This animation was entirely illustrated on a Samsung Galaxy Note8

Sometimes I think to myself, what’s the point of a stylus on a smartphone? Everything you can do on a daily basis with a stylus, you can also do with your fingers. I’d much rather have the extra space filled up with battery mAhs.

Then, I see that same stylus in the hands of someone with actual artistic ability and it’s like, OK, that’s pretty awesome.

This is the story of Julian Yee, an athlete who made headlines for being the first Malaysian figure skater to qualify for the Winter Olympics. He will head to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics in South Korea which will take place from the 9th to 25th of February 2018.

It’s a heartwarming tale and one that was illustrated entirely on a Samsung Galaxy Note8. Yeah, a smartphone and not some expensive Wacom tablet. The best I could do with that phone and the S Pen was scribble illegible handwritten notes and “sketch” stick figures.

Ensemble Worldwide Malaysia executive creative director Chan Woei Hern noted that drawing on smartphone felt very natural.

“All the backgrounds in the film were created on the Note8. And the main sprites and the characters and scene by scene — most of the storyboard including the illustration colouring and all that was done by the Note8,” said Woei Hern.

Once that was done, they had to work with a post-house to animate and bring everything to life — the phone couldn’t do that because, well it is still a smartphone after all.

But when I asked if there were any limitations to using a smartphone to illustrate, Woei Hern said that the only real obstacle was the size of the canvas.

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“When you’re used to A3 paper and all, that was the only thing. But it balances out with portability.” He adds that because the team also had other projects ongoing and the ability to share sketches and scripts with the phone made it easier for them to work collectively.

When I brought up the size of the pen, one of the issues my concept artist friend highlighted when he sketched with it, Woei Hern said that he didn’t have any issue with the size of the pen either.

“Maybe my hands are a little smaller,” he laughed, adding that it was actually a great tool to capture information and inspiration quickly.

There’s a saying that goes “the best camera is the one you have with you” and since its inception, the smartphone has always filled that role. I think now, with how powerful modern handsets like the Note8 are getting, the smartphone of today could also become the digital canvas that you always have with you.

What do you guys think? Do you think that the future where smartphones replace proper digital/graphic tablets is quickly approaching? Let me know in the comments below.