Ever since I got an iPad I’ve been experimenting with using it as a device for creative expression. I began by experimenting with photography, and took some pretty neat shots of scenery while on a hike at Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver. (Click here to see my album on Google+) Then I bought some painting apps and a stylus, and started using my iPad as a canvass for drawing and creating  photo-based art.

This is one example:

Headwaters of Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver

Headwaters of Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver

This photo was taken with my iPad 2 camera. I turned the photo into the illustration you see below, using two different apps.

Lynn Canyon art

Creating this image on my iPad  got me interested in creating more photo-based art. It’s faster than painting and I don’t have to carry a bunch os supplies. The problem  is, iPad photos are too low in resolution size to give you any more than a 5×7 print. So, that led me to buying an iPhone 5, and then a camera.

With the right tools you can paint and draw on the go

Here are my recommendations:

Jot pro sylus by Adonit

Product Features

  • The precision disc acts like your finger, except it lets you see exactly where your mark will be made.
  • Ballpoint Accuracy: The ballpoint makes a finer line than fat rubber tips. It attaches to the Precision Disc, giving you up to a 45 degree writing angle.
  • Magnetic Cling: Jot Pro magnetically attaches to your tablet for storage and transport.


  • I broke the disc and it took weeks to get a replacement, because it is shipped from Taiwan. Customer service was very nice about giving me a free replacement, but the pen should come with at least one extra disc, just like quality coats come with extra buttons.
  • Not sure about the magnet cling. I carry it in my purse and I think it erased my credit card.

Buy Adonit Jot Pro Stylus Pen at Amazon 


Fave  apps for creating on the go

The apps I use to create art from photos include Sketchbook and Procreate which you can buy in iTunes. These apps are easy to use and give you the ability to create high resolution images which can be finished off in Photoshop. Each app has different features and I like to mix and match. I also bought ArtRage, but it doesn’t have  the controls I need, so I never use it.

uSketch  is a clever app that converts your photos into line art illustrations, which you can use to make your own greeting cards. Sent a card to my mother and she thought I had spent hours drawing the image. In fact in only took a few seconds.

I use Camera Awesome by Smugmug to enhance my iPhone camera and it’s terrific.

Update July 15:

I’ve been taking quite a few pictures with my iphone 5 and collecting apps to enhance photo-taking. My latest discovery is Camera Plus Pro which is compatible with iPad too, and it has an incredible set of settings, including the ability to takes pictures in rapid succession, (burst photography) and reduce camera shake.

Not so fave: 

I bought Notes Plus to writes notes with my stylus while in meetings. It does a pretty good job of converting handwriting to text, but I found when I was writing quickly, the app would freeze, or I could not write on some surface areas of my iPad. Frustrating.


Canon PowerShot ELPH 320 HS

I just bought this camera and am still learning to use it. It is small, light, loaded with features and takes great shots, but I haven’t figured out how to change settings to speed up the shutter.

These tools make it easy, fun and fast for me  to express my creativity. What are your favourite apps for creating? Post your comments here.