I got a new #8 Round Princeton Art watercolor brush for Christmas. I like it. It does nice washes as well as detail. This painting is about 6 x 8 inches. I used a photo reference. I took this photo of the Oregon Gardens last Spring.


I’ve tried a number of ways to use the iPad as an aid to drawing and painting. On this painting I used a grid system. It’s easy to overlay a grid on a photo on the iPad. I used the Inkpad app. Notice the grid is in one layer and the photo is in another and that the grid lines are one inch apart. I lowered the photo’s opacity to 61 % to make the grid lines show up better.


I used a colored grid to make it easier to identify and track particular squares. Here’s the full image that I used on the iPad as a reference for the drawing.


I made a 6 x 8 inch grid out of matte board and colored thread that I clipped to my sketchbook. I placed the iPad below the sketchbook while I worked and lined them up vertically so that it was easy to glance up and down and keep track of where I was while drawing with a pencil. Here’s the setup on my lapdesk.


The threaded grid is a great innovation. You don’t have to draw and later erase the grid on your piece of paper. The thread has enough “give” to it that you can draw underneath the lines. Roughing in the basic shapes and perspective goes quickly. It’s faster than other methods (like using transfer paper) because you only have to draw the scene once. It’s more convenient than a projection system because you can use it in full light and it doesn’t require power. Also, it’s lightweight so you can carry it for use on location.

Usually I remove the grid and clean up the drawing a bit before painting. In this case I just needed a quick drawing to test out the new brush. So, I didn’t bother. Here’s a close up of the pencil drawing with and without the grid.


I also used the iPad as a reference while painting. I set it up on a tripod mount, positioned it in front of me, and displayed the original photo.


I did the painting in one sitting. It took about an hour. I let it dry over night and then scanned it to my iPad and used Photogene to rotate, crop, set the white balance, sharpen, and resize the image for display on the web.