As an Illustrator, I’m always looking for ways to use technology to simplify my life. Part of the reason I got a smartphone was for the ability to carry around a mini on-the-spot portfolio, but with the explosion of the Android app market I’ve found so many other apps that are great for professional artists, from both an artistic and business perspective. In no particular order…
One of the most useful aspects of having a smartphone is the ability to use it as a mini portfolio. You never know when you will randomly bump into a gallery owner, art director, or other potential client. With a portfolio on your phone, you can instantly showcase your art and impress them with your savvy to boot.
You really don’t want to have all your camera pics, movies, and full LOLcat library available for browsing when trying to show off your portfolio. That’s where QuickPic comes in. I love it because your pictures appear quickly and frills-free for browsing as a portfolio, and you can choose which folders to designate as viewable. This way, you can keep all your images available in the stock gallery app for personal use, and use QuickPic to show only your portfolio folder.
If you ever sell your artwork in person, Square is a must-have app. Unlike most other card processing apps, Square requires no monthly fee or up-front costs of any kind. It’s a lot like Paypal in that it costs nothing to have– you are only charged a percentage of your sales. After signing up, you’ll be sent a totally free and tiny swipe dongle. Then you can accept payments wherever you are, complete with tax options. It’s incredibly useful.
Photoshop Express is a free app by Adobe which you can use to adjust, crop, resize and otherwise edit your images. Great for editing pics of your gallery opening for instant upload to Twitter, or adjusting any phone snapshot without the need to transfer to your computer.
4. Autodesk SketchBook – Sketching App FREE to $4.99
A professional level drawing app for and Android platform by Autodesk– the makers of Maya, AutoCAD, 3Ds Max and more. Perfect for sketching on the go without lugging around a sketchbook. If you really like the idea of mobile sketching, you can also grab a phone stylus at Amazon for a few bucks.
5. Xpert-Timer – Time-Tracking App Trial, then $7.00
As an artist, illustrator or designer, one of your most important responsibilities is time management. Whether you work based on billable hours or by the project, it’s important to know how much time you are spending in various aspects of your business in order to give accurate price quotes to your clients. I have tried a variety of billing apps, but I stuck with Xpert-Timer because it has a clean interface, can manage multi-tiered projects and tasks, and has great reporting and exporting options. You simply start and stop your timer wherever you are right on your phone.
(Note: The price recently rose to $7.00 on this one, but considering these apps are for business I think it’s wise to spend a bit of money when it makes sense. You can try the trial first, to see if you like it!)
As an artist or any other freelance professional, it’s important to keep track of your to-do list for projects, appointments, calls, and whatever else you have going on. Taskos does an amazing job syncing with Google tasks (or not– your choice!) and makes it really simple to quickly record business and personal tasks. I love Taskos because you can record tasks via speech recognition, organize tasks by category, and keep all your tasks in a widget on the home screens for quick access. The interface is clean and simple, and it makes good use of phone features, such as shake-to-clear and accessing your contact list for social tasks.
Because no client will take you seriously if they find out you do not have this on your phone.
There you have it! Artists: Do you have any favorite apps that help you do your job?