Paperwork, the process and inspiration…

Powered through a hundred bits of paperwork today :( as well as doing a catch up session for a couple of students… So I’d deserved a brief sketch break. And when one of the students had an HTC One that he said he was happy for me to confiscate that answered the obvious question of what I should draw on.

My styli, for the most part, are at home (didn’t think I’d get the chance to draw today) but I’ve always got a Nomad on me so Q1, 2 and 3: screen and scribble stick were both sorted and Sketchbook Pro was the only app he had installed.

Which left me with Q4: What to draw?

And this is where I often come unstuck. Life’s so busy and hectic at the moment knowing what to draw is often the leaf that derails the brain. So, when stuck I tend to throw a line on the screen and see what happens. The pic above started off that way. I wanted to doodle something in SketchTime between breakfast and bus so that’s how the face above started (and if I get the chance I’ll post the animation to YouTube sometime so you can see how it went from line to picture). The Frog below? Well, I started with a line and thought, part way through, that it looked like a lightbulb in a window and helped me know what to draw.

So: pic above – iPhone 5S, SketchTime and cheap eBay stylus. Pic below – HTC One, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Nomad Compose and 20 minutes between doc files :(  Hope you like. Prefer the Frog pic and, to be honest, prefer that phone too.

Gadget Show Live 2014 video 1.

Ahhhh the optimism in that statement. Video 1. That assumes I’ll have the time to upload more (there are a couple more videos that I could do, a couple of pictures didn’t make it into the video mix).

But anyway, video 1 from #GSL14 which I thoroughly enjoyed. Hope you like too.

Drawn on an HP desktop, a Lenovo 7 inch Win tablet, a Dell 11 inch tablet, an add on screen that turns any monitor into a touch screen monitor, a Sony Xperia Z, a Boogie Board (a simple magnetic sketch type slate) and a Surface 2 attached to a larger touch screen monitor using a Jot Script, a Pogo Sketch Pro, a Stylus Sock, a New Trent stylus and of course my trusty Nomad Compose short hair brush. Mainly using Fresh Paint app (although I did also use Sketches on the Sony).

Could have bought so much at the Show :) As it was I only bought an Olloclip but that makes me smile muchos too. Back to work now though… Sigh…

Painting at the Gadget Show Live.

A year ago (and a week, last years setup started on April the 1st) I was doing this:

This year? Well. There was a lot of talk about doing a stand again, and the students and I were certainly keen… But with some tech problems hampering student output, with an EQR just before and another to go back to, not to mention the dreaded O word coming up soon (and in ed that only means one thing) it just couldn’t be worked into the calendar. Very sad but the stress levels are high enough at the moment, ta.

So instead a friend and I went up to do the show together (to just, you know, walk a show floor without being in charge of 40 students and 20 screens for people to draw on :) ) and excellent fun it was (and is, being on until Saturday I believe).

Too much to blather on about now but I shot a lot of video, which I’ll edit when time allows (but soon I hope) and I’ve got a pile of marking I’ve got to get to at some point. But here are some of the bits I enjoyed most. You know they’re going to be about screen art before you scroll down though, right?

I bought an Olloclip! Well. I bought my third Olloclip (having had a 4S version, a 5S version and now a multi macro version :) ) Expect more macros. Here are a couple of 21 x shots of a 3d printed selfie :)


((ironically the above pic is my favourite of the 3d Selfies… Less in focus* but something about it makes me smile.. *the less in focus is more to do with the fact that I took the pic on the train from Watford to London Euston :) ))

So, yes, that also meant I was 3d scanned and printed :)


I drew on little screens (a Nokia 1320 and another one but can’t remember what number it was…)


Less little screens (Lenovo 7 inch Windows tablet):


and bigger machines (Dell Venue 11 tablet):


Slightly bigger desktop screens (HP desktop):


…and bigger than that screens:


… and bigger than that screens :)


In short? Lots of fun :) Drew quite a few Stylus T. Frogs and Marmite jars, chatted to loads of people, including a few friends from other trade shows and last years Gadg-a-stravaganza and did a lot of demo-ing a range of styli on a range of screens ‘cos I’m more than happy to multi task and chat when someone asks me a question…

Now my feet hurt so I’m sitting and blogging and drinking a cup of coffee :) and, in my mind, I’m sort of planning next years stand, really hoping we do one.

