Thursday, 9 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 30 - Inkpad

Inkpad is a vector tool, like Adobe Illustrator, and I'm not very fond of the whole svg thing. I like the lines I draw to be the lines I draw rather than an algorithmic version of them...
That said Inkpad is a well formed tool, it has layers, opacity, all the controls you could want over your vector shapes, except the rather hit and miss implementation of the object positioning,which sometimes allows an object to be moved in the Z axis, and sometimes not.
Pinch to zoom works well, colour picking is good, with an inkdropper that allows you to select an object , then pick a colour for it. Undo has proper buttons,and you export to all manner of places, including the photo gallery and the usual selection of social media.

So the challenge today... the FINAL challenge in our 30 day marathon was to draw a Zombie...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 29 - Concepts

Concepts is a beautiful app, you just have to look at the colour picker, go on look at it, now imagine it clicking round with weight and presence...delightful

So it's got brushes and pencils and layers and pinch to zoom, and a proper undo button, aaaaaand nearly all of that is locked up in the the Pro version.
I'd be really happy to spend the money on such a well appointed app, except for the fact it kept banging on about the fact those features are locked and only available in PRO. There must be some reverse advertising going on here, as the more it told me the features were available in PRO, the more I wanted to avoid them.
Anyway, it's very well constructed, and in PRO you can export to a variety of formats:

And in PRO you can have multiple layers which you can merge and adjust and whatnot:

In the free version you can draw stuff, and the zoom works well, rarely making mistakes. The Undo works fine, the brush control is easy enough, and there is stylus support, though I've left my stylus at home, so don't know whether that is in the free version or just PRO.

Draw a cup the challenge said, so after our spotting of a superb mullet man yesterday I thought I should do a lovely Billy the Fish inspired hairdo.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 28 - Drawing desk

Some apps just aren't worth struggling with, drawing desk doesn't quite make it into the "Awful apps" folder (yes I actually have a folder of these) but it's very close.
It works OK, if you avoid the big a banner at the top, pen selection is a bit clunky, but the presets are OK, colour selection is OK, but could do with a better way to add to palettes.
The Eraser is fine, but the undo (despite having a proper button) does some weird thing and reinterprets other strokes and applies a different colour, like in the shot below... I undid a line, and inherited a green line in the eye, and some black scribbles on the stair... weird.

No pinch to zoom, or zoom at all, export goes to facebook or twitter or budsie, save puts a copy in the photo gallery.
I won't be using this app again.

Draw a frog... halfway up the stairs is the stair where I sit.
There isn't another stair quite like it... or something

Monday, 6 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 27 - Drawing Brush Free

Tired today, lucky there's only a couple of days left in the 30 days.
Drawing Brush Free is not the most catchy title for an app, the icon is poor, but the app itself is really quite good. It offers a shed load of brush types, blenders, pencils, pens, all with variable size, opacity and consistency. It offers support for a number of active styli, layers, pinch to zoom, proper undo buttons, and uniquely in the apps I've reviewed the opportunity to plop a reference file on the page, which is a cracking idea.

The pens work well most of the time, and I really liked the look of some of the pencil marks, which felt very real, the only downside was the stylus I used would sometimes offset its tip by 5 mm or so, making line join up a bit notchy and unpredictable. 

Export is to photo album, email or social media, and there's a built in recorder to capture your process.
All in all a surprising little app, with rather nice pencils.

Today's challenge was to draw a bottle, so I did a bottle of Summer time Gin

Sunday, 5 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 26 - iPastels

iPastels does a fair job of simulating pastel painting, there are a number of styles of pastel, all in 6 tip sizes, and 4 opacities, or densities, and a whole bunch of colours. There's also a smudge tool and an eraser.
Pinch to zoom works well, and there's a proper undo button, that rolls back a limited number of times.
There are layers, but I couldn't suss out how they worked, it could be they are unlocked in the pro version, which is advertised every now and then in a pop up.
Export goes to photo album, and that's it.
I enjoyed using it.

