on a tablet or your phone

iphone painting style of klimt

Finger painting on a tablet began in a big way with the iPad. The iPad was made for finger painting, but you can paint in this way on any tablet. You can fingerpaint on a phone.

I finger painted this early effusion in the style of Gustav Klimt on an early version of the iPhone.

Was it hard to paint so much detail on a tiny screen?

No. 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.

A sharp tap will usually bring you back to fit-to-screen view. This makes it easy to monitor the overall effect while you're working on detail.

Another advantage of painting with your finger is that even the finest, most expensive stylus is never quite as fast, smooth and responsive as a real live finger.

Another thing. There's not much danger of leaving your fingers behind when you're out and about!

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. You may find that varying offsets upset the way you are training your finger. You want it 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. Experiment to find the best mode for you.

Jar. An iphone painting in Art Rage

Is it always best to draw with your forefinger? In the early days of iPhone art, David Hockney maintained that painting on an iPhone was best done with a thumb. I often find to my own surprise that I am drawing with the corner of my middle or fourth fingertip. This jar was painted on my iPhone 6+ mainly in this way.

You might even try holding your forefinger as though it were a pen, gripping it with your thumb and bent middle finger. Again, try a few things out.

Practice is the secret. You could always give yourself an exercise or two to increase your accuracy. Open a good painting app and trace a line drawing. Art Rage is ideal as it has a special Trace facility. Sketchbook (Express, Mobile or Pro) is also good. 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.

(c) Valerie Beeby . Page last revised 2015