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Creating Great Art on Your Mobile Tablet

Updated on August 10, 2017

Painting Done in Sketchbook Pro on a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet.

'The Pearl of Great Price' I created this painting in SketchBook Pro on my Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.  Prints are available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellietaylorart
'The Pearl of Great Price' I created this painting in SketchBook Pro on my Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. Prints are available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellietaylorart | Source

You Can Make Great Art on Your Mobile Device.

I have noticed that some people still think that mobile devices such as Android tablets and Ipads are only meant for creating doodles and are not for serious art creation. I would like to set the record straight and show you how this is an erroneous attitude. In previous hubs, I have talked about using the Splashtop Remote Desktop HD app hooked up to my Samsung Galaxy Note tablets to paint in desktop PC programs. Also, I have discussed the best painting apps for Samsung Galaxy Note tablets. In this hub, I want to explain in depth how mobile tablets (and even phones) are just as valid for creating digital paintings as desktop PCs.

Tablet Apps for Digital Painting.

Digital painting apps for mobile tablets are becoming more complex with lots of brushes. Many of these apps have blending tools, editing tools, layer blending modes, and natural media brushes. Some of the most complex Android apps are Infinite Painter, Sketchbook Pro, ArtFlow, LayerPaint HD, ArtRage, Serious Paint, Medibang Paint, and Clover Paint. The painting sizes in these apps range from at least 2048 X 2048 pixels to 10000 x 10000 (Theoretically LayerPaint HD has 10000 pixel size, but at that size it is very unstable). For IOS users there are some really nice painting apps like ProCreate, Inspire Pro, Sketchbook Pro, ArtRage, ArtStudio, ArtSet, Paper by Fifty-three, Sketch Club, and Brushes. The latest version of Procreate will have file sizes up to 8192 X 8192 pixels.There are lots of tools available in all of these tablet apps including selection tools, canvas resize, perspective guides, drawing guides and shapes, gradients, layer blending modes, and more. Mobile tablet apps have almost as many tools as a lot of desktop applications. The Windows tablets such as the Surface series can use the desktop applications.


Dot Pen For All Tablets

DotPen - World's Best Active Stylus Pen for iPad, iPhone, and Most Android Tablets and Smartphones. Machined Aluminum Housing With 1.9mm Durable Tip.
DotPen - World's Best Active Stylus Pen for iPad, iPhone, and Most Android Tablets and Smartphones. Machined Aluminum Housing With 1.9mm Durable Tip.

This pen works for Android, IOS, and Windows tablets. It requires a battery to work, but doesn't need any special apps.

 

Wacom Stylus

Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2 (CS600PK)
Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2 (CS600PK)

This is a stylus for Ipads, but it is not compatible with all Ipads so check before you get it.

 

Drawing Tools for Tablets

My tools of choice are the Samsung Galaxy Note tablets. They have the S Pen stylus that works great for drawing. I have all sizes of the Note tablets including the 8 inch, 10.1 inch, and 12.2 inch. I have even created big projects on my Note 8. It has just as much computing power as the bigger tablets. You just have to use the zoom function when you want to add detail. I do like the bigger screens for creating paintings and the 12.2 inch Note Pro is my main working tablet.

There are some other Android tablets that come with styluses including the Tegra Note 7 and the Toshiba Write Excite. For IOS users there are bluetooth enabled styluses among which are the Wacom series, the Jaja Hex, Adonit Jot Pro, Dot Pen, and the Pencil stylus for Paper by FiftyThree. Apple just introduced their new 12.9 inch Ipad Pro with the Apple Pencil so now there is also an IOS tablet with its own stylus.

There are some bluetooth styluses that work with Android too, but that will depend on the individual apps. There are also regular styluses that don't need batteries and these are Dagi styluses, Adonit Jot, and Musimee Notier. These work on any capacitive tablet. Also, there are some battery enabled styluses that are not pressure sensitive, but work on any capacitive screen. Windows tablets are also beginning to have their own styluses and among these are the Microsoft Surface tablets, Samsung, and Toshiba tablets.


