Sunday, April 08, 2012

Digital Drawing

I have been playing the greatest game on my phone. You may have heard of it, or discovered it yourself. It is called "Draw Something." It is played between two people. I may begin by drawing one of three possible words that the game presents. There is an easy, medium and difficult option. I try to draw the difficult one when possible. Sometimes it is a pop culture person or reference that I don't even understand, but there is always something in the three that is doable. Here I have just drawn "diaper" which I will send to Brenda in Australia.

It will show up on her phone (or iPad) and show the image as it is being drawn. She will have an assortment of letters to choose from to guess the word and fill it into the blanks that are given. Then she will choose a word to draw and send it back to me. When it is my turn I first see her guessing as my image is being drawn. She guessed diaper before I had even drawn the diaper on the baby! Then I see her drawing begin to draw on my screen. This was how it looked at first.

I can see that the word has four letters and they will be four of the ones below. Can you guess it?

Now that the drawing has progressed, I'll bet you can.

It was "halo." Some are harder than this one.

The game is fun and the drawing tools are pretty simple, yet effective. You can draw with your finger. On my tiny iPhone screen it was tricky. I got a stylus to use and that makes it a bit easier. I can see that using an iPad would be a great advantage. I think all of us playing have learned some tricks. At first I was trying to draw outlines then fill them in with color. That is difficult because it is so easy to obliterate the outline if the fill-in color accidentally goes over it. Much easier to block in the colors, then draw the outlines on top.

One of my birthday presents last week was a Kindle Fire pad. It is not quite as big as an iPad, but considerably bigger than a phone screen. I have been quite covetous of an iPad, but honestly just too thrifty to spend that much money on one. The Kindle Fire is a good compromise. I was, however, disappointed that the Draw Something app is not yet available for it, but the game has made me interested in digital drawing apps and I have been trying out a few for the Kindle. Some are free, some cost a small amount. The most I have paid is $1.99.

The first one is called Sketch n Draw. It is quite fun to play with because it has a variety of different brush types.  The one called "shaded" creates a variable line with feathery crosshatching that magically appears as you draw. You can't control the added "shading" so it pops up sometimes unexpectedly, like the little pyramid on the top of his head. I really like the variable character of the line, though. But is is random as well.

Other brushes are interesting, but not terribly practical. The one below might be useful for drawing earthworms.
You can add color, but it is really cumbersome. Here I started with a spattery paint brush for the color, then switched back to the shaded brush for the outlines.

Switching back and forth between colors was hugely awkward and time-consuming. Rather nice effects, but for me too cumbersome. Also hard to control. None of the brushes are really straightforward draw/paint tools.

Next I tried an app called "Drawing Pad." Hated it. There is an assortment of brushes and pencils and markers, but the sizes are limited and the colors limited as well. It does not seem possible to simply draw a thin, clean line with any of the tools.

So far the most fluid I have found is an app called "Picasso." You can switch up the brush size, colors and opacity fairly easily and it has a little tryout so you can see how it will look before you add it to your drawing.

 This may be the best I will find, but I keep hoping there is something more natural and intuitive. Have you found a great drawing app?


  1. One of the things I like most about Draw Something is that as I'm playing with people I know, I can think about them as I'm drawing and it adds a different layer of connection... as when I drew "zig zag" for you by drawing stitch selections on a sewing machine, or when you drew "tiles" for me and I thought about your wonderful collection of tiles in your new kitchen. So fun!

  2. Really you should have gone for the iPad. Apple has has had spectacular drawing tools since the 1980's.

  3. my husband has been playing with our daughters and others...i like that our adult children want to do this...he has let me draw a couple of times, so i don't have your skills!

    your 'earthworm' looks like ribbon yarn to me.

  4. Anonymous10:50 AM

    I can't find the Sketch n Draw app.
    I loved the lines.
    Could you check and make sure
    that that is the correct name? Thanks.

    Love your blog.