Tag Archives: Digital Art

Digital life drawing.

I’ve long been a fan of life drawing to sharpen up/improve skills and, well, just be an enjoyable acid test of drawing skills. A new session has started up near me once a week and, although I won’t be able to get to it quite that often, I should be able to get in some regular drawing and painting practise, which is very nice.

Last night was the first one, and I was sort of on duty as one of my autistic students was there and I felt I should keep and eye on his progress/mood as it was his first life drawing of any kind. However my iPad and Hudl were both kept fairly busy (although tbh most of the pictures didn’t really go the way I’d intended or hoped for). More practise to come, much needed…

Drawn on Hudl and iPad using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage apps using, mainly, Jot Script, Nomad Compose, Nomad Mini 2 and Pogo Sketch Pro. More on the Flickr feed. The first picture I’ve got an animation of, just not the energy to edit it at all, but will edit that in later anyhoo.

Why the colours? Well, the theme of the night was to try and implement some pop art techniques, especially with Natasha Law in mind, which I tried…

Forgot about this one 🙂

Hudl, ArtFlow app and Nomad Compose brush, Jot Script stylus.

Plus, in case you don’t notice it in the other post, here’s the process video of the top image, created by pressing the time lapse record in Sketchbook Pro (iPad version).


(which won’t embed. Grr).

The first screen art splurge of 2014.

#HappyNewYear, for a start.

Drawn on Nokia 520, Dagi stylus, Fresh Paint app.

For todays couple of hours of art therapy I started with a doodle card for a friend who’s reached ten years of fine service in a very noble cause… I suspected she’d like Bubbly Choc more than Champers (well, may be wrong on that one, may be an even tie) hence this:

(the ears isn’t an unkind thing about north of neck adornment in case you’re wondering, more a thing about the charity that’s the employer. Drawn on Samsung Galaxy S4 using S-Note and Jot Touch).

And then to finish a little bit of doodle bombing my friendly neighbourhood PC World. I do like popping in there and testing out a new screen (or three) to draw on, preferably something new, and they didn’t disappoint today with an enjoyable beginning doodle on a Lenovo touch screen desktop taking up the first half of my hour+ a bit in the store.

Stylus T. Frog furnished me with a Pogo Sketch Pro, Nomad Compose short hair brush, a Plai eStylo wooden stylus, a New Trent Arcadia retractable cloth/micro-weave stylus and a Jot Touch plastic tip pen. All performed admirably except for the Jot which wouldn’t connect to the screen at all for some reason.

After that had a quick draw on a Surface Pro, mainly using a Wacom Feel pressure sensitive stylus.And finally I finished up on a Samsung Note 3 (which I have a real soft spot for) which gave me the chance to start and end the couple of hours I had to draw on S-Note – a very under appreciated art package.

2 days. Four hours of drawing time probably. Five different screens, three different apps. Marvellous. Hoping the year continues this way 🙂

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…





Also on Styli…

Not all of my styli but here’s a clutch of them, the ones I had in my work bag today…

Which, bearing in mind I’ve lost a few recently ( 🙁 ) is still a bit scary. More worrying is that this is pencil case 1 of 2 and the other one has a similar amount in… Hmm… I may have a problem.

A range of styli draw in DrawQuest app. Animated version here: http://drawquest.com/p/2bwflr

Anyhow, also on my birthday the list of styli received (the Wacom Intuos Creative being one):

also contained a Pogo Sketch Pro to replace a lost one (one of my favourites – a delicately beautiful stylus. Fragile but light and wonderful) and a Nomad Mini2 which is completely new on me. I did order a mini 1 once but it was out of stock between ordering and receiving it 🙁

Nomad Mini 2 painted on an iPad using Sketchbook app using a… well… you can guess which stylus.

Nomad Mini 2 painted on an iPad using DrawQuest app using… well… you can probably guess correctly again…

As expected the Nomad Mini 2 is excellent. A lovely shape and works well with every screen I’ve thrown it at.

I’ve already drawn the Sketch Pro but will do so again sometime soon…

I also drew a Pogo Connect with a Pogo Connect with an app which doesn’t have the capacity to connect to a Pogo Connect. Because that’s the sort of idiot I am.

Pogo Connect, Didlr app, iPad 3.

Next on the stylus list? Nothing planned…Ahem.

But I always say that. I do like the idea of the Hex3 Nota (for the Android support) and the Adonit Evernote edition (for the thin tip support…) and the… Well, I had better stop there I think. Exciting times, as always. Screens, apps and styli are a fabulous combination.

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 🙂

Doodlebombing PC World.

