Eee, Gee, Echs. T minus less than a week.

This weeks been a busy year.

We’re coming up to the next student/college stand at a major event. This time: EGX at Earl’s Court, London.

Exciting. Very Exciting.

Why?

Well, basically, it’s going to be fab. I love doing events (which is good because it’s not like I get paid for it at all and each one carves a extra mile into my forehead).

(We’ve done over 30 events in the past two years).

(Blimey).

From Sky Arts to the Beeb, from Adobe to Autodesk to ArtRage, from Nintendo to Samsung to Microsoft to Sony to Dell, from BETT 2012 to BETT 2013 (and 2014), from the Barbican to the Royal Academy, from Eurogamer to MCM to Gadget Show we’ve demoed tablet art to a LOT of people. See >>here<< for some of our prior events…

Until now the Gadget Show 2013 has been my favourite as it afforded me a lot of options to design the set area. I hope that EGX 2014 will now become my favourite. There’s a lot of design involved and if it looks as cool as I’ve planned I’ll be utterly delighted.

The theme is #WelcomeToGuildford which, I hope, will become obvious when you get to us…

If you’re at EGX come and say hi (we’re delivering the chill out and art stand). You’ll be able to draw with Graph It pens on bleed proof paper and at least 4 different types of touch screen with a range of styli to check out if you’re so interested. This is open to EVERYONE! If you’re an artist come say hi and draw us a pic. If you’re a cosplayer come along and be drawn. If you’re neither but fancy having a scribble or an impromptu art lesson then come along, have a seat and draw away…

(There will also be a super secret piece of art on sale each day… Details on that to come).

If you’re a Cosplayer at EGX some say hi, be drawn or painted, or 3d scanned :) It’ll be fab.

However the new thing (because hey, we have done this a couple of times now) is that at 6pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 11 am on Sunday we’ll be delivering something new and VERY COOL.

Basically we’re setting up a series of Cosplayers as a recreation of the Last Supper according to a daily theme:

Thursday: The Last Family Supper (Sega, Nintendo, Disney, Cutesy characters).
Friday: The Final Supper (any Assassins and their historically relevant victims).
Saturday: The Last of Us Supper (Ellie, Joel, Clickers, zombies).
Sunday: The Last Supper at the Alien Cantina (Star Wars, Who, Aliens etc).
Anyone who’s around come along to the Cosplay stage and we’ll set you up ready to be drawn, painted and photographed. It shall be fab.
(think this but bigger. Oh yes).
So that’s it. That’s the plan. Come and join us if you can it’ll be all sorts of cool. And Awesome. It’ll be Coolsome. And then some.

Drawing on screens that are not mine.

 

Friday I drew on an Apple iPhone 6 Plus. Sadly there was nothing on the device in the way of an art app so I loaded up Safari and the excellent Harmony drawing web app and doodled the above while the very excellent Mr Nick Thatcher walked around and bought the things we needed for EGX.

Saturday – still very much on EGX mode I popped into PC World Woking (having been to Hobbycraft to buy stuff) and drew this on an HP touch screen desktop while I was chatting to staff seeing if they had something in stock I needed.

Saturday – again buying things for EGX (spot a theme developing?)  I drew this in Argos on the demo Surface Pro machine.

Basically? I love drawing on screens, all sorts of shapes, sizes, brands and makes. I sat in a pub once with some tech heads and they were getting a little irate as we sat directly under a huge advert on the wall for a certain brand of tablet from a company which at the time (and continues to) ignore any emails I sent asking for tablet lends for my students. The advert seemed all but ignored by the general populous which walked underneath it and my use case seemed to have more bang for buck and the people I sat with seemed to be getting far more angry about the situation than I was…  I’m used to getting to Plan C at least on any project.

Hey Ho. Until all art apps are taken from all demo machines at least I’ll be able to play according to my hearts content (and free time, and shop opening hours, and so on). So that’s definitely something…

EXTREMELY busy.

…but if nothing else it’s been lovely to get back to teaching. Currently focusing on Photoshop as a: I can teach that while falling asleep and off a chair (my current teaching style) and b: I’m supposed to be teaching 3DS Max to two classes but the room doesn’t have it installed in yet. Sigh.

Actually, according to one of my beloved brats esteemed students this is my teaching style… I do think a nerf gun would help me occasionally in a class.

Anyhow: 4 classes in and the students have already made abstract backgrounds for text placement, used non and destructive filters, had a brief soiree into screen ratios and pixel depths, learnt how to use the scanners and printers and knocked out a couple of hand drawn, scanned and coloured images. Hurrah.

