When famous photographer Annie Leibovitz was asked what’s the best camera she said, the iphone4. Why? Because the best camera is the one on you. The same thinking can be applied to the ipad. When you’re struck with inspiration on a plane, train or automobile you don’t have your desk top and even your laptop is a little cumbersome to pull out – you might have already had your ipad open catching up on your design blogs. So how do you ensure you have the right tools in your ipad arsenal to accommodate even the most elaborate of ideas. The ipad is the moleskin of our generation – and unlike the moleskin when you’re done sketching you can pull the images onto your computer and clean them up – without having to start from scratch.
With dozens to of creative tools choose from, ranging from $2.99 to $15 you can easily sink tons of money into buying apps you may never use. If you’re looking for easy to use drawing apps with beautiful results here’s my recommendations.
1. Best bang for your buck: Sketch Club ($2.99) – This is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use, drawing app with a robust set of brushes and features – at $2.99 you can’t beat it with a stick. SketchClub has a social feature where you can post your drawings and get feedback as you progress. Here’s a piece I did for a graphic design class, the assignment was to create a character and setting.
2. Best for complex illustrations: Procreate ($4.99) – This app features loads of amazing, realistic brushes and a retina display option for creating very detailed images. This app is incredibly user-friendly and filled with powerful tools. Here’s an in-depth review of Procreate’s updated version.
3. Best for jotting down concepts: Paper (free or $7.99 for full tool set) – This gorgeous app received a lot of hype since being released earlier this year and since you can download it and play with one tool for free, why not? It’s an innovative way to store ideas and get concepts out of your head quickly. Doing anything more in-depth is difficult because there isn’t an undo feature, it’s got a limited color pallet and no layers – just like real paper. Here’s an idea I whipped up in less than 5 minutes.
4. Best transition to Photoshop or Illustrator: Adobe Ideas ($9.99) – It only makes sense, get the organic shapes and general ideas on the ipad screen and then pull the PDF into Photoshop or Illustrator for the finishing touches. This app is perfect for that, being in the family and all. You can use layers and simple vector tools, zoom without getting pixelated, utilize a giant canvas, pull color themes from photos and there’s a 50-level undo.
5. Best for vector illustration: iDesign ($4.99) – Need something totally MATHEMATICAL? Well this app allows for precise vector drawings with the touch of a finger. Working primarily with lines you can add strokes, fills, points and basically everything you’d do with the pen tool in illustrator. Overall a great tool to begin a project, you’ll have to add gradients in Illustrator after the fact.
Melody Stone is a journalist/blogger and designer living in Sacramento Ca. She work as a custom t-shirt designer and marketing director at Fibers.com and spends her free time riding her bike in dresses and high heels.