The mule way: getting inspiration using different iPhone painting apps



Deciding what to paint next often starts at a good reference point. Real good artists paint on site.

I am usually not that good with real-life references, rather better though in making things up. So if in doubt I often start with a random photo:


There’s many apps on the iPhone that let you alter pictures you take with the internal camera, in this case I used ArtistsTouch. With this little app you can use every photo as a blueprint for DIY-artwork using different kind of tools, like coal, wet brushes, pencil etc. I used the pastels and rather rough strokes:


Now, I liked that, but I needed more depth, so I fired up PhotoFX and added some more contrast:


This is where the real fun sets in: you start to look at what you got, turn the canvas (the iPhone that is 🙂 ) and start to let your imagination work. For any kind of detailed work, Brushes is still my no.1 choice. Here is the final result again:


Not bad, eh?

Here’s another one, random pic:


This time PhotoFX did some nice blurring effect:


In this case I was where I wanted to be, also I’ve been to the seaside earlier that week:


For some poetical additions, PhotoGene is the perfect tool (it lets you do loadsa more handy stuff):

inspiration_7There you go, hope you like it 🙂

6 Responses to “The mule way: getting inspiration using different iPhone painting apps”

  • patricio villarroel Says:

    nice tutorial benjamin, i also work with random photos with painter-x, have not tried with brushes still, you can see that work

  • Farik Osman Says:

    Pretty cool idea when we are facing an illustrator block. 🙂 Thanks for the tut Benjamin 🙂

  • Sandy Schmidt Says:

    Wow, Benjamin, this process is interesting. I’ve not thought of starting with a random photo, and I always wondered exactly how Photo-fx fit in with your art. This tutorial was very helpful! My ” start with a random doodle” technique doesn’t seem so crazy or farfetched now!

  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    thank you everybody, glad you liked the post!
    @patricio that is wonderful stuff!
    @all would you like to share your painting process on here? I’d love to learn about it 🙂

  • patricio villarroel Says:

    your process is very scientific, i will try on next paintings with brushes&co to keep (pics & mind) the process and share with you all

  • Valerie Beeby Says:

    Enjoyed your tutorial, and learned a lot from it! Thanks.

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