[On Werk] The IconFactory's Linea App

Posted on February 2, 2017

Scott just turned my attention, the other day, to a new sketch app that the IconFactory just released the other day called Linea.

IconFactory is better known for... well, their great icons, but also Twitterific -- a twitter client I used in the early days of Twitter, particularly because of Ollie.... who I have one of on the shelf above my desk. :D

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Ollie! Isn't he cute?

Anyhoo~!

Now, to be clear -- this isn't a full-blown drawing app like Procreate or Sketchbook Pro. It's meant for sketches and notes and it does it well.

First up - the user interface is well-designed and easy to understand and use. Just 5 basic tools, a simplified color bar, 5 working layers, and paper textures and working grids. Simple taps and gestures that seem pretty standard across most drawing apps, and various file options to save as.

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One day in and I'm in love with the pencil tools and paper textures. There are 2 types of pencils -- a "technical" pencil that acts like a mechanical pencil and a "classic" pencil that has softer, stubbier lead. Both have pressure sensitivity for gradation effects.

There are 4 types of paper "textures" - a standard grain, butcher paper (that looks like smooth kraft paper), black construction paper, and blueprint. You can switch them at any time or turn them off entirely if that's not your thing.

Additionally there are working grids: standard ones, ones specically for app and UI design, and 16:9 ratio storyboards. They can be turned on and off as needed.

My first two attempts turned out -great-. The first was sketched on the butcher paper and looks amazingly like colored pencil on paper.

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The second was a test to see how colors would layer. So I started with light blue, reds, yellows, indigo, black, then white with some in-between colors for touch-ups. Image was referenced from a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu photo, though it doesn't look much like her. >_>...

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For the most part, the colors and lines played nicely. There is a slightly darker pressure "push" at the beginning of a line, so if you do a lot of hatching, you may need to do a little light erasing to clean up the area.

As for erasing -- there are 2 types of erasers. One is a sharper "opaque" eraser, one is softer "additive" eraser. While there are 3 sizes of each -- if the eraser is too big, simply pinch and zoom in -- the eraser will size down accordingly!

I spent a little time last night fiddling with the "ink" tools - the pen and marker. They are both blunt tipped pens, both with the "opaque" and "additive" blending types. Pens are finer, markers are fatter and stubbier. Neither have pressure sensitivity for line variation - the closest you will get is with the "additive" function turned on.

EDIT: According to the developers, there -is- pressure sensitivity, but you have to press hard with this version. They're looking at tweaking the settings in future updates!

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Nice for writing notes with and not bad for flat coloring. Additionally, I drew this year's Hourly Comics in the Linea app. :3

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I had the grid turned on when drawing to help draw my blocks in, then turned it off for the finished image. :D

All in all, it's a really nice app. I like the minimalist UI and it's uncanny how much it feels like sketching on paper with their pencil tools. I think this'll be my default digital sketching app of choice - especiailly for working out rough drafts. Since I can export as a PSD for Photoshop, I can I easily transfer to my desktop and continue on final drafts.

It currently runs for $9.99 in the App Store and it's specifically meant for iPads. ★

LineaAppIcon.pngAlso! If you share your artwork on social media done with Linea, be sure to tweet @linea_app! The developers would love to see what you create!
Need more? Check out Serenity Caldwell's animated review!

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