GLOBAL – Installing a painting app will not necessarily make you Picasso, but there’s no reason why touchscreen smartphones can’t be art tools in the same way that people are writing cell-phone symphonies, shaping smartphone sculptures, shooting movies and taking high quality photos.
Last year a friend took up smartphone art, and the results were a visual feast – in a finger painting by five year-olds kind of way. Then I discovered that not all mobile drawing came with roughly outlined stick figures, under an orange sun.
Legendary artist David Hockney has created mini-smartphone masterpieces, using his touchscreen to display them like an easel, and then emailing them out to friends. In fact there’s a growing movement of digital artists using smartphones, and even taking part in international art competitions.
If the amazing optics on your Nokia Lumia camera can’t fulfill all your creative urges, Windows Phone Marketplace already has a number of apps to add to the artistic experience –
Fantasia Painter has 28 brush sizes, and the facility to either start on blank canvas, or adapt a photo. You can ‘brush’ colour backwards and forwards with a finger, and re-colour photos.
FingerPaint also allows you to start with any colour canvas, or a photo, and lets you customize your brush. If you need extra help you can use the line snapping tool – to straighten things out. And its got good ‘undo’ support.
In you’re less interested in sketching an original masterpiece, an app like Spark Art is fun which animates your drawings with ‘sparks’ and timed effects.
Smartphone artists offer three main points of advice; first grey out any white background as you would on an easel, make sure you have an app with adjustable brushes, and work by adding layers. If all that fails, use the undo button frequently.
Soon drawing on your Nokia Lumia will seem as natural as sending an email. New Yorker magazine artist Jorge Colombo has used smartphones to draw cover images, and says virtual finger painting is really no big deal – “Imagine twenty years ago, writing about these people who are sending these letters on their computer.”