This week I finally acquired an iPad mini as a way of being able to write and work while traveling for my teaching job. It has already made life much better; in the past, I had to lug my big, old, and very heavy laptop around all day, and come home with aching shoulders each night. As a as lifelong tech geek, I’m having a lot of fun with this elegant device. And one of my favorite apps to use has been the excellent Paper.
Paper is a minimalist drawing app. But for amateur sketchers and doodlers like me, it has everything you need. Purchase the add-on tools, like a sophisticated color-blending palette and variety of drawing tools, and it has everything even an advanced designer would need. You get a booklet of white sheets of paper that you can easily swipe through and add to, and a fountain-pen like tool. Draw fast, with either your finger or a stylus, and the stroke will be thick and bold; slow down and the ink becomes finer. It very capably mimics the swooping flow of ink from a real pen in that regard.
Paper is the kind of app you can use to get ideas. Try playing around with the app and you’ll feel the pleasure and intuitive use of the design. I sketch out blog ideas, as well as the small illustrative graphics you’ve seen appearing on the site. I like the thin pen tool, which creates a smooth line, but also gives a natural, sketchy feel to anything you draw. I’m no artist, but I like how Paper can help me create a rough image, something even I can be proud of.
The color tools are also elegant; with a watercolor brush you can easily fill in your drawing with a gentle, impressionistic sweep of paint. It adds a depth and richness to even the most basic of drawings. Go over multiple times and the color becomes darker with each pass.
Getting your drawings out of the app is also easy. Pressing a button reveals options to either email the image or share it directly on Twitter, Facebook, or a couple other social media outlets.
Basically, for undemanding sketchers like me, or even for more dedicated doodlers, Paper is a delight to use. You might find that drawing helps get you inspired for other aspects of your creative life; and in that way, Paper can help even the writers (and hopeless artists) among us.