Tag Archives: brushes app

Moodle lecture doodle…And a tree…

Inset day at college on Tues which meant I was ordered to go to two lectures that were of little use (and one which made me angry it was so ham fistedly delivered) and one I wanted to.

Ironically I doodled this in the one lecture I enjoyed. But I still listened and occasionally took notes.

(Brian drawn on iPad 2 using Brushes app/stylus sock).

Also: drew this last night while happily chatting to a friend on Skype. These two images may have almost single handedly saved my sanity. For this week if nothing else…

(tree drawn on MBP using Pixelmator 🙂 ).

Bad guys in hats…

Loving Doctor Who at the moment: Steven Moffat is a heck of a writer/controller and I like the way it’s moving from one organised scene to another.

The other thing I like is the look of the new group of bad guys. The cold blood/lizard two parter wasn’t the highlight of series 5 for me but the lizards looked great. Similarly the Ood, Silents, new Cybermen design etc are all beautifully designed (esp the Ood which were spectacularly let down by the growth in their role to becoming a poor Eurovision boy band group led by – oh yes, the obligatory mad mystic)… I’m probably in the minority but also like a lot of what the Moff has done with the Daleks. RTD painted them into a corner and Travesty of the Daleks (can’t remember the real name – the New York two parter) was one of the low points of modern Who for me. “Dalekanium!” was… well… I was glad to see the show change hands tbh.

Once an eps done and dusted I’m straight on my iPad drawing. Something about the show is so driving and energising and gets me wanting to create something straight off (which is ironic really because if I could point to some of the things that stopped me writing, for the time being anyhow, one woud be how effortless Moffat makes it look). I’ve decided to stick with a theme and the theme is bad guys in hats. If the good Doctor can be so obsessed I think it’s fair enough that I can be too. Pic 1 was the Silent, of course, in a fez, ditto. Second is the new Cyberman – a design which I’m probably most fond of in the whole new universe of Who. The hat though, that belongs to a tech journalist who I’m equally fond of, Andy Ihnatko. In my mind he’s the special guest star of a Cybermen in the US ep. He discovers their cunning plan to take over the online infrastructure and, in a glorious moment of self sacrifice he and his dog, Buster, alert the tech media to the presence of a malicious stampy menace, alerting the Cybermen to his alerting and they all come and delete him. And the dog. And the nation all goes ‘ohhhhh’ because it’s impossible to dislike Andy I and everyone likes the plucky sci fi dog.

But then the tables are turned. Everyone grabs their smart phone, points it into the air, says “I believe in Andy” and one Cyberman, wearing his signature hat, manages to upload an app which takes control of the rest of the invading metal men and they all disappear into the cloud. While the AI Cyberman, released as a posable figure to coincide with the episode and named Cybernatko, glows and the metal C on his chestplate becomes an Apple logo.  At which point he becomes Steve Jobs personal assistant, does half of each keynote and wipes out the competition, thus creating a dichotomy: did he become Andy in a metal suit or did he manage to take over the world, just as a half human/half cyborg.

Actually the end may need work (mostly a collection of silly ideas). Here’s the pic anyhow.

And the occasionally obligatory video can be found here.

Harmonying… and the Silents of the Fez.


Still a little lost, artistically, so wound up in Harmony land earlier to do a doodle. There’s probably something emotionally revealing about the Penguin pic. The other pic is obvious, I know, but painted for the fun of it regardless. Possibly the first in a series, the rest are certainly sketched in o my iPad, I guess I’ll see if I get to them or not…

You can see a video file of the Silents of the Fez pic here.

Still busy, always busy…

Oh boy is April and May likely to be mad times… Sigh…

So, been a year so far. Lots of interesting stuff, some very cool things happening. Much of it iPad based. Starting off may as well go with some new images:

