My day job has me tracking down problems on a few hundred Mac, Windows PCs, Chromebooks, and many, many iPads, not to mention helping faculty, staff, and students get through another day of our thoroughly modern, digital lives.
At night I try to ease the stress of the day with a few habits. One of the new ones is pastels. No, not chalk pastels or oil pastels. Digital pastels. I have this thing about getting smeared paint on my face, hands, clothing, and furniture, so digital painting is where it’s at.
iAm, Therefore iPastels
As a bona fide certified, card-carrying Mac user, I prefer to keep my hobbies digital and mobile. I’d like to get into real painting but the mess is just too, uh, messy. Real pastels– the chalk and the paint– are too messy. Dust is one thing. Colored dust is something else again. And digital dust is perfect. Just like the perfection of digital oil pastels and painting.
One pastels app I came across recently is called iPastels Pro and it’s exactly what you think it is. A chalk-like, fully pastels drawing app for the Mac; one where skeumorphism is alive and well, and while it works fine on the Mac, the iPad version is even more fun; it’s the one that’s fun to use and I long to see how it adjusts to the iPad Pro and Pencil once I can afford that luxury.
Nevertheless, Mac users venturing into digital art will enjoy using iPastels Pro because it’s a faithful digital reproduction of the original, especially vibrant on an iMac 5k Retina display, or MacBook Pro with Retina display. Fullscreen mode on either is to die for because screen real estate.
All the tools you need– colors, chalk, smudge options, undo, brushes, resize and many more– are easily accessible in a convenient sidebar. Touch the tools you need, paint, draw, repeat, rinse.
iPastels features standard zoom and pan options using the Mac’s trackpad or Magic Trackpad (works OK with the Magic Mouse, but nothing to write home about). Layers allow you to paint and blend one over the other; foreground, middle, or background.
For those Mac users with real, not-wanabe artistic talent and an understanding of chalk and oil pastel painting, iPastels Pro is worth a look, modestly priced, and though the interface is a bit sophomoric, it works well in the medium of the screen.
There’s also a free version minus a few features so you can try before you buy. As cool as iPastels Pro is on a Mac with Retina display, it’s awesome on an iPad Air 2. No chalky fingers. No messy paint. But results are much the same.
One odd note to report; the Mac version still uses a floppy disk icon as the Save button. Seriously? A floppy disk? When was the last time anyone used a floppy disk? Please. We’re in the 21st century. We do not need floppy disk icons. That said, what would make a good Save… icon these days?