TechFocus: Drawing on an iPad

Updated: Dec 7, 2018

By: Jerry Yu ‘19, Technology Columnist

On a daily basis, we all experience the advantages of the iPad--its touchscreen, wireless connectivity, and room for various accessories--and most notably, its keyboard. For many of us, Docs, Chrome, YouTube, and Fortnite (or Hearthstone) might be all the apps we use on a daily basis. However, drawing on iPads feels quite unfriendly. Our fingers are too thick, the styluses fight with our palms, Notability does not offer much for on-the-fly color switching, and iPad Pro + Pencil is simply too expensive.

Thus, for our first installment of “Tech Focus,” we will talk about a set of apps that might come to our help: Adobe Illustrator Draw (aka Draw) and Adobe Photoshop Sketch (aka Sketch), two amazing endeavors by Adobe to make free apps (look at their PS CC pricing).

After logging in to either app, we dive straight into the interface. Neat and clean. We can get to all the options within two menu choices, a drastic difference from ProCreate and Tayasui Sketches, both designed for more experienced users. Draw and Sketch are perfect for beginners or for quick sketches due to their minimalistic albeit highly-accessible and still very powerful interface. Afterall, it is the choice for professional artists like Tokyo-based Illustrator Yutanpo Shirane, who opened an exhibition, "Abstract, Representational and Beautiful Woman etc." This exhibit showcased over 100 art pieces done on iPad Pro using Adobe Sketch and took full advantage of the variety of tools offered on Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe’s cloud service for artists.

Sketch offers a sidebar toolset that can be customized with 24 pencils, pens, and brushes of different textures, each creating a unique effect. Users create a new work of art by choosing from a wide selection of templates and express their creativity freely without worrying about eraser dust or piles of tracing paper. Works of art can be exported into PC versions of Photoshop and Lightroom CC through Creative Cloud, downloaded and shared locally, or recorded into time-lapse videos showing procedures involved therein. Draw seems to be a simplified version of Sketch, with limited brushes, uniform lines without textures, and easy settings, but as much color as its counterpart. Tired of sketching carefully with your face stuck to screen? Pour some paint onto the canvas through Adobe Draw!

With these apps, Adobe also released a set of hardware: Adobe Ink and Slide. Ink is an active stylus developed in collaboration with Adonit. It can connect to the iPad via Bluetooth, and access a hotkey to access a menu with brush, color, shape, and Creative Cloud clipboard. Meanwhile, the Slide is a tiny brick that can be placed on the screen. Press the button to choose a shape, and move the Slide to where you want the shape to be. Simply put, Slide is a digital ruler. Slide can be helpful for designers with its simple shapes, polygons, and French curves.

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