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Drawing with Light - would Picasso have used a drawing tablet?

Updated: Apr 27, 2022

As a practising artist and interior design illustrator I’ve thought long and hard about digital drawing verses hand methods, often oscillating between both camps in the debate. Then I asked myself, would Picasso have used an iPad?

My favourite ‘go to’ book for digital drawing and painting is Alison Jardine’s ‘Make Great Art on Your iPad’. Jardine describes this art making process as ‘painting with light’ which really struck a cord with me. A tablet is a whole art studio in one contained space - less than the size of an A4 piece of paper. In that studio you can zoom right in as if under a microscope, you can click on a lower layer and paint underneath or even work in the dark. Oh and there’s no cleaning up to do. That’s got to be a win.

For an artist, painting directly under what has gone before is freedom. When you work with physical ‘in real life’ paint and you paint one layer on top of another the underneath layer is no longer so readily accessible. When painting with light you can literally work in reverse - from top to bottom or even move the top to the bottom!

Then there is drawing and painting in the dark. David Hockney’s 2021 London Summer exhibition ’The Arrival of Spring’ consisted entirely of iPad paintings and also included work created only by the light of the moon. This is a revelation for night owls.

My current project has been to draw last Autumn’s shop window and turn it into a greeting card. Given the investment that goes into a luxury interior design display I felt it needed capturing and preserving in someway. Last Autumn’s was a show stopper with its rich blend of oranges, yellows, blues, greens and charcoals, but you know designers, we don’t sit still for long and a Summer display is on its way - no spoilers here though!

I still paint by hand, being a fan of both hand and digital processes, and sometimes I combine the effects of both in one piece. So, move over Picasso (yes he would have loved an iPad) and watch this space for the Summer display coming soon.

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If you have an interior that is significant to you and you want to capture or an interior that’s still in your head that needs to be visualised, do get in touch at

Top Tip: It’s not easy to select all the various elements of an interior design scheme and visualise how they will all come together: combining lighting, materials, colour schemes and accessories can be overwhelming at times. An interior design visualisation can help.

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