10 Fun & Easy Apps for Artists, Art Lovers and Creatives.
Below are a list of 10 fun and easy apps for artsy types. These user-friendly apps will have you going to amazing exhibitions, getting motivated and staying focused, recording art talks, discovering new artists, and more! Whether you’re a professional artist, a beginner, or just an art enthusiast the apps on the list will help connect you to the art world and your creative self! Download these free or inexpensive apps to use on your smartphone, iphone, ipad, or laptop.
CANADIAN ART FINDER – free
Whether you’re traveling to a new city or just rediscovering your own arts community, you can stay on top of the latest exhibitions in your area thanks to the editors at Canadian Art. The app shows exhibitions that are nearby, and lists upcoming receptions for exhibition openings, so you’ll know exactly when to show up to maximize your intake of free wine and cheese. Exhibition openings are hubs for artists, critics and gallerists, and you’ll start to notice the movers and shakers the more you attend. Notice what kinds of exhibitions each gallery tends to mount, since this will help you determine if your work is a good fit for that gallery. At the very least you can just linger around the fancy snacks.
FOREST: STAY FOCUSED – free
A very simple app with one simple purpose: to keep you from repeatedly dipping into your smartphone and getting lost in a vortex of distractions. When you want to get down to work, you plant a virtual tree which grows as long as you don’t exit the app. The little sprout chugs along and issues cheeky prompts like “Stay focused!” and “Go back to your work!” when you look at the clock. If you exit the app, your seedling dies and you’ve lost the world’s most boring video game. But boring is good in this case, and it’s surprising how energizing it is to look down at your workspace and see an introverted little fern yelling “Don’t look at me!” In my opinion an app that’s meant to limit distractions should be clean and simple with limited functionality, which is why Forest makes sense.
FABULOUS – MOTIVATE ME – free
Fabulous seems like Forest’s grandparent, helping you boost productivity by targeting all aspects of your daily habits. As winner of Google’s Material Design Award for Most Charming Engagement, the app was created in collaboration with Duke University’s Behavioral Economics Lab. You can integrate your current habits and build a daily routine of reminders and alarms, so the app can provide you with coaching throughout the day to keep you on track. It takes into account different ways that our minds build routine, suggesting solutions to fatigue like power naps based on your current sleep debt, or your caffeine intake. You can also start timed sessions like “Blistering Focus” for two hours of guided prompts that keep you in the zone. If you’re looking for a pocket companion that will move and adapt with your routine, reminding you to stay on track in all aspects of your life, Fabulous lives up to its name.
ARTSY – free
Like Pinterest for creative types, Artsy allows you to save and sort artworks from around the world into a collection. The site was built for collectors, and through Artsy you can contact gallerists and actually purchase the pieces you save, but for most of us it acts as a virtual gallery where you can see install shots of the world’s largest exhibitions. You can follow a particular gallery or artist to be updated when they create new work, or when they’re featured in new exhibitions. Log your inspiration and get your arts news all in one app, following the latest high ticket exhibitions without paying admission.
VOICE RECORDER – free
There are a thousand voice recording apps, and for the most part they’re a dime a dozen. Pick one, and make it your goal to experiment with found sound or record yourself verbalizing your ideas. You’ll be surprised how often you reach for the app when it’s on hand. Commit to producing 3 sound recordings per week. They may never amount to anything, but at the very least it will help you draw your attention towards your sonic environment, and recognize how it impacts your artistic practice (even if you work strictly in a visual medium). Try recording lectures, critiques, artist talks or even conversations with peers—for personal use only of course, don’t go getting sued for posting or publishing someone else’s words! You may find that an idea you’ve been forming internally gets crystallized in one of these conversations.
GEO STREET ART – $2.99
For street art enthusiasts, this app is your ultimate treasure map. There’s nothing better than dropping into a new city and coming across a whole street art district, like an outdoor museum. A network of experts have come together to map and log sites across London and New York, and you can filter results by artist if you only want to see Banksy pieces. The geo street art app tracks new pieces being created regularly and old pieces becoming painted over, mapping the living histories of street art.
FACETUNE – $2.99
Documenting your work is always a headache, and getting good images of paintings and sculpture can be next to impossible. It seems like the lighting is always off, the colors don’t show up vividly, oil paints create a blinding glare, or the size and scale just don’t register. Whether you’re building a portfolio on your own website or simply on Instagram or Facebook, you want bright, clear, good quality images without spending your whole day editing.
Although the Facetune app was created to take Instagram selfies up to Kardashian standard, the airbrushing and brightening tools can be helpful for editing photos of artworks. You can sharpen fuzzy details, smooth out areas that have too much texture, and brighten specific dark patches all with the swipe of a finger. Rather than washing your whole photo with a single filter, you can target different areas with different filters. If you have an image of a yellow painting on a white wall, you could put a pastel blue wash over the walls to brighten them, and warm up the painting with a rosy filter.
PENULTIMATE – free
For those who feel constricted by a touchscreen keyboard, this visual note-taking app lets you take notes and sketches in your own handwriting on your tablet or phone. Linked with Evernote, Penultimate allows you to sync and share your sketches and notes across all devices, and it processes the images so that you can search for handwritten text. Penultimate is great for if you’re on the go or simply looking to map out ideas you’d like to develop in the future.
TOUCH VAN GOGH – free
This cheeky app riffs off the museum mantra that we’ve all heard endlessly: Don’t Touch the Art. Taking the opposite stance, Touch Van Gogh lets you put your grubby fingers on impressionist masterpieces, unlocking color reconstructions based on how the paintings have aged. There are fun facts that reveal the hidden histories of the paintings, disclosing how some canvases were recycled, or how pigments have become discolored. Art historians will delight in the letters and sketches attached to the paintings, while visual artists can delve deep and see the complexity of Van Gogh’s brushstrokes and use of color.
TRACING PAPER – $2.99
For most of us, drawing isn’t like riding a bike. It’s not some latent skill that you develop once, then re-activate as it’s convenient. You’re always refining your technical skills and sharpening your ability to render an image on a 2D plane.
Tracing Paper is a great app that can help you enhance your technical drawing ability, simply by importing an image from your library, then tracing and shading over it. Use this as a warm up when you’re commuting to your studio, when you wake up, or when you’ve got to get in the zone. By tracing an image you can focus on the minute details, rather than being concerned with building the big picture. This exercise will help you refine your ability to create precise renderings, and will help kickstart your creative brain.