Create A Family Digital Art Gallery with Painting Apps

digital art gallery
Pass the smart phone around for an afternoon of digital art.
Image by Lisa Kay Tate

With the post-holiday down-time setting in, cold weather keeping many people indoors, and the new year house cleaning making the walls look bare, it’s time to brighten up the home with a digital art family gallery.

Several painting apps are available that allow no-mess freehand-style drawings (via smartphone or iPad) that not only keep those creative juices flowing before the Spring Fever kicks in, they take only as much time as each person is willing to spend on their art.

sketch club samples
Some of the impressive art from Sketch Club users found on the app’s community page.

The app we worked on was Sketch Club, since we were able to pick up a free download via a fairly popular coffee chain named for a Herman Melville character.

What makes Sketch Club a great app for families is it is so easy to operate. Just by tapping around the tools, my four-year-old was able to create some very imaginative abstract art.  Several tool bushes, and the ability to work with up to 20 layers of work, make it inviting for more advanced artists to challenge themselves.

Images can be shared via an online community, and there are some impressive creations out there. These could be a great source of inspiration, but don’t let the amazing shared art make you insecure with your own artistic abilities.

Pretty much any painting apps, with saving and sharing abilities, will work as well. How you go about mounting and displaying the artwork is what will really make it look great on your walls as well as bring out your family’s personality.

Once everyone in the home has created and saved their sketch, print them out various standard sizes (6″ x 4″ to 8″ x 10″). Frame them with simple photo frames or on mat boards and hang them in a close cluster on the wall. Even with the different styles and artistic levels, if they are all done with the same app, they should complement each other well. This activity also gives the family a chance to create something together, yet be able to work at their own pace and level with no pressure. The results are often a source of pride and accomplishment, especially for younger users.

Sketch Club is available via iTunes for both iPhone and iPad. Other similar “painting apps” include Brushes suitable or iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, SketchBook Mobile/Pro for Tablet or Mobile and Fantasia Painter Free for Windows 8. The cost of these vary, although as the name implies, Fantasia Painter Free (which lets you manipulate photographs) is available for free.

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Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.