Cool Things: Raheem Nelson’s iPad Art Book

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Lyric Hall iPad painting

‘ThroughThe Elm To The Big Apple’ is an illustrated book of iPad paintings set to be released tomorrow, by Raheem Nelson. Nelson is an accomplished artist who started out creating and publishing his own comic books at a young age, moved into cartooning and now works exclusively on the iPad. This book is a retrospective of his life as a traveling art student.

I’ve been a huge fan of the amazing art being created on iPads and iPhones for many years now, and this book is an excellent example of great iPad artwork. It includes 64 digital paintings that offer a look at the two cities Nelson traveled between during his art studies – New Haven and New York.

The image shown at the top of this post is of Lyric Hall, an antique theater in New Haven that dates back to 1912.

Here’s a little more detail on the content of the book and the cityscapes it features:

The featured illustrations give an intimate look at the two cities. There are iconic locations like Pepe’s Pizza, The Chrysler Building, Grand Central and Battell Chapel. This book is full of iPad paintings that take you on a visual journey. Raheem used to commute between New Haven and New York to attend classes at The School of Visual Arts.

Elm and College iPad painting

And here’s a little background on how the images in the book were created:

Each location was carefully picked and composed as a reference shot using an iPhone 4. From there they were transformed freehand into iPad paintings using Sketchbook Pro, ArtRage, Brushes, and Procreate. The difference in styles give the book energy and variety.

I had a very hard time narrowing down my selection of images for this post, as I enjoy so many of them, but here are a few more that I found striking, starting with this one of a famous spot at Grand Central Station titled ‘A Fleeting Moment’:

A Fleeting Moment iPad painting

Here are the Empire State Building, a landmark lighthouse in New Haven, and the School of Visual Arts that Nelson graduated from:

The Empire State Building iPad painting

Lighthouse iPad painting

School Of Visual Arts iPad painting

The book also features an essay from Jorge Columbo, an acclaimed digital artist whose New York cityscapes have featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine, which includes a lovely quote on his thoughts about Nelson’s work:

“My first impression is, beautiful sparse colors. I appreciate the simplicity of your palette, and the fact that you can be expressive with no transparencies at all.”

You can buy Through The Elm To The Big Apple tomorrow at, and it should also be coming to iBooks soon – it has already been submitted to Apple for approval. If you’re a fan of iPad and digital art, you may well want to give this title a look – and if you’ve not yet discovered iPad art this might serve as a great introduction to it.

Update: Here’s the link for the book at

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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