Finances, budget and, lets be honest, need all preclude me from owning all of the tablets, styli and apps that I’d love to create pictures on so thank flip for shops that allow you to rock up with a handful of styli and try the screens out. In fact my local PC World pretty much encourages me to draw on screens as it tends to gather a bit of a crowd each time so that generally goes down well.

Today wasn’t wall to wall fab… best left to the past once I get to tomorrow I think. But I did go for a walk and have a two hour draw in the store. Which was very therapeutic and allowed for some much needed non-thinking time.

So I drew these as we all know it’s Doctor Who Day and the Marleks are one of my favourite things to draw.

 Sony Vaio Duo 13, Sony Pen and MS Paint.

Nexus 7 2013 edition, various styli and Webchemy app.

Advent/Tegra Note tablet, Nvidia draw app and a range of styli, including the built in stylus…


Surface RT 2, Fresh Paint app, range of styli.

Thoughts? The Advent is a weird shape which makes the screen positively sink into the bezel which is no mean feat as that’s normally the effect of a white surround not a black one. The speaker grills are so distracting (being front facing and very eye catching) that the screen almost becomes the last thing you look at. Coupled with a hint of washed out colour saturation and it didn’t endear itself to me from the get go.

But… the stylus is fascinating. A thin form factor; like a cross between and 3DS stylus and  S Pen – and two rubber ends – one to create a thick line and one for more detail. It’s an interesting stylus to use and made less of the in built app than I might have hoped. To be able to spin it around in my hand and change line widths was very good though. Liked that. The thin end of the stylus was odd though – hard to work out how to connect with the screen as it didn’t have an obvious point. Didn’t dislike the tablet at all and the stylus does make me want to play more with it.

The Nexus 7.2 is much how I would have expected it having drawn a few times on the 7.1. Snappy (although the 7.1 did seem to grow into a laggy state after a few months use) and running Android as well as you would expect it’s a good slab of tablet. The screen ratio seemed a little less thin than some other tablets I’ve used too which was nice to see. Liked it although it refused to connect to a couple of the styli I used (wood and paintbrush particularly) which was odd.

The Surface RT2 and Sony Vaio Duo 13 were the ones I enjoyed the most, partially because of the increased screen real estate and partially because they’re both thumping good machines. Way back in the past year I took a number of students to the Gadget Show Live and the machines I enjoyed most were the Sony Vaio Duo 11s with the Sony Pen. Fabulous machines and the 13 is a worthy successor. If money were no object I’d go for the limited edition red one as it’s a corking hybrid machine to draw and paint on but, oh boy, it’s a bit expensive…

The Surface RT2 – personally I’ve no idea why RT became so toxic as it’s no different, in ways, to the difference between iOS and OSX. But hey ho. I’d forgotten my Wacom Feel stylus (or at least, sigh, my replacement stylus as I lost a clutch of mine two weeks ago 🙁 ) so I stuck to the RT 2 tablet and was delighted to see it had Fresh Paint installed and ready to go.

Two hours and four pics later I waddled home to watch Who with family. That at least was a lovely end to the day.

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…)


ArtRage on iPhone. A little bit about mobile digital art…

I’m lucky enough to be able to pick between screens to draw on… Between my workplace or home I can pick up a Samsung Galaxy S4 or an iPad, an iPhone or Surface Pro, Lenovo YogaNintendo 3DS, Wii U, Tesco Hudl or stand up against an Interactive White Board. Occasionally I nab an HTC One or an iPad (<<pic) Air (<<vid) if either of my friends who own them put them down and don’t tell me not to draw something…

As I said – phenomenally blessed and lucky.

But it all started for me, mobile screen wise, on an iPod Touch. On Brushes app V1 (which, at the time, had no layers but was still there in terms of UI, power and usability) so, despite the fact I’ve got a range of sizes of screens to put a stylus to, the iPhone always makes me smile to pick up* (although now I use it far more often as a photographic device rather than an image making one…)

So I drew this in a coffee break for a friend because I wanted to say thanks for the smiles she’d helped bring about in the week (because while I’m very blessed and lucky it’s definitely been one of ‘those’ years as well…)

Three versions which show the picture at various stages on a day – painted with no stylus (as I don’t on a phone screen) – created in less than 15 mins over a coffee, with another 30 minutes work (my lunch break doodle time and, yes, over another coffee) and then with another half hour added after.



So, just under an hour and a half in total. Probably took me longer to log onto the works IT infrastructure in order for me to be able to email it to Flickr and text it to my friend** The question I keep coming up against in my own mind is whether doing pictures so quickly is a good or bad thing? Good in ways, obviously, as it allowed me to do a personal image to say thank you fairly speedily, but I’ve also found myself out of the habit of actually sitting to do a picture over any space of time as well as looking with sombre jealousy at the works of friends who do amazing pieces of artwork. Hmm… Rhetorical question really, just interested. Am questioning loads in my mind, sadly often at 4am, and whether the pics I do benefit from the way I do them is often on the list of questions asked.

