My wife recently gifted me with my first Apple iPad, and I've been enjoying exploring the possibilities of this new tool. Though I expect to use the iPad most often for reading, I could not help but download a few of the drawing and painting applications available, but not knowing where to start, I thought it best to approach someone with considerable experience on the device for recommendations - David Kassan.
Kassan, who purchased his iPad on the day of its release in 2010, made international news by using his considerable traditional painting skills to create digital portraits on the tablet's multi-touch display. Online videos of him "painting" from life on the iPad quickly went viral, and artists everywhere saw the potential for using this technology as an electronic sketchbook. Although there are several talented people appearing online creating portrait work on the iPad, Kassan has been a standout on this device because of his textural approach to his digital art; where others are creating slick, air-brushed, almost photographic images, Kassan has been making art that looks like conventional paintings and drawings.
|Digital painting of Jasmine Commerce by David Kassan using Artrage|
After watching several iPad demonstrations by Kassan, and reading online reviews, it was easy to decide which drawing and painting apps to download first, but I was still uncertain which stylus, if any, to purchase. In discussions with Kassan, it became quickly apparent that he was very excited about a new product he had just tested - the Nomad Brush, a unique stylus made especially for artists.
The Nomad Brush is a paintbrush designed specifically for use on capacitive touch screen devices such as the iPad. It was created by architect and artist Don Lee who had searched for the perfect stylus with which to digitally paint on his iPad, but finding that nothing on the market suited his needs, he decided instead to invent his own. Combining highly conductive fibers with natural sable hair, Lee has produceda highly-responsive, virtually frictionless apparatus that mimics the look and feel of a regular paintbrush.
Each Nomad Brush is handcrafted to Lee's design specifications. The brush, which is 7½" long overall, features a 5½" walnut and carbon handle with a soft grip, as well as the aforementioned flexible, natural and synthetic fiber tip. Currently, it is available in only one size and color (black), but Lee promises more options in the near future.
I have read online where some people have criticized the look of the sketchy lines created by the splayed fibers of the Nomad Brush's tip, but I believe those people are confusing the aesthetic choices one artist used in a single painting, with the brush's full potential. It must be remembered that the major characteristics of the digital brushstrokes are determined by the application software itself; the brush does not posses an inherent calligraphic fingerprint. What is most important in this new stylus design is the improved freedom of movement afforded by the longer handle and pliable tip, and how it interacts with the iPad's multi-touch surface.
Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to try the Nomad Brush for myself. Pre-release reviews created such an interest in the $24 stylus/brush, that it quickly sold out, and is currently back-ordered. However, if you visit the company's website, you can sign up for email notifications announcing when the brush is back in stock, or purchase the brush through PayPal with the understanding that order may take some additional time to fulfill.