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Finger painting test: Sherlock

by Theo on June 5th, 2011
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I have a new favorite art tool: the iPad.

I bought mine a month ago, and let’s get the boring stuff out of the way up front: blah blah love and adoration blah blah portability blah blah totally worth the money blah blah eating my life blah blah dangerous app store blah blah seeing Chuzzles under my eyelids when I blink blah blah blah. I’ll be making a review post about the iPad from a writer and artist’s perspective in a few weeks, after I’ve spent more time traveling with it.

Right now, here’s what I want to show you:

ArtRage app, pencil tool with a background of flat watercolor brush, probably around 8-10 hours, painted entirely without a stylus.

Yep. Fingertip only. This was my first serious attempt at finger painting on the iPad, and while it didn’t come out perfect*, I’m damn impressed! The level of detail you can get on this device is amazing, even using the pad of your finger. The reason it works is ArtRage (and most other art apps I’ve seen) can zoom in up to 800% with a gesture. It’s weirdly intuitive – much more intuitive than the Wacom Graphire tablet I’ve used to do digital painting previously. It’s a lot easier on my wrist than traditional media; I have a tendency to grip art tools as if I’ll squeeze some sort of mastery out of them by force, and without that grip, my tendonitis doesn’t act up. And because the iPad is a portable device, I can pick up a digital painting anywhere I am. This piece was done entirely during lunch breaks, breaks at work, and get-togethers with friends when I needed something to occupy my fidgety hands. I finished it at a Doctor Who party last night.

Because I kept saving WIP shots, here’s a general progression the piece:


So, yes. Happy artist squeaky noises over here.


*And anyway, some imperfections are to be blamed on Benedict Cumberbatch‘s face. You can’t look at it for too long without spontaneously combusting from the intensity. I’m pretty sure that’s how he got the job of Sherlock, actually.

Cumberbatch: “Hello. I’m here to read for Sherlock Holmes–”

Moffat: “My god! Those cheekbones! Those eyes! I–gah–”

Cumberbatch: “Are you all right?”

Moffat: “Don’t come any closer! Gkk–stop smoldering at me!”

Cumberbatch: “Excuse me? Aren’t I supposed to smolder?”

Moffat: “Look, I’ll–” *covers eyes, waves smoking hand* “I’ll give you the part if you just leave immediately!”

Cumberbatch: “YIPPEE!”

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  1. Gypsy-Maria permalink

    AWESOME SHERLOCK ART! Also, that is exactly how Benedict got the job. I’m certain of it.

    • Nicole permalink

      Thanks! Yeah, I’m sure Moffat will tell you otherwise, but you should never believe anything he says, anyway. All he ever does is lie and kill Rory.

  2. 'Lista permalink

    I sat and watched that progression to finished object about a hundred times. That is so cool. And then I had to go dunk myself in the rain barrel due to excess smoldering.

    • Nicole permalink

      I’m convinced Moffat keeps a rain barrel on set for just this purpose.

  3. Kirsten permalink

    Awesome! Both your art and the iPad, I mean. And the progression is the best thing I’ve seen in a while – I love the ‘steps’ to the final piece. And, of course, the cheekbones…..

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Nicole permalink

      Thank you for looking! It was certainly a lot of fun to make. :)

      (I’m tempted by another app called Brushes that lets you record your whole painting process. Wouldn’t that be cool!)

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