Zen Brush 2
Can this drawing app bring you some Zen-like calm?
Zen Brush 2 lets you create stylish Japaneseinspired artwork by replicating the strokes of an East Asian ink brush. It has three weights (dry, standard and wet) that mimic certain features of Japanese brush work, from ‘kasure’ scratchiness to ‘nijimi’ blurring.
Ink strokes look beautiful on screen, and in tests on our iPad 3 we found the brush responsive and quick to render, with it tapering and bleeding in very believable ways. Our favourite thing is that if you leave the brush in one place, the ink begins to pool as if left on the paper, which looks lovely! This gives you a fantastic range of strokes which can be further amplified with the use of a pressure-sensitive stylus like the Adonit Jot Touch.
Unfortunately, the app’s other options are somewhat limited. There are only three levels of opacity (Deep, Medium and Light) and only one colour available other than black (a red tint). Within this limited functionality, opacity and transparency behave in unexpected ways. For example, when you paint one stroke over the next, the colours do not blend into each other as wet ink should. While on one hand this makes creating images much easier as you do not have the problem of contamination between lines, it can also be quite frustrating for more seasoned users if that is what you are wanting to do.
With its limited options, this is not a replacement for apps like Procreate or SketchBook Ink. However, Zen Brush 2 is fun and easy to use and thus well worth a try, as it may give your art a new Zen-like approach. Alex Thomas
Zen Brush has a library of 92 different background textures to give your artwork some added depth.