I'm the kind of person who doesn't like playing games on their iPhone. I'm not much for Candy Crush or Angry Birds or Words with Friends, and I don't play Solitaire. I know there are more sophisticated games out there too, like Framed. But I already spend enough time scrolling through Twitter, checking up on Instagram and reloading Facebook that I just feel guilty anytime I attempt to play a game.
There are moments when I don't want to be bogged down by the weight of social media -- and I don't want to glaze over as a cache of tiny squares flash before our eyes at a million miles a minute -- but I do want to partake in a semi-mindless activity that helps me relax or pass the time at an inopportune moment. Games just don't do it for me though.
I am the kind of person who likes to make art on my phone. There are a lot of us out there. And we're always hungry for a new app that can satisfy our attention. Here is a list of my favorites -- from painting to mixing music to creating animations to coloring books. Let me know your recs in the comments
(Warning: I am an Apple user, but there are a few Android recs on the list.)
What is it? A virtual art set, equipped with paints, oil pastels, wax crayons, colored pencils and marker pens. You can draw and paint new images or import existing ones; you can blend, zoom for detail, add texture, and undo and redo. ALL THE THINGS, basically.
Who would like it? Anyone who wants to create art on the go.
What is it? Coloring book art therapy. You can turn your photos into black-and-white versions of themselves, and add pigments just like you would any other coloring book. Remember, coloring is a stress-
Who would like it? Anyone searching for mindfulness without actually being able to let go of their phones.
What is it? This one was designed by Austrian video artist Rainer Kohlberger. As its description states, the apps works through an iPad or iPhone's camera, reacting to the light and colors in your environment and translating them into tones, sounds and geometric patterns. Essentially, your taking pictures, but instead of realistic depictions of your friends sticking out their tongues, the end result will look a little like the one above, accompanied by audio determined by an algorithm.
What is it? Created by quirky app guru and visual artist Scott Snibbe, Bubble Harp records and replays fingertip movements (long movements from a single point or several) as bubbles and translates them into music. The experience is a combination of drawing, animation, music, art, geometry and gaming.
What is it? Another coloring book app, except this one is a digital version of Johanna Basford's Secret Garden images (you know, the coloring books you see at the front of your local bookstore and are practically leaping off the shelves).
Who would like it? Real, serious coloring book enthusiasts.
What is it? You might have to try this one out to see exactly what it involves, but I highly recommend it. From the iTunes description: "Uzu is a Generative Design Playground -- a sort-of math-physics-art-toy for anyone who ever loved spirographs, fireworks, planetariums, lava lamps, light sabers, pen lasers, tesla coils, christmas lights, or graphing calculators."
Who would like it? The kinds of people who spend hours staring at their iPads and wish they were doing something more intelligent.