iPhones. iPads. Tablets. The variety of portable electronic devices out there—and the many artist-friendly apps available on them—make it so that you can be just about anywhere and never get caught flatfooted when inspiration strikes. Here are some of our favorites.
Adobe Color Lava ($2.99), Eazel ($2.99) and Nav ($1.99) for Photoshop
Working with Photoshop no longer means being tethered to your desk. With this trio of apps, a network connection between your iPad and computer is all you need to move custom color swatches and themes (Lava), digital paintings (Eazel) and other Photoshop images and tools (Nav) back and forth between your iPad and Photoshop CS5 in real time.
This iPhone- and iPad-compatible app is stripped of a lot of the bells and whistles commonly found in other drawing apps, making it the perfect tool for creating quick black-and-white sketches on the go. Its unobtrusive and easy-to-use design stays out of the way, allowing you to create without having to toggle endless menu options or deal with accidentally closing windows when your finger hits the the wrong part of the screen. A limited version of ASKetch, ASKetch Lite, is available free of charge on iTunes.
Palettes Pro ($5.99)
Palettes Pro makes it easy to create color palettes from wherever your iPhone or iPad will travel. Select colors from one of the app’s five color models, or pull a color from a Website or photo, and use it to create a custom palette, which can later be exported (to Photoshop or Illustrator) or shared via e-mail. Not yet sold on the whole “make color magic happen on your iPhone” thing? Download the free version, simply called Palettes, and give it a try before you buy.
SketchBook Pro for iPad ($4.99)
This digital sketchbook offers more than 60 built-in brushes for use in creating illustrations and drawings directly on your iPad. E-mail your creations directly from the app or export the image as a Photoshop document. No iPad? No problem! The app is also available in a mobile version compatible with iPhone and Android devices (Sketchbook Mobile, $1.99) and in a heavy-duty desktop version (SketchBook Pro, $59.99), available through Apple’s App Store. A more limited, free version of the app is also available.
To be Artist, ($24.99)
This desktop app focuses on the “business” side of the “art business,” giving artists an easy-to-use framework for organizing their inventory, contacts, invoices, price lists, awards and more. Because the sooner you get that paperwork sorted out, the sooner you can get back to creating more work to sell.