Artistic Impulses

One of the things I’ve been enjoying on my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is that it isn’t just a PDA with a stylus and handwriting recognition – it’s a pressure sensitive drawing tablet. It’s turned out to be not only a phone, but also a relaxing, creative outlet that is both fun and practical, in spite of its relatively small screen. It’s about the size of a very small sketchbook, but unlike a sketchbook, you can zoom in and do very delicate, detailed drawings easily – or erase them with a click and start over.

Over the holidays, I downloaded (and bought full, paid versions of) several art apps:

  • Corel Painter Mobile
  • ArtRage
  • Autodesk Sketchbook
  • ArtFlow
  • Artecture

I was impressed with all the features each included for the price – just a few dollars for the whole program, in most cases! I haven’t yet decided which are my favorites, but each has its quirks and advantages. I’ll leave it to real artists to write reviews; I simply enjoy playing with them all.

Most of them can do layers, mixed media, textured canvas, and more. Not all can do photomanipulation – some, like ArtRage, appear to be strictly for original sketches, drawings, and paintings. Corel Painter Mobile is good for tracing and manipulating existing images.

ArtRage has some nice “metallic” and textured effects:


Very shiny! And this one was fun:


Sea creature? Cotton candy? Tasty alien hybrid? I think that ArtRage has some of the more dramatic colors and textures, but that’s not to say you always need so much drama.

I decided to follow along on Alice Gerard’s “Draw a snow human: beginner art lesson” using Autodesk Sketchbook, and came up with this:


Almost looks like I did it in pencil, doesn’t it?

With apps for DeviantArt and PEN.UP, I can share my creations and be laughed at in 26 languages. (I’m totally kidding; so far everyone’s been very nice about my dabbling and experimenting. I guess they were young, once, too.) What about you? What are your favorite creative outlets?



Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at For more information on her children's books, please visit
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11 thoughts on “Artistic Impulses”

    1. My grandmother once told me that she thought she had no talent, until she realized she had the greatest talent of all: the ability to truly appreciate the talent in others. Without envy, you know? Just real enjoyment of it.

      I picked up a book on Zentangle over the holidays. It’s both inspiring and frustrating. I’m working on being able to draw fine, straight, parallel lines while letting go of the need for them to be perfect. I’m struggling for balance between the “rules” and my desire to collie outside the lines, mostly leaning towards “do YOUR thing–it’s ART, you ninny,” while acknowledging there are real skills to be learned and practiced that don’t always feel supper creative. Building blocks. Patience. Ah, much to practice.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Genre RebellionMy Profile

  1. Love this post and happy I connected with your blog through Ultimate Blog Challenge today. Look forward to reading more. I am still a fan of pen/markers/crayons and paper but love the idea of turning my phone into a sketchbook. I will have to explore some of these apps and I loved seeing the images of your creative play. Creativity is the center of my life and all that I do and I believe the more time we make for creative play, the happier we are. Coloring or painting become both meditation and inspiration for ideas for my business, my blog, my life… I also appreciated your silliness and willingness not to take yourself too seriously.

    1. Yay!! A new fan of my silliness! (Life’s just too short to be a stick in the mud. I’d rather make mud flowerpots and grow the stick, wouldn’t you?) I’m a huge fan of pen/markers/crayons/paints/ink/spices/experimenting with other stuff… I still like to write with a fountain pen, sometimes, too – especially in purple ink. But I always have my phone with me, and it’s a little cleaner/more convenient than acrylic paints, say, on an airplane. 🙂 Glad you found your way here, m – hope you find your way back! Love the UBC for being a place to leave the breadcrumbs! (You can subscribe, too, if you want. Not that I want to be pushy about that – just pointing out it’s there for convenience if you want posts in email.)

    1. 😀 I’m glad you liked it! I want to do more of these little sketches throughout the year. I really enjoy them. And I’m learning not to race through them, but to focus on details. (Though sometimes a QUICK sketch is good, if I’m feeling perfectionism creep up on me and put tension in my shoulders!)
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Genre RebellionMy Profile

  2. My favorite artistic activity is painting with water colors or acrylics on paper or canvas–it always feels like a meditation once I get started and I can stick with it for hours. I haven’t pulled my paints out of the closet for quite a while, so I suspect I need to throw away dried out paint and buy fresh supplies. I have been thinking about painting often lately and may take another class at our local Senior Center to get me going again.

    I have not, however, been interested in using techno-art software. It doesn’t feel the same to me.
    Patricia Stoltey recently posted…A Day in the Life . . . of (and by) Mystery Author C. Hope ClarkMy Profile

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