TRAIN YOUR FINGER TIPS
on your tablet or phone
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.
Why not use a stylus?
Certainly for writing on a tablet or phone you really do need a stylus. For drawing and painting, particularly on an Apple device, the touch screen is most responsive to a finger.
True, with fingerpainting you don’t get pressure sensitivity. That is, your line does not vary in width or transparency according to how hard you press. Yet even the most expensive professional styluses for iPad and iPhone can be erratic in pressure sensitivity.
In contrast the S Pen and Wacom Feel for Samsung Galaxy Note phones and tablets are pressure sensitive, fast and responsive. They have a fine, pointed nib that glides along without being slippery, and need no battery. Unfortunately for Apple fans, iPads and iPhones so far lack the special screen layer these styluses require.