iPad drawing and painting vs traditional art medium

Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

This year, I made it a point to start really investing time in the iPad as my primary medium for creating art. I use it to draw, sketch, paint, and I try to use it often. The rationale is it requires no setup, is portable, available, and all the tools I need are right there. It's much easier to remember to just bring one thing to a restaurant with the kids, to work, to the playground, etc. or even just in bed before I go to sleep. A quick sketch is suddenly extremely easy.

I also took a workshop that specialized in iPad-only drawing and painting. It was very inspiring to see the instructor's deftness with the Apple Pencil and the work he was able to produce. Even huge billboard-sized works were possible with the iPad, in so many different styles. The quick spontaneous location sketches were especially nice. He also mentioned the pros I listed above as reasons why he switched to exclusively drawing on the iPad.

Here's a sketch I did at the end of the workshop. I was at a mall, and during this sketch my iPhone was stolen D:

ipad art

Such white!

Shortly after this workshop which was only a week ago, I started a location drawing class in Fort Mason near where I live. This is the 3rd time I am taking this exact same class offered by CCSF, though this time with a different instructor (we miss you Andrew Steers!).

It had been awhile since I last touched my watercolor set, and we did some warm up exercises with watercolors as an intro in this class. And ... wow. I miss it. The textures, the vivid colors, the treatments, the technique... that I ever thought my iPad could be a complete substitute for this experience seems suddenly very silly. (one con: hard to take a photo of art without good lighting!)

watercolor1 watercolor2

I told this to my husband who is still adamant about using the iPad as his primary medium, which is fine, but he made a good point that it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. I do enjoy the convenience of the iPad, and it in itself produces a quality of beauty that is very difficult to reproduce on paper. The ability to layer, erase, rework, etc. It can look both spontaneous and polished. And especially as someone trying to practice their line quality, I appreciate that it lets me get over how "precious" the canvas can be.

But after being reintroduced to the physicality of art, especially as someone who finds a deep deep joy in art supplies and materials, and has all her life, I find myself pretty intensely reawakened.

I'd really like to spend more time on art. It's something that if I do often, I find so rewarding. It's just a matter, as always, of time.