The Best Mobile Drawing App Is Called Paper

"Trumpet Flower" illustration by Nicole Cleary using the Paper app by FiftyThree

“Trumpet Flower” illustration by Nicole Cleary using the Paper app by FiftyThree

logoPaper by FiftyThree

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.
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75,000+ Views in 2012, Thank You!

75,000+ Views in 2012 by Nicole Cleary

Thank you all for supporting my blog! Knowing you’re out there waiting to see a new idea, a new sketch, a new inspirational artist is extremely motivating. I created and finished more artwork in 2012 than in any other year. It really means a lot to me.

Here’s the breakdown from 2012…

– 75,000+ total page views

across all posts and pages. My biggest month was June with over 15,000 page views.
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Back To The Roots – Colored Pencil Drawings From My Past

Pulling You In - Colored Pencil Drawing by Nicole Cleary

Pulling You In – Colored Pencil Drawing by Nicole Cleary

Coming back to the roots of where I started in my art career, I decided to show some older pieces I created with traditional media. My professors described my art style in college as “painting with colored pencils”. I’d pull out my 250+ PrismaColor pencils set and disappear for hours, coming back with hand-cramps, the stubs of what used to be colored pencils, and a smile on my face. I would use extremely thin solid lines and a plethora of bright, saturated colors to create each artwork. Towards the end of each piece, I would go over the sketchy colored pencil with a white (or neutral colored pencil for the background) coloring over every line to blend the colors together. Each PrismaColor set came with a smudge stick for this very intention, but I hated the effect the smudge stick created. It was too wide and blurred all the lines instead of mixing the colors on the paper in specific areas. Using a thin tipped colored pencil allowed me to keep the crisp edges I wanted in some sections while blurring the colors in other sections. I found that when I moved to digital art with my Intous 4 Wacom tablet, the essence of my style remained.
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Melting Peacock Feather – Concept Painting

Based on the success of my previous peacock painting, I decided to create a variation of that with the focus on one peacock feather. The piece is not an effect or photo-manipulation, but a painting derivative from my previous work. I’m toying with the idea of making a series of paintings related to the peacock, but this is what I have so far. All feedback is encouraged.

Melting Peacock Feather by Nicole Barker

Melting Peacock Feather by Nicole Barker


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Drawings of Florence, Italy

My vacation in Florence was very special to me. Below are sketches and a recount of my memorable trip.

Florence Rooftop Garden Drawing by Nicole Barker

Florence Rooftop Garden Pencil and Paper Drawing by Nicole Barker

After a day of tasting gelato, moving about streets of Florence, and mingling in the shops, my fiance and I retreated to the hotel and walked up to the secluded garden on the rooftop. At midnight the city was almost dead quiet, and I felt inspired to sit and draw in my sketchbook the view I had towards the Piazza Ognissanti. It was beautiful. I sat there for hours drawing what I saw. Then the clock tower chimed, and I decided to head off to bed.
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Inspirational Artist Feature – Ben O’Brien

Ben O’Brien, aka Ben the illustrator, is an artist based in the United Kingdom. His extreme use of pop-out color and notoriety makes this artist easy to spot. Like other successful artists, he’s made himself into a memorable brand that can be used in virtually any media, and has mastered the art of self-promotion. If you are looking for a great artist to follow on twitter who really pays attention to his followers, look no further than Ben. His twitter handle is @BenAndFi.

Omoiyari by Ben O'Brien

Omoiyari by Ben O’Brien


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Invitation Design

This October I will be traveling to Italy again, but this time it will be for my wedding. We rented a villa in Florence for a day to host the ceremony and reception. We decided a wedding planner would be key between the language barrier and the long distance, but the one thing I knew I wanted to do for the wedding was create my invitations. It would be the piece of paper that would join all our close friends and family together for the most important event in my life, and I wanted the design to be memorable. Something that truly fits with our personalities, the location, and the look and feel of the event. I sketched the villa illustration, created a font-treatment and color scheme, laid out the invitation and response card, chose paper stock, envelopes, and seals, and sent it off to the printer. A few days ago we got back the finished product, and I’m very pleased. They turned out just the way I wanted them to look. Now we’re ready to move forward with the next step in the wedding planning process… menu choices.

Wedding Invitation Design by Nicole Barker

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