Category Archives: and another thing

Day One at EGX.

I started off by drawing this on the train into London on my trusty Hudl:


There was not enough this.

We taught people who had never drawn on a tablet before to draw on a tablet:


We drew a lot of awesome people in costume:

and then we drew a LOT OF PEOPLE dressed in costume:


Basically it was awesome and so were we but now I’m tired and day two is about to start.

Hurrah. And zzz.




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:

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.


A bit of blather on mobile digital photography.

I’ve just swapped from a Samsung Galaxy S4 to an iPhone 5S and for one reason only. The camera.

(The Devils Giraffe, iPhone 4S + Autostitch. Blogged about here:

To be fair the GS4 is a great phone. The screen is very good, I appreciate the larger viewing size too, I loved the flip cover allowing me to see the time and certain information without accessing the main features of the device and so on. It rarely stuttered at the pictures I was drawing, even with Photoshop Touch which at times (hallo large size – semi transparent brush) is known to stop and think.

But the camera. No. Just no. Didn’t work for me. Slow, cumbersome, occasionally great shots but far more frequent missed or blurry ones. I was heartened at one point to find an app I love to bits – Autostitch – on Android and they saddened to see how clumsy it was in comparison to the Apple phones camera and ecosystem. Honestly – I’m not a fanboy for any company… My favourite tablet at the moment is a Surface Pro or a Tesco Hudl and my favourite phone would be a Samsung GS4 with an S Pen running something closer to iOS or Metro.

That said when Apple get it right – oh boy they do. The industrial design (can Sir Jony really only be knighted once?) is second to none (although again, the Surface is a very well designed tablet and arguably iOS 7 owes a good few nods to Metro) and the iOS app store ecosystem remains a league ahead.

Now I’m back on iOS devices I waddled through the mud to get to a place I’m fond of photographing: an electricity pylon slap bang in a field. That said anything geometrically repetitive makes me want to whip out the panorama apps (see the Eiffel Tower at the beginning of the blog post) but the pylon, so far, has been good to me*.

Last year I photographed it on iPhone 4S:and yesterday I photographed it on iPhone 5S:The clarity and definition on the 5S is obviously exactly what I was hoping to see. The lack of colour is down to Global Weirding rather than the lens. I look forward to popping back and snapping away when it’s sunny.

Like a complete nitwit (I left the house in a bit of a hurry to get photographing) I forgot my Ollocip but this was Olloclip on 4S and I’ll post a comparison pic when able later:(update: Olloclip pic taken with 5S:I also photographed the pylon using Boinx’ lovely You Gotta See This app…


5S:Less of a noticeable difference, if any, but I suspect that the app drops the resolution down to a set amount in order to capture the pictures it does. I’d love to see an update to it to take into account the faster processing speed and better lens though.

*Obviously I’m cautious around electricity and metal and so on, and I certainly don’t advise anyone to do this. Generally I let people know where I’m going to be or go with a friend. Apart from standing near to the pylon I don’t do anything that silly or dangerous and hope that nobody sees this as something to copy in anything other than sensible ways, if at all.

Taking a line for a festive walk…

No idea why but these lines:

…became this:

Which is at least a little festive bearing in mind I’m delicately balanced between cheerful and humbug, depending on the minute.

Drawn, as is the picture below (Pie Chart) on my Tesco Hudl using a range of styli and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’m not the sort to give out end of year awards but if I did that would be the tablet that I’d say I’ve enjoyed most drawing on. An absolutely fabulous little slice of tech and a joy to have worked with this last part of the year.

Were I to do awards the stylus of the year would be a dead heart between the Nomad Mini 2 and the Wacom Intuos Creative. Both fab things in completely different ways.

Anyhow, I don’t do that sort of thing so no runners up, stats or so on.

I did draw a Pie Chart, as mentioned, on the Hudl which, again, I suppose is vaguely festive, but not in the normal ways.

