If you’re interested in drawing or if you engage heavily in drawing as part of artistic practice, a visit to the Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, Millbank, London is a must! I’ve been recently to work from drawings by renowned British artists, Henry Moore and David Hockney. As materials are limited in this study room and to avoid any clumsy mishaps to which I’ve become accustomed, I settled for an iPad and the app called “Brushes”.
Study of prints/drawings using the iPad
I selected a number of drawings by Henry Moore and tried to copy them faithfully using digital means, the first of which is a lithograph print of an elephant skull (black and white):
Another drawing I copied is a graphite, crayon and watercolour drawing on gold paper of a young man in his tighty-whiteys, “Boy” by David Hockney (who also has recently become enraptured by using an iPad himself for vibrant landscapes of his home in Yorkshire).
Can an iPad replace “traditional media” for drawing?
I’ve been using the iPad for drawing practice for about 6 months [since April 2011 and it’s now October 2011] and I have been planning since this summer to use the iPad as a major part of a drawing project called: Treasures from Atlantis, 2012.
I have to say, I’m starting to have some doubts about this decision to use this tablet for my primary drawing tool.
I’m starting to really feel frustrated with the iPad… if feels like something really important is missing…almost as if one (or more) of my senses is just there behind glass, but just not available when I draw on the iPad.
Let me put it this way… with charcoal and paper, there’s visual of course and also there’s a real sense of TOUCH, of feeling. There’s also the sound of the mark-making, the smell of the charcoal and paper. It’s even possible to taste the page, should I have the inclination to lick my drawings! 🙂
Then there’s the iPad… I can’t hear or FEEL my mark-making at all, and I’m left with only VISUAL perception. Come to think of it, there’s is a very slight perception of feeling the mark-making, which definitely feels like, well, the simulation of mark-making that it is. I can hear my fingers (or stylus) tap the screen on occasion, or when I use the stylus there’s a slight bit of resistance (which could simulate resistance of mark-making tool against surface). I’m just hyper-aware that my physical senses are limited (much like what I’d imagine a partially-sighted or partially-hearing person goes through on a daily basis, maybe?)…and at this point, there isn’t anything I can do to bring the iPad drawing closer to “real” (or shall we say, traditional mark-making).
And I think I just hit it on the head… the iPad FEELS like what it is, that is, simulated drawing or painting…
So that gets us into another discussion: can electronic media then be used to produce “real” artwork or will it to always remain in some category of “sketchbook” or “research” leading up to “real” artwork? Will it continue as “playing” or “cheating” and never be “serious artwork”? Who knows if in ten years, iPad apps will do to drawing what taking pictures did to brush and canvas; for a while photography was all the rage but eventually people returned to painting to varying degrees by incorporating new technology into the old, and by that, art takes a step forward.
More links and information about iPads and art
- 5 best iPad drawing/painting apps – Rob Clymo of Digital Arts (review) – 16 August 2013
- Teaching an old master new tricks: How the iPad inspired David Hockney – Jessica Jerreat from Daily Mail – 27 November 2013
- David Hockney – A Bigger Picture, exhibition at Royal Academy, 21 January – 9 April 2012