Free drawing with Artrage

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Click ( tap and zoom) to see the images….. Advertisements

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The Mindset

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The Mind of the Artist. Visual artists, working in any medium (even an iPad!) tend to think in terms of shapes, lines, colours and textures, tones. Some use spatial qualities. Artists can observe this way in the real world or  … Continue reading

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Drawing and Learning

When I first started drawing on the iPad using ASKetch I simply drew all the shapes around that interested me…… some very simple, some carefully observed like the vacuum(right). The dome and fluting on the vacuum was difficult. I drew … Continue reading

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The Illusion of Depth: 3D objects on a 2D surface

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When we look around us in the real world we already have a built-in spatial understanding, we “know” that our world or the objects in our room exist spatially.  Some things are close to us and other things are further … Continue reading

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Observing Still Life closely…. to draw what you see…

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Set up a simple still life….you only have a small iPad screen. As a learner you are going to draw that particular group of objects in front of you as they are. In my case it was that pear in … Continue reading

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Drawing Still Life

Still Life Painting has a long history… from the detailed complexity of the Dutch painters in the 16th Century to artists like Chardin in the !8th and Cezanne in the 19th/20th Century.

Cezanne : Part of Still Life

Cezanne (1839-1906) : Part of Still Life

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin 1699 –  1799)

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin 1699 – 1779)

Every still life painting has a drawing behind it or a “drawing attitude” in its construction. Close observation is paramount. This is the mindset of the still life artist.

First of all, if you are learning to draw on the iPad there is some experimentation you need to do with your App (ASKetch) before starting real observation of a still life group. Start by drawing freely and feel the smooth curving edges of an object (don’t just scribble) under your finger on the glass.  Try dark tones, then lighter tones, then using the blue circle get the webby effect (shading) working. If you don’t like your first effort, trash it and start again…..and again. Make the app and the finger on glass work for you. For the illusion of drawing on glass click here. For a more detailed guide see “INSTRUCTIONS” in the menu. There is an easy instruction video HERE.

Dark Still Life

Finger on Glass: Dark Still Life

Light Still Life

Finger on Glass :Light Still Life

Freeform of curved lines

Finger on Glass: Tonal freeform of Curved Lines

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Drawing traditionally and for fun

Drawing is perhaps the basis of all visual art: we can draw with many types of media, pencils, pens, charcoal, your finger etc. You can also draw and block in shapes with a brush, a roller, or a palette knife but essentially if  you are constructing shapes of any kind (flat or 3D) on a canvas or paper  you are looking for or creating edges. Fortunately our visual system is geared towards identifying edges in some detail.

Monstera leaf using “Flowpaper”

These two drawings use very different Apps on the iPad and achieve very different outcomes. The image on the right (Monstera Leaf using”Flowpaper“) is restricted dramatically by the software.  This App is intended as a “fun” app and does not adapt easily to traditional drawing. I have to engage its specific properties to the form I am observing. The image takes on its own characteristics while still evoking the leaf shape. Double tap the image to see a close-up.

The drawing  below (Monstera using “ASKetch“) is determined more by the movement of the hand and my perception. It is similar to drawing with a piece of charcoal and the resulting image is closer to the “feel’ of the object I am observing. My intention is not to replicate the leaf (that’s what the “Photo Realist” painters do) but to describe something of its form and physical structure. Double click the image to see the texture.

Leaf structure Monstera

If you are going to learn to draw–to observe–the most important thing is to develop a particular “mind-set”. This will be discussed in a later post.


We can learn by looking closely at the works of other artists. Double click on Leonardo’s drawing (below) and just look ! Go to HERE to see the Royal Collection of Leonardo’s drawings at Windsor Castle UK.

Hands by Leonardo da Vinci
Female Hands by Leonardo da Vinci (1490)
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