Pencil Stylus by FiftyThree

FiftyThree 53PW06 Pencil
Digital Stylus for iPad, iPad Pro, and iPhone - Walnut with Magnetic Snap
FiftyThree 53PW06 Pencil Digital Stylus for iPad, iPad Pro, and iPhone - Walnut with Magnetic Snap

This stylus was created mainly for Paper by FiftyThree on IOS, but it also works for some of the other apps.

 

Adonit Jot Touch

Adonit Jot Touch 4 Bluetooth Pressure Sensitive Stylus for iPad, iPad Air, & iPad Mini - Gun Metal
Adonit Jot Touch 4 Bluetooth Pressure Sensitive Stylus for iPad, iPad Air, & iPad Mini - Gun Metal

This will work with all models of ipad, but may not have pressure sensitivity with older models. There are some more Adonit Jot styluses called Adonit Jot Script that work with the newer Ipads.

 

An Example of My Mobile Tablet Work

The following painting was created on my Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet. It was painted in Infinite Painter and the initial size was 2048 X 2048 pixels. I titled it, "Catching Fireflies". In the following steps you can see that I started out with an initial sketch and built up my painting stage by stage. I zoomed in to paint the fine details. After I finished the painting I transfered it to my desktop PC and increased the size and resolution in Photozoom Pro 6. I then uploaded it to my Red Bubble store where prints of this painting are available.

'Catching Fireflies' Created in Infinite Painter

Stage 1
Stage 1 | Source
Stage 2
Stage 2 | Source
Stage 3
Stage 3 | Source
Stage 4
Stage 4 | Source
Stage 5
Stage 5 | Source
Final Stage 'Catching Fireflies'  Prints are available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellietaylorart
Final Stage 'Catching Fireflies' Prints are available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellietaylorart | Source

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 inches Tablet (Exynos 5 Octa processo, 3GB RAM, Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS), Black
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 inches Tablet (Exynos 5 Octa processo, 3GB RAM, Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS), Black

This is my main workhorse tablet. It is available with 32 or 64 GBs of storage. I really like the 12.2 inch screen.

 

Another Example of My Mobile Tablet Work.

Here is another example of my tablet work. Again this painting was created in Infinite Painter on my Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. I titled it, "Flower Girls". The original size was 2048 X 2048 pixels and I increased the size and resolution in Photozoom Pro 6. Prints of this painting are available at my Red Bubble store.

'Flower Girls' Created in Infinite Painter

Stage 1
Stage 1 | Source
Stage 2
Stage 2 | Source
Stage 3
Stage 3 | Source
Stage 4
Stage 4 | Source
Final Stage 'Flower Girls' Prints are available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellietaylorart
Final Stage 'Flower Girls' Prints are available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellietaylorart | Source

Other Examples of My Tablet Work

I am a beta tester for Infinite Painter so I use it a lot, but I like to use all kinds of Android painting apps. Here are examples of paintings done in the Corel Painter Mobile and ArtRage apps.

Charcoal Picture in Infinite Painter

This picture was drawn in Corel Painter Mobile for a lesson in drawing with charcoal. It is part of my Traditional Painting the Digital Way series on Google Play books. In this series I show how to draw a palomino horse in charcoal, but I have used the Corel Painter Mobile app to show the simulation of using charcoal. The techniques work in both the traditional method and digital programs.

Palomino Horse in Corel Mobile Painter

'Palomino Horse' Prints are available at http://www.artpal.com/ellietaylorart
'Palomino Horse' Prints are available at http://www.artpal.com/ellietaylorart | Source

ArtRage for Android

This painting was created in ArtRage for Android on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Note Pro 12.2 tablets. From the original size I enlarged it in Photozoom Pro 6 and have prints available at Fine Art America.

