Tech Support for Artists: Art Apps

Learn what the latest in technology can do for artists who love traditional media

If you have a smart phone, android or tablet, get ready to geek out with a myriad of art apps (some free and some for purchase) made especially for artists and designers. Check these out!

Color Identifiers

Color identity apps let you determine an item’s real-life color by pointing your device at it. However, every color-identification app is limited by the library of colors it contains. As a result, all tend to identify colors either in general terms or by brand names. Three popular color-identification apps to try are Swatches, Color Grab and Color Capture.

Photo-to-Paint Simulators 

Artists use photo-to-paint simulators to see what a photo would look like as a painting. For example, Prisma is a leading app that popularized this trend—but some users find it defaults heavily to mid-tones, which flattens images. Similarly, BeCasso, Brushstroke and Portrait Painter are other popular choices, the latter specializing in figures and pets.

If you are a watercolor artist, try the leading apps, Waterlogue and Auryn Ink. These apps are specifically focused on presenting photos as watercolor paintings. The presets in Waterlogue let you choose different color and pen outlines. And reviews for Auryn Ink attest to it being closest to the “real thing.”

Digital Painting, Drawing and Coloring Art Apps

While Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the leaders in terms of computer software, Sketch Club is hailed as one of the most versatile phone apps for drawing and painting.

When you need some down time, adult coloring apps are great for creative zoning out. ColorMe has mandala and zodiac collections. Gardening Color Book is all about nature images. And The Lake coloring app is a design award-winner.

Online Art Collections

Now you can browse inspiring art collections without leaving home. Many museums, including the Met and the Louvre—have art apps that share images of their artworks. Similarly, check out WikiArt, a free app with over 250,000 images. Or get the Google Arts & Culture app which offers access to some 1,200 museum collections. Among its appealing features are an art recognizer and a browse-by-color filter.  

These are just a few of the great apps for artists available out there. Do you have a favorite art app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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