Drawing App Can Help You Reconnect

As a designer, I work with art on a daily basis. But until this afternoon I couldn’t tell you when the last time I actually put pen to paper and drew something was.

I can remember spending hours as a child just drawing. Simply sitting down with a pad of paper and a pen and jotting down a journey through my mind was a favorite way of wasting time. Back then, I was usually doodling ideas for my future—a spaceship for my job as an astronaut or a lunker bass to make my poppa proud. Whenever I was home, I was carrying that worn out drawing pad around and doodling, no need for other toys; and more often than not my father was sitting right beside me, drawing something of his own to show me.

Somewhere between then and now all of that disappeared, like most things do.

As often happens when long forgotten memories unexpectedly return, this one was quite by accident. I happened to be searching for productivity tools on my iPad when Paper snagged my eye.

A good way to jot down work notes, I thought. Yet all hope of productivity vanished within seconds of opening the app.

As if they never left, the old habits kicked back in. A blank piece of parchment in front of me—pens and brushes too—was all it took for me to digress into the doodling days of my youth. I was back home again, back home with Pops and our paper pads.

The shapes flowed under my new pen and onto this new digital easel. But 20 odd years later, I noticed another change. These shapes were not images of spaceships or bass, they were the sweetest memories of my time spent without an art pad: memories of days’ end over the ebbing waters of the Mississippi River, a sapphire bridge over a Japanese koi pond.

An afternoon later, I looked up to see Pops right on cue. Wiley as ever, he had soon picked up his own iPad and begun doodling on his own Paper.

So there we were again, pens and papers in hand, as if 20 years had never passed.

Dad drew a horse. I drew a bear. And if only for a moment, the digital age had brought simplicity back to life.


Paper, by FiftyThree, is available for free download in the iOS (Apple) App Store. For Android devices, check out SketchBook Express. If you’re interested in more senior friendly mobile apps, see “Great Smartphone and Tablet Apps for Seniors.”

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