Tag Archives: brushes app

Teentech Surrey.

In a slightly ironic move (given Nicky Morgan’s comments yesterday) Wednesday saw the students and I deliver a full days teaching of tablet art technique to a range of year 10 and 11 students from a wide range of schools.

Excellent fun it was too, although I was utterly dog tired when I managed to drag my weary feet home… We used Flowpaper (which allowed me to talk about the very talented artist/programmer Richard ‘Dr’ Bailey who created some wonderfully beautiful procedural art images. After that we created an image in Brushes app (v2. v3 sadly doesn’t appeal to me in the same way) which allowed me to talk a little about Hockney and the RA. It’s a bit mean of me to teach on the app, really, as it’s not commercially available but it is a masterclass in UI design, even now years on from this version release and a year or so since it was pulled from the (app) shelf. Brushes remains one of the best tablet art apps which is what makes it all the sadder that you can’t buy it.

Finally, we did a picture in ArtRage app, a hugely powerful and phenomenally lovely piece of software available for desktop and tablet. It was good fun to use and, while the students all had their favourite app, this was the one that the teachers gravitated towards the most.

A lot of work then, especially as it was my day off, but it was a lot of fun. Everyone seemed to have a good time and we had some great pictures drawn on the devices. Bearing in mind each kid had less than 15 minutes to draw on the screens I think we came out with some very nice pieces of work.

As well as being my day off it was also the day of no classes for most of the students who joined me. Despite that they also did a full days work, never complaining (well, apart from not enough food in one students case) and being as good as I could have hoped. Well done them, as always. On their break, between sessions 5 and 6, the students sat around to do even more work, drawing the NAO Active Robot who made a short appearance on our stand. I got to draw for 20 minutes too, so all told it was a happy time…

(I will add some of their pics to the blog soon but as soon as I arrived back I put the iPads in the classroom and headed off home. That’s an update to come…)

Busy week. Tablet and Traditional art workshops ahoy…

So things are officially a little busy at the moment in Kercalton.

For a start we’re coming to the end of the lovely Lightbox series, which I’ll be sad to see end, where I’ve been leading a ten week tablet and traditional artwork series for 8-10 year olds. They are and have been an ace group to work with. This week we did scraper artwork on glow in the dark board, shrink plastic consequence characters, tablet artwork liquifying faces and, from the ones we did last week, added a bit of colour sparkle to the face mashes I’d printed out for them.

All in all a very lovely session.

Following that I’ve been at the Surrey Sports Park doing a multi school Teentech event with my students. Basically we rocked up with a range of tablets, stood them up in a range of easels and let people have a go. And it was corkingly good throughout. My students were absolutely fantastic and the school aged students and teachers seemed to have a whale of a time. Hurrah indeed.

Teentech is the brainchild of Maggie Philbin (although there’s probably a lot of people involved in the doing of it as it seems a HUGE endeavour) and she popped over, very kindly (and much appreciated) as we’ve done a shedload of events where nobody takes the time to say hi, and had a photo taken with the team.

(obligatory bunny ears pic).

Some of the artwork produced, in 15 mins, by some of the school age first time tablet artists…

And then, at the end of the day (which was lovely but oh my flip was I tired and a smidge stressful *CoughArrivaLackOfBussesCough*) I had ten minutes to sit and draw…. Only problem was had absolutely no idea what to do! So, if in doubt for an idea ask a student and between us we came up with the idea of the University of Surrey (‘cos that’s where we was) logo:

… as a Pokemon evolution. fifteen minutes later (well, packing was going so well by them so I felt like I could take the extra time… 🙂 ) this was on the screen.

(iPad 4, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Dagi and Nomad).

I would have LOVED to have put the pic above on the big screen (like what we did a year or so ago in the very same hall with Sketchshare….)

but it was an iPad 4 and Lightning port and I didn’t have a that to VGA connector 🙁 Boo.

But apart from that… Excellent day. Woop.

(edit: and, by request, here’s the Uni/Pokemon logo without text…)


‘Appy New Year 2013.

