Skip to main content

Use Your Mobile Phone as a Sketchbook

As mobile phones become more powerful with bigger screens it just makes sense to utilize these devices as a sketchbook. Chances are, your mobile phone is nearly always within arms reach anyway so, instead of carrying a sketchbook everywhere, why not just use your phone?

My current phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5, running Android 6. It's fairly powerful and has a relatively large screen. Prior to that I had a Nokia, Lumia 720 phone running Windows 8.1. It has a smaller screen but I used it a lot for sketching ideas and characters.

Generally most modern phones with a capacitive touch screen (the kind that you can use your fingers with) should be fine for sketching.



However, most phones don't come with a stylus. If your's does and you find it works well for drawing you can skip to the next section.


If you have time to spare I made a video that covers most of the information in
this post and includes an actual demonstration of me creating a
simple artwork from start to finish.

What Stylus?


I've tried numerous styli with my phone to find one that works right for me. Here's a run down of what I have and my thoughts on each. All of these styli are designed to work with any capacitive touch screen and do not have advanced features like pressure sensitivity or palm rejection (implementing these features require software drivers and will limit the stylus to specific devices and apps).

Left to right: 1. Thinner Common Stylus; and Common Stylus; 2. Adonit Jot Pro;
3. Joy PinPoint; 4. Adonit Dash; 5. Generic Fine Point Stylus.
  1. Common Rubber tipped stylus (Cheapest option, find them at bargain stores for a few dollars). If you have nothing else you could get used to these but they are very much like drawing with a crayon. It's hard to see around the bulbous head when you're trying to draw detail.
     
  2. Adonit Jot, Pro (US$30.00 approx). This kind of stylus has a transparent plastic disk attached to a metal point, giving it maximum contact with your device and solving the problem of not being able to see where you're drawing on detailed images. I really like the Adonit Jot, Pro and used mine quite a bit. However it doesn't really capture the 'pencil' drawing experience.
     
  3. Joy, Pinpoint, Precision Stylus. (US$50.00 approx). Joy doesn't appear to sell these anymore but you can still pick up the 3rd generation ones through Amazon. These fine tipped styluses with the carbon fiber tips provide some resistance when drawing on a touch screen and are the closest to feeling like drawing with a regular pencil. The tip is able to be so fine because the stylus is boosted by the power of a single AAA battery stored in the shaft.

    This Stylus has my  preferred stylus tip but I had issues with the one I bought, such as the battery going flat after a week whether I used it or not and the pen its self powering down 5 or so minutes into drawing even if I was still drawing.
     
  4. Adonit, Dash (US$50.00 approx). These are fantastic for drawing with. A single USB charge lasts for up to 12 hours of use and only takes 30 minutes to recharge. The fine tip is great. The only draw back is the hardness of the tip makes it feel more like drawing with a ball point pen rather than a pencil. Otherwise, I highly recommend this stylus.
     
  5. Generic, Fine Point Chinese Import Stylus (US$15-$20.00) - These operate much like the Joy Stylus but are USB powered. Surprisingly good build quality with extra rubber replacement tips included. I really like the 'pencil' like feel of these styluses and, at the price, I just can't pass them up. They work really well.

How well styli work is also reliant on the processing power of your phone. If you have an older phone you may find all of these a little non-responsive or laggy. Just be aware that's down to the phone and not the stylus

What Apps?


The last thing you'll need is a drawing/sketching app. I've tried a whole bunch of them. Note that I've only used Windows and Android based Apps. However if you're using an iOS device you should have no trouble finding great art apps (it's what iOS and Apple are known for).


Sketch It Windows App.
On my Windows phone I settled on an app called Sketch It. A fairly basic raster/bitmap based drawing application. No layer support, it's most impressive drawing feature was being able to adjust the opacity of the brush you draw with. This meant that I could keep my brush color black but begin sketching at 20% opacity for really light construction lines. Increase the opacity to 40% on the next pass and then 60% etc. I really liked it.

On my Samsung, Android phone I wanted something more fully featured that I could potentially create finished art with if I wanted to. There are several good Raster/Bitmap options including ArtBoard and ArtFlow but I finally settled on Infinite Painter.

Infinite Painter is feature rich
with easy to find and use tools.
Infinite Painter can handle relatively large sized artworks at a resolution high enough for printing but it's also great for smaller sketches and artwork  to fill up your Instagram, Facebook or Tumblr feeds. It has features you'd expect of a desktop drawing application organized into easy to navigate menus with tools that are easy to use with a stylus.

Infinite Painter also has a partner app called Infinite Design for creating vector art. It's shares a similar user interface and is great if you are interested in turning your Painter sketches into vector finished art.

