Archive for October, 2011

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Drawing Cute penguins on the iPad

penguin 1 from SketchBook pro Drawing Cute penguins on the iPad

These two sketches were done based on a Guardian UK article on how to draw a penguin by Oliver Jeffers.

penguin 1 from SketchBook pro 2 Drawing Cute penguins on the iPad

Drawing in Harmonious

My original design was drawn using the Harmonious app and I used its wonderful Sketchy brush with black to do this work. I’m really liking Harmonious and I love the sketchy brush that it has. It allows me to get really rich black areas on my image but it doesn’t give me enough fine control to do the other work.

So I start by drawing the basic penguin outline and filling in the black bits in Harmonious then go elsewhere. One thing I wish they’d fix in Harmonious is that it only works in portrait mode on the iPad so it’s a little annoying if you want to sketch in landscape.

penguin harmonious Drawing Cute penguins on the iPad

Saving your work

Harmonious has a heart shape icon in the top left corner which is where you go to save the image. I choose Save Image to do this. While Upload to Gallery might sound like it’s the option you want it’s actually uploading to an online gallery.

Once I’ve saved the image it’s in my Camera Roll ready to use. From here, I opened SketchBook Pro.

Working in SketchBook Pro

SketchBook Pro was one of the first apps that I bought and I upgraded from the SketchBook free app to the Pro version within about five minutes because I loved it so much and I wanted more layers than I had in the original app.

I still really like SketchBook Pro and I use it quite often when I need some of the tools that it has. In this case, I opened SketchBook Pro and created a new image. Click on the Layers palette in the top right corner and click the icon that has a flower and a plus symbol on it. This allows you to import from the photo library into a layer.

I went to the Camera Roll and brought in the image I had saved out of Harmonious and, because it came in upside down, I selected the Layer Transform icon which has the four arrows on it to rotate the canvas. Four taps of the rotation button and it was rotated 180 degrees – this app rotates in 45 degree increments. I just pressed Done and I was ready to go.

Then I added a new layer and selected the brush that I wanted to use so I could paint on the extra bits. I like to paint on a new layer because this means that if I need to erase what I’ve done later on or fine-tune it, I’m not erasing away the original Harmonious drawing.

I added white eyes, an orange beak and feet, color to the snow, color to the penguin’s belly and then on a separate layer again I added the scarf. The basic scarf outline in stripes was on one layer and below that the coloring for the scarf.

You can add plenty of layers in SketchBook Pro which makes it particularly handy for building up images this way. Layers can have their opacity reduced so if you want to blend an effect on one layer into the layers below, you can reduce the opacity of the layer to do so.

penguin harmonious in SketchBook Pro Drawing Cute penguins on the iPadpenguin 1 from SketchBook pro Drawing Cute penguins on the iPad

I like the way that the original black sketch is coming out through the color I’ve added on top. In some cases, if I don’t get a really good set of penguin arms in Harmonious I’ll also erase under the arms to make sure that there’s plenty of detail there. I seem to have a bit of trouble in Harmonious always getting the brush to do what I want it to do. However, maybe today I found the cause of some of my trouble when my stylus rubber disappeared into the tip – seems the Bamboo Stylus has a screw top which had undone so it raised higher than the rubber tip. I’ve screwed it back on so maybe this is the cause of my fluffy sketches and penguins and rabbits with furry underarms!

When you’re exporting from SketchBook Pro, you get this amazing range of options. Click Gallery to save the image in SketchBook. From the gallery you can send the file by clicking on the image to send and then click the button with the flower and the bent arrow. You can send it to the Photo Library, iTunes, Flickr, Facebook, DropBox, Tweet it, Email it or Print it. I usually choose email because I want it on my desktop to do some final work before blogging the results.

I get the option of sending it by email as a flattened file (png so transparency is retained), a layered PSD or a PDF file. If you choose, for example, flattened you can also choose the orientation to send the image in. The image opens in your email program so all you have to do is to put in an email address and send it on its way.

SketchBook Pro is great tool and I love it for its four blend modes, Normal, Multiply, Add and Screen. Multiply allows you to darken effects by multiplying the pixels on the layer. This is also a good  way to get a different color background behind an image that has white fill on it – such as images from Harmonious which come with solid fill background colors. Add the different color background to your image as a layer below your sketch layer then set the sketch layer to multiply and the white background will disappear and the underlying colored background will come through.

