Can you tell what it is yet? Wacom Bamboo Paper is a new drawing app for the iPad, and we decided to channel Rolf Harris to test it with requests from our Facebook fans. We grabbed an iPad and the Wacom Bamboo Stylus, a pen that draws on the iPad's screen, and got art like Tony Hart.
The Bamboo Stylus feels like a normal pen, but with a squidgy end. It mimics the effect of a finger, so it feels like drawing with a big thick marker pen. We weren't expecting much precision. It's no draughtsman's tool, but the stylus surprised us with how precise it could be -- and how much fun. We found that once we relaxed into the loose style required, and got our eye in, drawing with the Bamboo stylus could be an absolute blast.
The only problem with the stylus is that if the rest of your hand touches the iPad, it can leave unwanted lines. But again, taking a more relaxed approach made us smile at the inadvertent marks -- the digital equivalent of smudging your paper. And these marks can be eradicated with a quick swish of finger or stylus -- marvelous.
The iPad screen isn't pressure-sensitive, so the Bamboo stylus isn't as sensitive as the stylii that come with Wacom's pressure-sensing tablets, which know how hard you're pressing and vary line thickness accordingly. But the app does mark thinner lines when you draw faster, giving a small but pleasing variation to line weight.
To give the app and pen a thorough test, we threw this review open to our Facebook fans and invited requests for drawings. Crave's scribbler-in-residence donned his beret and stayed up all night cranking out the best of your requests, and the results are above. But is it art?
The app takes the form of a virtual notebook, in which each new picture appears as an extra page. You can email or print individual pictures, or share the entire book as a PDF.
One neat touch is that you can choose from plain, lined or squared paper, for that old-school exercise book feel or to keep your scribbles straight. Unfortunately though, the app appears in portrait mode. It's a blank page, so you can turn the iPad any which way and scribble whichever way you like, but the icons remain stubbornly sideways. That takes away from the slick feel Wacom is aiming for.
The icons let you choose from a pen or eraser, undo and redo strokes, or clear the whole page. You can use your fingers to pinch to zoom in and out, or use two fingers to pan around the picture.
The main problem with the app is the lack of drawing options. There are only three thicknesses to choose from, and the only colours are green, black, burgundy and three shades of blue. No bright red, yellow, no flesh tones, and if you want white, you have to use the eraser. Sadly there's only one size of eraser: chunky. For drawing options, it's not a patch on the selection of colours and pen sizes in rival app Adobe Ideas, but that costs £2.50 and Bamboo Paper is free. Fingers crossed for more colours in future updates.
We love the old-school notebook feel of the Wacom Bamboo Paper app, and drawing with the Bamboo Stylus is great fun. Click through the pictures to see our efforts, and click 'like' on our Facebook page to join in the fun. Just don't expect this every week.