Apps for Artists: Evernote

Continuing on the notebook theme – while I love my paper notebook and will always have one for the ideas that have to be captured in real ink, pencil and paint, Evernote an electronic version, has also become part an integral part of my kit.

I use Evernote for all sorts of notes – not just for my painting references. From business notes to shopping lists, it’s a useful way of gathering and organising the information I need in my life.  Notes are grouped into virtual notebooks so I can make individual notes within books about specific work projects, or general categories (like ‘painting ideas’, family history research, information for an upcoming trip).

There are some specific features that make it great as an app for artists. In Evernote I can:

  • type in text notes, add audio, or video to my notes,
  • add a plug in to my web browser which makes it easy to copy entire sections of a web page, just the URL, or clip an small part of that page,
  • attach a file from my computer to any note,
  • take a photograph directly from the Evernote app which automatically goes into the notebook I allocate it to,
  • synchonise Evernote on my phone, my laptop and my iPad so I can use it on the go.
It’s not just a text or sketch repository – it can be filled with visual references too. That flexibility is the key. I find my work notes tend to be predominantly text, tables and web links, while my painting reminders are filled with photographs and sections of web pages which include images.

I’m using it to build my own reference library for my painting. I have lists of artists whose work I’d like to spend more time viewing. I have images and ideas I’m considering using as subjects for paintings one day. I’ve started a section on colour notes based around Maggie Latham‘s series of blog posts on exploring colours. 

So often in the past I’ve found myself reading a blog post or a website and thinking, “I must remember to go back to this” only to find that when I do need it, I can’t find it.  Either its lost in an endless list of bookmarks, or if I can find the page, I spend ages trawling through it to find the specific nugget of information I wanted. As long as I remember to clip it to Evernote, I don’t need to do that any more.

I had Evernote downloaded on my computer for ages and just didn’t get into it. Finally, the need to collect images for a commission persuaded me to try again – and this time I really found it useful and I’m using it more and more.

Oh, and one more thing – it’s free, which means its not going to bite into the paint budget.

One thought on “Apps for Artists: Evernote

  1. Wow thanks Vandy, this is a great tip! I’ll try it on my ipad too. I’ve been struggling with keeping the info organized and so many good ideas can get lost in the fray. Happy painting!

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