iPad 2 apps perfect for artists/designers

iPad 2 apps perfect for artists/designers

1. ArtStudio
This is a PAID app that is good for drawing and painting. It has layer features, brush features, and more. There is the eyedropper tool for selecting color. Personally, I prefer it more than Sketchbook Pro.

2. Bamboo Paper
This is a FREE app, great for simple doodles and simple notes. You get only 1 notebook, 3 pen sizes, 6 colors, but it is bloody easy to use. Here are some sketch examples using bamboo paper:

3. Noteshelf
This is a PAID app, its an amazing notetaking tool. I use this for taking handwritten notes, it cannot do text notes. It has multiple notebook styles to choose from and multiple pen colors. The ability to zoom in to the text is great for writing.

4. Moodboard
Another PAID app, this is an amazing tool to create moodboards or inspiration boards. You can bring in pictures you took from the photo library, or you can eshelfuse the built in browser in the moodboard app to search for images and directly place them into the app!

5. SimpleMind+
This is a great app for jotting down your thoughts into mind maps. Its meant to be used to create and see the connections. But I often see myself using it as a to-do list and visualizing everything I need to do, and how it connects with my main goal. Tasks versus goals kinda thing.

Ill do a short 5 minute review/walkthrough of each app later this week.

iPad 2 In-Depth Review

I will be reviewing the iPad 2 as a notetaking/sketching device. I will first introduce a little bit about myself and my decision to purchase the iPad 2. Next I will go over the default hardware and software of the iPad 2. And finally I will review apps that are only catered to art/design, so no games, unless it is art related. I will be presenting my reviews in text, pictures, and videos. This will be a continuous review as in this thread will continue to be updated with more reviews in the future.

Review Outline:
Part 1-4 is background information.
Skip to Part 5 (Bold red font) to learn about the actual Hardware of the iPad 2
All app reviews/walkthroughs will have a video and titled in Bold purple font.

Part 1: A little bit about myself, my wants, needs, and the HTC Flyer
Part 2: Why I chose the iPad 2
Part 3: First Impressions, the Box
Part 4: First Impressions, the Setup
Part 5: First Impressions, the Hardware

Part 1: A little bit about myself, my wants, needs, and the HTC Flyer
Like most members of Core 77, I am an artist, designer, and creative. I love to draw, sketch, and brainstorm ideas. I like to wireframe, research, and find inspirations both online and from the real world. What I wanted was a device that would let me do all that. My first choice, was not the iPad 2. I originally planned to purchase the HTC Flyer. The HTC Flyer is an 7inch Android tablet running Gingerbread, not the tablet specific Honeycomb. Unlike most Android tablets available, the HTC Flyer had one key differentiating factor, the Scribe Pen. A pressure sensitive stylus made by N-Trig, not Wacom. The problem? The stylus is excluded from the tablet and was a hard-to-swallow 80$ accessory. On top of that, after multiple hands-on of the tablet at my local Best Buy, the pressure sensitive stylus only seemed to output about 4 levels of pressure sensitivity. And the responsiveness wasn’t much better than the iPad 2, if not at all…
(I will give you guys an in-depth review of the HTC Flyer at a later time, now on to why I chose the iPad 2).

Part 2: Why I chose the iPad 2
The iPad 1 and 2 have been on my mind for the longest time. Throughout this time, it has been for the same reason. “Can the iPad replace my sketchbook as a notetaking and sketching tool?” With the iPad 1, the answer was no. It just wasn’t responsive enough to handle my sketch technique and speed, so I forgot about it till just a few days ago. I have to give credit to YO, for resparking my interest in the iPad. When I saw his sketches in the doodling section, I was floored as to what the iPad 2 could do. And I wondered, could I reproduce the same level of cleanliness myself. I knew I could do it with pen and paper, but my previous experiences with the iPad was on the level of fingerpainting. Luckily, I had many friends around me who owned the iPad 2 and was able to get some real hands-on experiences. It was then I discovered a few apps, ones Ive heard of and ones I have not. “Bamboo Paper, Flipboard, and Art Studio” were new to me. The only one I knew about was “Sketchbook Pro.” (I will do a in-depth review of each one of these app at a later time). After using these 4 apps, I knew I had to get one. The experience was precise, responsive, and fast.

