Monday, February 04, 2013

Sketching Designs on My iPad

I'm a sketchbook person. I do my best design work while traveling, where I have fewer distractions. In past years I've carried Moleskine sketchbooks, pens and watercolor pencils. Recently, I've been experimenting with utilizing the iPad that always accompanies me.

Although I've tried a variety of drawing and painting apps, such as Brushes, Sketchbook Express, and Penultimate (which I prefer for handwritten notes), my favorite by far for sketching is Paper by Fifty Three. I'm not alone evidently, as the app won the App of the Year award in 2012.  I love the simplicity of it, but really the look is the thing. It's so easy to get the watercolor look that I'm used to doing by hand.

When you open the app, you see a collection of sketchbooks, which closely resemble those Moleskine notebooks in my collection, but with the option to customize the covers. Each one opens up, looking just like the physical thing, and allows you to flip through the pages. Once you find a page to work on, you can go to full screen and begin working with the fountain pen and erase tools. To get more flexibility, you can purchase additional inexpensive tools, including a pencil, pen, marker, and paintbrush, each of which does pretty much what it sounds like it should. The easy undo/redo is a big bonus. The paintbrush is still undergoing some evolution to get more lifelike control (a color mixer tool was just added), but still I like it. I find that a Sensu capacitive brush/stylus gives me the best control.

I don't know that this will ever totally replace my paper sketchbooks, but it certainly is lighter and easier to tote with me while traveling. And it's even easier to upload the images. No scanning required.