iPad Art: Quick Portraits and Other Sketches in Paper by 53, Part I

Paper by 53 is an elegant little sketchbook app for the iPad.  It tries to simulate, say, a watercolor Moleskine journal.  Being a sketchbook app, though, it lacks some features found in more “serious” digital painting/sketching apps.  For a long time, it lacked a zoom feature, which was pretty frustrating if you were trying to draw a portrait that didn’t take up the entire screen.

Color mixing is particularly realistic (though not perfect) in Paper by 53, and is, I think, Paper’s strongest feature.

With a bluetooth-enabled stylus (I haven’t used one yet) such as the Pogo Connect, you can apparently vary line width and paintbrush width by varying pressure.  With any other stylus, the watercolor brush has a single fixed width and lays washes with jagged edges.  This is often not ideal, but for a basic sketchbook app, I guess it’s acceptable.  Except for the fountain pen and the eraser tools, which change line width in a speed-sensitive way, the other tools also have fixed widths.

My first sketch in Paper was based off a photograph of my sister standing next to the statue of a seal at a zoo, back when she was a child:


The seal looked great–just like the statue of a seal would–but I couldn’t keep painting my sister because there was no zoom feature and I couldn’t change the line width of any of the available tools!  So, I stopped working on it.  I could potentially go back and finish it now that I have a precise stylus and can zoom into her portrait.

I didn’t learn my lesson, though, because I kept occasionally trying smaller-scale portraits, as seen here:


And here:


Larger portraits were a little easier, but I was still working with blunt styli, so the going was still *much* slower than with a pencil and actual paper (on which I could draw small-scale or larger scale portraits with relative ease).  Here are a couple portraits from that period:





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