What apps do you use to assist you as an artist?

I have seen a few apps available that capture pictures, create captions, utilize social media, compile meta data (size, medium, genre, etc.) and gallery location for tracking purposes. I thought they were quite pricy! I am not a professional artist, so keeping up with where my artwork is located is not so hard. What I am looking for, or possibly interested in creating, is an app that will help me keep notes about the artwork I create. I want to be able not only to enter the specifics as mentioned above, but be able to note the kind of substrate I used, the brand of paint and exact color. In particular, I have wanted to note what colors I mixed to get a specific look - say a gorgeous dark background. This way I could repeat something that was successful. I am not so good with keeping up with scraps of paper or even a notebook! I was thinking an app would allow for quick searches.
My question is has anyone seen something like this? If you did, would you use it? What other features would you find helpful. Would you be willing to pay for it?
Thank you in advance for your response.

I never thought I’d make a recommendation like this, because I am not a fan of Excel (Office Suite). But I have come to see Excel for it’s strength; it’s a searchable data base. An Excel workbook could contain all the information you’ve listed, and more. It’s not sexy, but it is mobile.

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Sharon, Thank you for your reply! I am fairly good on the computer, but not very familiar with Excel. Will it store pictures? Could you send them easily from there to social media? Thanks for your feedback.

Nothing specific to art. Just PayPal Here which along with the plug in swiper lets me sell paintings even if I am out and about. Audible also, nothing like a good book on tape when out plein air painting. I love your idea about being able to keep notes. Often I have been somewhere painting and just thought I would remember whatever it was when I got home but with all the loading and un-loading of gear etc. I do forget. I will have to check out my Excel program and see if I could get that to be user friendly enough.

Yes, you can import pictures and paste them on the pages with the other information. It wouldn’t work for sending photos to social media, though. It’s more of a business tool.

Excel is surprisingly versatile, and a real workhorse. I’m barely more than a novice with that program, but I have learned to do some basic things with it, and see it as having real potential (at no additional cost if you already have Microsoft Office). You can also export information to Word and create reports (expenses, etc.)

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I’m using a program called GYST. http://www.gyst-ink.com/

It’s a data base program (Filemaker Pro) that will do most of what you have listed and some others as well. It has an area for notes on each piece. Size, price, medium, if it’s in a gallery, sold or available, biography, artist statement, thumbnail image, sales invoices, research notes, supplies, grant applications, etc. I put mine in my Dropbox so I can use it on any of my computers. I doubt it could work on a smart phone or iPad but a laptop, no sweat.

I use Photoshop. I will sometimes mostly complete a painting and then take a quick snapshot of it, bring it into Photoshop and add shadows and other features to see various ways I could improve it. If my improvements look good in Photoshop, I will go ahead and do them on the actual painting.


Excel is great for keeping an art inventory. I was so proud when I put mine together! You can insert photos of your artwork, and all the information you want! Really easy to use once you get the basics done, just copy and paste all of your categories to your next page. I was devastated, a couple of weeks back, when a friend came over to try and fix my computer, and after he left, found that I had lost my Excel file! Waiting on a part now (for the computer), and hoping that he can restore it back to some original version, that hopefully, was saved on a flash drive! Search online for creating an Art Inventory, that’s how I figured out how to do mine. Good Luck!


You might look at libre office.they have the complete package.
It is a free substitute for Microsoft Office. Looks the same and acts the same.

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For those that do not want to pay for MS Excel and MS Access, there is also OpenOffice. It’s open source software and it can do (almost) anything the MS Office package can.

I used to have an inventory in Excel, but I made the effort to create a real database in Access. I used the free standard Access template “desktop product inventory database” which is available when you open the program. I did make some modifications to it by adding and changing some fields and check boxes etc.

I use Excel to keep track of all the costs and revenue I make

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David, I had looked at GYST some years ago and thought I might try it. I currently use excel (though I never have imported images.(I’ll have to experiment with that). I mostly use excel for inventorying my work.
The only thing I’m not too excited about is hearing that GYST is not mobile friendly. I have MAC products and find that I do most of my work via the iPad. When you say, you “put it in Dropbox” do you mean the GYST file? If so, then you would have to have the GYST program on all your computers in order to open it right?

Another App to consider is on your iPad or iPhone called NOTES. I use it all the time and have folders for different topics. You can also import photos. That would only be for quick notes…nothing for inventory stuff.

I have the whole GYST program loaded into Dropbox so that I can open it on any of my PC computers by opening it in Dropbox. That way I don’t have to have the program on different computers because it’s in Dropbox. I can use it at home or work wherever I need it. It’s true it is only on PC but most businesses are PC as compared to MAC. You would have to get a Windows emulator for your MAC to run it.

I’m unsure if GYST is working on this but I’m pretty sure that soon there will be cloud based programs coming out in the near future. Then both PD or MAc would be able to use them.

It’s a Data Base program. The information on art includes pretty much everything about each piece. Medium, size, item number, etc, etc. Available on consignment, sold, to whom. Info on your collectors, addresses and a host of other handy things to help.

I just saw this old thread and I say mee too, mee too. Many good suggestions here! I am waking up this thread to see if there are any more? This was very helpful to me. And there are different things work for different people, maybe even more can be added to this subject that interests me so? :smiley:

I just heard about Prisma and Aristo. Haven’t used them yet.

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I was using accuview to crop, grid and determine the golden ratio…but…it has not updated and now will not work with the iPad update 11. Ugh. Anyone have a good simple photo app for iPad that I can use to do those simple things? Oh…and it had b/w capability.