Drawing on the Move - 16/07/2013

In this first article Jane Horton, a Sheffield artist, describes how she uses her iPhone and iPad to create artwork. If you would like to follow up on Jane’s article and learn more about how to create art using your Smartphone or tablet you can contact her on 07875 019 556 or go to her website at www.drawntodraw.co.uk.

Drawing is on the move, both physically through the 'Urban Sketchers' global movement and, technologically speaking, through the innovation of painting and drawing apps on iPads and other tablets.

I have always been obsessed with drawing, and joined the Urban Sketchers international movement a few years ago.* This takes me out and about, in Sheffield and beyond, sketching in my sketchbooks and on an iPad. I have had an enthusiasm parallel to my interest in drawing for many years with technology and innovation. As soon as the iPhone came out I got one, and suddenly these two interests began to merge, since I was able to draw on my phone using a simple painting app called Brushes (that's the app Hockney uses). It was a dream to be able to draw people close up, pretty invisibly, because most assume you are texting when in fact you are drawing. The zoom feature on these apps means even on a phone you can do quite detailed drawings, like this example here, which is one of the first iPhone sketches I did. Being able to draw on the iPhone also means wherever I go I have a little sketchbook to hand, for instance in a waiting room, in town, on a walk, and with a whole box of colours contained in that little phone.

When the iPad was launched (as little ago as 2010, surprising how quickly it has become embedded into culture), I just had to have one, and this accelerated my interest in digital drawing and painting. Now I had a bigger canvas to work on, and my excitement at using the iPad for drawing has just grown and grown since 2010. I should say that it will never completely replace a physical sketchbook, there is still something about the quality of a 4B pencil on paper, and the run of a brush loaded with watercolour across a page. But the iPad is a significant tool in my armoury. I can photograph pencil drawings, and upload them to colour them digitally. I can print out multiple images in a range of sizes, and I can use photo manipulation effects on the drawings I do; the capacity for extending its use is endless. The number of drawing and painting apps quickly grew, and with each new app, interesting new options for effects and ways to draw emerged. Now there are so many apps out there, it is hard to sift through them and know which are the best to use. I learned to keep up to date with the latest apps and the pros and cons of each by being a member of a number of social media groups, such as Flickr and Facebook painting groups. I have found that the members of these groups are very generous about sharing their knowledge and experience. This has enabled me to build my knowledge and skills and in turn I like to share this with others.'

*Urban Sketchers is a tribe of sketchers who meet up at every opportunity to draw together in the urban environment. You can find out more about this on the Northern Sketchcrawl Facebook page (there is an active group in Sheffield) or at www.urbansketchers.org/