Ten Ways To Turn Your iPad Into A 'Tablet Rasa'

If you've purchased or are about to purchase an iPad, it might be time to start fresh and clean the slate (so of speak). The Greeks use to call it "Tabula Rasa." iPad can now call it "Tablet Rasa." If you're artistically inclined, its time to throw away your sketchbook and/or watercolors - because going forward, the iPad is all you'll need to create art.

In addition to all its other functionality and forgiving some its errors of omission (what, no camera?) iPad owners can now think of their new iPads as a 9.5 by 7.5 inch canvas or sketchpad. Whether you are an amateur painter, a thoughtful scribbler, an avid doodler or a professional artist, there are literally hundreds of 'sketch,' 'digital design' and 'paint' apps now available for your new iPad. In my research, I was able to surface ten of consequence that you might want to consider for your own Tablet Rasa.

(Note: At the end of this post, please vote for your favorite app and leave your feedback in the Comment Section below if you have a familiarity with any of them).

1- Sketches 2

Sketches for iPhones has upgraded to Sketches 2 by LateNightSoft for iPads, which takes full advantage of the capabilities of your device, providing lots of new features while keeping ease of use, simplicity and sporting a stunningly beautiful and unobtrusive user interface. For $4.99 you can buy for your iPhone and use it on your iPad as well. It allows you to jot down your notes, scribble your thoughts and annotate your pictures using only your fingers and your imagination! You can also illustrate your ideas with simple but colorful diagrams.

2- SketchBook Pro App

Autodesk has released the SketchBook Pro App, an upgraded paint and drawing tool that it says is designed exclusively for the iPad, though it's based on the company's previous SketchBook Pro desktop software and its SketchBook Mobile iPhone app.

The new app combines digital pencils, pens, markers and airbrushes with a Multi-Touch gesture-based user interface. Autodesk says that its geared for both occasional doodlers and professional illustrators. The SketchBook Pro App has a full-screen,1024 x 768 workspace that works both horizontally and vertically. There are 75 brushes with customizable settings, including synthetic pressure sensitivity and brush modes for free sketching and creating straight lines, ellipses and rectangles. It's priced at $7.99 in the US.

3- Brushes

A little bit more pricey than the others at $9.99, Brushes is a popular painting application designed from scratch originally for the iPhone and iPod touch. Paintings produced with Brushes have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker on numerous occasions. It has now been redesigned and reconfigured to take full advantage of the larger screen offered by the iPad ,featuring an advanced color picker in higher quality than of the other apps in this TOP TEN list .


4- ArtStudio

ArtStudio for iPad developed by Lucky Clan is offering a special launch sale at $.99 (which is 80% off). It combines a number of useful art tools that are as of yet not offered by any other iPhone or iPod Touch illustration apps. ArtStudio is an app that not only is easy to use, but has a depth that will satisfy the appetite of even the most particular artists!  Some of the artwork that has already been created with this app is quite remarkable, and at the same time the interface itself is simple enough for children to use! Whether you are a serious student of art, or you just want a good tool to touch up your photos, this app is a quality tool.

5- Layers

Layers is a natural media painting app for the iPhone & iPod Touch and now the iPad. According to one review, " It has the potential to be the best drawing app out there. Nice interface. Smudge works great."

The original Layers for the iPhone is a painting app where you can create works of art just using your fingers. Even better, as the name suggests, the app lets you create multiple layers for your artwork, letting you unlock all sorts of neat possibilities. And the iPad version looks to take the possibility for great art yet a step further.

As with the iPhone version, Layers for the iPad allows you to create paintings with multiple layers, variable brush sizes, and more. The basic $7 version of Layers will sport two layers with three brushes—via in-app purchase, users can spend $3 to upgrade to Layers Pro, which adds three more layers and seven more brushes, as well as an “Export to Photoshop Feature.” The Pro version will get more features in future updates as well.

6- Artist’s Touch

Originally downloadable for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad at $4.99, but Artist's Touch just informed us, it will be offering the app for a limited time at an introductory offer of $.99.  And to celebrate Artist's Touch coming to the iPad, it will be giving away a brand new iPad 3G to one of the lucky users who signs up. Just imagine being able to draw or paint a portrait quickly and digitally, on the go. This app is the perfect tool for developing art at one  sitting or over time.  When the moment of inspiration hits, you can quickly sketch out your ideas and save it for a future time to review and update. For more information about the Artist’s Touch iPad app, see their official website at Artamata, Inc.

7- miArts

At $.99, miArts by miSoft is a powerful painting, drawing and animation app. Compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad, miArts requires iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later. In addition, the Sound Recorder allows users to record music and background sounds to sync it with the animation. The In-App Save feature of miArts enables users to save up to 5 paintings and 5 animations in the App memory itself.

miArtsJr is an easy to use Paint App that integrates features that are interesting to kids. The tools include the Brush tool; the Pencil tool; the Color tool; UnDo and BringBack buttons with 15-step memory; the Eraser tool; the Finger Smudge tool and the Stamp tool.

8- Paintbook 2.5

Paintbook 2.5 is a 100% vector based media drawing, painting and sketching app  priced at $3.99 developed by Sean M. Puckett. The color mixer is very well thought out yet simplistic in its design. The brushes give you the choice of transparency with an effect similar to Photoshop's "normal" and "multiple" in the way color is added. It works very well and the multiplied effect indicated in this program by a drop of water gives a natural look even without soft edges, which is similar to transparent markers. The brush sizing and opacity are easy to use with instant visual feedback.

Here is a vid on Paintbook 2.0 before they upgraded to 2.5 for iPads.

9- Inspire

By KiwiPixel, priced at $5.99, Inspire offers up great simulation of dry brush and a palette knife that all runs very smoothly even on a 1st gen iPod touch. There are no layers yet, but the whole point of the app is to blend with paint on the canvas. It's an addictive and fun painting app available for the iPad, largely because of its ability to simulate wet paint on a canvas, which can then be blended and twirled into an array of stunning effects, courtesy of four different brush types: flat brush, round brush, fan brush and palette knife.

10- Inkling

Inkling provides a 'would-be' artist with the opportunity to draw bold, expressive sketches with a few quick strokes of your finger... Express yourself with spontaneous, dramatic thick/thin lines and natural-looking textures.  Very handy for doing back-of-the-napkin type sketches to explain ideas over dinner. With its ability to draw and erase thin and thick lines, Inkling allows for some surprisingly detailed artwork. Currently priced at $1.99.

John Tokash, who was the director of software development at Homestead Technologies and now works for Intuit has compared a few of the TOP TEN on this list - and personally thinks that the Sketchbook Pro is the best of the bunch.

People who end up being successful usually view change differently than the average person.  Such is the case with those that start fresh. When you clean the slate, you clear your mind and permit yourself the opportunity to start on that next project - and in the case of this TOP TEN list - you now have several options available to you. Please take a minute and vote in our 'TOP TEN Tablet Rasa POLL.' And for those that have tried any of these apps on your iPhone,iPod Touch or iPad, please provide us with your feedback. Our readers who have interest need to be as informed as they can when matching up all that is currently in the market today.