Monday, May 17, 2010

Apple’s iPad and Creating Art

I'm getting the iPad immediately. Those were my words when Apple made their iPad announcement on January 27, 2010. Many of my friends and colleagues were surprised to hear me say this. Actually, they were more surprised by the name chosen and spent the next week making feminine hygiene jokes. Those were the days.

Though I try to stay immersed in digital media and keep all my electronics powerful enough to support my current projects, I've never been someone who makes right-out-of-the-gate device purchases. Trial and error could be a pricey road to go down in today's quickly evolving digital world. However, at the end of the day, everything about the iPad is exactly what I've been waiting for.

It has three main purposes for me:

1) READING BOOKS & COMICS: I've been using the Apple iBooks and comiXology Comics & Marvel Apps and have been very pleased. They both work intuitively and easily to do just what they promise. My only critique for the iBook app is showing the edge of the "pages". It's counter-intuitive since it just takes up screen space. As for the comiXology Apps, I'm curious as to why they do not support showing multiple pages at the same time. Otherwise, they have the best comic reading app, hands down.

2) DISPLAYING REFERENCE (for creating traditional art): The crisp and easy to navigate Apple Photos App has made this to be (surprisingly) my most used feature of the device. Now any and all reference can be on my drawing table, right in front of me. Of course, it's also now filled with embarrassing photos of me and my friends. Have to remember to consistently delete those.

3) DIGITAL SKETCHING & PAINTING: For this I took a nod from Jim Lee's work and immediately purchased Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro App . It's a great App that has a high versatility of brushes and colors, as well as simple to understand and navigate layer capabilities. It seems to be predominantly created for finger painting, since the shortcuts involve touching the screen with multiple fingers. It's relatively intuitive and my only critique is I don't believe there is a shortcut to set the canvas at 100%.

I also purchased the Pogo Sketch. I ripped open the package in the Apple store and immediately created this sketch:

I dig being to able to draw on the device with a pen. I feel much more in control of my line work, as opposed to the finger painting. However, it is difficult to be truly precise due to the stylus pen's round, felt-tip end. I hope Steve Job takes back his iPhone comments: "Who wants a stylus?? Yuck!" and they create a better stylus for the iPad. Apple could truly revolutionize creating art digitally if they somehow create a more precise device, closer to the Wacom / Cintiq pens.

Following my visit to the Apple store, I went to the Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art festival and thought it would be interesting to have several different artists sketch on the device. Of course, I really did this just to watch some talented illustrators struggle at creating art. Just kidding. Running off my first sketch, I requested that all of the artists create a Batman sketch. Here are some of the results:

Art by: Bobby Timony
Art by: Tim Hamilton
Art by: Kevin Colden
Art by: Dean Haspiel
Art by: Jon Roscetti
Art by: Matt Loux

A surprise bonus to the iPad is having the ability to watch movies and television episodes. Ultimately though, I still prefer watching them on a real screen. It only happens when I'm too lazy to find the remote.

All in all, Apple's iPad has fully lived up to my expectations. Whether I'm reading, drawing, or just viewing reference, it's just what I was looking for. Now I'm looking forward to the day when I can take it out in public without hearing more feminine hygiene jokes.

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