Part 3: First Impressions, the Box
The iPad 2 is the 3rd Apple product I have ever bought since the 1st generation iPod Nano I had purchased back in 2005. As many of you know, Apple does an incredibly good job in their package design. There is a minimum amount of text on the box, probably less than 30 words. A pure white box, with an iPad 2 photo on the front(top). Upon pulling off the top half of the box, you are immediately greeted by a glossy black screen, with a small clear tab near the bottom the device, indicating you to pull on it. With a light pull, the iPad 2 lifts away from the box and into your hands. It is covered completely in a clear plastic film which shows off the tablet in its entirety with no foam or cardboard ruining your first look at the device. Looking into the box, where the iPad once was is two items. A rounded cube-like object and a box with a tab, indirectly asking you to once again pull on it. Pull the tab and a thin, paper box reveals itself. Inside the box is 3 pieces of paper. First, the instruction manual that tell you how to set-up your iPad 2 in 4 easy steps. Second, the typical term & conditions booklet, and finally 2 Apple logo stickers. Looking back into the box where the thin-white box was is a white cable. Curled up and held together by another clear plastic film. There is not a single foam board, brown cardboard, or twisty ties found inside the iPad 2 box. Apple has beautifully presented the iPad 2 and the attention to detail and presentation can be found in even the box that holds the fine product.

Part 4: First Impressions, the Setup
Step 1: Download iTunes.
Step 2: Connect iPad 2 using USB cable.
Step 3: Follow set-up instructions on computer screen.
Step 4: Charge iPad 2 using included wall charger, the rounded cube-like object mentioned in Part 3.

Set-up was an absolute breeze. I am running Windows Vista and ran into zero problems. What I really enjoyed was how the entire set-up and registration process was so-well implemented. I never had such a seamless experience. Once the basic set-up was completed, I was asked to register my product. Upon registration I created an Apple ID, which is what you use for all you iPad needs, such as accessing and downloading apps from the iTunes store. It then asks you if you would to enable the “Find my iPad” feature. This feature will locate your iPad 2 on a map when your iPad is lost or stolen. You can even lock or wipe the iPad from your remote location. This set-up was once again a breeze. One last thing it asked was if I wanted to automatically sync my music and movies, I said no, and opted for manual sync. With everything settled, I was good to go.

Part 5: First Impressions, the Hardware
On first boot, you are treated to hideous wallpaper. The default wallpaper seems to be some dirty water bubble sort of thing. I quickly went into the settings and changed it to a different one, much better. With that pain point out of the way, I was now able to fully explore the device. Looking at the 9.7 inch 1024 x 768 resolution screen is satisfying. It wont rock your socks off, but you will be plenty satisfied. All around this screen is approximately a 1 inch bezel. A probable design choice for holding the device without accidentally triggering something on the touchscreen device. At the bottom of the device is the standard home button you see in other mobile Apple devices. Just in case you were wondering, I went with the Black iPad 2, as I felt the white, although pretty to look at when the device was off, was a bit of a distraction when viewing content on the device. At the very edges of the black bezel, looking straight on at the front of the device, you can see a less than millimeter thick aluminum trim. This is not much of a trim, but actually the entire back casing of the iPad 2. Unlike the iPad 1, the curvature of the back does not come to a flat section when the ipad 2 is viewed from the side. Instead, the curvature reaches up to the edges of the iPad 2 bezel. Holding the iPad 2 upright and looking at the screen you can feel the volume rocker and mute toggle with your right hand near the top end of the device. The top right holds the lock screen button and the left side the 3.5mm headphone jack. In the center of these two, is a small hole, a microphone maybe? At the bottom you have the 30-pin dock connector port and the speaker grill on the right. Despite being a design choice, my experience with the 30-pin dock connector was less than satisfactory. Due to the absence of a flat surface on the side of the device, it is a tad bit tricky to plug in the USB cable. Finally, the left side is home to nothing but the smooth feeling of the aluminum body.

Part 6: First Impressions, the Case
The iPad 2 hardware is surely a sight to behold. With that in mind, I hesitantly covered up my iPad 2 with the Incase Magazine Jacket. Bare, but beautiful looks with the chances of damaging the device or covering up it’s beauty but with a sense of security. I purchased the matte black version for 49.99. This jacket covers up about 90% of the back, with the top and bottom areas minimally covered. The screen is protected by a 3-section versus the 4-section Apple Smart Cover. Unlike the official Smart Cover, the Incase cover is not magnetic. And will not automatically turn on/off your iPad 2. Instead the cover is held in place by a wide elastic strap similar to the one found on a standard Moleskin notebook. This band makes your iPad 2 look more like a large Moleskin than ever before. Finally, like the Apple Smart Cover, the sections can be folded up and used as a stand for your iPad 2.
(Video walkaround of the Incase Magazine Jacket coming this weekend).

Coming Up Next
Part 7: First Impressions, the Software

Part 8: Bamboo App Walkthrough

Check out my first iPad 2 App walkthrough. Bamboo Paper is a great free app from Wacom that may just be enough to replace your physical sketchbook/notebook. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Part 8: Bamboo App Walkthrough

Updated in first post:
top 5 best apps for drawing, notetaking, and inspiration.

Hey Mate,

I was just wondering how you find the iPad 2 now after a few months. Are you using it very much for sketching still? What apps and stylus are you using?