Some traditions last, others don’t – or morph into new ones…

For various reasons this is the first year in the past 20 that I’ve not done a Fourth Wise Man or a Christmas Trees don’t Christmas Card. May well come back to it if time allows but this year has been a doozy one way or another. Between sick parents and sick in laws, being sick myself, and a stressful restart to work in Sept 2012 is one I’ll remember for good and bad reasons (the good would be things like drawing at BETT – something that I reprise in a couple of months again – and at the Barbican, and the Royal Academy and MCM Comics Expo. Some parts of the year have been amazing).

But last year I drew an ‘Appy Christmas card and an ‘Appy New Year card and both were good fun to do. Didn’t do that again for Christmas but couldn’t resist doing an ‘Appy New Year card for 2013.

Brushes app again, V2 because v3 isn’t… well… it isn’t. Stylus Sock and Nomad Brush and iPhone 4S (which surprised me. I don’t normally use styli on iPhone and could have done the e-card on iPad but this seemed to be the way I should do it so that’s what I did). Started it around 5pm today (29/12/12), finished it around 11pm and that’s with a break to eat dinner and watch Muppet Christmas Carol with the fam. Yes, we are that messed up time wise this year.

Hope you like (or fav or RT).

…and instead of a signature I wrote the name in app icons as well… Just for the fun of it. 4 icons seemed too small to stick to 🙂 What are the app icons? Well, if you followed me on Twitter you might well now as I tweeted all of the icon inspirations and said ‘Appy New Year (which was a smidge dispiriting as only two have come back to me so far and only one retweeted. That said – crazy busy time of year and my dreams of multi-thousand view generating retweets remain just nocturnal bouts of optimism). I’ll post an edit with the names of the apps that inspired the look of the picture on Jan 1st.

…And this is the planning process, such as it was: inktense pencil on moleskine. Every Christmas (there’s that tradition again) I get some moleskines – generally the limited edition ones (so far: Snoopy, Star Wars, Pac Man, Hobbit. No Petit Prince 🙁 ) so generally I write lists and draw and doodle in them until it’s the next ones turn 🙂 This is the planning page for the ANY pic:

Why sketch pads at all? Surely I’ve gone all digital with the tablets and so on? Nope, not a bit of it. There’s an immediacy and tactility to a sketchpad, you can make mistakes and clean them up, or mess them up more. And of course it’s very good to take your eyes away from a screen every so often. I’ve always like water soluble media too, from inktense pencils to tombo pens to all sorts. My working practice is grey or purple pencil at the start to find the shapes, waterproof pen to clean up the outlines, water soluble media of some sort – nearly always inktense pencils now, love them 🙂 and then Pentel replaceable cartridge brush pen at the end. Makes me happy.

I participated in a forum discussion on sketchbooks and tips for working on them and this is what I said (the conversation slotting in nicely within what I was doing – picture wise).

>>on sketchpads<<

I’ve got a couple of quirks that I’ve fallen into but they’re more my oddities rather than anything else. I start pads from the end as I never know what I want them to be at the beginning. I also tend to draw a lot of coffee cups. Also I use the sketch pads for writing lists and notes as well as drawing and then, if time allows, turn the rarely completed lists into pictures, generally skyscrapers or just geometric shapes.

Lastly only thing I can think of is that sometimes its easier to start with a random scribble and turn that into something than start from scratch. Also takes away the fear of the white page a little.

Also: Drew this in a PC World Apple reseller store thing a couple of days ago on an iPad mini. Would love one but being careful with the pennies at the moment 🙁

A red wine kind of guy…

Post Hockney, and inspired by the work in the show at the Royal Academy I’ve been back on Brushes app (and Art Rage but more on that at a later date) to see how I can start pushing myself a little more. Not that I’m getting much time to sit and draw at the moment (this weeks been crackers and my feet are killing me. That said both holiday clubs seemed to go really well, which was nice).

Anyhow: son boy wanted to sit and watch youtube videos and, since he’s as accidentally likely to stumble on one that’s NOT suitable (seriously youtube – can you get a filter sorted please?) I said I’d sit with him and keep an eye out. That led to this (because I can multi-task, honest) but it bears little resemblance to the Hockney-esque inspiration which preceded it. Hey ho, that’s why he is who he is and I am what I is.

Brushes app, iPad 2, finger rather than stylus as they were downstairs and son boy and I were up.


Dancing in the Digital Forest.