Anyhow, onwards. ‘Cos that’s what I do at the moment.

*Which is not to say that I don’t REALLY want to play with the camera and Fresh Paint on a Nokia phone. But that’s nowhere near a ‘yet’ purchase for me… Which is also a question and dilemma… Should I just stick to a particular screen or app? No. I don’t think so. I like all of them and the variety they offer. Fresh Paint and ArtRage are both excellent – both offering powerful and amazing toolsets to digital artists but with a different audience in mind.

**Only just an exaggeration.


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.

Let’s Hudl again shall we?

So, let’s have a coffee break and chat on things Hudl related shall we?

First off – no favouritism and I haven’t been bought off*… I was starting up a youngsters tablet art class and needed 10 tablets. In the event the budget was limited and the max I could get was 7 Hudl’s, on launch day, at 7am after 5 days of 15 hour days for Eurogamer.

But, oh boy, they’re fab. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I do. The screen is very sound with good viewing angles and a lovely handling of colour and contrast (unlike some tablets I could point to which BURN YOUR EYES OUT WITH OVER-SATURATED COLOURS!!!)

Then there’s the physical size etc. The bezel is a good ratio although the screen is a little bit off the perfect golden ratio size of some other tablets. Once slapped inside (sorry, gently placed) a protective case it’s got a good feeling of solidity, weight and maturity – there’s very little in the way of rough edges and corners and my only complaint might be that the micro SD card slot is unprotected. Possibly the machine is a little heavy, maybe, but not overwhelmingly so and for the price by no means a brick either. To be honest I’ve drawn for an hour in a pub and on a bus with a Hudl and didn’t notice fatigue from the time spent holding it… It is a bit thicker than other tablets, a fraction, bearing a smidge of a reminder to the iPhone 3GS and the curved stylings more than, say, the squarer and blockier stylings of the Surface or iPhone 4/5 etc. It doesn’t have the beautiful stylings of the Lumias (and I am VERY interested in the 2520 as a device) but by the same token it isn’t in any way an ugly or old fashioned looking tablet. Why didn’t I choose a Kindle Fire HD instead? Well… To be honest that does feel like an older fashioned device to me – something about it feels unfriendly. Factor in the fact that, while the Hudl has a – at best functional – camera (whereas the Kindle Fire does not) and that the Hudl runs on stock Android to the Kindle’s Argos catalog OS it didn’t seem like a sensible trade off.

Regardless, as a tablet artist, it’s the screen and how it works with the styli that I’m most concerned about. Well, maybe processor speed versus art app functionality too. And in this case it’s, again, way up there. The normal test styli (the New Trent, Dagi, Pogo et al) all passed with flying colours and then I moved onto the bogey stylus for any tablet screen (and the curse of the worst): the Nomad Compose long hair stylus.

(photo taken using iPhone 4S and Olloclip).

Depending on the screen this stylus can jitter or intermittently lose connection (and thus become useless) and, to my surprise, there was none of the former and very little of the latter.

So, a perfect machine for a screen artist? Well, we’re still, in ways, at the infancy of the Android app store – I can only point to four or five stable art apps that I like on the platform and half a dozen others that do the business, just.

But the apps that it does run it runs very capably indeed. Photoshop Touch, Didlr, Sketchbook, Watercolor Pencil all fly on the system and are a joy to draw on and, again, I am coming at this from an unusual and specialist angle. I keep hearing good things about Blinkbox and all of the normal apps: Chrome, Youtube et al run as happily on the machine as they do on other tablets.

So, have had the tablets for a couple of weeks now, haven’t had that much time but still painted a few pics for the sheer joy of using the tablet with an art app:

Adobe Photoshop Touch.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Didlr app.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

So. A good machine for buying to let kids play with with little worry? Seemingly so. I’ve let my students at college draw on mine:

and also let 8 years old draw on them…

… and in all cases it passed every test with flying colours. Must admit I’m both surprised and delighted. As Tesco have said this is the first in a series of devices from them, and it’s obviously a successful one as they’re been VERY hard to get hold of since release, I’m intrigued to see where they’ll go next.

*Flipping wish I had been bought off pre-this post and vaguley hope I would be in the next 24 hours! 🙂 I’m sitting down with 10 kids on Tues to do tablet artwork in a sci-fi art exhibition and have only 7 Hudl’s. Three will have to be on iPads and tbh that bugs me more than it should. Detracts from the group nature of what we’ll be doing. That said, until payday and the devices come back into stock I’m reliant on interest from others *cough*hint*cough* or have to work around it with a cludge.