Tag Archives: college

Return of the BETT.

 

Touch screen art... Engage. #BETT2015 #SMARTboard.

The past few years have been a rollercoaster and the peaks and troughs generally come at the same times… Event days and the huge amount of work they entail.

I’ve been a teacher for 120 months now and the first 60 passed by in a fairly normal fashion. Teach, paperwork, mark, paperwork, chase students, paperwork etc. Then we were asked to demonstrate tablet art techniques at the World Skills Festival which was thoroughly fabulous.

How do you follow that? With turns at the Barbican, the Royal Academy. Teentech (x4), Bohunt, Magic Summer, Europamer (x2), MCM (x3), Sky Arts, Electric Theatre and much more. So many places we’ve been demonstrating tablet art on so many devices.

And, of course, there was the Gadget Show Live:

…which was the only show where everything has gone to plan despite being the biggest we had done (until recently). 70 or so students from 6 different classes on a seven day working residential. A 120 sq m stand which we filled on a budget smaller than most other stands free drinks budget. It should never have worked… but it did and it was brilliant.

Which brings me to BETT. How does that fit into the calendar? Surely the students would prefer to work at the comic conventions or the computer games shows or the music festivals or the art galleries?

Team Friday McAwesome. #BETT2015.

Well. Yes. Those were fabulous. But this time a surprising number of students who said they enjoyed this one most of the shows we’ve done this year. I loved it, because I love BETT, but they thoroughly enjoyed it too, and it was all down to the tech.

Thanks Team SMART. Had a fab time helping you on your stand. #BETT2015 #SMARTKapp

Sometimes we’re asked to do shows with tech that the students work brilliantly and professionally with at the time but afterwards grumble about an app or a device. We’ve been very spoilt, but to be fair we’re also pretty good at what we do. This year we were asked to draw on the SMART stand (again. They asked us last year too) and we drew on devices as we always do.

#SMARTKapp at #BETT2015 (close up ") ).

Lets be clear though, this year was different. Last year we drew on Interactive Whiteboards and it was good but, at the end of the day we were just drawing on large screens, which we’ve done, a lot.

SMART board art at #BETT2015

This year SMART had a 1-2 sucker punch of devices that I loved using and want in my classroom, stat . I’m absolutely NOT saying this because SMART paid for the travel and sandwiches (to be frank they got a good deal -I charge more for two pictures than they paid for all of the student train fares and I drew significantly more than two pictures over the past four days). SMART amp and Kopp were my two stars of the show. BETT obviously agreed as SMART amp won best collaboration software. If Kapp didn’t win an award it was robbed  its a fabulous piece of tech

Drawing on SMART board. And iPad ")

I’ll write some more later, today is my VERY MUCH DESERVED lazy day following four 15 hour days in a row. However I wanted to show off some pics of my students being thoroughly brilliant, as the always are at a trade show, and I wanted to big up the SMARTboards while BETT is still fresh in people’s minds.

Interview time #SMARTAmp

It was an ace show for us, there are hopefully some very cool things to come out of it too, but for the moment let’s just say that BETT is fab, the students were too, as was SMART and, you know what? So was I 🙂

As ever as always: lovely to draw on a #SMARTboard at #BETT2015

(Apols for some of the formatting. I’m writing this on a Surface 3 and it’s not allowing me to do some of the things I want…)

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…)

Surrey Opportunities Fair.

We are getting rather good at this.

This being juggling a bunch of students and one dog tired teacher going to a venue (this time: Epsom Racecourse) and demonstrating tablet art techniques to potential new students (and, more often than not, teachers and teaching assistants).

So yesterday the students and I got a bus at way too early to get to the racecourse ten minutes late via a horribly foggy and disgusting drive. Safety (always) first, so late was the better of the options.

One quick set up later and the school kids started piling in. And in. And in. It was fairly busy:

(as always).

One of the nicest things for me was that the students who went started drawing on the bus and didn’t stop working until we finished at 3.15.

Which is nice for me as their teacher… They’re a good bunch I have this year. Which is good as my student intake has almost trebled.

All in all? Not a bad way to spend a day. Dog tired at the end of it though. I’d say roll on half term but I’m doing tablet art at the ‘Leccy then…. Good to be busy I suppose 🙂

The Three MuskArteers.


Without wanting to sound ridiculously immodest I think I’m fairly OK at my day job (which is as a  College Graphics and Creative Media teacher).

I’m not your average teacher and I don’t teach in an average way. Which is good, just don’t tell the Government because it’s not about being good any more it’s about standards and compliance. You’re not good unless you’re outstanding and you’re not outstanding unless you toe the party line.

I don’t. But all the students stay and they all pass with grades they weren’t expecting and, along the way, we tend to do huge trade shows and events as we go.