The top three images are based around pictures created for a couple of US exhibitions which I hope to see some of my artwork shown in… The last picture is of a space seal, something which came to mind as an idea only as I drew it but which has become a slightly more intricate story since then.
The next image is from my slightly (and very belatedly) updated website which you can find at www.kercal.co.uk
I am still thoroughly loving drawing on the iPad 2, so much so that I’m finding how much battery it takes to drive Brushes, something which rarely happened when I was using the first version of the iPad. The exhibitions I hope to be shown in are the Autodesk University exhibition in May (which I have two images in, that much I know) and the IAMDA exhibition which I’ve submitted 3 pictures to. We’ll see…
After that? I’m in college the next three days chasing students who owe (in some cases) a serious (and hugely concerning) amount of work… Sigh… Also watched Sucker Punch yesterday but the least said about that the better.
Apart from that? Stuff. Hopefully will keep this page updated more regularly so will be easier to update from now on in. But then again I say that every time 🙂

A weekend with an iPad 2. Resistance was occasionally futile…

Two weeks ago the iPad 2 was released to fanfare and long, long qs in the US. It’s still in short supply, the websites tell me (TUAW, Appleinsider, Macrumors, Endadget and more that I tend to have a scan through every other day or so), and as soon as units are made they’re shipped to shops to be bought by a gleeful and often impatient public. Which is a retread of last year when the same thing happened, shop by shop, line by line.

The difference this year? Last year the lack of available units meant that the European launch was delayed by a month. This year it happened just when Apple said it would, two weeks after the US. And that meant I was going to be in a q to get one.

(Even with that short a wait I was very, VERY tempted to get on eBay and see what I could do to get it as early as possible. Madness, yes I know).

Because the iDevice, to me, is one of the most interesting and unique art tools yet created. It’s an entirely new workflow towards creating works of art, and something that I’ve thrown myself into and found myself loving every second of. Without wanting to sound too overblown: the resistance is dead, it’s time to dance.

Why resistance? Why not: I still love drawing with pen, ink, water soluble pencils and so on, don’t get me wrong. I drew this happily in my sketchbook the other day (don’t let the images fool you: drawing them was the better thing that had happened through the day) and found the process VERY therapeutic.

Me, occasionally grumpy...

But all art, most art, until now has been resistive… A pencil scrapes against paper, a paint brush spreads out and bristles collide against the edges of roughened watercolour paper or push against a canvas and so on. Somewhere along the line something was pressing against an immovable object.

With the iPad it’s different: your fingers literally dance on glass. You flow from one corner of the screen to another and the only resistance generally comes from an area of the screen you might not have cleaned well enough 🙂 On an iDevice your finger presses against the window of a world of pixels who all want to come and play. It’s… well, magical has been much overused. It’s a very freeing media to work with and play with.

Issues? A couple: I found myself coming down with a worrying case of RSI after long painting sessions on the iPad which had never given me issue with the iPod touch (unsurprisingly given the difference in sizes between the two objects). That was fixed by getting a stylus (in the first instance a Pogo sketch, swiftly followed by a Dagi, an Alupen, Sketch socks and a Nomad paint brush, all of which I love for some reason or another. Hopefully soon I’ll have a couple of pen cap stylii courtesy of Don Lehman and that’ll coax me into trying to find their strength and best use) which takes a little away from the immediacy of using a finger against glass but has made life much more confortable. Similarly the art created is reliant on the apps you use and, in some cases, things just didn’t click as much as they could. Sketchbook is brilliant and powerful yet the UI is clumsy and oddly placed. Brushes is brilliant yet lacks dropbox support, Ideas has a lot going for it yet some parts remain unfinished or off kilter with the smooth simplicity of the tools heart.

So, back to the q on the 25th. I’d been sick that week – a stomach bug picked up from my niece – and felt pretty rubbish on the two days I’d managed to make it in to work. I left an hour early on the Friday (and to be honest I leave an hour late far, FAR more often) and stood outside Solutions Inc in Guildford while my wife travelled to Cancom in Merrow. The plan was to buy a black 32 gig at Merrow and a white 32 in Guildford. Simple, right?

Yes, sorry, backtrack. 2 iPads. Not iPad 2. Well, to be perfectly clear: 2 iPad 2’s. One white, one black.

You see the problem was (and is) that I just can’t tell which is the best canvas to work on, as an artist. The black is great: the screen flows into the bezel and seems larger, the colours less constrained. The white, however, frames the screen perfectly and, more importantly, contains the imagery within the iPad rather than allowing the picture to leak out from the centre to the silver surround. From an eyeflow perspective I had a strong gut feeling that the white frame would be the best to go for but I wasn’t 100% convinced. A friend who also wanted an iPad 2 said that if I bought mine at the same time as he did we could spend a week working out which would work best for who and then swap once a decision had been made. Sounded like a great (and very selfless on his part) plan to me so that’s what we went for. The only fly in the ointment was that he needed me to sub him until payday which was doable, just.

