iPad art

ArtStudio for iPad: some of my favorite tools

When I started doing digital collage on my iPad seven or eight weeks ago, I already had a cache of line drawings done in pencil on paper that I was using as the starting point for my collages, scanning and importing them into ArtStudio. After I worked my way through most of those, I decided I wanted to start doing my drawings on the iPad and skip the pencil and paper phase altogether. I still wanted the look of a real pencil line though; fortunately, ArtStudio allows you to create and save your own custom tools.

To make a custom tool, click on the type of tool you want to create, in this case, a pencil, adjust the settings until the preview has the look you want (for this tool, the jitter and spacing adjustments are the key to getting that slightly rough look of pencil on paper), then scroll down to the bottom of the panel of tools on the left side of the screen and click on the star symbol. Click one of the "save" buttons next to an unused slot and type in a name. When you want to use your saved custom tool in the future, click the star tool symbol again and choose your saved tool.

 

 

Here's my pencil tool at work. I think it's a pretty authentic recreation of a real pencil line. Click on it to see it in greater detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settings for my hard edged paintbrush

 

In addition to my pencil tool, the two other tools I use most often are paintbrushes.

One has hard edges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the other is softer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By combining the two, I get a nice simulation of what I can do with a real paintbrush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always feel like I should some pithy final words to close all my posts, but I never do, so I'll just say there are more posts to come on the subject of ArtStudio, art in general, and the business of trying to sell one's art, so please drop by again soon.

P.S. Try to ignore the weird spacing in my posts; I haven't quite mastered combining text and pictures in my blogging. I'm sure I'll figure it out sooner or later. :-)

ArtStudio and mixed-media digital collage on the iPad

Lately, I've been working primarily on my iPad 2 instead of my desktop computer; being able to sit on the sofa and enjoy a movie with my husband and still be productive at the same time is so nice! Far and away, my favorite app is ArtStudio. It's basically a mini Photoshop, with amazing functionality, all for less than the cost of a venti nonfat mocha frappuccino with no whip and chocolate drizzle.

I have absolutely no affiliation with the creators of this app, so forgive me if I sound like an advertisement, but ArtStudio is perfect for the type of work I do and I really can't say enough good things about it.

There's a lot that I want to say about ArtStudio and how I use it, so I'm planning to do a series of posts; in this first post, I'm going to discuss some very basic info about sizing your canvas and importing your digital collage elements.

The maximum canvas size in ArtStudio is 2048 x 2048 pixels. If you want to print your final art at 300 ppi without upsampling, this means your printed image will be 6.82" x 6.82". For my purposes, though, 300 ppi is overkill and I get perfectly lovely results printing at as little as 150 ppi. I like to take advantage of the maximum canvas size available to me, though, so since I want my printed image to be 8 x 10, I set the height of my canvas to the maximum size of 2048 (this gives me 204.8 ppi to work with when I'm ready to print) and my width to 1639 (8" x 204.8 ppi = 1638.4).

An important thing to note about ArtStudio is that if you import an image that is larger than your canvas size, it will be reduced to fit, rather than hanging off the edges of your canvas as it would in Photoshop. For instance, if I import this square image of my background texture at 2048 x 2048 into a 1639 x 2048 document, instead of cropping the width to 1639 prior to importing it, it will be reduced to fit the 1639 pixel width. This leaves me with a 1639 x 1639 square that doesn't fill the entire canvas, like this:

You can scale an image to fill the canvas once you've imported it, but of course this will reduce the quality, so be sure to size your images to fit your canvas before importing them for the best results.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that if you transfer your images from your computer to your iPad by syncing, iTunes will "optimize" your images, i.e., make them smaller. The simplest way around this is to email images to your iPad instead of transferring them by syncing. When you open the email on your iPad, just tap and hold the image and choose "Save Image." The image will be saved in your camera roll at its original size and can now be imported into ArtStudio.

In future posts, I'll discuss more of the creative aspects of ArtStudio, like how to make and save custom tools, using effects, how to work within some of ArtStudio's limitations, and my own process for creating a collage in ArtStudio.