Friday, December 20, 2013

Naturally drawn

Paper by FiftyThree is one of the most popular sketching apps for iOS, not least because it makes whatever you draw look as if it was produced with an imperfect, scratchy real-world tool. Now FiftyThree is launching an actual tool. The logically named Pencil joins a crowded market in premium styluses, but sets itself instantly apart with its grip-friendly shape and a unique tip that’s ‘carefully friction-tuned to feel great on a screen’.
Naturally drawn

While it lacks high-tech innovations like the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus’s pressure sensitivity or the Adonit Script’s ultra-fine tip, the Pencil does promise ‘special expressive features when connected to Paper’, and FiftyThree says its palm rejection system means you can rest your hand on the screen while drawing, as seen here, and the app will still only take notice of the Pencil’s tip.

The Pencil is on sale in the US at $60 for a sustainable Walnut finish or $50 for the elegant-looking Graphite, and is due to reach the UK in the New Year.
The mobile digital artist

‘Being an artist was easy while I was a student. I had all the time in the world, a personal studio space, and peers to discuss and share ideas with. When I graduated, all that changed. Now, with a full-t me job and two "    children, if I want to paint I have to do it where and when opportunities arise. This tends to be on the train, during a lunch break at work, sitting in front of the TV in the evening...

‘This kind of flexibility is only possible when you’re working digitally, and on a mobile device. As a student,
I was a traditional artist, and my paints had long since dried up when 10 years later I saw an article in a technology magazine that showed what some artists had managed to paint on their iPhones. I immediately downloaded the Brushes app and started playing around.

‘At first the screen felt tiny, but you soon learn to adjust. Once you see the advantages of working in layers, you’ll never go back to painting traditionally.

‘Inspired by this new medium, I bought an iPad, which had a screen large enough to create very detailed pieces yet small enough to whip out in public.

‘When I started painting on the iPad, I signed up for a Flickr account and posted a few of my pieces online. The next day I’d had a couple of hundred views and comments from other digital artists keen to share techniques and experiences of different devices and apps. Contributing in this community has led to getting my work exhibited in galleries and competitions across the globe, including the Saatchi Gallery in London.
‘There’s a great selection of art apps available in the App Store, all at ridiculously low prices. Procreate, Sketchbook Pro, Inkpad, Paper - all to suit most working styles. The only thing lacking on the iPad is pressure sensitivity. There are a few styluses (styli?) on the market that try to replicate this, using Bluetooth to transmit pressure readings to apps, but Apple has a little catching up to do to match the sensitivity of Wacom’s dedicated tablets.

‘There’s a lot of interest in mobile digital art at the moment, since it’s still kind of a gimmick, but this can make it hard for the art establishment to take it seriously. Over the past few years, I’ve seen a steady increase in exhibitions and galleries opening up to tablet art, including the National Open - probably thanks to respected artists such as David Hockney, who included his iPad paintings in his ‘A Bigger Picture’ solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art.’.

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