I absolutely adore my iPad. After a few months using it as an extravagant toy I finally started to put it to good use as I originally intended, one of the purposes being for blogging on-the-go.

I’ve spent quite a while looking for a decent drawing app to test its usefulness as a drawing tool. It wasn’t something I’d originally planned to use it for. I always carry sketch books around, but sometimes it’s handy to be able to put doodles and drawings straight into digital form, or it’s a ore productive way of spending time on a long journey than endlessly playing Bejewelled or watching back-to-back episodes of Supernatural. I tried a couple of freebies first to see how they shaped up, including Freeform and Mini Draw. I found they were both a bit limited in functionality, and, at the risk of sounding like a bad workman blaming their tools, neither of them felt quite right to me. Freeform was by far the better of the two, with many Adobe Illustrator-like tools, but lacking a few essentials including easy access flip and rotate. I struggled with the multi-finger gestures required to rotate items, which didn’t allow for much accuracy.

Eventually I discovered InkPad. Costing a mere £5.49 and with a bunch of 5 star reviews, I decided to give it a whirl, and I was glad I did. InkPad is a fully featured app, with the immediate feel of Adobe Illustrator created for the iPad and a host of useful options, including the ability to add text and import your own fonts via Dropbox. It’s a professional vector illustration app that’s fast and easy to use and it supports paths, compound paths, text, text on a path, images, groups, masks, gradient fills, and an unlimited number of layers with adjustable transparency. I’ve already become more attached to my iPad than ever before!

Here are some of my early doodles. I was able to import patterns directly into InkPad from my photo library and place them inside clipping paths to add texture. InkPad also supports a full collection of overlay modes including multiply, screen, difference, hue etc. It can even handle pretty complex patterns like those shown below, and with the entire range of flip, duplicate, align, distribute and pathfinder commands, making patterns like these is a breeze.

Of course, you’ll also need to invest in a stylus for your ipad if you’re going to seriously use it for drawing. I use the Wacom Bamboo Stylus, but there are also many other models available. If you’re looking for a value-for-money drawing app I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

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