There’s a reason they say a picture is worth a thousand words – it’s the promise of creativity that makes the Samsung GALAXY Note II’s S Pen the most powerful tool this side of a magic wand.
From the moment you slide the S Pen from its neat little cubby on the bottom of the Note II, you’ll be itching to get to work on your very own masterpiece.
The first thing to do is get to grips with the S Pen, so head over to S Note and open a fresh Idea Sketch. This gives you a blank canvas on which to brainstorm, using sketches, jottings, cuttings from your photo gallery and around the web – or a collage of words and images that combines all three!
Brush with greatness
When drawing in Idea Sketch, you’ll notice that some brushes act realistically, getting thicker and darker the harder you press. For sketching, try a light touch with the pencil tool, but when you’re looking to make a statement, an inky brush and a bit of pressure are sure to produce some dramatic results.
You can also vary the line you get from the S Pen by holding it at a different angle – just like with a traditional brush or pencil.
It’s easy to grab an image from elsewhere to paste into your Idea Sketch, too. Wherever you are in the GALAXY Note II, just hold down the button on the side of the S Pen and draw around the area of screen you want to capture. You can then save this as an image and paste it into S Note.
For all these reasons and more, Idea Sketch is great for working up your rough ideas, but its squared grid backdrop doesn’t lend itself to a finished masterpiece. It’s more an artist’s sketchbook than final canvas.
So where do you go when you’re done with sketching? Well, there’s a whole spectrum of arty apps on the Google Play store, including some that are optimised for S Pen input.
It might take a few minutes to set up the huge range of brush types, colour options and nifty commands, but it’ll be more than worth it once you get into your creative stride.
One brilliant (and free) option is Autodesk SketchBook Mobile, which comes with loads of pen and brush choices including an airbrush – ideal for backgrounds and adding texture.
A premium version gives you more control over customised brush types, and will set you back a trifling £1.24. But if you’re looking to pay for your creative impulses, then the OmniSketch app is also worth a look.
Offering a world of features for just £1.23, OnmiSketch uses blending, blurring and other effects to give your work a professional-looking polish it might otherwise lack.
You can also experiment with built-in textures and set up ‘procedural brushes’ to draw designs and patterns automatically!
Trace for impact!
Of course, we haven’t all been blessed with natural artistic ability (as you may be able to tell from some of our screengrabs here). But that’s no reason to limit your creativity: there are lots of apps for the Note II that let you get arty at the touch of an S Pen!
One of our favourites for portraiture is Trace A Face – a free app that does exactly what it says on the tin. You can trace a photo taken with the Note II, grab an image from the web or pick out your favourite mugshots from Facebook.
The natty neon colour palette means you can do your best Warhol impression, and the original photo disappears in the final version, leaving only your pixel-perfect portrait behind!
And if even tracing seems a bit advanced, you can even revisit the childhood pleasure of colouring-in with I’m Painter For S Pen.
This free app offers a range of line drawings for you to bring to life in colours of your choice, including Old Masters such as Leonardo and Goya.
We won’t tell anyone that magenta Mona Lisa isn’t all your own work if you don’t!
Finally, if you want to try your hand at something a bit more creative than colouring-in but still aren’t too keen on drawing, there’s still the option of creating a collage.
The S Pen’s handy Easy Clip function lets you grab any bit of the screen you like and post it into your own montage masterpiece – and Idea Sketch is perfect for this sort of cut’n’paste creating.
Once you’ve saved your collage to the Gallery, it’s a one-click process to share them with the world, whether via ChatOn, Facebook, email and MMS, or on an image-sharing site such as Picasa.
So whenever you want to share your Note II talents, all your friends will get the picture!