Learn to Draw – iPad App Review

Learn to Draw – iPad App Review
Learn to Draw on the iPad

I am of the opinion that everyone can draw, however jumping into representational drawing can be frustrating for the beginner – the Learn to Draw Digital Sketchbook by Walter Foster will help build your confidence in your drawing ability by taking you step by step through the drawing process with guideline drawings to follow.

It used to be common practise for art students to copy the works of the masters to learn technique so the process of following the given guide drawings is a solid enough teaching method, and this app has been developed by Walter Foster who are in the business of “quality art instruction for over 88 years”.

At the time of writing the app itself is free (it normally costs $2.99) and comes with several free tutorials, which you can then add to via in app purchasing. There are different prices for the tutorials, popular ones ranged between $2.99 and $6.99. The app also has a free sketch mode to use as a drawing tool outside of the tutorials.

The app has a range of drawing tools – sketch pencil, detail pencil, shading pencil and eraser and settings to vary the size, pressure and hardness. There are written and spoken instructions at each step of a tutorial, and the drawing guides are shown in blue with customisable opacity – as you follow the instructions at each step you you can easily hide the guides to check your progress, and there is a zoom function so you can get in close for detail work

The eraser tool confused me at first – I seemed unable to erase my sketch lines as instructed, but it turned out that you have to select the step at which you drew the lines before you can erase them. This does prevent you from erasing your latest work, which sounds great in theory, but I found it repeatedly very frustrating.

My other criticism is that I felt I was copying artwork which had not been drawn on the iPad with the same tools I had at my disposal – while I’m sure I would get better over time with the iPad tools, I would have felt more confident if I had been copying lines that were clearly possible to replicate using the iPad and finger, not pencil on paper.

Despite these quibbles I enjoyed using the app and had fun watching my drawing of a dragon progress, because of the issues I had with the eraser and general control of my tools, I didn’t go into the level of detail required to really finish out my drawing – but I still felt I got value from the app and I was happy with my final drawing.

When I began the dragon tutorial I was sceptical that I would be able to draw the required lines with my finger, but even without using the zoom I was able to draw quite fine lines and follow reasonably intricate detail from the guide (see where I got to with my dragon at the end of the post).

With David Hockney having already had an exhibition of iPhone and iPad drawings, it is worth getting to grips with new mediums such as the iPad – this app will help build your drawing skill and it will certainly develop your ability to use the iPad as an artistic tool.

Learn to Draw Digital Sketchbook by Walter Foster

My drawing of a dragon