Tag Archives: Dagi

Adventures on Touch Screens.

It’s been a busy week at Kercal central on a range of screens…


I had a quick play on an Apple iPad Air 2 following listening to an artist talk at the Covent Garden Apple Store. It’s as nice a device as you would expect (although I increasingly wonder if their obsession with thinness needs an intervention). The screen is beautiful and, with a conscious movement towards Replay and Pixelmator coming for me on tablet I think I should be looking at updating come Christmas time (‘cos there’s no way I’ll afford it sooner).

I drew this in a Moleskine (which  I’ll find and add later) and then on a Surface RT on a train to London (using the very fab Fresh Paint app). Kudos to Arthouse Meath in Godalming for reminding me how funky a flamingo can be.

I am seriously liking the photo sphere camera setting on the Hudl 2. Click on the pic for larger formats…

And on the Shake Shack side I drew this in 11 minutes while they filmed me on time lapse. Look forward to seeing the artwork come to be on the page (well, screen). I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the art residency there 🙂 Bigger blog on that to come.

And finally we have a large touch screen in at work to evaluate. I booked two 45 min slots and came out with these pics:


MS Paint, Photoshop and Clevertouch built in software respectively.

Finally also had a quick draw on a Lenovo tablet in PC World while waiting to see if there was a Google rep near the Chrome desk (only weekends, sigh. But yes, I do want to draw on a Nexus 9 STAT!)

Screen Frenzy! 🙂

Another screen splurge….

Not that I think this is going to be a weekly thing sadly, but was allowed to pop into a different PC World today – the Woking branch – for a potter about while son boy had his feet measured and so on… Very lucky man, me, to get two slots of free doodling time to myself while others do all the hard work 🙂

So, armed with a pencil case full of styli I went in to see which screens they had to play with. The answer surprised me, more than the other day in Guildford.

Starting off – a Sony Vaio touchscreen laptop:

Didn’t have Fresh Paint installed on it (grr) so I loaded up Paint and had a play. Liked it, although not as much as the Vaio sliders which I think are an excellent design and have one of the best in class integrations of a stylus. The laptop (I really should take a note of model numbers and names when doing this) wasn’t really in the right position for me to draw on – I couldn’t move the screen to an angle I was happy with – but to be fair I don’t think I’m the normal shopper that PC World displays are build around.

Next up – a Lenovo laptop:

Also didn’t have Fresh Paint on it (grr x 2). It also, unusually, refused to connect with any of the styli I’d brought with me except for the Nomad Brush (which is normally one I can’t guarantee a screen will like). It wasn’t unpleasant to draw on but this fact alone confused me… I did like the design of the machine though – very eye catching and, obviously, something that is orange is inherently cooler than something that isn’t.

After that – the Lenovo desktop:

Which I like LOADS having played with it on thursday in Guildford PC World. It’s a good screen to draw on. Again it didn’t have Fresh Paint on (grrr x 3) but it liked working with nearly every stylus except for, again, the Jot stylus. Odd.

Lastly the surprise in store:

Up until now I’ve had a couple of companies that I automatically dismiss for the anticipated (and often proven lack of) quality of their screens. Acer, Asus and HP are all companies that I’ve drawn on screens in the past and found them muddy and laggy so, except for the occasional new machine that I’ve thought – give it a try – I tend to not draw on them in a shop. The HP was next to the Lenovo and it struck me that I’d not drawn on one of them for a while. I also liked the design and the idea of a 20 inch tablet (although lets be honest that’s an unusual and unlikely usecase for a good deal of the time). Even so – since I only had to step to the right by three steps I thought I’d give it a go, expecting very little.

Take it all back – the tablet was speedy, the screen flowed beautifully and they even had Fresh Paint installed so I could test it out with that. Unexpectedly (and yes, I know I spelt it wrong 🙁 ) it turned out to be the machine I enjoyed drawing on the most this morning…

So there you have it. Back to work on Monday (sigh 🙁 which is less an indication of not wanting to go back to work – although I’m unsure what my thoughts are on that one just yet and likely won’t really know what I’m thinking until I unlock the door of my dungeon room but more the fact that I’ve felt much more at home with myself this holiday than I expected or anticipated) so the screen splurge will calm a little. But it’s always lovely to draw on a range of machines, and chat to people as I’m doing so. Not bad for an hour of happy doodling anyhow 🙂

Wonder what’s next?

(Incidentally – the keyboard on the Sony is my favourite. Not that that’s been a huge need for me for a while, although I did have a dream that I’d gone back to writing the other day, and the blogs have been getting a little more and more blathery recently so who knows. But anyhow – the Vaio keyboards are very cool if that’s a pressing need for tablet or laptop purchasers…)

Disconsolate Godzilla and the thought process…

I’ve been noodling around on a picture for a couple of days now and thought it sums up the creation process in a couple of nice ways. So here, for a change, is a little bit about the thought process of a pic and the creation of it from start to near finish.

