10 Cool Visual Arts Apps for Creative Types


It’s a generalization to say that most Apple users are creative people, but in our experience, it’s one that holds true. And as a result, the iTunes Store is packed to the gills with apps that can turn your mobile device into an on-the-go artist’s studio. To help you navigate the myriad choices, we’ve come up with this list of ten essential apps for you to download and play around with. Check them out, and leave a note with anything that we’ve missed in the comments.

Artist’s Touch , $4.99

A fun app that allows non-artists to transform their photographs by applying paper, canvas, or other textures, and then adding color that looks like brush strokes, charcoal, watercolor, pencil, or other effects.

Brushes , $7.99

While Brushes has been considered the best app for digital painting for years (thanks in part to Jorge Colombo’s multiple New Yorker covers), the recent release of a version for the iPad has allowed for some new innovations — specifically, the ability to work in up to six 1024 x 768 layers.

Holo-Paint , $1.99

With Garry Sommerville’s Holo-Paint app you can create long-exposure photos with “mesmerizing floating holographic words and symbols.” According to Core77, you’ll need an SLR, and the holograms are limited to letters at the moment — so you won’t be able to make a cool cityscape like the one pictured above.

Instagram , free

Wired.com editor Micheal Calore says Instagram is “like a mashup of Hipstamatic and Tumblr.” A variety of Lomo-like filters plus easy sharing on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, and an internal Instagram network, make this the perfect app for social shutterbugs.

“Jackson Pollock” by Miltos Manetas , $.99

The app version of jacksonpollock.org, but even better, because here you can control the direction of the drip by rotating the device.

Muybridgizer , free

The Muybridgizer, an iPhone app released by the Tate Britain in honor of a major exhibition of Eadweard Muybridge’s work, allows you to capture a moving target in sepia-toned stop motion images. At least in theory. There are some complaints of blurriness, but since it’s free, this one seems worth the risk.

Remote Palette , $.99

With the Remote Palette, users choose colors and brushes on the iPhone with which to paint the supplied drawings on the iPad. It’s like a virtual coloring book. Confused? Watch Andy Warhol demonstrate in the video below.

TiltShift Generator , $2.99

The photo manipulation app popular on the iPhone — which allows users to make photos look like tiny toy miniatures by playing with the depth-of-field and focus — now comes in a version for the iPad too.

WhatTheFont , free

An app made for typography geeks and designers on the hunt for underused gems, WhatTheFont connects directly to MyFonts.com and can identify any font in just seconds. All you have to do is snap a photo.

Whiteboard Pro: Collaborative Drawing , $2.99

Whiteboard is a collaborative drawing app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows you to connect two devices over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and then mutually go to town on an image. Also useful for playing tic-tac-toe.