When you’re on the road, you’re away from the gear you need to follow your creative pursuit; whether it’s your paints, your music production setup, your video camera, or your perfected writing environment, you just don’t have all the tools you need to continue your creative pursuits in the way you usually do.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun and be creative! There are a lot of apps that will help you out by letting you do smaller versions of your favorite creative hobbies, and some that will help you keep your brain sharp while you’re away from your creative ritual. Here are a few of the best of both.
Keeping Your Visual Game Sharp
Visual artists, from painters and sketch aficionados to photographers and videographers, all need to keep the visually creative parts of their brain in tip-top shape. Even if you can’t spend time editing a killer video or laying down layers of oil paint, you can still engage your creative neurons when you’re on the go.
The easiest way to do that is taking photos with your phone and spending a few minutes here and there editing them. It may not take quite the same skill-set as painting or full-on photo editing, but playing around with a great app like VSCO, Aviary, or any of the other great mobile photo editors can keep you occupied for hours fixing up the photos you’ve taken on your trip (my personal favorite is VSCO).
If you’re looking for a less static form of art, check out 5SecondsApp (iOS, Android, freemium), an app that lets you convert a five-second section of video or a Live Photo from iOS 9 into a GIF. You won’t be able to create a ground-breaking cinematograph, but you can definitely make some really fun things to share on social media while you’re away from home.
For something really different that will keep you thinking creatively, try Shadowmatic (iOS, $2.99), a game in which you have to rotate shapes to create a familiar image with their shadows. It takes a while to get the hang of, but with a little practice, you’ll be engaging the visually creative part of your brain. Monument Valley (iOS, Android, Windows, $3.99) is another visually inspiring game that will get your brain working.
While you won’t find quite as many different kinds of apps for sound-based creatives, there are some really fun things you can download to keep your sound-focused brain engaged while on-the-go.
Soundrop (iOS, free), for example, lets you draw and connect lines and turns them into music, engaging your brain in multiple ways. Bloom HD (iOS, $3.99) uses a similar idea and is characterized as “part instrument, part composition and part artwork.”
No matter what kind of creative you are, getting help with brainstorming and coming up with ideas is always welcome. Even if you aren’t trying to come up with an idea for the century’s next great novel, practicing the types of ideating that are used by novelists and other written-word creatives can be a big help.
The Brainstormer (iOS, $1.99) is a great example. It’s pitched as an app to help fight writer’s block, but you could use this as a five-minute writing exercise to help you stretch your creative muscles. Story Cubes is another great iOS app for brainstorming story ideas. If you’ve never written a story, you should definitely give it a shot — no matter what kind of creative you are!
There are a number of other great brainstorming apps that will get you think with a little bit less of a writing focus. Brainsparker, for example, comes with a number of different creative-thinking prompts that can be used for writing or just to get you thinking creatively. And you can purchase more packs of different cards to keep you thinking.
The Creative Whack Pack (iOS, $1.99) and IDEO Method Cards (iOS, freemium) are both popular brainstorming tools that have been ported to iOS and that will help you start thinking creatively about any problem you like. And Unstuck‘s “digital coach” (iOS, free) will help you work through any difficulty you’re having in your creative process, no matter your preferred medium.
How Do You Stay Creative on the Go?
We know that there are all sorts of creatives out there, and that everyone has their own creative process and preferences. These apps will help you out if you want to keep creating when you’re on the go, but we’re sure there are lots more out there. From photo editors to creative games to music-making machines, there’s an app for everyone.
What do you use to keep creating while you’re away from your usual setup? Do you prefer smaller versions of your standard software, or to try new things? Do you like creative games, or serious tools? Share your thoughts below!