Fishy (And Fresco)

Another dip pen and ink sketch, this time with the Leonardt HIRO nib, a seemingly little known but incredible nib for sketching on smooth Stillman & Birn Zeta paper. Used this time with Pelikan Brilliant Brown ink; one of the few bottles of fountain pen ink that is locally available at a relatively reasonable price. I also used my Platinum 3776 fountain pen for a couple of the fish; starting to love this pen more and more for expressive sketches.

So Fresco: Adobe’s new app for iOS is really fun to play around with. So engrossing, in fact, that I’m glad they’re giving a 6 month free trial for us to play around with it, because it lacks too many core features for an illustration app for me to cough up Rs. 819/ month once it’s over. The stock pencil tool might be the best vanilla pencil I’ve used of any app, ever. The Live brushes are the only thing that sets this app apart from the rest, though, and whilst it’s ‘fun’, I’m just not sure it’s enough to warrant a subscription for professional purposes. If you’re all in on the Adobe Creative Cloud suite anyway, it’s a good nice to have thing, but for those of us in the Procreate, Affinity or Clip Paint Studio camp, it’s not groundbreaking.

Here’s a screenshot of me using a Multiply layer and live watercolour brushes to play with the traditional ink sketch. Unfortunately, as much fun as it is, Fresco is lacking some glaringly basic functionality for it to contend with the likes of Procreate, Clip Paint Studio, Affinity Photo/ Designer, or even Autodesk’s free Sketchbook Pro. For one thing, there’s no blender or palette knife tool. For another, transforming elements and cropping/ resizing canvas is clunky and unintuitive. And while the Pencil has won my heart, and I’m a fan of the Belgian Comics inker too, the other non live brushes are just… meh.

I wasn’t expecting Fresco to be Photoshop (which is still supposed to be coming to the iPad, ‘soon’), but I was expecting a robust illustration app from a creative app giant that’s charging a proportionately hefty subscription fee for the same. I was expecting Adobe Sketch (which is free) to feel like a ‘lite’ version of Fresco; instead Fresco feels more like a slightly more mature cousin of Sketch. Better, sure, but not that much better- and not good enough for the $10/ month asking price.

Especially not with ProCreate 5 around the corner.

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