The Add blend mode adds the pixels and Screen allows you to lighten the image. SketchBook Pro also has mirror options allowing you to create mirror image designs. You can download heaps of extra brushes for it too from halftone and other brushes to flowers and leaves.

It’s an application I come back to repeatedly and I think these penguins look just great using them.

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Monday, October 31st, 2011

Cityscape in OmniSketch on the iPad

cityscape omnisketch 1 Cityscape in OmniSketch on the iPad

OmniSketch has to be one of the most interesting and powerful drawing apps for the iPad. I’ve been experimenting with it to see explore its potential. Here I drew a city scape and worked at filling in the buildings using some of its webbing style brushes which are called procedural brushes.

Here is an example of the 24 brushes in the program – you get different effects when you set different values for brush Size, Opacity and Adjustment:


omnisketch brushes e1318281526638 Cityscape in OmniSketch on the iPad


The program is simple to use but I am really loving some of the effects you can get with it.

Try painting close to an existing line to see the brush reach out and fill in the area between the two lines. I also like to click and drag out from an existing line to create a connection.

There really isn’t another app that even comes close to this one in terms of beauty of lines.


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Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Warhol style imagery

chairs warhol style paintbook Warhol style imagery

Having recoloured my chairs from SketchClub  in PhotoStudio I took them into Paintbook to assemble them into this layout.

One of the very cool tools in Paintbook is the ability to import images into a layer as resizable elements in that layer. You use the Camera icon on the toolbar and click and drag on the image to make a container for the image then you choose the image to add. You could use this to make a very sophisticated collage effect. It is very impressive.All the more so when you think that this is a 99 cent app.

camera tool Warhol style imagery

Here I just added 4 boxes for my images. I used the program’s non printing/non  saving grid setting to view a grid while I worked and you can click an icon to make the shapes align to the grid to make it easier to get them in the right place.

grid Warhol style imagery



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Friday, October 21st, 2011

Recoloring a sketch using PhotoStudio

aqua e1318289687655 Recoloring a sketch using PhotoStudio

This is the red chair I drew using SketchClub – this time I took it into PhotoStudio and recoloured it.

PhotoStudio has a selection of tools for recoloring images they’re called Hue Blue, Hue Green and so on and they are in the Hue category. It is a single click process to apply one to your image. I recoloured this image a number of times because I had the feeling that I could assemble a few of them into a single image later on and they’d look great.


photostudio recolouring Recoloring a sketch using PhotoStudio

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Monday, October 17th, 2011

Sketch Club sketches

original1 Sketch Club sketches

The SketchClub app is one of the most powerful that I have yet discovered for the iPad. At $1.99 it is extraordinarily inexpensive for the tools in has. It has some great layer tools and the light here was created with a brush very similar to those in OmniSketch.

I created this chair using a few layers to first one to sketch the chair, then paint it and add the other elements. When I can use layers I like to do so because it gives you better tools for erasing unwanted elements without making holes in the image and also for doing things like adding the carpet after you have already done the chair.

sketchclub chair Sketch Club sketches

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Saturday, October 15th, 2011

PhotoStudioHD iPad app rocks this image

teapot 2 photostudioHD PhotoStudioHD iPad app rocks this image

PhotoStudioHD has a wealth of effects you can use to make art. It is a $2.99 app so it isn’t cheap but it does have some interesting things in it and I think it has merit for working with photos. It can crop images to square for you or work with rectangular  ones as desired.

Here I took a drawing of a teapot I made in OmniSketch – unfortunately OmniSketch has one fault I’ve found and that it that you can’t easily select white if you’ve set a background colour to something else and want to go back. That’s why I have a green teapot on a revolting green background. Clearly some help for the image was asked for!

teapot1 omnisketch PhotoStudioHD iPad app rocks this image

The solution was PhotoStudioHD which I had just downloaded. This comes with 190 effects built in from colour to borders and even ripple effects. It is very easy to apply multiple effects by selecting an effect and click Apply then go find another one – they are shown on the image when you click an effect but not permanently applied till you choose to apply them.

I used a burned edge and then some Grunge Rays Blue to add a background ray effect. I have actually added an image of the rays to my Camera Roll to use in future for other images. I just created an empty image by taking a photo of an empty screen. I cropped off the toolbars and then brought the image into PhotoStudioHD and applied the Grunge Rays Sepia to it and saved it. In future I can use the rays as a layer in another image.