And finishing up with the obligatory Olloclip picture of my lunch:

Macro Sushi seaweed. Yum :)

Drawing on an HTC One M8.


I don’t have an HTC One phone… I’d like to, but being a part time teacher buying new phones is somewhat against the run of the average, monthly, budget.

But I do like Share Screening – popping into a shop and drawing on whatever they’ve got – and I was very happy to see that my local PC World/Currys/Phones 4 U had an HTC One M8 so soon after the global launch last week.

I wasn’t expecting them to be so generous in arranging a test drive and I REALLY wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.


Andre was kind enough to arrange the demo of the phone, including the installation of Didlr app. In fact he did it fairly speedily, knowing that I had less than an hours worth of drawing time…

And then, with the screen and app in front of me, there’s always the immediate hesitation: what do I draw now? He suggested I drew him and since he’d been good enough to sort out the software that seemed only fair trade.(you can see a process video of the image hitting the screen here: https://didlr.com/Pvntfj).

Then I had half an hour of whatever I wanted, draw time wise. That said: blank screen/blank mind. So I drew a line and it started to look like Godzilla again so I went with that: (process video here: https://didlr.com/rgklLG).

But THAT isn’t the interesting thing.

The interesting thing is that this is the first screen that had a 100% hit rate on styli.

You may remember I have a slight stylus addiction:


Some are made of wood and others have brush tips. Some are metal barreled and others  are light and plasticky. Some are bluetooth and smart and others are cheap and dumb.

I tend to take (and try, now, not to lose) a pencil case with a range of styli with me wherever I go. It has, generally, a couple of cheap eBay ones, a Plai eStylo, a couple of Nomad brushes (Compose and Play), a Pogo Sketch Pro, a Jot Script, a Pogo Connect, a Stylus Sock, at least one New Trent and a Dagi (and often a couple of other ones too. Depends on my mood).

No machine, screen, tablet, touch screen desktop or phone has ever worked with all of them.

The bogey styli are often the Nomad Play and Plai eStylo. Both are wood barrel styli, coated in a capacitive varnish. They’re good fun to use but carry less electrical charge than other styli and work on fewer screens as a result.

Occasionally, especially on the touch screen desktop computers – the hard disc styli – the Jot Touch, Dagi 301/501/504 and ‘fashion stylus’ from eBay won’t work.

Even more infrequently the Jot Script won’t work on a machine – or at least it will but something in the Bluetooth pairing will display a noticeable jitter and the line will be, basically, unusable.

Most machines I test drive will work on around 80% of the styli in my pencil case. Some, like the iPad retina mini, will go as low as 50% or so. I don’t mind, per se, but I do have my favourite styli that a screen would have to be happy with for me to draw on it for any period of time.

The HTC One M8 worked with every single one. I was a little astounded.

I had a quick test drive on the camera and that seemed pretty good too, with a very quick refocus (although, strangely, not an autofocus between moving objects? I had to put my hand in front of the lens to get it to refocus but once it did so it was very snappy (ba doom tish)). I did want to play with some of the focal length jiggery pokery they spoke about when launching the phone, but by that point the egg timer was completely out of sand so I had to dash off :(

Anyhow? Too long, didn’t read: the One M8 is a cracking machine. Massively impressed. Hope a student buys one soon so I can confiscate it and draw on one more often :)

Drew the below pic on an HTC One. Hope I get the chance to do a similar pic on a M8 soon…

and drew the below pic on an HTC One while in a machine grump. I wish all screens worked as well as some of the tablets and phones I’ve been drawing on recently…

#ScreenFrenzy.

