January 20, 2009

The iPhone is an amazing device, running software that allows one to catapult penguins, mimic fart sounds, and upload baby pictures to Facebook while driving.

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Yet, as an early adopter of every PDA technology known to man—from Newton to Palm Pilot to Treo—I have yet to find any mobile electronic device to be more convenient than old-timey pen and paper when it comes to scribbling notes and doodling doodles...I'm the guy with Post-Its stuck to the back of his iPhone.

However: Brushes is an iPhone application that may finally change all that. The software allows users to make the equivalent of paint sketches on their iPhone; a swipe of the finger creates the look of an oil pastel or watercolor brush dragged across paper, and an infinite range of colors and shades are available to the nimble of digit. No stylus is required to get decent results, and while fine detail isn't exactly Brushes' forte, the whole expressionism thing works great. Advantages over paper and pencil/paint include a backlit drawing surface that can store as many of your on-the-go masterpieces as you wish, and no messy clean-up.

There is, of course, already a Flickr group dedicated to Brushes drawings, and a reigning Michelangelo (or Thomas Kinkade, if you prefer). The Brushes work of a Disney art director named Stephane Kardos are mostly neon-colored sketches of Los Angeles signscapes, and are quickly becoming the core of an online Brushes canon.

Image via Flicker user guijarroponce

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