Jun 02

iPad in Art

iPad in Art

The iPad is the professional artists dream. No more carrying around massive portfolios of work – you can just carry around all of your work, analogue (photos of your work) or digital (created on your iPad) all on your iPad. It fits in with Art education in that way too.

Students can photograph, blog, eportfolio, document, review, collaborate and share their artwork using iPad and that’s before you even start thinking about the plethora of Art apps for drawing, designing and creating. There are lots of apps that support the teaching of Art and many many apps that support learning too.

If you’re looking for specific apps to support the creation of digital art then these really are the standard apps you will want to include in your iPad artists toolbox:


  Brushes: industry standard art app which enables the user to draw using a variety of brushes. Simple to learn but with advanced features. One of my favourite features is its ability to replay the drawing using the ‘play’ feature (thanks @timrylands) Cost: £5.49 by Taptrixhttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/brushes-ipad-edition/id363590649?mt=8
Inkpad: made by the makers of Brushes, this is a full vector based drawing app with a massive amount of features for the amateur and pro user alike. You can use paths, compound paths, text, images, groups, masks, gradient fills, and an unlimited number of layers. Cost: £5.49 by Taptrixhttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/inkpad/id400083414?mt=8
Procreate: this app is simply delicious in terms of the tools, built in layer option, HD image creation and the way that Brushes and toolks are used. Fantastic and despite its power, one of the cheaper tools around. Cost: £2.99 by Savage Interactivehttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/photoforge2/id435789422?mt=8
Sketchbook Express (free) & Sketchbook Pro: are serious pieces of kit for the artist and designer. With fantastic features and the ability to generate sketches quickly and easily at a high quality, it’s a good app to have with up to 18 layers on iPad 3rd gen. Cost: free or £2.99 by Autodeskhttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sketchbook-pro-for-ipad/id364253478?mt=8
Sketchbook Ink: A great tool to enable high quality pen and ink images on your iPad. Another invaluable tool to the artists toolkit with the ability to export exceedingly high quality images in PNG format (101.5 MP) and transparent images too. Cost: Current intro price £1.49 by Autodeskhttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sketchbook-ink/id526422908?mt=8
Paper by 53: Ok, so this is more of a posh note taking tool, but with its delicious interface that works so well on an iPad and it’s in app purchase brushes (especially water colour) that can be blended between colours, it’s a fantastic tool for Art students Cost: free (all brushes purchased in app – £5.49) by FiftyThreehttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/paper-by-fiftythree/id506003812?mt=8


You may also as part of your work in Art want to manipulate images. If you do, I recommend the following apps:


iPhoto: the industry standard photo editing app by Apple. Easy to use, intuitive tools for editing colour, rotating, cropping and more. Get it. Cost: £2.99http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/iphoto/id497786065?mt=8
Snapseed: Filled with all those handy tools like crop, rotate, balance, etc, but also with some tidy filters to add to and enhance existing images. You can also put borders round images to frame them. Highly recommended especially when free! Cost: currently free – grab it while you can!!! By Nik Softwarehttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/snapseed/id439438619?mt=8
Color Effects: simply and easily change the colour of different elements of your image to create standout images. Cost: free by Daniel Cotahttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/color-effects-recolor-splash/id409913910?mt=8
Photoforge: a delicious and easy to use photo editing app that fully supports layers, has lots of filters and image correction/manipulation features. Top class. Cost: £1.99 by Ghostbirdhttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/procreate-sketch-paint-create./id425073498?mt=8


So we’ve worked out there are a few Art apps, but how could apps support learning in Art?

But it’s about the learning?

Yes, yes yes – it’s all very well being inspired by all these delicious apps that make you feel that the iPad was actually created for artists and no one else, but how can you use the iPad to support learning in an Art lesson?

Socrative (free):

Use Socrative to check prestructural/unistructural knowledge at the start of a lesson. Use it again at the end of the lesson to check how learning has developed.

Air Presenter (free):

Use Air Presenter to allow the iPad to be used as a visualiser in the lesson. Demonstrate art techniques to the whole class via Apple TV / Reflections to enable students to clearly see the technique (use a pen for demonstrating technique rather than a pencil if possible – pencil doesn’t show up very clearly)

Take photos of great examples of student work within the Air Presenter app and put them in to the ‘list view’ – then, at the end of the lesson the images can be shown to the class to show learning, stimulate discussion, formative feedback, or simply to form a live gallery of the lesson.


Students who have created work in the lesson using Brushes can use the fantastic feature of ‘play’ by playing back the techniques and how the piece of artwork they have created has been created to the whole class, showing their work directly via Apple TV on their iPad.

Apple TV

This is the tool to support iPad that is the Art teachers dream. The ability to do the things mentioned above such as show student work easily or to demonstrate techniques to the class without 30 people having to crowd round you is amazing. Add to that, another student could actually be recording it as a video from the big screen on to their iPad too means the potential for sharing and repeating the demonstration is great, and means the teacher can be freed up to support rather than showing the technique again. Once the technique has been filmed too, that can support a flipped learning model too. Lots to think about and all facilitated by Apple TV.


Color Uncovered: a fascinating free book with illusions, videos and articles related to the learning of Art and how colour can be used. Cost: freehttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/color-uncovered/id470299591?mt=8
artCircles: The art circles held within the app are brilliant. My particular favourites allow you to look at art by colour and my absolute favourite is the superzoom circles where you can look ‘super zoom’ style in minute detail at classic pieces of art. On a 3rd gen iPad with retina display it is simply amazing.The final aspect of the app which I love too is that you can curate your own art circle collection – from this too you can then order high quality prints of your favourite pieces of art for your own use too. Love it. Cost: free (with in app purchases available of prints)http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/artcircles/id470042692?mt=8
Flowers for Van Gogh: a collection of historical contexts and examples of Van Gogh’s work. Brilliant art history reference. Cost: freehttp://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/flowers-for-van-gogh/id513916066?mt=8
Mona Lisa: Watch the Mona Lisa come alive. Run this app on your iPad and hover your iPad over a photo or image of the Mona Lisa and watch an augmented reality 3D version of her come alive. A brilliant way of seeing the object of so much discussion come alive. Watch out for when she leaps out at you too – it’s a bit scary! Also in the series is Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ Cost: £1.99http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/mona-lisa-3d/id479845775?mt=8 


Written by Mark Anderson and Kelly Hawkins, Subject Leader for Art and @ClevedonArt on Twitter.