A few days ago I saw on an ArtRage social media post a blurb saying that the painting they were featuring was done with a capacitive brush, the Nomad Brush. Mind. Blown. I had no idea that capacitive brushes even existed, and of course I was dying to try one out and see if it felt more like I was “painting” using the ArtRage app than by using the stylus I had been using. I bought a (pink, of course) Nomad Compose Flex brush. I’ve already reviewed the ArtRage app here, so I thought I’d talk a bit about the brush and see how I liked it. And don’t worry, this blog is not going to turn into one of those sites that only does reviews of products. I will occasionally do that, but I will only review products I actually use and bought without any incentive from the company, and the only reason I’m “reviewing” them is in case others want to try them out too.
I thought for now I’d try a quick painting of one of my photos of flowers from my Mum and my auntie’s gardens. I don’t have any pics of flowers I’ve grown, I live in an apartment building and I most definitely did not inherit my Mum’s green thumb. Plants cry when I decide to take them home with me. Thankfully Coco reminds me to feed him and take him out otherwise he may end up brown and shriveled up in a corner like most of my plants do. Anyway, back to the photo. I figured it would be a good trial for a brush as it’s a very smooth surface and has lots of smooth colour gradations.
I uploaded my reference image and underlaid it in my canvas in the ArtRage app. Sometimes if I’m just messing around I’ll paint directly over a faint image of my reference image, rather than having it “posted” in a corner of my painting somewhere. I was using the oil paints, and experimenting with different brush sizes. Although I liked using a brush better than a stylus, the results weren’t really any different as the brush settings in the app were still set, so it didn’t really matter if the brush was fanned out with pressure or not – the width of the paint stroke was going to be the same as the width was set in the settings.
I kept experimenting, and eventually flipped to chalk pastels. Of course, in the real world if you tried to use chalk pastels over wet oil paint you’d want to smack your head against a brick wall, the results would be horrifyingly bad. In the app it came out just fine though, and added that bit of extra smoothness and colour vibrancy that I was wanting.
All in all, I liked handling the brush more than I do a regular stylus, but it wasn’t quite the same as using a real brush as the app settings weren’t able to pick up different pressures, etc like would happen with a real painting. But, it was a good quick experiment, and I’m glad I bought the brush.