Drawing Web Application Tailored For an Artist

This drawing application is custom designed for an individual artist, Tony Curran, to streamline the convoluted workflow of his studio art practice. Drawing tool designed for particular artist will help him to explore new ideas and create new artworks. The design negotiated with the artist was that:

1. The application would save every shape (mark) drawn by the artist, and each shape would be able to be individually selected, replayed and edited;

2. The data would be able to be exported in some way for subsequent use;

3. The application would be compatible with iPad as browser-based app that responded to touch event

4. I was invited to be playful with the system and invent conditions which might generate new forms of art.


The project aims to design and develop a browser-based drawing application that meets the special requirements of the artist’s workflow. Web application, in this case, allows the artist to work with different platform in a different location, and also provides the possibility that a group of artists corporate together on the same painting. Therefore, a real-time cloud database(firebase) is adopted to store data.

Not only all ‘static’ data of each stroke like colour and size will be stored, but the ‘dynamic’ data related to the timeframe. Thus, not only the ‘static’ painting, but the movement of each stroke can be stored in the cloud and further retrieved to replay.

This provides the possibility of deeper creation of a static painting. Artist can manipulate each stroke under new speeds and play orders, which could generate the possibility of a new performance live drawing, like a ‘VJ’(Visual Jockey)!


Existing drawing software cannot meet the creative needs of the artist

Storing data of every single stroke in the cloud

Exploring with the artist to investigate the core requirement of the app.


The artist was satisfied with the delivery.

Some features designed outside of the artist’s prescriptions, which provoked the artist to develop entirely new kinds of artwork

This tool allowed a novel exploration into this colour investigation that was not otherwise apparent to the artist

The paper "Artists and master-coders in the consensual domain" baseed on this application, was cooperated with the artist Tony Curran and Dr Ben Swift has been accepted by CHI'20 workshop-"Where Art Meets Technology"

Design Process: UCD

Iterative user centre design process is adopted in the development. Meetings run fortnightly for the designer to demonstrate his development and invite the artist to test-run features and respond to them openly.

The whole project has been divided into 3 phases. Phase 1 was mainly focused on gathering user requirements, study the artist’s workflow and set scope and milestones. Phase 2 involved applying the insights into two prototypes and the third phase was a final implementation and evaluation of the work and its capacities to be a useable tool that the artist would select in the studio.

Further application

Working on it!