Learning to Finger Paint

Last weekend I bought Brushes, a digital finger painting app for iOS devices created by Taptrix.

While my drawing talents haven’t improved much since the second or third grade, I thought finger painting would be a great way to occupy my daily subway rides. Besides, there’s aspiration going on here: Jorge Colombo created five New Yorker covers using the app.

Here’s some general background: Brushes, as the name suggests, is a painting app that uses brushes. If you’ve used Photoshop, they’re the exact same thing. The app has 19 different ones and you can change each one’s size and overall style with some sliders that give you overall control.

Importantly, the app also uses layers so you can draw on top and underneath objects. The layers aren’t limitless so you end up using a few and then merging them when you have the need to move on to a different part of your picture.

Other essentials include a color picker, paint bucket for large fills, and opacity and brush size control. The eraser is handy and the history and redo controls are image saving.

So, a few days into my drawing with Brushes extravaganza, here’s what I’ve discovered:

  • My fingers are fat, maybe a little too fat: I’m using Brushes on an iPad and while I can zoom in on specific parts of an image to work on a detail, and am getting more facile with this the more I use it, I’m thinking of getting a stylus.
  • Drawing on an iPad in the subway is a great conversation starter: four or five people have come up to me over the past few days and asked about the app.
  • I need to practice more: I’m finding this very addictive so this shouldn’t be a problem.

If you want to see how people are using Brushes, and what its potential is, check the Flickr user group. And if vector’s more your thing, Taptrix has another iOS app called Inkpad.

Images: Chickens are People Too, by me (Michael Cervieri); various screenshots of the Brushes app showing layers, color pickers, and brush types.

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