Not essential but if you're into, or want to try, I bit of hand drawn animation there are a number of great apps for this too. I love breaking out an app called PicsArt Animator and doodling animated sequences like you might with an old school, post-it note flip book.

Using Painter's Pen Guideline tool to create
perfectly smooth curves.

---o ---o--- o---

There you have it. Everything you need to start using your phone as a sketch book. I particularly like sketching/doodling on my phone when I'm watching something on TV that doesn't require my full attention. It's more productive than constantly scanning social media or watching for emails.



Comments

  1. Without a doubt, I've always find that the use of Styllus, be it from mobile phones or tablets, it's a great way to create a more unique 3D video animation as it gives the user more control of the character that they are coming out with.

    Thanks for the great article! My company's currently connecting both video animation companies and company/individuals who are looking for video animation services. Check us out at: https://www.viheo.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. i am also Animator learning and providing video animation servicesthat something modern there are some apps available but i have never been so satisfied using them thanks for the knowledge though, i am also Animator working at

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular posts from this blog

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc. I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations. I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity . AV Voice Changer Interface. Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply

Should You Buy or Upgrade to MOHO 13? *Spoiler* Yes. Yes You Should!

MOHO 13's New Character Set. Smith Micro released MOHO 13 , their all in one, 2D animation studio, this week. The question is should you buy or upgrade to the latest version? Obviously I've already spoiled this in the title, so the actual question is why do I think you should buy or upgrade? To be clear, I'm only talking about MOHO 13 Pro. If you're considering MOHO 13 Debut be aware that you're missing out on some of the new features, and a lot of existing features that are only available in the Pro version. Debut is fine if the budget doesn't stretch to Pro, but, if you never want to be disappointed about not having a feature, it's Pro or nothing! The other thing I need to be transparent about is I'm not, by any stretch, a frequent MOHO user/animator. However I took the time to learn MOHO 12 Pro fairly extensively, blogging about my process and sorting out 104 free MOHO training videos into a logical viewing order in the process. I think I ha

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Animation 4 Business iClone Promotional Video

In my recent updates I've been teasing a new Animation 4 Business Promotional video created with Reallusion's iClone 6 . It's taken me longer than expected because I've only been able to work on it for a couple of hours each day - part of my new schedule that enables me to work on many projects concurrently. Finally the animation is finished and, although I've already debuted it on the Animation 4 Business website , Facebook and YouTube, here is the only place you can read about the behind the scenes creation process.

Voicemod - Free and Easy to Use Voice Changer/Modulator Application

Voicemod is a real time voice changer app. A common problem for hobbyist animators is finding people to voice characters. Friends are often called in to our no budget productions because they're friends and they're usually happy to help. However friends aren't always available and/or willing, and hiring voice actors can be expensive if you're making a lot of short animations just for fun. In desperation you start voicing all your own characters but quickly realize your vocal range extends to only about three different voices. This is where  Voicemod  may help. Voicemod is a free dedicated, real time voice modifying app for Windows (other OS's are in the works). It has a very simple interface that makes it easy to alter the sound of your voice to any saved voice profile with a single click. It also makes it very easy to modify any profile or even create your own voice modifications from scratch. Before I go further, while Voicemod is free you are limited

Learn Moho Pro 12 Free Using SmithMicro's Own 104 Video Tutorials Sorted into a Logical Order of Progression

So you've bought Smith Micro's Moho Pro 12 along with the Moho, 10 hour, 104 Video Tutorials Add On pack so you can get learning right away... only you can't. For whatever reason, the video tutorials aren't sorted into any logical order of progression making them hard to follow. Yeah, I've been there, only I've done what Smith Micro should have done and sorted all the video tutorials into a logical order of natural progression for you. That is, each tutorial builds upon what you learned in previous videos and you won't suddenly come up against some feature you've never used before, unless that feature is what the video tutorial is about.

Eric W. Schwartz: Cartoonist, Animator and Amiga Die Hard

July 1992 Edition, CU Amiga Featuring Amy the Squirrel. American Cartoonist, Eric W. Schwartz , (whose unofficial Amiga Icon, Amy the Squirrel, is pictured on the July 92 edition of CU Amiga cover on the right) is my only real animation hero. Sure there are the big names like Disney , Chuck Jones , Tex Avery and even Preston Blair whose influences can all be seen in my own cartoons but Eric did what none of the others could. He showed that really great 2D computer animation was within my reach with little more than an Amiga Computer , a copy of Deluxe Paint and Moviesetter . This was at a time when computer based animation was in its infancy (outside of computer game animation) and Flash was something that lights did. There were many great Amiga artists but Eric was really the only one consistently making very funny, traditional style animations. His humor and drawing style is heavily influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons but he managed to build on this,