The Best Mobile Drawing App Is Called PaperPosted: January 15, 2013
The main idea for this app is simple. Get your ideas on paper. It’s the best tool to sort out the concept you have in your head and make it a visual reality. The key to its success is that it has a staggeringly simple UI/interface and an extremely accurate replication of the effects of a calligraphy pen, pencil, heavy marker, fine-tip marker, and watercolor brush on a real paper surface. The developers have even gone so far as to mimic how colors mix once applied to the page. For example, if you were to paint a spot with yellow, then paint over that same spot with blue, you would see green where those two spots overlapped. Impressed? I certainly was.
Delving right into what you would see once you’ve opened the app, the main screen is organized into different books. You can choose to have just one or many. Its simple purpose is to organize the different things you will be creating. For example, you may have one book for personal sketches and another for office work.
One tap will open a book and allow you to swipe through the pages of sketches and notes. Each book can have an unlimited amount of pages in it. I’ve found the app is great for both drawing and taking written notes. Even though the touch sensitivity and line control is well developed, I would highly suggest using a pen stylus to get the best results.
A tap on any one page will enlarge that page to fill the screen. One swipe up from the bottom of the page will reveal all the drawing and writing tools available to you. One swipe down from the top of the tool box will make those tools disappear to allow you to use the full space of the page. Make no mistake, this app is not filled with filters and tool modifications, but for good reason. Most of the time, these extra settings you may be used to in photoshop can really just get in the way of a streamlined workflow on an iPad. What you see is what you get, no changing the size or style of the brush tip, no changing the opacity of the stroke, and no zooming in or out of the artwork.
The tools I get the most use out of are the colored pencil and the color-mixer. I love using the colored pencil, because that was my tool of choice when I had a studio in my house. When I use the colored pencil in Paper, it moves and blends just the way I expect it to. The color-mixer gives you the ability to make 6 million colors. It’s an intuitive way to blend colors that you can then drag into your color palette on the far right. This is vital to me, because I tend change colors quite often. Generally speaking when I used to sit down to create an artwork on a physical piece of paper, I would have to be surrounded by hundreds of expensive colored pencils which provided me with a good range of colors. Organizing them, laying them out, sharpening them constantly, and putting all those pencils away was a task in itself. Now I can have all of that on my iPad. It is more convenient, lighter to carry, and so much less stress on my hands.
When you’ve completed your work, you can save it to your device’s camera roll/photo library as well as share it on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, or email it. The image is saved at the native resolution of your device. Since I’m working on an iPad 4, my images from Paper are saved at 2048 × 1536. Once I’ve moved the image off my iPad, I usually open it up in Photoshop to do some finessing. My finished artwork is below.
Now let’s get down to brass tacks, the price.
The initial download is free, but that doesn’t leave you with very much, only the calligraphy pen, eraser, and color palette. To get the rest of the tools, they are $1.99 each when you buy them separately, but I would not buy them that way. Purchasing the essentials package would bundle together all the tools you would need and save you about $3. Right now you might be thinking, “Hell no, I am not paying that much money for a drawing and note taking app”. In my opinion, it is absolutely worth it. This is an extremely well developed app with expertly designed writing and drawing tools which accurate mimic their physical counter-parts. You’d be paying hundreds of dollars to get that kind of quality on your home computer.
Credits: All artwork in this post was created by Nicole Cleary on the iPad using Paper.
To find out more about the Paper app, please visit www.fiftythree.com
To shop this artwork, please visit my shop on society6.