David Hockney Digital iPad Drawings

David Hockney's iPad Drawings: A Digital Evolution

Written by: Rebecca Bury



Time to read 4 min

David Hockney is a British artist known for his diverse and influential contributions to the art world. Born in 1937, Hockney has embraced various mediums, including painting, drawing, printmaking, and digital art, throughout his prolific career. He gained international acclaim for his innovative photo-collages and vibrant landscapes, and in 2009, he made a ground-breaking transition to digital art, creating captivating iPad drawings. Hockney's ability to continually adapt and explore new artistic horizons has solidified his status as an iconic and pioneering figure in contemporary art.


This embrace of digital technology in the form of iPad drawings has been a revolutionary chapter in his artistic journey. This article explores the inception, techniques, exhibitions, and market reception of David Hockney's iPad drawings.

What does the world look like? I don’t think it looks like photographs. You have to find out yourself, you have to draw it.

David Hockney, Royal Academy of Arts

David Hockney Digital iPad Drawings
Lougher Contemporary

Hockney's exploration of the iPad as a creative tool began in 2009 when he acquired his first device. At 72 years old, the artist was quick to embrace this new medium. The iPad allowed him to create art with the convenience and accessibility of digital technology, but with a personal touch. His experimentation with the ‘Brushes’ app marked the beginning of a new era in his artistry.

David Hockney's Creative Process

Hockney's iPad drawings are characterised by their vibrant colours, bold strokes, and a sense of immediacy. He often used his fingertips to paint directly on the tablet's touchscreen, and the applications and devices responsive interface allowed him to mimic traditional brushwork and capture the essence of the moment. Hockney's subjects varied from everyday life scenes, such as landscapes, still life and portraits, to more complex compositions. He was no longer confined to a studio or traditional art supplies, and the iPad provided him with the freedom to create wherever and whenever inspiration struck.


David Hockney's 'My Window' series in particular stands as a captivating testament to the artist's innovative spirit. These digital drawings offer a unique glimpse into Hockney's personal and creative space during a time when the world found solace behind windows during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through vibrant colours and dynamic compositions, Hockney transforms everyday scenes into visually striking moments. 'My Window' not only showcases the artist's mastery of the digital medium but also invites viewers to share in his contemplative perspective, capturing the beauty found in the seemingly ordinary moments observed through the windowpane.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Hockney's iPad drawings is the ability to watch the creative process unfold in real-time. He often recorded videos while creating his digital art, offering viewers a glimpse into his thought process and technique. This transparency in his work made it all the more engaging for art enthusiasts and aspiring artists.


Hockney's iPad drawings have been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world. Notably, the Royal Academy of Arts in London hosted a major retrospective in 2012 titled "David Hockney: A Bigger Picture." This exhibition included a significant display of his iPad works, highlighting their importance in his oeuvre. Hockney's ability to seamlessly blend traditional and digital art was on full display, revealing his pioneering spirit.


The Royal Academy's exhibition titled 'The Arrival of Spring' in 2021 showcased David Hockney’s stunning works. It explores Hockney's response to the changing seasons in the English countryside, particularly the arrival of spring. The exhibition features a series of vivid iPad drawings that capture the beauty and transformation of nature. Hockney's digital art, known for its vibrant colours and dynamic compositions, offers viewers a unique perspective on the rejuvenation of the landscape during the spring months.

David Hockney Digital iPad Prints
Lougher Contemporary

Market Success and Auction Records

Hockney's iPad drawings quickly gained recognition in the art market. Collectors were drawn to the novelty of these works and their association with a renowned artist. Auction houses, such as Sotheby's and Christie's, embraced his digital art, and pieces like "Blossom" and "Woldgate Woods" achieved impressive results at auctions.

One of the notable sales occurred in 2018 when Hockney's iPad drawing, "Untitled No. 2," fetched over $90,000 at auction. This record-breaking sale marked the increasing desirability of Hockney's digital creations in the art market. The artist's ability to adapt to new mediums while maintaining his artistic integrity has resonated with collectors and enthusiasts alike.

The Impact on Contemporary Art

David Hockney's embrace of the iPad as an artistic tool has had a significant impact on contemporary art. His willingness to experiment and explore the possibilities of digital technology has opened new doors for artists worldwide. The accessibility of tablets and drawing apps has made digital art more inclusive and accessible, encouraging artists of all levels to experiment and push the boundaries of their creativity. 

Hockney's digital art is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of the art world. His willingness to adapt and his ability to seamlessly transition between traditional and digital mediums exemplify the spirit of a true innovator. The artist's iPad drawings serve as a bridge between generations of artists, inspiring both seasoned professionals and emerging talents.

In conclusion, David Hockney's iPad drawings mark a pivotal moment in the artist's career and the art world at large. His transition to the digital medium opened new creative horizons, allowing him to explore art in an innovative way. His exhibitions showcasing iPad drawings have underlined their significance in his body of work, and their remarkable success in the art market has highlighted their appeal to collectors. Hockney's pioneering spirit has not only made him a revered figure in contemporary art but also a source of inspiration for artists embracing digital technology. His journey into the digital realm reflects the dynamic and ever-changing nature of art, ensuring that the legacy of his iPad drawings continues to evolve and inspire generations to come.