So I was lucky enough to be able to q for an hour and a half, make a couple of phone calls and secure two units (whereas some people in the states have been q-ing for a lot longer and have less to show for it. Odd and strange). I went home and 6pm  with one iPad, two covers and an HDMI cable and waited patiently for the other to arrive. And then I had two. I should have taken a photo at the time 🙂 The other problem being that, within an hour of having both iPads on hand I was due out to lead at youth group and didn’t get home until 10. Good timing.

(In fact it was a great group: football and hockey and craft and computer games and all sorts. We had a great time – they’re a good bunch of brats we’re working with at the moment 🙂 )

Then, from Friday 10pm until, well, now, has been about the drawing, testing, loading apps and so on. (Actually there’s been a few breaks: dinner with my dad, taking my mum and kids out for a walk, cooking lunch and so on. When I wasn’t doing all of that it was iPad 2 time). Only got a few pics done so far but… first impressions?

It’s great. Very sturdy and solid and stable. It’s funny how lightweight and tired it makes the iPad 1 seem without doing all that much to distance itself from it. It’s thinner, a touch lighter, faster, but you have to give the iPad 2 specific instances to prove itself to really see the difference (Autostitch FLIES for example). The screen seems a touch clearer and more contrasty.

But it feels much more solid – inside and out. It’s a shame there’s no retinal display, no SD card slot, no decent cameras. That’ll be in next years update no doubt (retina and updated camera with facetime HD anyhow). But what there is is another solid update to something which was already game changing. The iPad is the future of computing as far as I’m concerned and drawing on them may well not be the future of art, but it’s put some of the most powerful and exciting tools in the hands of potential artists like no other platform. Brushes is the Photoshop of the iPad and costs £2.99? £3.99? Can’t remember. But I also can’t remember a time when computer art tools have become so democratised*

(*Yes I’m aware that a pencil and paper costs a lot less, especially when you take into account the price of an iPad in the first place. But you can do substantially less with a pencil, for a start, and a pencil comes with a LOT of baggage whereas a simple and cheap painting app on an iPad does not. A pencil often comes engraved with a reminder that most people feel they cannot draw – as Jake Spicer of the Brighton Life Drawing Sessions says “the belief that you can’t draw is a learnt adult skill”. An art app that you just muck about with and, in some cases helps curve lines or animate strokes? Seems more egalitarian especially as an 8 gig iPod touch is equally useful when it comes to picking up an art app and playing).

Coming up: a couple of Youtube comparative vids and yet more pics. And, for me, a lot more fun in using the machine… Until next year where I dare say I’ll be upgrading again 🙂

Adobe Ideas picture. iPad 2. Dagi stylus.
Brushes app, iPad 2, Stylus sock.

That second pic may take a smidge of explaining (a smidge? Maybe a little more…) Basically: I’m a big fan of a website called comictwart. It’s a collection of twitter based comic book artists who take a theme a week and see who comes up with what. I’ve been following it for a year or so and having fun as I go. Last weeks subject was ketchup week (for the guys to catch up on what they might have missed while working to deadlines etc). This weeks subject was Emma Frost. Now, Emma Frost as a character I like, sort of, in as much as I don’t read comics much anymore but appreciate the artistry. But she’s also a pointer to what I don’t like about comics: basically they are a bit silly and the girls are drawn… well.. not really with any sort of realism thrown into the mix. So Emma Frost, who is supposed to be a forty plus year old psychic, unpleasant, supercilious villain turned hero generally gets drawn, simply, as Jessica Alba in white underwear. Comictwart managed better and it’s a shame that, for the most part, mainstream comics go for the cheap shot/easy option rather than something of more interest. Anyhow, that, and the ketchup, fed into my variation of the theme…

You can catch the Youtube video of the image made here.


Christmas card part 2.

Click here for the larger version…


had this idea for a card AGES ago although true to form I left it until the last minute to actually get around to drawing it. Hope you like and big thanks to anyone who’s followed my words and doodles throughout the past year…