When you start drawing on an iPhone 6+ you never know quite what your creation is going to turn into. I started out with the Symmetry mode in Sketchbook, duplicating and transforming the resulting lacy lunacy on another layer.
I’m never too keen on sharp lines and symmetry, and wanted to rough things up a bit, so I tried all kinds of special effects in Photoshop Touch. None were quite right. I was just about to give up, when I suddenly noticed a bear looking at me. Gave him a shaggy pelt in Art Rage, a few more hairs in Sketchbook and a light in his eye.
On to Autodesk Pixlromatic for a frame and more beariness.
I have to confess to a few finishing touches in Painter 15 on Mac, but My Bear is really almost entirely a drawing on an iPhone 6+.
Autodesk Sketchbook comes in 57 varieties. Well, not quite up to Heinz, but Autodesk admit to at least 14 versions of Sketchbook. It’s difficult to know the differences when you can only try one at a time. What are they and which version of Sketchbook is best?
For a start there are 3 levels of Sketchbook:
Starter. Free. Only about 8 brushes, but does include taster versions of many of the tools.
Essentials. Unlocked when you sign up for a free Sketchbook account. Brings you more brushes, a couple of Copic markers, simple layers, a blending brush, rulers.
Pro. The paid for version of Sketchbook. The full tool box. Yet more brushes you can fine tune to your liking. Unlimited layers. Full Copic colour library. Magic wand selection, perspective guides, symmetry tools and more.
Not so long ago Sketchbook Pro was revised and hugely improved. It now seems to be listed as simply Autodesk Sketchbook. The app is much the same on an iPad Air 2, an iPhone 6+ and an (Android) Galaxy Note 4.
This early effort at fingerpainting was done in the style of Gustav Klimt on my iPhone.
What? with all that detail on a tiny screen? (This was an early iPhone with a screen of smallest small.)
Yes. Multi-touch on touch screens lets you pinch to zoom, which enables you to magnify an area you are painting or drawing on with two fingers in a pincer movement. This means you can draw or paint with quite a bit of detail, even on a tiny screen.
…And even with fat fingers. A disadvantage of finger painting on a tablet or phone is that your finger covers the point on which you are drawing. Many apps allow you to set up an offset distance. This places your brush point a little way ahead of your finger tip.
Is an offset a good thing? Not necessarily. Varying offsets can upset the way you are training your finger. You want your finger to move with pinpoint accuracy. Not all apps offer an offset, and it may not be possible to set exactly the same position in all apps that do.
Oh bother, I forgot to bring my fingers…
No chance of this lament!
Practice is the secret of fingerpainting success. Before you start in earnest, it really helps to give yourself an exercise or two to increase your accuracy.
Open a good painting app like Sketchbook (Express, Mobile or Pro). Sketchbook is available for both Apple and Android tablets and phones. It offers layers in all versions.
Place a line drawing on a layer. Add a layer above it and trace the drawing in a different colour. If you do this a few times, you’ll find your speed and accuracy increase as you train your finger.