work on some of your storyboards or do some quick sketches of your people-watching.  You can do a client visit and instead of lugging around your laptop, you can pull out your iPad and do something fast and at the same time impressive.

Let it be known that the iPad has lots of competitors.  Apple is truly the trailblazer and sets the stage for other solutions.  It is yet to be seen if other products will make access to downloadable apps so easy and available.  That is what makes the iPad so appealing and just plain old cool.  In most cases, you are choosing between wireless carriers and GUIs or Graphical User Interfaces run on various operating systems like: Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Palms WebOS, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Archos 5 (on Android, Linux and Windows 7) and Microsoft’s Windows 7 OS.  If you aren’t in a hurry to jump into one of these gadgets, it may be better to wait and see how things shape up.  But for all those die-hard Apple users, waiting isn’t an option.

Frank Freeman is a freelance artist, trainer and CEO of Artistic Gurus, Inc. a training company that focuses on how-to videos in the 2D, 3D, Traditional Arts, Comics, Anime and Manga fields. or


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