 



…and for an accidental bonus, while showing the beloved brats esteemed students how to properly use the lasso tool (freehand and keyboard shortcuts FTW) We also drew technicolour lizards :)

Which is new to a class (I do occasionally divert from the lesson plan if the shape allows – see the taking a line for a walk pictures I occasionally do) but I think he’ll stick to the scheme of work from now on in.

Shudder. I am now blogging about lesson plans and schemes of work. The Compliance Dalek has got me. Gutted.

 

 

 

 

Black and Redline, Euro and Gamer…

A lifetime ago (well, three long years) I was asked to do something that changed everything and added around 20 years onto my forehead. My hair was uniformly orange back then and now it’s a mixture of citrus and snow.

I was asked to run a stand for the college at the World Skills Festival, to be held that year in London at London ExCeL.

To my shame I knew nothing about the World Skills Fest. I didn’t know it was the Olympics of education, nor that it had been running for decades all over the world. I didn’t know that students competed for a place to represent their country nor that they showed off the best of industry working with education. World Skills is a fabulous thing. Had I known how good the opening festival would be I would have taken my daughter with me, for example. It was a little less Olympics and a little more Eurovision and it was utterly brilliant. I fell asleep during the show once, but only because I was absolutely shattered. I had probably worked two 80+ hour weeks back to back and had one more to come.

I pitched for a space, with this picture, saying that we’d be happy to run a, say, 2 x 2 m stand showing off tablet artwork.

 

(which I drew on my trusty iPod touch using the very lovely – at the time – Brushes app v2).

They came back with a positive suggestion.

Could I do a slightly larger stand? 50 square metres or so?

How much?

This much:

and, when filled with people (as it frequently was) it looked like this:


… and if you don’t believe me, check this video out. Still makes me smile/gives me chills.

Since then the students and I have done a couple more events (BETT, BETT, BETT, Teentech, Teentech, Adobe, Adobe, Autodesk, Magic Summer, Eurogamer, MCM, MCM, Channel 4, Sky Arts, Bohunt, Barbican, Surrey Skills, Surrey Skills, Royal Academy, Digital Surrey, London Mac User Group, Art on the Street, London International Technology Show, World’s first tablet only life drawing session and so on…)

And, of course, the Gadget Show Live:

Which, at 120 sq m, almost broke me, I’ll admit. Organising 70 students, a residential and everything on the stand to an available budget of £2,500 was a ridiculous challenge but one that worked out beautifully in the end. Well. Not at the end, naturally, as the end saw me wrapped up in carpet and frog marched to the coach.

I mention all of this as I’m  deep in the heart of organising our next event: a 60 sq m stand at Eurogamer Expo. And you know what? I’m enjoying the doing of it, because I always do. So far it’s all moving along quite happily and mostly all the jigsaw puzzle pieces are in place. A couple are still left to do but it’s merrily ticking away.

I probably shouldn’t say that :) but hey. Organising something like this I’m happy. I can’t wait to see the stand, there’s some ace artwork already coming in, I get to see the disparate pieces for the stand banner come together tomorrow and it’s just fun. Organising events? Yeah, I can do that.

Two weeks from now… Can’t wait…

And, for the first time, I’m going to Cosplay at one of the things we’re doing. All sorts of fun planned…

But why Black and Redline for the title? Well… The stand is entitled ‘Welcome to Guildford’ and we’ll be riffing on the Guildford games heritage. The original idea was to print screenshots of games from Guildford but that turned into a complete minefield so, instead, some tablet artists of fabulous note are going to change the history of Guildford games and create the titles that could have been… It’ll be amazing, trust me. I’ve seen the pictures as they’re coming in. It’ll be brilliant.

Two weeks :)

Pogo stylus artwork.

A few weeks ago Pogo stylus ran a competition for tablet artists and, true to form, I entered a digital painting on the last possible hour which doesn’t fit into any category. Hey ho, but fun to do, even if my life is a series of progressively sillier deadlines at the moment. Regardless: I drew this as a warm up sketch: and then finished this painting which I’d been noodling around with for a while:

(Last bus home. iPad, Pogo Sketch Pro, Pogo Connect, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro).

I like Pogo styli loads. When I create a digital painting I generally hold a Stylus Sock, a Nomad and a Pogo Sketch Pro and swap between the three depending on whether I’m doing outlines, shading or colouring. Pound for pound I think the Connect is still my favourite pressure sensitive stylus – it’s certainly the one which seems to know what it’s doing the most – although some of my fondness might be because it was also the first… (the Wacom is also very good and the Adonit Jot Script is good, but not pressure sensitive). There are some times when I pick up a stylus with no rhyme or reason, just to draw the picture which is on my mind, and I’m never unhappy if that’s a Connect or a Sketch Pro.

