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7 February 2013

iPad - Your New Sketch Book?

It's so easy to be lazy when you buy new tech. Many of us barely scrape the surface of the many functions that our gadgets offer these days. If you have treated yourself to an iPad, surely you need it to work for you, earn it's place in your everyday life, and not merely as an expensive way to access your e mails, browse the net or while away the hours on face farce!

We are well aware of the drawing capabilities iPad offers, David Hockney, true to form embraced this new technology and has already made a bold, lasting statement - one that insured that drawing with this new medium was truly recognised by the art world. I remember many years ago when we merely suggested and played with the idea of designing textile prints on computers, some of the more seasoned designers scoffed that nothing would replace paper designs...  

So how do you make your iPad your indispensable sketch book, your first instinctive port of call for quickly getting those bursts of inspiration down? 

At home we have made ours instantly feel like a sketch book by providing it with a soft leather cover, it even has the wide fabric elastic band, like  a 'real' sketchbook. It now feels right and the fact it looks more traditional makes it more inviting; not  merely a cold, soulless, white appliance.

You also need to find the right App that suits you; many feel like you are drawing with a fat finger and frustratingly unwieldy. Our favourite has to be Paper 53, I'm still relatively new to it but as soon as I first used it, it felt intuitively right - the weight of the line it drew looked aesthetically pleasing straight away. Smudging and blending the colours feels familiar and instinctive, truly like working with pastels. I have just downloaded an extra element which enables you to mix colours and add to what was originally a very limited palette.

I am yet to purchase a stylus, and there are some great ones available now, but at present I need to experiment more before I justify the added expense. I know some are not too pricey but this website has some great reviews on what is available; satisfyingly they are now starting to resemble an expensive pen but surprisingly one is literally a paint brush. In the meantime Christopher has been experimenting and discovered a silver salt spoon that works like a stylus! 

The way you can set up individual sketchbooks within the app is alluring and you can personalise the cover of each one to suit your project. The effect of the pages turning is also a dream! Like any new medium or artistic process you need to invest time and 'play', learning how to make it work for you and get it to successfully project your artistic personality. The same is true of a traditional sketch book, there has to be some discipline before the results shine through. 

If this has inspired you to get more from your iPad, SAW artist Alison Jacobs is running classes for beginners. The first is on the 10th February in Watchet, don't worry, I know this may be short notice for some but there are sessions later in the month - see the poster below. 

Alison is keen to take sketching out doors so be prepared to wrap up warm and capture some landscapes under her guidance. The day course costs £35, you need to bring your own iPad and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Alison also advises that prior to attending the session you download either 'Brushes' or 'Paper' apps. A stylus is recommended but not essential. These courses promise to be informative and a chance to meet some like minded individuals curious to make their iPad their new sketch book - not just a handy place to write your shopping list.

Dates, times and further details can be found on Alison's website 

If you do go along to one of Alison's classes or have already been experimenting with the drawing abilities of your iPad do let us know your thoughts and doodles.

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