My day job has me tracking down problems that crop up daily on a few hundred Mac, Windows PCs, Chromebooks, and iPads– not to mention assisting 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 them is pastels. No, not chalk pastels or oil pastels. They’re messy. Digital pastels. I have this thing about not getting paint or chalk dust on my face, hands, clothing, and furniture, so digital painting is where it is, baby.
iThink iAm, Therefore, iPastels
As a bona fide certified, card-carrying Apple customer, 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 use frequently is called iPastels Pro and it’s exactly what you think it is. A chalk-like-looking, 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 and free with an in-app purchase for more tools.
Nevertheless, Mac users venturing into digital art will enjoy using iPastels 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 are there– 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 on the Mac App Store minus a few features so you can try before you buy. As cool as iPastels is on a Mac with Retina display, it’s awesome on an iPad. No chalky fingers. No messy paint. But results are much the same.
Sweet on the Mac, sweeter on an iPad.