Green Screen envy part deaux.

There’s been a bit of new tecn mentioned around the place the past few weeks hasn’t there.

From Ifa we had news of new Samsungs, Lenovos, Sonys and more… And of course on Tuesday we had the Apple keynote (and, on the Tuesday morning we had a little more info on the Hudl 2 which is one of the more anticipated machines for me. Yes, I am odd like that).

All of which led to these pictures:

(Screen sizes. iPhone 5S and ArtRage app).

(Note Edge draw on Samsung Galaxy 8.9 using Sketchbook app).

(iWatch on Interactive Whiteboard using Didlr online app).

(Giant Enemy iCrab. iMac and Didlr online app).

(Pay Apple. iPhone 5S and ArtRage app).

(Secret Easter Eggs of the Apple Watch 1. iPad 3 and ArtARage app).

The last pic might well become a series of sorts. I’ve certainly got a few more ideas of what could be other Easter Eggs of the Apple Watch (which looks fascinating – and I’d love to buy one – but unlikely I think… We’ll see).

Anyhow: Love a Keynote, me. When’s the next one? ;)

 

 

Early age Hudl art class.

One of the surprise tablet finds of last year for me was the Hudl. I expected as little as it cost, I found I liked it far more than I anticipated.

…which is why I have 7 :) enough to do impromptu (and occasionally planned) tablet art classes for a range of ages.

This morning (as I had so much energy after yesterday’s adventure) I was booked to do 50 minutes of tablet art tuition for kids aged 6-14 and it was as much fun as it always is (although this time is the first class I’ve run with the Hudl’s in their lovely new cases, hurrah).

We stuck, almost entirely, to Autodesk’s lovely Sketchbook Pro app and, for the most part we drew Frogs and what they might be happy to eat. The kids, as always, did brilliantly:



 

 

Lots of fun :) More pictures from the kids >>here<<

To explain the process, drawing upside down, I did this one; a Frog eating a fly ice cream:

…so it’s nice to see that the kids pictures were way better than mine :)

 

Moleskine Stories.

Anyone who knows me knows that I generally carry a tablet and a Moleskine at all times. One of the limited edition ones, which I normally try and pick up when they’re released. The pad that is… I’m not in a position to buy every tablet which catches my eye ;)


(I’ve also been known, on occasion, to lose a Moleskine. The picture above captures a particularly rubbish time in the past year where I lost the pad, the pencil case and the mate who’s iPad I drew the detailed meeting notes on).

So I was interested to see, via Twitter, that Moleskine were sponsoring an Urban Sketchcrawl based around the London Graphic Centre and their Covent Garden shop.

As it was World Beard Day I decided to treat myself and join in.

… and fabulous stuff it was too. I packed the iPad and my current Moley (a lovely Peanuts one) and drew, to start off with, the Moleskine store itself (having decided to stick to the Moleskine app for all of the days drawings*):


Then the shop window with the posters and so on advertising the event:

(which I did while multi tasking as normal as I  had a few people asking me about apps and styli… which is fine but reminds me I REALLY must update my blog posts about which is the best app and stylus to use).

As a group the Urban Sketcher (didn’t catch his name as I is short and was way at the back of proceedings) walked us to the Apple Store arches (as it was raining) and I drew this:

After that I popped over to Shake Shack (as I think  that will become the focus of a blog post soon to come, which is pretty exciting stuff if it pans out as planned) and painted this:


and this:

(while chatting to staff about days available/art styles and also eating the drawn objects :) How’s THAT for multi-tasking :) ).

Then it was back to the Moleskine groups :) This time at the London Graphics Centre.

 

…where the lovely Andrea Joseph was talking (far too modestly) about her artwork, technique, style etc.

By this point I noticed my trusty but ageing iPad was getting low on battery so I plugged in an external battery and swapped to the pad instead:

…and then as a group we walked to a nearby shopping arcade to do some drawing. Ironically, being surrounded by building and glass, I was more taken with the centrepiece of the courtyard – a tree wrapped up in fairy lights:

which I was happily drawing to the extent that I didn’t realise the battery charger had become dislodged. Cue slight panic as the iPad powered down but I needed have worried. Once the power came back on I found the Moleskine app had saved my picture ready to start off again on it.

While I was nervously waiting for the iPad to recharge enough I swapped to the Moleskine app on my phone and drew this:

…which couldn’t be further from the tree in terms of content yet was the view on the other side of the shopping centre’s courtyard.