(and I don’t normally add on photo filters on upload, but I do sometimes whip through them to see if they’ll deliver something interesting. This time it did so a remix below, filtered through the Flickr app):

If I don’t blog before next Weds (very likely given historical precedents) hope that everyone reading has a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. Here’s to 2014, which I’ve been saying since about the end of August/early Sept…





Gadget Show Live.

So much to blog about but it’s been absolutely hectic like I’ve never encountered over the past month…

Anyhow this is a video of what we got up to – the students, staff, artist friends and I – at the Gadget Show Live. We had an amazing time, hope you agree. Photos and art to come soon.

(video shot and edited by Paul Arrow. Music by (the much missed) Steve from the Prelude ep).

And so it begins: a hectic five weeks ahead…

March is going to be a beautifully hectic month for me… for a start, and least of all, I’m being lesson observed over all of my classes. Which I don’t mean to say is least in any other way that the things I am marked on are not always the things that are most important, just the things a committee think that are deal breakers. You have to read certain things out at certain times and all sorts of silliness. A necessary foolishness then, which is part and parcel of the process, sadly.

In a couple of weeks time I’m doing art sessions for a National Deaf Children’s Society retreat which I’m very much looking forward to. Then I’m doing another art day for Microsoft. And then, and at all moments around, I’m planning for something in April which I think I’m on the cusp of being able to announce….

All exciting, terrifying, beautiful and busy stuff. Just how I like it although I’d prefer it to be spaced over a few months instead of a few short weeks 🙂


I will need people’s help with something which is the culmination of a number of hopes and dreams; a massively multi-player piece of collaborative artwork. Details to come very soon but I will need people to draw me a window, a door, an object you might see around the outside of a house (gargoyle, postbox, lamp post etc) and a brick with your first name in. Ideally I’d love to get some of the people who make me smile with some inherent excellence but I want as many as possible. Details to come but couldn’t be more excited about where this month (and the first week or the next) is going…

Also: happy 17th birthday to my excellent daughter and 84th birthday to my excellent father. Has been a very busy weekend 🙂

Exciting times…

OK so this month has become VERY interesting and chaotic and lovely and all sorts.

So, briefly, as I’ve got loads to do…

Last Sunday I was a guest on the Media Show despite the best efforts of Skype across three formats to keep me off it. Had a load of fun (as I always do as a listener) and hopefully will join them again in the not too distant future (certainly there were no ‘NEVER AGAIN’ tweets from the hosts of the show 🙂 We chatted sad stories of corporate death and administrator greed, I took the time to express my middle of the road opinions on (Z)ack Snyder and it was a lovely couple of hours to do. Hopefully some of the fun comes out on the podcast.

On Feb 2nd I’m speaking at BETTshow – the educational technology showcase event at London ExCeL for an hour on iPad art, apps, styli and so forth. Should be a lot of fun, there’s a lot that’ll be packed in. It’s free, should you want to come and join me. I’m aiming to blog in the next couple of days more details about what I’ll be speaking about but it will be split into apps, styli and devices with the best 5 of each (for education needs) being the focus.

On Jan 30th I’m the guest of Microsoft and their launch of Office 2013. I’m going to be live painting the event from 9 – 3 in a couple of VERY cool locations. More on that to come.

On Feb 20th I’m doing a (very nearly) sold out children’s arts and literature festival. Which should be lovely, it was ace last year and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve for this one.

On the 23rd there’s another day at the Family festival doing some impromptu and open to all digital art.

There might very well be one more family festival on the cards for that week also. Just confirming booking now.

Possibly doing something with another major technology firm in the next couple of weeks as well. And in March I’ve been booked to do a day long drawing session for a major charity. All sorts of busy.

Oooh exciting times. Can’t believe that at one point I was worried about what this year would bring. So far it’s been a roller coaster of busyness (including the lovely chance to write iPad art tutorials for iCreate magazine thrown in for good measure).

I also did this video which I may come to regret… But while it’s up and I’m not horrifically embarrassed this is me talking about an Olloclip and an AstroMedia macro lens…