Digital tools for drawing

Can apps help us with our drawing practice and artworks? Definitely. Today we’re going to look at a few apps I found very useful over the years.

Magic Poser

Are you drawing a challenging pose and can’t find the right reference? Magic Poser allows you to easily pose any number of 3D human art models with props in the way you need.

Features include:

-Tapping on control points and dragging to manipulate the human model like a real doll and automatically adjusts it to the dynamic poses you want.

-Different styles and head-to-body ratios, ranging from the realistic 1:7.5 models to the exaggerated 1:3 characters in both realistic and anime style.

-Free and premium props, ranging from desks and chairs to medieval shields and swords.

-Customizable models with hair and clothing options.

-Fine tuning through sliders/text inputs for more precision for every joint of the human body.

-Realistic and adjustable studio lighting, with models casting shadows on every other object.

-Large collection of preset poses.

-Extreme perspective tools.


From the drawing wizard Stan Prokopenko came the Skelly app, a really well made tool to study human anatomy and create your reference picture exactly as you want it.


‘Skelly is a fully poseable, anatomically correct reference skeleton for artists. A simplified version of the skeleton is also included, named “Robo-Skelly”. These figures were created to make the study of anatomy easier and more enjoyable for students and professionals without leaving your wallets bone dry.’

Handy art reference tool

Handy is an artist’s reference tool, consisting of several rotatable 3D limbs with a variety of poses useful for drawing. You can also customize and edit your own poses for hands, feet, and skulls.


Fully adjustable 3-point lighting means you can get easy lighting reference when using any of the 10+ included 3D head busts. Handy if you’re painting and need to know what shadows the head casts from a certain angle.


Also available is the Animal Skulls pack. With over 10 different animal species, it’s great for anatomical reference or creature design inspiration.

Understanding color

Josef Albers’s classic Interaction of Color is a masterwork in art education. Conceived as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students, this influential book presents Albers’s singular explanation of complex color theory principles.

About the artist

Josef Albers, one of the most influential artist-educators of the 20th century, was a member of the Bauhaus group in Germany during the 1920s before moving to the United States in 1933. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, Albers was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1968 and was professor emeritus of art at Yale until his death in 1976.

Digital format

Originally published by Yale University Press in 1963 as a limited silkscreen edition with 150 color plates, Interaction of Color is now available digitally. Unfortunately the original app format has been discontinued but you still can use it via their website after subscribing. This new digital form allows you to easily navigate, highlight, explore video commentaries, create/save/share your own exercises, and support learning through additional resources.

Interaction of Color App for iPad Video Commentary Sampler [App Coming July 25, 2013]

TattooSmart 3D Models

I’m sure you all know TattooSmart’s brush sets for Procreate. One interesting addition to their arsenal is the new line of 3D models with human forms, a valuable tool to use both as reference for drawing and to better understand tattoo flow and placement on the body.