Some people send text with their iPhones, and some play games. The artist Jorge Colombo created this week’s cover for The New Yorker with his.
Mr. Colombo drew the June 1 cover scene, of a late-night gathering around a 42nd Street hot dog stand, entirely with the iPhone application Brushes. Because of the smears and washes of color required by the inexact medium, it comes off as dreamy, not sharp and technological.
“The best feature of it is that it doesn’t feel like something that was done digitally; quite the opposite,” said Françoise Mouly, the art editor for The New Yorker. “All too often the technology is directed in only one direction, which is to make things more tight, and this, what he did very well, is use this technology for something that is free flowing, and I think that’s what makes it so poetic and magical.”
Mr. Colombo bought his iPhone in February, and the $4.99 Brushes application soon after, and said the portability and accessibility of the medium appealed to him. He began the scene by beginning with the buildings’ structure, then layering on the taxis, neon lights, hot-dog stand and people. (A video of the process is available at newyorker.com beginning on Monday.)
It “made it easy for me to sketch without having to carry all my pens and brushes and notepads with me, and I like the fact that I am drawing with a set of tools that anybody can have easily in their pocket,” he said. There is one other advantage of the phone, too: no one notices he is drawing. Mr. Colombo said he stood on 42nd Street for about an hour with no interruptions.
“It gives him an anonymity in the big city that an artist with the easel wouldn’t have,” Ms. Mouly said.
“Absolutely nobody can tell I am drawing,” Mr. Colombo said. “In fact, once I was doing the drawing at some place, and my wife was around, and they asked her why did I have to work so hard? I seemed to be always on my iPhone sending messages.”