And that, more or less, was that. I did pop into the Apple Store to have a quick play with Talkboard on an iPad Air (as I really do need to update my iPad sometime and I wanted to check all styli worked on the screen):

… and on the way home, having been reminded it was World Beard Day, I doodled this until the battery ran out for the last time of the day:

 

Which, ironically, is a picture of me drawing with a touch screen stylus on a Moleskine pad using an iPad stylus on the Moleskine app. It was, basically, that sort of day. Wonderful, a smidge tiring.

So tiring, in fact, that I was in London yet only realised on the way home I’d not been to Chin Chin Labs. Will mention it to Team Moleskine that Camden Market would make an excellent place for a future crawl…

*well, nearly. Apps used in this post: Moleskine Journal, ArtRage, Photoshop Touch, Sketchbook Pro, Talkboard.

Unpacked Hijacked/Green Screen Envy.

Prepare for a Samsung Art-pocalypse…


(edit: updated the text in the colour scheme pic above. The lower one is the original picture).

I’ll admit I’ve been hugely envious of anyone and everyone who’s been at IFA this year much as I was last year. Hey ho, one day I’ll get there. It’s at EXACTLY the wrong time of year for me, the past two weeks being the horror of new student enrolment, but to read about the new screen releases and their various commentaries is maddening.

Similarly frustrating was the fact that I couldn’t watch the event as it was live streamed (as I’d hoped to do) because of the aforementioned enrolment. At the moment (I’m not paid holidays from my principle role) I’m only 11.5 hours a week yet, somehow, I still seem to have been in for nearly all of the past two weeks. That said: if you want a class set up properly for the year… best to make sure I’m involved and next year will be thoroughly interesting. Two classes for graphics for a start.

Anyhoo. I did get the chance to watch through the Verge videos on the Samsung* announcements which is as good a way to catch up as any. Love the Verge. Which is why I drew the top pic on my ageing – but very much loved Galaxy 8.9 (it’s Samsung’s first tablet in fact) using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro after a much needed day of chill out in London today.

One of the things that surprised me was that I’d expected to go in wanting to draw on a Note 4 and walked out REALLY wanting to draw on an Edge. The side flow seems perfectly attuned to an art app UI and I would love to see what that could deliver. The in built S Note app seemed to have the UI on the side and that makes me want to pick up a stylus and twirl it in the air in hungry doodley anticipation.

Hurrah, etc. Hope one of my students comes in with a Note or Edge soon so I can confiscate it and (if they say yes) draw on it :)

*”Hey whoa, wait, what? Drawing on a Samsung? It’s all about the iPad, right?” Well, since you asked, nope. I’m very much as keen to draw on a Galaxy S4:

a Galaxy tab 7:

a Note 1:

 

a Note 2:

a Galaxy 10.1:

a Galaxy 10.1 (2014 version):

Touch screen Samsung ultrabooks:

…and of course the Samsung tablet that started it all (both their tablet evolution and this blog post): the Galaxy 8.9.

((I REALLY wanted to draw on one of the Ativs but I never found one in a demo situation when I had time to draw or when they had art apps installed)).

(((AND on that subject I think drawing on Samsung hardware may dwindle now as the recent demo units I’ve seen has no S-Note app installed. Will see how it pans out)).

And so on… (I’ve got a picture drawn on a Galaxy Pro somewhere… One on a Note 3 and a Note 8 – which I liked a lot – and so on). I really like Samsung tablets and phones, just only get to play with them if I confiscate them from students or use them in shops…

But basically? Not all about Apple. Not even remotely.

In Cake of Emergency.

One day I will sue my workplace for comfort food eating.

In other news – enrolment has been a roller-coaster ride (and continues to be so today I assume but I’m not there hoorah) with graphics so popular that I’ve been encouraged to up my hours and take on a second class. Which is also possibly the case for the computer games class too but I don’t think my hours can be upped on that course.

 

While enrolling the Fine Art teacher and I decided that were cake not provided immediately then we would both explode so I went to buy a slice of therapy, photographed it and drew on it this morning in the very lovely ArtRage app on my trusty iPhone 5S. I think this is before said teacher and the new (and brilliant) Photography teacher called me the rubbish Muskateer*.

*by which I mean that we were all talking about whether we should cosplay at Eurogamer as the Three Muskateers and Kath the ‘graph (as I’ve now decided to nickname her) said Porthos was the rubbish one. I like to think he’s not, and I’d be stepping into the shoes of Oliver Reed as I cosplay, so there.