The Internet is a great source of inspiration. Furthermore, it’s a great source of tools for artists everywhere.
No, I’m not talking about Photoshop brushes or textures to download. I’m talking about actual tools – real live software! – found online, like fun little drawing and paint web apps. They’re usually fairly simple programs (some on a similar level as good old MS Paint or MacPaint), but, with a little work and determination, one can create truly interesting artwork.
Since I’ve found this type of software both helpful and inspiring, I’ve been keeping track of my favorites. Now it’s time to share with all of you!
Silk is a great little fractal flame drawing program. You pick the colors and paint away; the program warps the lines you draw in nice wavy patterns. You don’t have much control over how the lines are warped so they can be tough to tame, but it’s a great way to explore wild shapes and color combinations. You can also achieve great kaleidoscope patterns with some of the program’s preferences.
Don’t let the name fool you; this is the most comprehensive online paint program I have found to date. It’s not quite a Photoshop clone, but it’s close. You have layers, custom brushes, and even a few effects! The Web style brushes are worth checking out. There is no pressure sensitivity, so it was a little bit of work getting varied lines, but it is quite a robust paint program and is more than capable of being used to create rough drawings.
Like Queek Paint, this program is surprisingly comprehensive. The actual drawing tools are pretty simple, but it has one really great advantage: it’s all object based. Every brush stroke can be resized and moved around independently, and you can export your artwork at quite high resolutions.
For people like me, who grew up in the ’80s, old 8-bit pixel art brings back lots and lots of memories. However, I find creating pixel-based artwork in Photoshop pretty hard and tedious. A dedicated program is a much better option, and Pixilart is a great solution. It is a VERY simple program: a paint brush, line, paint bucket, color selector, and eraser are all you get. But with pixel art, what more do you need? You can draw freely simply by visiting the site, but if you sign up, you can also create animations.
Paint like Jackson Pollock without all the mess! This fun little program creates all kinds of drips and drops following your mouse movements, and it randomly changes color for every different brush stroke. It’s an experimental painting technique so not everything you create will be a masterpiece, but it will surely be fun and inspiring!
Honorable Mention: Picassohead
Want to create Picasso-like portaits? Now you can with Picassohead, which allows you to drag simple, pre-made objects onto a digital canvas to create funky, abstract faces. The process is fun and the images nice, however they’re a big small, and you can only save them to the site (or take a screengrab, as I did), hence the honornable mention. But it still gives you a chance to feel like Picasso!