Ask Ed is a weekly series in which I give my totally unsolicited opinion about art, cartooning, and everything else. If you would like to solicit an opinion from me you can do so via email (Ed@kantorwont.com), Twitter (@edomaniac), or Tumblr (Ask Ed).
“What are your favorite drawing apps?” – No one in particular
I might not be the best person to speak about this. Technically, I don’t do any of my digital work via smartphone or tablet. That being said, I could easily see myself incorporating more of that stuff in my workflow as time goes on. This list will be heavily iPhone/iPad specific. This is not because I have an iPhone. Well, I do have an iPhone 5C for work, but my personal phone is an android (HTC One M8). The reason it’s iPhone and iPad specific is because I’ve only been able to play around with these types of apps on another person’s iPad. Most of these apps will couple with a stylus (like 53’s Pencil) and when done, they rival a lot of the desktop software/hardware combos out there.
Paper (iOS only; Free)
Paper is a neat little app. No Frills, but it gets the job done. My friend Dean has done a bunch of cover-art illustrations for our stuff smart people like podcast using this app and I always think they look good. The most interesting feature of this app to me is the “rewind” feature. It’s sort of like an undo slider. That’s the best way I can describe it. Check out their page for some videos.
Autodesk Sketchbook (iOS and Android; free base version $ for upgrades)
You can get Autodesk Sketchbook on your phone or tablet for free. It’s not the full version (Pro) which I do have for my desktop and sometimes use for doing thumbnails digitally, but it does have enough to get you started. For a few bucks extra you can purchase a few other features like brush resizing, layers, and selection tools. I love the desktop version and have messed around with the mobile version and other than having fewer features I didn’t notice any differences between the two. Edwin, one of the artists who regularly attends my meetup group does most of his illustrations in this program on his samsung devices. The finished products look pretty great. You can see a few of them on his Instagram page.
Inspire & Inspire Pro (iOS only; regular $4.99 | pro $9.99)
I’ve never personally used Inspire. I’ve only recently become aware of the app because they briefly offered the regular version for free for Michelangelo’s 540th birthday. It uses a brush engine that they call “Sorcery” and it’s easy to see why. The results are pretty amazing. I’ll attempt to get my hands on it and give a future update on how it works if I can do so.
Adobe Shape (iOS only; Free)
Unlike most adobe products, Shape is free. I’d hesitate to call it a “drawing app” in the same sense as those others that are presented here. However, I think it could be used alongside typical drawing apps to help draw things you aren’t comfortable drawing. Here’s what I mean – Shape basically takes an image and converts it to vector line art (for an example, see my avatar on twitter). There aren’t a ton of features for it other than a slider that allows you to decide how many lines you want in the final product. I could see this being very useful, especially to an artist that has problems with composition and backgrounds. I’m not advocating replacing your actual art with it but you could easily use it to create roughs that you could import into your favorite program and draw over for your final product. You don’t have to use just images from your camera either, you can also use images on your phone. It’s pretty neat, even for non-artists.