Today's challenge was to draw awesome... not much more awesome than Godzilla.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 25 - Forge

25 days in and there are still cracking apps to be found, and this is certainly one of them.
Forge is a complete design studio wrapped in a very well considered and constructed app. It is an absolute pleasure to use.
The app organises sketches into projects, and allows individual sketches to be duplicated to try out different colour schemes and whatnot- their built in example of a scooter design is very helpful.
You get a range of variable tip width tools, including a chisel tip that actually behaves as you'd expect.
There are a range of well matched palettes and of course you can create your own.
There are 4 layers that can each have their opacity set, pinch to zoom, and sadly two finger swipe to undo... which does work,and didn't do too many false strokes.

Export to all number of places- the only wrinkle being that if you export as a png, you'll need to stick in a plain coloured background layer as it creates a transparent png. 

Drawing a banana was the challenge today, and my effort really doesn't show this app at its best.

Friday, 3 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 24 - Daily Monster

Back in 2011 I tried briefly to draw a monster a day following the lead of the fantastic Stefan Bucher.

Not only could he draw, but he built an app that allowed normal folk to draw an ink splot monster just like him. I love this app, despite the fact It hangs, and stalls, it's just beautiful.

Just look at the line options:
You can have straight, or squiggly, or more squiggly, or hairy spider or mad cobweb.

Trying to draw lines with these tools is dreadful, so just go with the flow, make an ink splot, add some pre created eyes and what not and enjoy yourself.

Then when you are done, if the app is feeling cooperative, you can use the camera to put your weird creation into the real world

All the dialogue boxes are a delight, and it hands out badges for doing stuff... you can even add speech bubbles.
It does struggle t respond, and seems like it's running out of memory, or maybe just hasn't been updated to cope with iOS8, or whatever we're on, as I remember it running ok on my old iPad 2.
I'v checked the app store and can't find it listed any more which is a shame.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 23 Draw Free

If you couldn't afford the £1.49 for ArtSet then you might be tempted by Draw Free which looks superficially similar with it's slide out drawers of pencils and crayons.... but it would best not to.

You do get a pen which does a bit of that odd vector best guess interpretation of what you drew, which sometimes involves deleting everything (you can undo to get stuff back though).
You get a pencil and a crayon which are pretty much the same as the pen except a bit more grainy.
There's a paint pot which I think is a fill tool, but it could never find a outline and just painted the whole screen a colour.

All the tools can be resized with a slider, and you can pick the colour from some presets, or use a more sophisticated colour picker. There are also some clip art stamps an eraser, and proper undo buttons. There is however no zoom.
If you click the gallery it takes you back to a blank page, and you lose your work, completely.

If you accidentally tap the banner ad you get taken to the app store to buy "Sugar Smash" or some other app. This reminds me of some of the educational apps I used to review years ago, built to a badly written spec. This app could be really good, it's intuitive, all the controls are on one page, etc...but it fails due to really quite important details.

Save your pennies and buy ArtSet, or Sketchbook.

Today's Challenge was draw a dog, this is my grinning dog, Lola, who is far too hot at the moment...

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

30 drawing apps in 30 days - day 22 INKredible

This is really a note taking app in fact I think it used to be called Notes Plus?
Anyway by default you get a standard fountain pen, with settings for wetness and size.. which means you can drawlike Ralph Steadman.
Or you could if the algorithm that turns your line into a line on the screen was a little bit more predictable... several times I managed to lose a line, or select an area instead of drawing a line.
The toolbar is simple, and can be hidden or pinned to the page, there are additional pens at additional cost, and various different paper types, that are more of interest to note takers. Pinch to zoom works without issue as long as you are in the right mode, and there's even a funny little zoom box thing- no idea why you'd use it.

There are a couple of odd settings, like the switch to pen after using the eraser, and this caught me out a couple of times. There's no fill.
There are however proper undo and redo buttons.
Export is to photo gallery as a .png, mail or to a printer.
...and that's about it.
I like it when it does what I want it to, but its all too easy to select and area rather than drawing what I want, and I don't want to change my behaviour to fit an app.

Draw a penguin was the challenge, and I think the line is nice and expressive on the eye.