Ever since I got my Palm Pilot back in 98, I’ve always had delusions of doing digital sketches on the go. Now with an amazing home-brew app for the Nintendo DS I finally have my digital sketch book. I came across Colors! from a Lifehacker article not too long ago. They link to a Wired article on how to get it set up. I’m guessing that Colors works with most DS home-brew cards, it loads on my M3 Lite without any special settings (aside from applying the obligatory DLDI patch).
Colors! has three different brush controls: Size, Transparency and of course Color. It may not seem like a lot, but we’re not retouching photos here and I found myself not needing anything else. The painting is very smooth and accurate. The colors mix well using the transparency feature. You can even use pressure sensitivity (a feature I didn’t know the DS had) to control width and/or transparency. The only thing that might be a nice addition is an undo button.
Painting alone is great, but the way Colors! manages your drawings is essential. All of your artwork is done native in png format. If you save a sketch and load your memory card into a computer you’ll have a png sitting right there. This pakes it perfect as the starting point for a drawing that will be later refined in Photoshop. Also, even though you’re painting on a 320×240 screen, your image is saved at 512×384 resolution. As icing on the cake, Colors has a built in email feature that lets you mail your image to yourself. However, I found this feature to be limiting due to the painfully slow data-rates theDS wifi is capable of.
One thing that really hit home while trying this software was that years of computer design and programming have really killed my freehand skills. Most of my drawings were not even close to some of the example’s I’ve seen out there. I did manage to pull off my trademark Green Zeta shown above. That image came directly from Colors!, click to see the full size version.