And now I’m ridiculously lucky to be joined by a Photography and Fine Art teacher who are equally good and equally mad. It made EGX an absolute joy and when we all decided to be Muskarteers on the final day, well that’s a perfectly rational decision for us, really. It’s going to be a fab year in the School of Art. Unless they make us comply too often in which case it was be an above average, semi-soulless, standardised sort of year.

We even took over the Cosplay stage for the final hour of the day, dressed as Muskarteers and with anyone with a sword joining us. It was as excellent as that sounds.


As was drawing on tablets dressed in Cosplay 🙂 As was EGX as a whole in fact…

…but, true to form, I was finishing off the Cosplay on the train up to day four of the show. While I lauded the two newish teachers at the College – and it is excellent to be part of an A-Team – I’m always supported by my excellent wife who made the tabard and boots and so on. She left a space on the front for me to draw the crest which I did on the train.

…and which she, being the long suffering and excellent wife that she is, filmed for me…

First Cosplay. Definitely (hopefully) not the last.

Chill Out and Art at EGX14.

Well that was a fabulously truly bonkers week at Earl’s Court for #EGX14.

The highlights started a couple of weeks before the show. I’d asked some wonderful tablet artists to donate pictures on a given theme and the results were fabulous. The digital paintings were printed off at A1 size, attached to foamboard,  displayed at the show and finally given away to the charity stands at the show for them to fund raise with (Special Effect, Make a Wish and National Autistic Society).


On setup the very fabulous Dame Kath of Jones and Sir Nick of Thatcher made it all happen (with RoStev helping out on the last day).

SO many people joined us to draw. Loads of students attended each day, a lot of them Cosplayed, Graph It pens were used and used and then used some more, iPads, Hudls, Surfaces and 3DS’ were drawn on, new artists started a new hobby and brilliant artists shared skills with others.

The best thing? Possibly the Cosplay stage space for us. We co-ordinated with two Cosplay troupes: the Lots Of Us and the Birds of Truth (as well as thematically linked Cosplayers on the day) and took over the stage for an hour on the four days of the show. For every session we set up a diorama for people to paint/draw/photograph and it was always, ALWAYS, ace. Blog post to come but here’a a few representative pics:

(click on the pics to get the larger ones…)

So on a budget of… well… nowhere near enough… for an hour each day we had the sixth largest stand at EGX. Truly and utterly fabulous and bonkers all at the same time.

Also: the new aluminium stand for the show (the hat stand) worked brilliantly 🙂 (so now we have two fab Aluminium bespoke tablet art stands – the hat stand and the eYe, both made by the very fabulous Nick Thatcher of Thatch Industries).

The lowlights? Less that 6 hours sleep each night for the past two weeks. Also – some of the receipts will be paid but I feel like I’ve partially bankrupted myself on emergency coffees and bottles of water – HOW MUCH??? – as mine ran out no matter how much I took I always drank more. My throat is completely clobbered and I’m going to be teaching with a whisper for the next week.

And also: general event shatteredness.

… and this is bearing in mind that the phone that had the pedometer on was also being used as a wifi hotspot so I didn’t have it on me for a few hours each day. And yet I STILLL could have cosplayed easily as Jabba the Hut (as opposed to what I did do: a Teletubby Muskateer mash up).

It was – so very nearly – the best tablet and drawing event ever, definitely the best one we’ve ever done….

Now normal teaching service is resumed… I’ve got over 100 students to get to an A* in 10 months 🙂

Although… will try and get the #WelcomeToGuildford awards sorted out soon…

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.

 

 

EGX setup day.

I lose count (which I shouldn’t, but at the moment I’m so tired I can barely count on two hands let alone up to 20 or so).

The College I work at has done a few trade and STEM shows over the past two years, capably demonstrating out skills at Tablet Art.

How many have we done? Hang on…. (Teentech x 2, BETT x 3, Royal Ac, Barbican x 2, World Skills, Magic Summer, Adobe x 3, Gadget Show x 2, Dell, Bohunt, STEMfest, LITS, MCM x 2, LMUG x 1, Autodesk and Eurogamer… and.. um… brain gone).

Anyhow, we’ve done a lot. They kids were, are and have been great.

This time it’s Eurogamer. Which is fab. It’s a heck of a show.

Which leads to the next question.

WHY THE HOOTING FLUMP DOES EVERYTHING ALWAYS GO DOWN TO THE WIRE WHEN WE DO THINGS???

On Tues the very excellent Dame Kath of Jone and I dashed up a hatchback full of easels and so forth to Earl’s Court and, literally, dropped it on our stand and ran out of the doors as they were being shut and locked.

Phew.

Then on Weds we worked from 11 – 8 setting up the stand.

Which looks AWESOME.

Some pics here. Day one blog next.

The stand looks fricking amazing and the above people are why (plus additional pic of me at the end 🙂 )

If you’re at EGX pop over to the Chill out and Art stand and say hi!

(Blimey I’m tired).

 

 

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.

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 🙂