As if the start of an academic year wasn’t chaotic enough, with the normal enrolment, paperwork, risk assessments, welcome packs and so on to be done I’ve also got the World Skills Festival to concern myself with. It should be ace, and terrifyingly huge. Apparently they are geared up to have around 7,500 people coming in every half hour and the Digital Forest is one of the first things that will be seen by main entrance 2. And there’s only two entrances.


What isn’t terrifying is the concept: lots of people draw trees and those trees are placed into a digital forest which is shown on HDMI screen for all to see. It’s a collaborative artwork sort of thing I’ve now done several times and I can’t wait to see how this one looks in situ, although tbh the reality in my mind is always constrained by the budget I have to work to. What’s mind blowing is the potential numbers which tbh scares the wotsits out of me.

But hey, a chance to show off iPad, DSi XL and desktop artwork off, and the work of my students, and all sorts of all sorts and it’ll be ace. In many ways I can’t wait, but… but… only three weeks away AARGH!

Best of all, potentially, are the possible desks that we’ll be working on. Which sounds silly I know, but the digital forest has the capacity to be printed and shown on some AWESOME platforms which I can’t wait to get my hands on and see. Ace ace ace stuff. But that piece of paper is yet to be signed and agreed so can’t mention it just yet. Hope all of this comes out of my mind onto the stage in similar fashion.

But, mainly, AARGH! Scary.

In search of Heston and Charlie Blimey…

So, was off for a week last week over on the Isle of Wight. Very pleasant 🙂 Sunny and easy and lovely views and countryside and beaches. Kids loved it too, which is a distinct bonus.

Rather than take a holiday book or anything I decided to work into a digital finger painting (I know, surprise, right?) I was determined to enter the Deviant Art competition as it was such a lovely idea (create a piece of art from one supplied ‘skribble’. Could be anything as long as the original lines showed through).

The original lines:

My variations:

You can enter as many pictures as you like, the rules seem to state, but these two are enough for me I think 🙂 The deadline is tomorrow and tbh my eyes are tired enough. One added complication, which didn’t make things any easier in the drawing of the pictures was that my daughter slammed my arm in the car door on day one of the holiday (before we’d even boarded the ferry in fact). There was a large crack which we couldn’t tell was the arm, the door, the coffee cup I’d been passing in or what. As it was I spent three hours at the Isle of Wight A and E department which was fun. As it was the result was bruising, swelling and soft tissue damage which meant I had to grin and bear it rather than anything else.

And then my son shut the car boot on my head but I saw that one coming and managed to get away with a small bruise.

Apart from all that – a nice holiday. Pics to come 🙂

You can see Youtube vids of the images being made here too: Charley Blimey  |  Heston Blumenthal.

Ninja Hippo/Hippo Ninja.

Love TWIT (the netcast from people I’m told to trust 🙂 ) and was happily doodling on my iPod touch while listening to this weeks podcast (which was ace by the way, you would listen in, you really should. Occasionally it’s even informative 🙂 I always put it down as CPD time anyhow, keep the teacher tax officers, sorry, iFl happy).

Anyway that’s by way or explanation of my latest flight of fancy: Ninja Hippo. Owen J J Stone’s idea mashed up with some happy pixels thrown around by me. Hope you like.

Video file of the drawing of here: Youtube!

Click for larger image.



Two new Brushes app pics.

Click picture for youtube video.
Click picture for youtube video.

Two images drawn on my iPod touch and exported as animated images. 18th wedding anniversary is tomorrow morning, so far so good, assume it’ll still happen 🙂 We’ve even got a babysitter so we can go out for a meal or something.

The Kercalton Klang image came from a different place, a chat with the Creative Fox and a few lines thrown onto the iPod touch to explain something or other (can’t remember now). Then went to meet the Klang who makes me smile and that pic came from those two events. May morph into something else, maybe… We’ll see…

The Breakfast Mob…

click file for larger image.

Break time about to be over but drew this over the past week as the response to an online call for art. Assume that I won’t get in, but it’s an OK picture regardless…. Not exactly the one I had in mind but then again time wise I’ve been more than constrained over the past week…

Video to come. (Can we not embed youtube videos in the posts anymore?) And possibly some more blather but tack to work calls 🙁

Edit 1: Video file.