I like screens.

Yes, I know. I assume that (well, one or two people notwithstanding) you’re patient with the fact that I like creating images on a variety of touch screens. Occasionally I like to create images on a lot of screens in one day and today? Well. Was one of those days…

So I started in a meeting about all sorts of rubbish and how to deal with it and, after that, I splurged pictures onto a Tesco Hudl using Photoshop Touch app:


After that I found myself in a Carphone Warehouse shop drawing on a Sony Xperia Z with the in-built Note app:

And of course the video won’t embed. Grr. Here it am though:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZyjlAduF_k&feature=youtu.be

Xperias used to be phones and tablets that I avoided, as they normally had not a single drawing or visual note making application installed to play with. Now Sony have both Sketch and Note and both are very good apps to have a test on and the Xperias work very well indeed.

After that I found myself in an o2 shop drawing on a Note 3 until the guy on duty asked if I would draw on his Note 10.1 instead…


(although by this time I think I was beginning to become away I should really be at home, waiting for the school bus and cooking dinner for the evening. So I drew both pics as quickly as I could and dashed back for the bus…)

Which brings me to…

Every so often I tell people I draw on buses. I suspect they think this:


…which I drew on the last bus of the day, on a Nintendo 2DS using the very playful and enjoyable New Art Academy cart.

I don’t draw on the actual bus itself but, as I often say to the students I teach, it’s all about finding your zone. I’m never more happy that when I can sit on a bus with some good music in my ears and a fully charged tablet to draw on. It’s my comfort draw place and that, in many ways, epitomises the magic of this increasingly powerful generation of tablet computer power. To have so many screens to choose from, to have so many marvellous styli, so many awesome apps? At prices that are frequently lower than the 1gb ram upgrade that I put in my first computer?

Amazing. We live in fabulously interesting times.

Videos to come. Processing now. On a laptop that feels slower and cludgier than the tablets I’ve drawn on through the day.

Here’s to computing evolution and the screens that throw data around at the glance of a finger tip.

 

DrawQuest, it’s been a while….

I’m a big fan of the iOS art app DrawQuest.  For those who don’t know it is a community app that allows you to draw anything you like from a given image.

Todays, for example, was called ‘draw me a mobile’ and, before decoration, looked like this:

As soon as I saw it I knew that I wanted to draw an AT-AT from Empire Strikes Back so, an hour later, this had happened:

(and you can see a process video of the drawing come to be here: http://drawquest.com/p/5kqg6j)

It’s been a while since I drew concertedly in the app (there was a time when I was doing all of the drawings daily but things change… I’d missed the app but my mind was elsewhere for one reason or another). Regardless: yesterday the theme was ‘draw a still life’ and THAT was right up my street for a variety of reasons I’ll come to later.

(Still life, DrawQuest, iPad 3, Nomad and New Trent styli).

Sadly the app itself may not last forever (but then again, as the man with the mustache says, what does?) . Moot, the man behind both DrawQuest and 4Chan, wound up the development side of it at the start of the year. I remember the day I read the news and the shock it caused then and the sense of profound sadness which still lingers (even though the app still – at the moment and hopefully for a long while – works). A while later the team at DrawQuest HQ posted a plea for the community to step in and help the servers remain switched on which I hope has been successful? They’re still on at the moment, which is a good sign.

The app has created a wonderful community of people who chat to each other in picture, in sub quests and through a variety of social media sites. I hope we all remain friends and, who knows, one day I hope we all manage to get to a DQ meet up somehow as it’s one thing to draw with people on another side of the world but it’d be nice to draw sitting next to them as well.

