Finger Painting on Apple iPad

Amazing work from David Kassan. As much as I want pressure sensitivity, talented artists seem to have few problems lacking it. Now, there's a lot I don't like about the iPad. But whenever I read someone claim you can't create anything on it, the only thing I learn is what sort of creativity they value. Try and Tell the Difference Between This iPad Artwork and A Real Masterpiece [Gizmodo] [Thanks, Joel!]


  1. I don’t know who’s claiming you can’t create “anything” on the iPad, but what about the more obvious observation, that you could make a much more nuanced portrait of that same guy using a 25 cent pencil (or $5 worth of colored pencils if you want color.)

    And, hey, the batteries don’t run out on the sketch, either!

      1. Brainspore, touché.

        For me, who is left-brained to the point that there is no right-hemisphere, I revel in watching Mr. Kassan’s artistry unfold. Hell, for me, the message I got from viewing the video was independent of the medium. I’m in awe of people who have the perceptual, neurological and practiced talents to transform an external (or internal, for that matter) sensual impression into something else. For those who possess such mastery and artistry, I envy you.

    1. I’m guessing you haven’t priced oil paints lately…

      My plein air painting set up (paints, easel, brushes, etc.) cost considerably more than an iPad, and is a heck of a lot heavier as well.

      Of course when I’m done, I have a physical painting. But as an inexpensive way to go out into the world and collect sketches and quick paintings for use back in the studio, the iPad is great.

      I’m still trying to work up the nerve to carry the thing to my life drawing class…

  2. Yeah. I think that the big truism is that an artist’s bread and butter is an ability to see volume and color, not so much how to work a piece of technology. I’ve seen enough impressive Etch-A-Sketch drawings in my life to know that a good sketch pad or special medium is easy to find.

    Does it mean I’d chuck my pencils and my Cintiq for an iPad? Probably not.

  3. If Steve Jobs had put a camera on the iPad, Mr. Kassan could have saved about 3 hours.

    I love my iPad, even without a camera. But my 5-minute sketches look nothing like this. Stupid iPad.

    1. Steve didn’t put a a camera on it because you will now buy another ipad next year, featuring a camera – amazing.

  4. It kind of reminds me of when they sent up paints to the Mir space station, to see how the human eye interpreted earth’s colors.

    In the same way, this might not reveal any new capability, but it’s nice to see the older skill set can still work in the new tools.

    1. …it’s nice to see the older skill set can still work in the new tools.

      Careful there, mister. Kassan is still in his early 30s.

  5. It would be an interesting exercise to take a photograph of the subject from the artist’s viewpoint and compare it to the finger-painted version and compare the results.

    There will be obvious differences due to the medium, but the differences due to what the artist perceives and chooses to emphasize would be interesting to examine.

  6. “But whenever I read someone claim you can’t create anything on it, the only thing I learn is what sort of creativity they value.”

    Wasn’t it Cory Doctorow who said you can’t create with it?

  7. Now that’s what I call digital media!

    The transformation of the painting itself, which looks pretty much like what painting on a canvas looks like, starts at 6:25.

  8. Pressure sensitivity is nice, but you can work in lower constant opacity and build up to where you want to be, as he did there.

  9. Of course it’s possible for a talented artist to create something passable with an iPad given enough time, but that doesn’t mean the iPad is ideal for this activity, nor does it mean that this quality is the norm right now.

    Having seen enough of this stuff, it’s still a decent portrait, but I can tell you that people using regular pressure sensitive tablets have been known to create better ones in less time.

    Is that a bad thing? Not really. There’s no shame in admitting that the iPad is mostly a consumer device. That’s what it was intended as, and until it has a decent stylus, it’s not going to be a better art device than what you can get elsewhere. Don’t lose sleep over it people.

    1. It definitely says where the music is from at the end of the video. This is where paying attention helps.

  10. “But whenever I read someone claim you can’t create anything on it, the only thing I learn is what sort of creativity they value.”

    God, you’re so deep Rob.

  11. sorry, im late.

    cue, “see! you can create stuff on the ipad, not just consume!”

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