As iPad gets more and more powerful, it’s now being used across the creative industries as a tool in its own right. Developers are able to leverage its power to build apps (like Adobe’s suite of mobile Creative Cloud apps) that integrate with iPad and get the most out of it.
This means that artists, illustrators, designers, photographers and other creatives can use iPad to create amazing work with all kinds of creative tools. Here, we look at why iPad is now such an important creative tool, and some of our favourite recent examples of professionals who are really making the most of their ideas with iPad.
iPad lets you do much more than what’s possible with your desktop workstation. By its very nature, it’s incredibly portable, so can always be at hand whether you’re working on the train, out shooting on location, or simply wanting to jot something down when the creative spark takes you.
One thing many users point to as the turning point in iPad becoming a truly creative tool is the introduction of Apple Pencil. With twice as many data points scanned on screen by iPad than with your finger or other stylus, it’s incredibly responsive, making for a more natural drawing experience with less lag – perfect for designers and illustrators working in apps like Photoshop for iPad, Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator Draw and Fresco.
The large Retina display of iPad Pro, especially the larger 12.9” version, lets you get more hands-on in compositing workflows, with natural touch gestures and a tailored mobile UI, as well as giving stunning details and vivid colours. The 2732x2048 pixel resolution rivals MacBook Pro, so you know you’re always seeing your designs in the same consistent detail as on your main machine.
A back-facing 12MP camera also allows you to quickly capture ideas in apps like Adobe Capture when you’re on the go. It offers the same picture quality as iPhone 11, and the ability to take images directly into Lightroom for editing.
If you’re looking at bringing more processor-intensive work into your offering, such as 4K video editing in Premiere Pro, 3D design, and augmented reality with Project Aero, iPad Pro’s A12Z Bionic chip and 8-core graphics processor make it faster and more capable than many PCs available.
David Hockney’s beautiful iPad paintings
David Hockney is one of the UK’s foremost, most highly valued artists – both in terms of respect and auction prices – and has recently embraced digital drawing into his repertoire. In 2009, he began sketching flowers on his iPhone using just his thumbs. After iPad was released the following year, he incorporated the device’s larger display with a digital stylus and the Brushes app. He said: “There was great advantage in this medium because it’s backlit and I could draw in the dark. I didn’t ever have to get out of bed.”
These paintings are a huge departure from his most famous works, like the glistening LA swimming pool of A Bigger Splash, but still employ Hockney’s bold colours and brushstrokes to showcase landscapes, flowers and self-portraits. At 82 years old, David Hockney remains an early adopter of both new styles and technologies, having previously worked with Polaroids, fax machines and digital video, and will surely continue to explore iPad and other new technologies to spark his creativity and represent his ideas in future.
Check out some of his colourful iPad works at hockney.com, and watch the video below for a glimpse into his creative process with iPad.
Leo Natsume’s incredible creative campaigns
Brazilian Leo Natsume is a creative designer and illustrator responsible for some brilliantly colourful campaigns for the biggest companies in the world (including Google, Huawei, Vans, Uber and many more). His beautiful ‘Create Don’t Hate’ Anti-Bullying International campaign for Instagram reached 1 billion people globally, with posters distributed in US schools and every Instagram office around the world.
Leo sketches out concepts on iPad before heading over to Mac to carry on with the heavier main work in Adobe. “I use an iPad Pro,” he says. “I have chosen to use an Astropad app, which replicates the screen of my Mac computer, so I can work with all Adobe software, sketch app, and all the others. It’s like a [Wacom] Cintiq feeling, but portable. It is wonderful!”
See more of Leo Natsume’s work on his Behance page.
Camillo Richter’s precise illustration
Graphic artist and illustrator Camillo Richter began working with iPad in 2011, and hasn’t looked back since. Using Adobe Ideas (now Adobe Illustrator Draw), Camillo says 90% of his work is now done on the iPad. Adding an Apple Pencil more recently has allowed him to work with the speed, ease and accuracy of a Wacom tablet while on the go.
We love his understated but bold and fun illustrations, incorporating cultural references from film to food. See more of his work here.
Fraser Scarfe’s dramatic landscapes
Fine artist Fraser Scarfe specialises in landscapes, capturing the dramatic beauty of the English countryside. Using the natural gestures of iPad, he creates stunning artwork with simple strokes and colours. As well as on-location studies, Scarfe uses iPad to quickly capture photographs and keep visual diaries when out and about.
He says: “I think the most successful iPad art is that which explores the iPad as a medium in its own right, rather than trying to mimic the look and effects of actual paint […] The immediacy and boldness of the marks makes for very exciting images.”
See more from Fraser Scarfe at his website.
Jack Amick’s luscious Lightroom photos
Photographer Jack Amick begins his editing workflow in the Photos app to import RAW images from his camera before moving them into Adobe Lightroom CC. He can then flag favourite photos before making adjustments in Lightroom CC with his trusty Apple Pencil, which he says gives him more precision for tweaking adjustment sliders. Because of that synchronisation with Adobe Creative Cloud, Jack has now been able to switch exclusively to his iPad for editing.
Take a look at more of his photos here.
Klawe Rzeczy’s cool collage work
Polish illustrator and digital collage artist Klawe Rzeczy creates striking collage artwork, working with magazines and weeklies, creating illustrations, book covers and posters. For example, her recent striking cover and editorial work for the Economist magazine, the New Statesman and the Harvard Business Review.
You can see more of Klawe Rzeczy’s work at her Behance page.
With so many creatives making brilliant work on iPad and with Adobe apps, the potential for creativity and new ways of digitally working are limitless. Where could your creativity with iPad take you?
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