Last week, I opened a comprehensive mobile art application called ArtRage on my iPad 2, handed it to some of The Oklahoman's graphic artists and asked them to play.
It's always fun watching them add their creative talents to art media, and this time, our graphic artists Todd Pendleton and Chris Schoelen took the blank “canvas” of the iPad and had paintings and sketches ready for me almost immediately.
Within a few minutes, Pendleton had used the various choices of tools inside the app — a roller brush, paintbrushes, pencils, airbrushing and the eraser to draw a snowman. He changed the width of the tools and the shades of colors. He added layers to the drawing so he could draw pine trees on a distant hillside. By simply changing the opacity of that layer within the app, the trees looked faded and far away.
Even the oils of different colors smudged and smeared together as they painted, like the colors truly would if they were wet on a canvas. ArtRage lets you adjust all of those effects — pressure, smearing, size and softness — for each tool you choose. From the start, the app gives artists a choice of 24 backgrounds (basic canvas, crumpled paper, chalkboard, watercolor paper, etc.), and each color can be turned into a metallic.
Instead of their fingers on the touch-screen, Pendleton and Schoelen used a unique stylus with a metal circular tip, the GoSmart Freedom Stylus, for the more precise parts of their sketches. Representatives for ArtRage and the GoSmart stylus sent me the products to try for this column.
It's amazing to see the ArtRage app in action as it allows users to create quality art that mimics real paintings, but in the virtual world. Artists and children (like my own) can look at the blank canvas on the app and know exactly how and what to create. For me, a blank canvas in the real or virtual world is full of possibilities but I don't know what they are.
The ArtRage app from Ambient Design is $4.99 for the iPad and $1.99 for the iPhone, with Studio versions for more serious artists available for Macs and PCs ranging from $19.90 to $49.90. Find out more about them at artrage.com.
The GoSmart Freedom Stylus is $23.95 and available at http://justgosmart.com. If you use your device to write notes, this one comes closer to a true pen-to-paper feel, once you get used to the metal tip. The squishy tipped-styluses, including the HAND stylus I have written about, work, too, but I like them for navigating touch screens and typing on keyboards.