Painting by numbers
Why your iPhone is a work of art waiting to happen.
The latest iPhones are perfect for taking great pictures but they can also be used to create your own digital artwork from scratch. Professional artists are turning from paint and brushes to the tablet and stylus, producing some stunning, gallery-quality images with the same device they use to make a phone call.
In the hands of professionals.
Just last year, Apple commissioned 11 artists to create original works of art using the iPhone. These photographers and fine artists produced some truly impressive pieces, which were then displayed in Apple stores across the world. Well-known photographer and digital artist Karen Divine regularly uses an iPhone to produce unique abstract creations, referring to her handset as a “Pandora’s Box” of creative possibilities.
The British painter David Hockney is known as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and has also fully embraced mobile technology, even displaying some of his iPhone paintings at London’s Royal Academy. "It's like an endless piece of paper!" he grinned at the exhibition opening, holding up his iPhone.
No detail too small to display.
The large Retina display on the 4.7-inch (diagonal) iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus offer the perfect resolution to make finite image adjustments and the space to paint directly onto the screen. Also, Apple's Wide Gamut display means that these phones will faithfully represent a larger spectrum of colours than conventional sRGB screens – your artwork’s brilliant vermillion hues will truly be what they are in reality. This technology, combined with some of the latest art apps, means that just about anything can be accurately created on the move.
Easily turn images to artwork.
Using your own photograph as a base, there are plenty of apps around to help you transform your images into works of art. Prisma is one of the most popular free apps for editing photos – offering a wide range of pre-set filters from black and white sketches to psychedelic patterns that can be saved to your phone or uploaded to social media. Other apps, such as Brushstroke and Deep Art Effects, allow you to have even more control over the individual styles you are adding, fine-tuning the final results like a pro.
Finger paint your masterpiece.
For the ultimate in creativity, you need to start with a blank canvas. Original artworks can be created from scratch using a series of different brushes, pens and pencils. The beauty of using your finger instead of a real brush is not only the almost limitless range of sizes, styles and colours, but also the ability to instantly undo your mistakes.
Paper by FiftyThree is one of the simplest sketching apps around, offering a fuss-free layout which can be used for notes, annotations or drawings. There’s a wide choice of mediums and a really nice colour palette, allowing you to mix different colours on the fly.
Being one of David Hockney’s apps of choice, Brushes Redux has had a lot of publicity and has been completely overhauled for the iOS platform. Offering an extensive level of control in terms of brush characteristics, colour blending and even image layers, it’s the obvious choice if you want to paint like a pro.
Adobe has been the master of image editing for years, so it was well placed to deliver a powerful mobile drawing app. Photoshop Sketch is just that, offering a wide range of brushes and tools with a high degree of customisation and the ability to import your creations straight into Photoshop or Illustrator. The vector-based Illustrator Draw app is also a great choice for those wanting to work in this format – so it makes another great choice for anyone who wants to take their digital artwork to the next level.
With everything you need to start painting already in your pocket, there really is no excuse not to start putting finger to paper.