I generally start with a series of quickly drawn lines and squiggles. More often than not I don’t know what I’ll be drawing until I’m half way through them and I’ll say to myself ‘that looks like a…’ and go from there. Occasionally that’ll inform where some of the squiggles go next.

Once that’s done I’ll start blocking in colours – I’ll try and save some process pics sometime soon. This one was being drawn on a Hudl tablet (currently my favourite) in a pub where I sat down to chill between doing a couple of hours of tablet art youth work and getting my bus home. From squiggle to this point the above pics took about 45 minutes.

Once that parts done I try and take some time way from an image, but I don’t always (very impatient, me). In this case I carried on working on the picture on the bus home and found that I liked both the text and the buildings so chose to move a couple of things around.

When I moved the text I found that the right hand side of the image was pretty empty so I  added some planes and explosions in… but that unbalanced the left hand side so I added a spire in to the left most skyscraper.

The next morning – I tend to wake up a little too early – I added some more details in, fine detail stuff like the dragon skin which isn’t very noticeable but I like the texture it adds.

And there you have it, I think. Don’t think I’ll do any more so it’s on to the next thing (which turned out to be >>this<<, ironically). Top to tail the above pics probably took  three hours to draw but that was all forwards momentum stuff, sometimes a picture fights and sometimes it goes onto the screen fairly naturally.

All drawn on Hudl tablet using a Dagi and New Trent stylus and Nomad brush, all of which are a joy to use. The app was Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro which I like loads and more every time I use it.

And why (as I’ve been asked on Twitter) is Godzilla sad? Well, I guess life isn’t always too kind to lumbering, graceless creatures sometime. But hey ho, I’m sure he’ll be up and running, knocking over buildings and eating cars soon enough…

Collab Hudl pic.

So yesterday I took the students to London to do another fab Teentech show (more on that later) and, when back I sat down with one the staff members to talk through the day (and the year).

While doing so we both decided it’d be nice to sit and chill out and draw so I drew on his iPad Air and he drew on my Hudl. I drew the outlines, he did the colours and I shaded it in at the end.

(Hudl tablet, Autodesk Sketchbook app, Dagi, Nomad and New Trent styli in case you’re interested…)

Not bad for an hours winding down from an ultra busy day…

The astronaut is named after the lead singer of my favourite band – Five Iron Frenzy – ‘cos today is the release date of their new CD which means it’s going to be played LOUD all day.

It’s a bit of a remix of this image:

… which I did a while ago when I first bought my iPad 3 using ArtRage app. Took more than an hour though 🙂

Top five Android art apps… Start here.

The start here is a note to me, more than to you, dear reader. I’ve been meaning to find the time to update the Buyers Guide post I did at Christmas and have been utterly snowballed with work and… well, all sorts really – especially as the year comes to a close.

But, since buying some Hudl tablets to do art classes with I’ve been re-evaluating my relationship with Android and have been on a search for the art apps that I can enjoy working with and teaching to others. There’s a longer post than this to come but here’s a top five of the apps I sit and draw in. I’ve arranged them (a little) in order of complexity.

S-Note: Yes. I know. It’s not really an art app, nor is it available across the Android range. But it’s smooth and quick and, on larger devices, keeps a process recording of what you’ve drawn. I like it a lot and, on the S4, is one of my most chosen go-to apps. I thoroughly enjoyed using the app on the Note 2 and 10.1s I used last year.

Didlr app: available cross platform (oh how lovely that is to be able to say) Didlr is free and lovely to use. It has a limited colour palette but remembers the animation as a matter of course and allows you to share both the image created and the animation through a range of social media outlets. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable app to work with.

PhotoViva: a photo editing app at heart it has a playful and interesting drawing engine hidden away from plain view. Ostensibly there to add a hand drawn painterly effect to a photo importing a blank image will allow you to paint on top with a brush that rotates as you go or has a scatter effect built in, or a jitter on the hue and saturation values or… well… you get the jist.

Photoshop Touch: So we get to the big boys… Adobe have a long and cherished history when it comes to art apps and Photoshop is so synonymous with digital art it has become the defining verb. So it’s no surprise to see it on the list is it?

Well, actually, yes it is. I’ve got a HUGE amount of love for Adobe and Photoshop 3.3 LE was a pivotal moment for me in art software use. But Photoshop Touch is still ‘getting there’ as an app rather than where it needs to be. The UI is very good, although  the first screen you will see (after the loading screen) is a whole lot of clumsy. Sharing is also a bit quirky. Creative Cloud is great but not fully and completely integrated and the load time and occasional render time if you’re using a large brush at half opacity…? Well… The range of options is also, on the drawing side, a bit lacking (although to be fair the same criticism could be levelled at Didlr and PhotoViva) but the editing and photo manipulation tools are very sound.