For my teapot, however, the burned edges and some rays turned it into something a lot more interesting than it started out being and it killed that horrible green!

teapot photostudio PhotoStudioHD iPad app rocks this image


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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Drawing in Adobe Ideas

sheep3 adobe ideas Drawing in Adobe Ideas

Adobe Ideas at $5.99 is a bit of a disappointment in terms of a multifunctional app. I really expected a lot more and it isn’t there.

The app has a cool tool for getting five colour colour schemes from images – sort of reminiscent of kuler schemes so let’s give it one point for that. It does vector drawing – one more point and the images can be very large but you have to pay for every layer you want to use. There is one unmovable layer for images and one for drawing and then you pay 99 cents for each layer on top of that – woah! not me!

There is one brush/pen – the brush is almost invisible at 1% opacity and too visible at 2% so it is just ok for doing pen and ink drawing. It can only go up in size to 60 which on the iPad is a maximum width line of around 1/2 inch and it is a rounded end brush – no textures no variation just globby painting – OMG! and it gets worse – it has no text tool – OMG! – I’m sorry but really $5.99 for that?

For $5.99 you could buy any number of apps that would run rings around this one – it is seriously over priced and under featured. I shelled out for it because I couldn’t understand all the reviews, some people loved it others hated it. I think it has some saving graces but in an app market where 1.99 can buy you some seriously great apps this one isn’t one of them and the concept of paying $5.99 for something this lacking in features and then buying a layer for 99 cents each time you need one is almost laughable.

If you’re specifically looking for the features it has then go ahead and buy it but really look at the “features” carefully and calculate how much each layer will cost you. For my money, I’m using the app because I bought it, I am NOT buying layers so I’m off elsewhere when I need that functionality because I have plenty of much smarter apps on my iPad. I’m struggling to find a place for it in my workflow but I’m trying.

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Monday, October 10th, 2011

Mix and match iPad apps

sheep 2 sketchbook Mix and match iPad apps

To make a change from apples, I’ve been drawing sheep lately too. This gives me new fodder for my drawing and painting apps and a way to experiment with some cool background effects.

The background for this image was made in a free app called Fluid Monkey. This is one of those one hit wonder apps that keeps coming back to bite you. It does a few things but basically you set it to a type of flow like oil paint or wet mud and you choose a color and you draw on the screen and the fluid then moves around in a semi-controlled/slightly uncontrollable way.

However, the colors are lovely and bright and they make fantastic backgrounds for drawings. I just take a screenshot of the finished piece and then grab it into some other software to finish off.

Here I mixed green for the farmscape and blue for the sky and dotted some cloud like forms to make a background.

Fluid monkey background Mix and match iPad apps

This isn’t the exact background form the image above but gives you an idea what is possible. I would then grab the background into Paintbook 3.2 ipad which I bought and really loved once I learned to use it. It is possibly the hardest program to get a handle on but one of the most powerful I own.

I drew my sheep in here and copied the first one to make the second. This app creates vector shapes of amazing complexity that I am only just beginning to explore. If you buy it, do yourself a favour and watch the training videos as there are tools here that defy explanation unless you do.

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Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Label and grunge an Auryn Ink Sheep

sheep 1 Label and grunge an Auryn Ink Sheep

I have been taking a break from apples with sheep and here I’ve taken yesterday’s sheep painting made in Auryn Ink and taken it into one of my favorite apps – LabelBox. I used my favorite dymo style label for the sheep.

Then is is off to Pixlromatic where I added a photo aging filter and a border. I love the ease of combining apps to create art that just wouldn’t be possible to create this easily in other programs.

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Friday, October 7th, 2011

Painting a sheep in Auryn Ink

sheep auryn ink Painting a sheep in Auryn Ink

Auryn Ink is a painting app for the iPhone, iPod and iPad and its strength is watercolour. It takes a lot of getting used to using but it has some great features. You can set the paint to wet or dry so you can brush on instant dry paint or paint really wet so the colours blend and the paint works like real water colour.

This was a simple sheep image – fast dry outlines then lots of working the paint to make the grass, sky and the sheep’s wool. It’s a starter image I have some plans for using again tomorrow… can we say some aging and labeling is called for?

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