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Sketching on a tablet

One of my sketches on iPad

One of my sketches on iPad

Five years ago, I decided to buy my first tablet - iPad because I want to sketch something so that I can easily publish (without scanning my work and wasting paper and time) on my blog.

Since then, I used my iPad very often, and now I am using my second one, i.e. from iPad 2 to iPad Air. However, I am not sketching, I am obsessed into consuming contents by Facebook, blog articles, Flipboard etc. when I use this device. I spend a lot of time reading rather than creating something. Before possessing iPad I thought the big touch screen could make drawing much easier in the digital world - you would never need a drawing pad, and the finger is okay while stylus would be a bonus. After that, I realize reading is much more comfortable than everything, especially at home I follow news at my desk and on my bed, even I have bought some good stylus including Pencil by Fiftythree.

During these four years, I started sketching more, but not on iPad. I do this on paper notebooks instead. My drawing habit lets me think whether I still need the device, and if the answer is yes, should I upgrade it to iPad Pro with Apple Pencil? To look for the answer, I try to sketch something on various apps, including Evernote (the simple drawing feature), Paper, Procreate and Goodnote.

五年前,因為覺得在平板畫畫比電腦來得更直接,並打算用它來增添網誌上的內容,所以就買下人生中第一部平板:iPad 2。雖然這五年間有一直用它,並由iPad 2換上了iPad Air,但是我用它來在Facebook、Flipboard等渠道上消費內容,多於創造。再加上現在當我能養成畫畫的習慣時,我傾向使用紙張,這使我去問自己:究竟我還是否需要平板?如果需要,未來是否需要iPad Pro和Apple Pencil?為了尋找答案,我決定認真的使用不同畫畫apps,包括Evernote、Paper、Procreate和Goodnote。

 

Visual thinking in Evernote

Visual thinking in Evernote

Evernote

I begin visual thinking when I read web articles saved in my Evernote. I try myself not to just consume the content inside but to think more by sketching some diagrams which can facilitate this. On one hand, I can find a value of iPad other than content consumption. On the other hand, it actually can be done on a piece of paper with Evernote camera by smartphones like what a scanner does. But to be honest, sketching on an iPad directly is more convenient, and most important I can use different colors when thinking. The convenience of drawing while reading in iPad should push me sketch more to learn.

我開始在Evernote儲存要細心閱讀的網上文章,並在過程中透過畫圖來思考。我嘗試不要只是讀,而是多動腦筋,以畫一些圖表來輔助思考。一方面我是看到平板的價值,但另一方面這不是紙張上畫了,用手機拍照存檔都可以了嗎?尤其當Evernote本身可以做到像素描器一樣的效果時。我想,除了便利性外,平板上的不同顏色,相對手寫至少要搭配木顏色,顏色的便利程度使得平板和手寫有很大的差異吧!這種便利,應會使人多去這樣的閱讀和思考。

 

Works in Paper app

Works in Paper app

Paper

Paper used to be a drawing app with simple tools so that it is very easy to use like sketching on a piece of paper. Now, it encourages users to use it for visual thinking and brainstorming other than art, making it more useful. The app itself has a card-like UI so that the users can overview what he or she has created. With my finger I can draw well enough while there are amazing features in their Pencil.

Paper這個app本來只有美術上的定位,後來在更新時延伸到圖像思考、工作等方面,並重新設計介面成為一張張咭片,讓用戶可以回顧和飽覽他們做過工作。即使用手指已經有不錯效果,而搭配他們推出的Pencil效果更佳。

 

Works in Procreate app

Works in Procreate app

Procreate

Procreate is indeed a professional sketching app especially for business use. The app can let you have more options say various kinds of painters and pens; let you adjust those tools with opacity and size etc.; let you create layers to allow you to have the greatest control while finishing an artwork. Although there are so many features that needs time to be learnt, I don’t feel painful at first, and I start understanding which tools I have to pick. Just give me a little bit time and be patient, the notion ‘practice makes perfect’ is undeniable.

The video recorded and the drawing time calculated is also fantastic!

Procreate是一個比較專業的app,這也使它更適合於商業用途,因為它讓用戶可以有更多工具和操作上的選項,如透明度和筆的粗幼度等等。此外,也可以增加圖層,畫畫更能得心應手。雖然功能太多,要時間學習,但我認為這過程不算太痛苦,給自己少少時間去認識即可,也可以熟能生巧。

至於短片功能記錄我畫畫的過程就真的很不錯!

 

Drawing on iPad is amazing. App developers are doing great jobs in (re)designing not only their own apps and stylus, but also rethinking the sketching process itself. The workflow and the mindset of drawing on iPad can be so different from a piece of paper. On the whole, technology can help something, but nothing less if you don’t have it on your hand. Apple Pencil can let users draw like on a paper, but using a finger on a tablet and even returning to an ink pen with a notebook do not mean things must get worse. Different tools and ways can result in different great works. They remain to be options which can’t be judged which is the best or the worse. Just choose what you like.

I still have no answers on whether I still need a tablet, and if I will have my third one. I will keep exploring on iPad in the short run but on the whole my Traveler’s Notebook is still my best friend, especially urban sketching. iPad is the world with so many things distracting you. Before you choose to review your works or create one, Facebook and Instagram are calling you (even if all these apps are deleted, Safari web browser is waiting for you). Although reviewing previous works is so easy that only two steps are required by unlocking the pad and tapping Photos app, a paper notebook with an unique cover must be a stronger ‘reminder’ for me, compared to an iPad which only has the related apps icons, nothing telling me what to do next…… most importantly when concentrating on urban sketching on a paper I can experience tranquility which let me put all other things aside.

在iPad上畫畫是一個很有趣的體驗,看到寫app的人在設計不同的app上花了不少的心思和創意,不同的app和繪圖筆反映他們對這件事有獨特的看法。在iPad上畫畫,流程和思維上其實和手繪是有分別的。而一般來說,科技讓畫畫這過程變得更有趣、方便、容易,但若不用它們,其實也倒沒有損失甚至更困難。例如Apple Pencil使在平板上繪畫的體驗,跟手繪的情境幾乎一樣,但用手指於平板上,或用墨水筆在紙上繪,不會讓效果差了。不同工具或方法產出不同的好作品,它們沒有高低,只是選項,只需選自己適合或喜歡就好。

就我的疑問:我還是否需要平板,甚至會否有第三部,還未有結論,但是我還是會透過現有的資源,繼續好好探索一下平板。同時,Traveler's Notebook仍是我的好伙伴,尤其在街上寫生!已知的有:iPad很容易讓人分心,即使刪掉了Facebook和Instagram,Safari瀏覽器還是在呼喚著自己(笑),因為在你想要回顧自己的作品,或是畫一幅畫之前,主頁的app icon已經吸引自己去消費內容。但是當紙本記事簿放在桌上,還有它們獨特的封面,已足夠提醒甚至吸引自己應該做什麼。iPad或iPhone上很多apps(即使只餘下數個)都在爭著提自己去做什麼⋯⋯回訊息、看資訊、查地圖⋯⋯何時輪到畫畫呢?而在紙上容易讓人專注線條、過程中內心比較平靜,相對於會發光的螢幕、可能彈出的通知、其他apps的選擇,紙的優點並不在於功能而言,而是一些減法。

First try of drawing on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, Apple Store

First try of drawing on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, Apple Store

TechnologyAlvin CComment