“Keeping it Real” in the Digital Era—New Tools for Traditional Art

Ignore the naysayers—traditional art is not dead. On the contrary, more artists are combining painting, sketching, and other traditional mediums with the Internet and digital tools. The results are spectacular. With animation and design apps that feature realistic brush strokes, artists can produce works with the feel of traditional mediums. Kdan Mobile is at the forefront of this movement. To show our support for the merging of traditional art and new technologies, below we introduce and tip our hats to artists who are “keeping it real” in the digital era.

Crowdfunding Japanese Woodblock Prints

Fox moon

“Fox Moon” by Dave Bull and Jed Henry

Ever wonder where the distinctive style of Japanese animation comes from? Before there was anime, there was Ukiyo-e. Ukiyo-e (浮世 “floating world”) is a genre of Japanese woodblock printing that thrived in the Edo period. To create Ukiyo-e prints, paintings are carved onto slabs of wood, which are then inked and pressed onto sheets of paper.

Fascinated by the connection between modern anime and Ukiyo-e, Jed Henry and Dave Bull launched the art project “Ukiyo-e Heroes” on Kickstarter. Henry created twelve paintings of his favorite Japanese video game characters. Bull—who has devoted his adult life to mastering the art of Ukiyo-e—has carved and printed them in the traditional Ukiyo-e style. On Kickstarter, the pair set the goal of raising $10,000 to fund the project. Shockingly, they received over $300,000. “Ukiyo-e Heroes” clearly struck a chord with a wide audience. With the help of the Internet, Henry and Bull have breathed new life into a traditional art form.

iPad Meets Oil Painting


 Village” by Ratushnyak Vitaliy

Art Tools

If you want to combine your own traditional art with the latest technologies, then check out Animation Desk. Animation Desk users can choose between a pencil, crayon, fountain pen, and three types of brush in addition to a smudge tool. Just how well do these tools emulate the real things? The animation below speaks for itself.  Jáchym Bouzek used the tools in Animation Desk to replicate traditional pencil sketching. The result is a digital creation with an authentic touch.

When inspiration strikes, it’s best to get your idea down on paper right away. Check out Paper Spiral, an app that allows you to jot down ideas on your iPad, while the rolling canvas ensures that you will never be disrupted by page breaks.

Also, if you are interested in transforming your photos into paintings, Kdan’s Painting 101 can help. Painting 101 allows users to stylize photos so that they appear to be sketches or paintings. To bring a handcrafted feel to your drawings, animations, or photos without sacrificing the convenience of digital tools, Kdan mobile’s design apps are just what you’re looking for.