'Organ Mountains Sunset' Created in ArtRage

'Organ Mountains Sunset' Prints available at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-ellie-taylor.html
'Organ Mountains Sunset' Prints available at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-ellie-taylor.html | Source

An Example of My Surface Pro 3 Work

Here is a drawing that I did on my Surface Pro 3 using ArtRage 4. I used the pencil tools to get a colored pencil look. The Surface tablets run full Windows programs so you can make high resolution images in those digital painting programs. This drawing was 4000 X 4000 pixels at 300 ppi.

'A Cowboy's Best Friend' Created in ArtRage 4

'A Cowboy's Best Friend'  Prints available at http://www.imagekind.com/artists/EllieTaylorArtist
'A Cowboy's Best Friend' Prints available at http://www.imagekind.com/artists/EllieTaylorArtist | Source

Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (4GB RAM 64 GB SSD, Intel Core i3, Windows 8.1)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (4GB RAM 64 GB SSD, Intel Core i3, Windows 8.1)

The Surface Pro 3 runs Windows and is available with 64, 128, 256, and 512 GBs of internal storage. You can also get an sd card for more storage. I have the 128 GB model. You can also get it with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

 

Wacom Bamboo Fineline Stylus 2

Wacom Bamboo Fineline 2 Fine Point, Thin Tip Stylus for iPad (CS600C1G)
Wacom Bamboo Fineline 2 Fine Point, Thin Tip Stylus for iPad (CS600C1G)

This stylus works with Ipad 3 and up. The older version of this stylus doesn't work with the Ipad Air 2.

 

Another Stylus for All Tablets

ReGearTM Pro Stylus - The Best Active Stylus with 1.9mm fine tip. For use on iPad (Most Models), iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus (Gray / Black)
ReGearTM Pro Stylus - The Best Active Stylus with 1.9mm fine tip. For use on iPad (Most Models), iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus (Gray / Black)

This is another battery operated stylus that works on any capacitive screen, so it works for Android, IOS, and Windows tablets.

 

How to Get Prints of Your Tablet Work

I know two ways to get prints of your tablet paintings. First you can upload your paintings to a service that prints low resolution files of about 72 ppi and above. Secondly, you can use a resizing program to increase the resolution and size.

There are two sites that will print your paintings straight off your tablet: Fine Art America and Instaprints. They started offering this service for Instagram photos, but it also works fine for tablet paintings. Two resizing programs that work well are Photozoom Pro 6 and Perfect Resize 9. They work fine with resizing paintings that are 1000 pixels and up. However don't expect them to be able to resize something really small like 300 pixels into 8000. With fairly good sizes from your tablet like 1000 pixels resized into 4000 pixels at 300 ppi, images can be resized just fine for printing.


Final Thoughts

I think the tablet debate probably boils down to personal preference. Some artists prefer a big screen and some don't mind smaller screens. Mobile tablets are not as big as Wacom Cintiqs or any of the Cintiq alternatives which go up to 27 inches. The mobile tablets go up to about 13 inches. This sort of translates into the traditional painting world in that some artists like to paint on large canvases and others (like me) prefer smaller canvases.

Another factor for Android and IOS is how well they work with Windows programs. A lot of Photoshop users want compatible files with layers capability. This is a factor if you are not using your mobile tablets as stand alone devices for creating your artwork. I would say that Windows tablets are a good mobile solution for these artists.

It is, however, perfectly feasible to create a finished piece of artwork with just the digital painting tablet apps on IOS or Android. There are also lots of photo editing apps on Android and IOS that can give filter or photobashing effects like you get in Photoshop. It just boils down to what people are used to in their workflow. Mobile tablets are relatively new compared to desktop computer tablets and lots of people are used to desktop workflows. Windows systems are also still more powerful than IOS and Android systems at this point. However, that is changing and in the future they will probably all catch up to each other.

So in conclusion, are mobile tablets just for doodling? I think I have shown in this article that mobile tablets are much more than a toy and can be used for serious artwork.

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