And why did the still life bring me back to the app? Well, for the past couple of years I’ve drawn whatever came to mind with little sense of purpose, as I had enough things to deal with at work as it was to think up a project like the Dr Sylver books or the Wombat Wambot comic. Now I’ve got a project in mind, which I’ve already begun the planning processes of, and still life fits right into it (hence going to life drawing classes more regularly etc). We’ll see if it comes out like the images I have in mind – this is a new road I’m going down for me – but I hope it does…

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfZfwE0wHfc
(being a youtube video of a number of pictures animated and edited together but which won’t embed, grr).

Anyway: here’s to DrawQuest, the team that made it and the community which came from it. Cheers one and all…

A million things on a never ending tick list…

I’m painfully aware I’ve neither blogged about Digital Surrey nor, from this weekend, Bohunt STEMfest. Both were college tech happenings where the students shone very brightly indeed and I look forward to writing about… But time, and stuff, just gets in the way.

The irony, as my wife would quite happily mention, is that I can find 30 minutes to draw a picture of Wolverine on a Nintendo 3DS XL (true) but can’t find the (probably) similar amount of time to do the other things that need doing.

Which is true. No idea – prevarication I guess. Just sometimes I sit and stare at a screen with a blank mind and a feeling of doom and other times I can sit and draw and that takes my mind off things.


This is one of the drawings (rather than the doom side). Yesterday had an EQR (External Quality Review) and it was very positive and kind and still threw up some things that I thought I was getting right but can obviously do better. Once I’d written up their feedback into a list of things that need to be done and so on I was sat with little in the way of energy left. So I drew, and it didn’t renew the energy levels, but it was a lovely escape. I didn’t know what to draw, nor what to draw on (I had an iPad and 3DS on me) but the 3DS came out of the bag first and the initial scribble looked a little like Wolverine so there you go, decision made. Art Academy is a fab art package (on both formats) and well worth using. Apart from the smaller screen ratio/size I don’t see it as a lesser tool than some of the tablet apps at all. The way the paint merges, pencils blend etc is beautifully realised.

So: Wolverine, drawn on Nintendo 3DS XL using the 3DS’ in built stylus and New Art Academy (which I mistakenly said on the video was Sketchbook but it suddenly strikes me that that’s the Wii U version = DOH ME).

(On a different but related side of things this was drawn as one of my Mornin’ Drawins on Sunday for a Nintendo Animal Crossing competition but, true to form, I couldn’t find the upload method until too late… boo, but nice enough to start the day with. Anyhow Wolverine was drawn on 3DS XL and the pic below was drawn on Wii U using Art Academy Sketchbook).


Hope you like, regardless of the criminal mis-information embedded into the moving visual…

Hockney, Kandinsky and Escher walk into an app… (or Adventures in Autostitch).

A few days ago (blimey, only that? feels ages ago…) I tweeted a couple of pictures from a dental surgery in a converted church saying that I loved the app when it broke because of the geometry of what you’re pointing the camera at…

… and team Autostitch tweeted me back saying that they prefer the app when it doesn’t break.

<blockquote lang=”en”><p><a href=”https://twitter.com/Kercal”>@Kercal</a> That’s strange, we don’t like it when it breaks. Maybe we need a special mode that does this on purpose?</p>&mdash; AutoStitch Panorama (@AutoStitch) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AutoStitch/statuses/444175921239425025″>March 13, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

The thing is, it’s the accidents that make it for me. If I want an app that you slowly pan from left to right to get a picture that looks like a normal panorama every single time, that’s what I’ll go for. Autostitch occasionally snaps and that gives you all sorts of oddnesses which is just the way I like it :) Would it be better if the accidents were planned or there was an inbuilt abstract mode? Possibly… but it’s the joy of the discovery that makes it all the more special imo.




… and my personal favourite: the Cyber Giraffe (also known as the Eiffel Tower).


I also photographed the one below although wish I’d had the 5S at the time (the one above and below were on a 4S). Would love to have see how the image below could have come out in higher resolution…


(like the one below for example…)

So there you go: breaking an app to get something akin to a drunken mashup of artists portfolios :) Love it.