Making the Most of Technology

Plein air sketch done in Art Rage on the iPad

I just bought an iPad! Having seen some amazing things done in an app called Art Rage ($6.99 via download from the App Store), I decided to give it a try. I’ve only played with it since Saturday and have completed 3 sketches, the two shown here plus a still life of some roses that is on my Facebook page.  I’m very pleased with the results I’ve gotten with it so far and plan to incorporate it into my process in the following ways:

Plein Air Sketching Tool – the iPad is a great tool for sketching in urban environments where you want to set up quickly and be fairly unobtrusive. Instead of carrying a knapsack of pastels or charcoal and getting myself dirty in the process, I can easily set up in a coffee shop or park bench and sketch in the city…relatively unnoticed. This is great if you want to avoid the distraction of people stopping by wanting to have a look at what you are drawing. It also means you can get some sketching done on the way to meetings or other events where you don’t really want to show up with your hands (or clothes) all dirty from charcoal or pastel.

Experimenting with a Bolder Look – I’m also hoping that experimenting with the technology will help me to make my work done with traditional materials (oil, acrylic and pastel) bolder and more graphic. I find that the sketch tools in Art Rage lend themselves to a bolder start (at least the way I work with it they do), having this type of sketch done on site in combination with my reference photos may translate into a bolder application of paint at the start when I’m working on canvas in the studio.

As a Teaching Tool – Not only will learning this app give me the opportunity to propose workshops and courses featuring the technology, but it will also allow me to use the app as a means of demonstrating techniques of blocking in darks and lights, mixing colors optically and getting a more graphic look even when I am teaching traditional media.

As a Commercial Illustration Tool – I am not looking to create paintings digitally, I can easily do that on canvas and want to keep my commercial design work separate from my painting. Working in a bolder more graphic style will allow me to promote my digital work separately from my painting, possibly creating a new stream of revenue from commercial projects.

I think it’s important to stay current with technologies that can help us grow creatively as artists. Many artists I know feel there is something romantic about only using traditional materials and methods in their work. That may be so but I believe it is more important to be versatile and to keep learning, learning ways to apply new technologies is no different than learning a new media. It forces you to experiment and to discover new ways of enhancing your existing processes and ensures that you continuously evolve as an artist.

Studio urban landscape study, also done in Art Rage on the iPad

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4 Responses to Making the Most of Technology

  1. Patricia says:

    Wow. You caught the feel of the city perfectly. I find that using the ipadin places like the Met attracts a lot of curious people and leads to some fun conversations.

  2. Mark McQ. says:

    Your blog is a fantastic resource! Are you using a stylus or just your finger to create these images?

  3. kullaf says:

    thank you, I am using a stylus, just an inexpensive one ($15) that you can purchase at Staples

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