Apps, gear and gadgets for inspiring creativity

Being inspired to create something new is one of the most positive and rewarding drives we all have.

But as work, family and financial pressures fill up your plate, it can sometimes seem impossible to muster the effort required to engage with a creative pursuit.

Whether you’re a visual artist, musician, wordsmith or photographer, technology can be a great resource for simplifying the creative process and inspiring new ideas.

If it’s been longer than you’d like since your last endeavor, you’ll be surprised by how many apps, gadgets and websites there are to help you find inspiration… and make it easier to actually follow it through.



Price: US$149
From: SprayPrinter

sprayprinter1If you’re an admirer of street art, then you’ve probably wished at some point to paint an artwork directly onto a wall in your house rather than hanging something.

The SprayPrinter is a handheld wand that connects to your smartphone to print images onto a wall.

Using a complex array of LED lights and accelerometers the device knows its relative position and can print an image by simply being moved across the wall.

the Slate

Price: US$159
From: iskn

the slateThe stylus has come a long way in the past few years and there is an undoubtable convenience in having your work in digital form, but for many, there still isn’t anything that can replace the feel of a pencil or a pen and paper.

Comprised of a ring that attaches to your favourite writing utensil and a pressure-sensitive tablet that sits underneath a sheet of paper and transcribes your strokes to an app, the Slate allows you to have the best of both worlds.


Price: US$99
From: 3Doodler

3doodlerFor those who like the whole 3D printing concept but would prefer to make something on the fly rather than go to the effort of pre-planning something to print, the 3Doodler might just be the perfect tool.

This pen heats a plastic filament until it is soft enough to be manipulated into the shapes and directions you want, and since what comes out the end of this pen is plastic that quickly hardens, you can even draw vertically and horizontally in the air.

Pencil by FiftyThree

Price: US$59.95
From: FiftyThree

pencil53Although we would confidently recommend Microsoft’s stylus for anyone interested in drawing directly on a tablet, we’re not sure we feel the same about the Apple Pencil.

However, fortunately for those looking to get creative on iOS, Pencil and the companion app Paper by FiftyThree is one of the highest regarded styli on the market.

This walnut-clad carpenter’s pencil-shaped device will inspire you on looks alone.



From: SoundViz

SoundvizNormally, in order to ‘see the sounds’, you’d have to ingest a questionable substance. Thank your serotonin receptors, then, for a site that prints out a visual representation of a sound wave.

It’s a remarkably simple setup: upload a video or audio file — say, the song you danced to on your wedding day, or your voice — and the audio component is turned into a bar or radial graph.

Choose your colours, tweak the design, and have it sent to you on a canvas or as a digital file.

Sumo Paint

From: Sumo Paint

SumoPaintThere’s a litany of free image editors available to download and many that do a far better job than Microsoft Paint.

Sumo Paint’s pitch is that it’s ‘photoshopping in your browser’, and while you can download it, it’s just as useful to use online.

Take a blank canvas and make your own masterpiece, or upload a file to work on.

There’s a great selection of pre-made brushes (you can’t make your own), as well as essential tools that will do a very fine job of correcting photos.

Filmmaking Stack

From: Filmmaking Stack

Filmmaking StackA great idea for a movie can’t thrive on its own, and to bring it to life, you need equipment and coaching from the best.

This site is like the White Pages of creative tech and knowhow, offering a handy list of sites and services that will get you the kit and skills you need.

It’s not all about selling stuff, as there are sites here that will rent out equipment, and plenty that offer technical advice and tips for free. A fantastic resource.


From: Commaful

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.09.26 amLooking for inspiration for your next project, or unsure if you’re doing the right thing?

Here’s a hub for anyone with a creative vision — entrepreneurs, developers, authors — that’s populated with stories by people who have probably gone through what you’re experiencing, so you can learn from their triumphs and mistakes.

Everything’s presented in bite-sized slides which makes it a little hyperactive, but perfect for anyone who wants instant tips.



Platform: iOS (Android coming soon)
Price: Free
From: Bonjournal

bonjournal app iconIf you do a bit of travelling and want to compose a travel journal so you have something tangible to remember your sojourn by, then Bonjournal might just be the best modern equivalent.

This iOS app uses your phone’s location data to automatically tag and timestamp new journal entries, letting you focus on nailing a description of the new horizon you’ve just explored.

At the bottom of each entry is a place to add photos from your library or camera and you can either share each expedition on social media or add it to an ongoing journal PDF.

Adobe Capture CC

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free
From: Adobe Capture CC

adobe-capture-cc-ios-iconOne of the benefits of not knowing what is around the next corner is that something truly unique can cross your path at any time.

Adobe Capture CC is for those who see the world like a Photoshop canvas and want to pull a specific colour, pattern or landscape as a part of the next digital image pastiche.

Though it’s a simple concept, Adobe Capture CC allows you to extract some complex elements like full colour schemes and vector graphics, which you can then plug straight into apps like Photoshop.


Platform: iOS
Price: Free
From: Loop

loop app iconDrawing a visual narrative on the corners of a book’s pages would have to be one of the most satisfying ways in which you can bring a simple image to life.

Fortunately, this storytelling method hasn’t been lost in the digital age with apps like Loop taking the reigns. This simple drawing application is comprised of a series of blank canvases that can be used to create a Gif.

If you’re better at drawing than writing, then you might consider creating a simple animation to tell a story for a change.


Platform: iOS
Price: $7.99
From: GarageBand

Garageband-iconAlthough you might think of this one as traditionally a desktop app, the iOS version of GarageBand actually has a pretty sterling reputation as an accessible music creation tool.

The app allows you to stitch together music on the fly with up to 32 mixable tracks of recorded, synthesised or looped instrumentals. GarageBand even has a ton of virtual instruments for when you don’t have any real ones on you.

From here, you can export songs to your cloud, music library or the social service of your choice, all on the fly.