About Teresa España

Community college art instructor, indie music fan, SF Giants diehard, iPad fancier.

Review: ArtStudio for iPad

ArtStudio for iPad is an indispensable app for a wide range of artistic practices. Its accessibility, comprehensiveness, and wide-open capabilities inspired me to make images for the first time in decades. The app is marketed for sketching, painting, and photo editing purposes, but it is flexible enough to be used in a variety of ways. Features include a flexible canvas size, portrait and landscape orientation, sixteen tools, 150 brushes, palm rejection, favorite brush settings, customized stroke settings, open/closed shapes, layer options, bluetooth stylus support, import/export options, undo/redo buttons, forty filters, image resize, and comprehensive adjustment settings.

The app’s layout is logical and tidy. There are toolbars on each side of the screen, a menu bar across the top, and a toolbar along the bottom. The bars can be made to disappear with a tap of the ‘full screen’ button in the top left corner. Tools can be accessed on the left, colors on the right, and on the bottom, favorites, layers, brush size and opacity, and undo/redo settings.

One can learn to work with ArtStudio in an organic fashion, as well through a User’s Manual, Forums, and Tutorials. The manual’s illustrations are accompanied by captions. The instructions are short and to the point, and aren’t always helpful.

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David Hockney’s iPad Art

David Hockney, Yosemite I, 2011

Image source: de Young Museum

The de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA, recently hosted a David Hockney retrospective titled, “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition.” The expansive show featured work from the past decade and a half, including the artist’s famed iPad art.

Hockney works in both conventional and emerging media covering a wide range of subject matter. His iPad drawings, specifically those housed in “light boxes,” were the stars of the show. The landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits were wonderfully rendered in their own right — playful color combinations, extraordinary textures and patterns, rhythmic lines — but the technology behind them added a new dimension to the consumption of art.

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Teaching With An iPad

Francis Picabia, 1920, Image Source: Artforum

Francis Picabia, 1920, Image Source: Artforum

This fall I successfully taught two college courses using only an iPad 2 (and iPad Air) — no desktop or laptop. The experiment went easier than I expected but it was not without challenges.

I teach Art Appreciation and Art History at a local community college. For each session, content is presented on Keynote slides (typically consisting of 25 – 75 slides). Creating the presentations takes anywhere from three to fifty hours — most of that spent on the iPad. Naturally, the preparation involves a lot of time on the Internet for research, image selection, and administrative tasks.

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