But it is good and well worth the money. It’s funny how app store economies have skewed application prices – programmers and artists still need to be paid to develop – and Photoshop Touch is pricey for a mobile art package… but not at all when you consider the desktop prices. Maybe this is why it’s so infrequently updated? Regardless – I’ve got a lot of love for Photoshop Touch but often think more about what it could be rather than what it is.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro: While Photoshop 3.3 LE was a huge eye opener for me in what an art app could be Autodesk provided one of the first art packages that I fell in love with. While D-Paint on the Amiga was ‘the first’ Ani Pro was probably my favourite 2d animation app of all time. Sigh. Those were, very much, the days. I still remember paying ‘HOW MUCH?’ for a 486 SX with 512 m of ram (I think) to work with Ani Pro at home.

OK, back on subject. Eagle eyed readers will know that I have had a love/hate relationship with the app in the past. The UI takes a bit of getting used to and, even though I know my way around it now, I wouldn’t say I like it. The brush opacity seems bilked to the point of uselessness. The brushes are great but I truly have no idea how to associate them to UI slots nor the secret sauce of being able to swap between two brushes even though there is a button which says it will do this magically useful thing (on some devices anyway). SImilarly – some brushes will scale very large and others will not, but there’s no warning about which is which and often you have to rely on memory to remember the effect each brush type will have and whether it will be a fine or wide ended splash on the screen.

BUT – and it took me a while – it’s a fab app. On iOS there’s a process video recording tool which I hope makes it over the Android side of the fence sometime and the toolset of brushes and variables is very cool. It also works very well with pressure sensitive styli. I LOVE the symmetry paint – which I seem to remember them being the first to implement –  and some of the brushes are quirky and brilliant. There’s no real level of cohesion between the multi-platform nature of the app but, on Android, it’s probably my favourite go-to ‘proper’ art and design choice.

So there you have it: Android art apps in a nutshell. I’ll get onto an updated styli and iOS art apps list soon but this’ll have to do for the mo’. Masses of work paperwork to stop being avoided 😉

(Cheers: Didlr, Hudl, Nomad and Dagi styli, O’Hara white label stout).

 

Cupdate.

Updated the Cupcake a smidge… Which leads me onto wondering if I should do some more as it was a lovely thing to draw. Hmmmm…

Also… did a little photo-editing effects work on an Android app called Photo Viva which left me with this:

I’ll keep plodding along with that app – I was looking for liquify apps at the time but it seemed to have a nicer, fuller, feature set. So far, it’s interesting. Won’t get a chance for a full on play but I think it’s coming up time soon for me to update my ‘so you’ve bought/been given a tablet‘ post from just after Christmas…

Anyhow: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro/Hudl tablet/Dagi and Nomad.

The Surface RT tablet and it’s recommended stylus*…

*Recommended by myself and Stylus T. Frog that is.

Every tablet has a flavour. I like drawing on most machines, truth be told. I’ve yet to find a favourite and tend to find something easy to like about the machine I’m using at the time… And, of course, many tablets also have apps specific to them and each piece of sortware has something to offer that others don’t.

What I have noticed is that some styli suit the flavour of a tablet more than others…

(This is all massively subjective of course, and I have HUGE piles of respect for tablet artists who use and adore styli – or apps – that I don’t have much time or love for. As previously mentioned Mia Robinson likes long hair Nomad and I like short hair. Roz Hall likes Alupen and I find it a bit draggy. Both are awesome artists creating amazing work).

On iPad I’ve yet to find something I like more than the one two-three-sucker punch of the Nomad Compose (short hair), Pogo Sketch Pro and Stylus Sock. Each do a different thing and I hold all three in one hand to use them for various parts of a picture (that said I’m using the iPad very infrequently at the moment bar daily plays with Draw Quest).

On Galaxy Note the SPen reigns supreme although I do like using the Sketch Pro on the screen as well.

(And, as also mentioned in the past, respected tech journalist Sir Andy of Ihnatko and I are currently in agreement on one thing: no tablet is perfect and he and I would both love to see an uber tablet made from the choice of the iOS store, the SPen of Samsung devices, some aspects of the Surface tablet – Vapor MG is nicer than Aluminium – and the entirety of the Metro UI. In one of those Twitter arguments that mean little and add nothing to the happy running of the world that was what we both came up with and who am I to argue with such a revered and sonerous voice? Especially when he and I were the ones agreeing with each other against a whole host of people saying only one tablet is the only one tablet 🙂 )

On the Surface RT? I hadn’t found a stylus that suited me best until now: the Dagi Accu-Pen is the Surface stylus of choice for me now. Perfect for the tablet it is. I’ll say why later – if I work out why it is –  but if I were using the Surface at this very moment I would only be using the Dagi with it.

I do want to try the Surface Pro and the pen that comes with it. I’m interested for a number of reasons (ArtRage 4 on a tablet screen? Fresh Paint with pressure sensitivity? Get in! But the Dagi is the one which does the job so perfectly I’m happy with it for now.

*slight edit of 100 typos 🙁