Tag Archives: digital artwork

Shake those Saucy Screens…

How do you follow something as excellent and fun to be a part of as EGX 14?

Well, in my case you start up the next art residency in London. Nothing like a break in proceedings 🙂 I was back teaching the following day after the 6 day marathon of EGX and back in London for my first day painting on Thursday 🙂

Anyhow: once a week, I’ll be very happily sitting in Shake Shack, Covent Garden, soaking up the atmosphere and trying to limit myself to only a couple of things on the menu, whichever day I’m there. The problem is it all looks so tasty 🙂

This week, it being their Shack-Toberfest special week, I limited myself to… well… maybe more than a couple of things which related to their specials of the week. A fabulous burger, a very medicinal cup of half and half (lemonade and iced tea. Manna for a throat which had accompanied me through the 100 hour week which was Eurogamer Expo):

50/50. Drawn on Tesco Hudl using Adobe Photoshop Touch app and a New Trent Arcadia stylus.

 …and a Stein of Shack beer:

Happy ShackToberFest. Drawn on Microsoft Surface RT using Fresh Paint app and Dagi 501.

All in all it was spectacularly tasty and I’m delighted to be joining them between now and Christmas.

Of course, me being me, you know that there will be some interactive sessions and, I hope, the students might well be involved at some point (towards the end or possibly at the start of the coming year, still working on a college calendar of events and happenings at the moment). I’m intending to test drive the Hudl 2 while there next week and so on and so forth.

It’s a strange thing to say but if you’ve ever wanted to work out which stylus works best with which screen, or if you’d like a quick demo of an art app on your phone or tablet, then Shake Shack, generally on a Wednesday, might be the best place to be! I’ll happily run through which app is best on which device or which stylus might be worth a test drive… but I’ll be just ask happy to sit and paint a burger, drink or lovely, yummy, cup of Concrete. I could explain but I think it’s the sort of thing you should experience.

More, much more, artwork to come. Exciting stuff. Thanks Shake Shack for liking my digital artwork enough to want me to take up a table on a regular basis and I look forward to seeing what comes from the partnership.

Google Glass.

As a screen painter I’ve been interested in, but not to the extent of chasing relentlessly, Google Glass.Fairly obviously the screen, well, the upper right hand prism, isn’t something I could put a Nomad brush or Jot Script stylus to, hence the lack of trying to jump on any chance to try. But the idea and concept of wearable computers is enticing and, lets be honest, pretty inevitable. The history of computers is always that they have become smaller and closer to us. Eventually they’ll be inside us I dare say but between tablets and phones and nanobots comes wearable tech.

At BETT I was lucky enough to have a demo of Google Glass. I’m interested in it from a sideways angle: I want to draw a picture on a tablet or Interactive Whiteboard and see it from the point of view of me drawing it (but not at the time of me drawing it). I love seeing process animations of my pictures come to be, especially if the animation is from the point of view of the screen (with no me spoiling the shot).

I’d hoped with Glass that I could record, and forget I was recording, an image being drawn. The problem was that I was only able to draw on a tablet and my eyes and head moved in such small/subtle directions that the Glass only picked up a picture being drawn with no hint of where I’d been looking or how I’d been moving.

I’d very much love to have a go on Glass while drawing on an IWB in the future though, that presumably would show me more of how I move when I’m drawing but, I’ve no idea when such a lucky collision of tech will occur. One day I hope.

And the picture above? Well, wifey, who’s not even remotely interested in tech (but does fab craft stuff instead) assumed that this was what Google Glass looked like. I showed her a picture of me wearing Glass and, to be honest, that’s as much an airing as that pics going to get.

Tablets and robots and BETT 2014.

No idea of the robots name but I’ve bumped into the orange skull capped marvel first at the Gadget Show Live, then at Teentech (both the Surrey show and the Copperbox show) and now, most recently, at BETT 2014. I think it’s a great design, love the look of it.

So when, at the tail end of one of the days at BETT, I had the chance to borrow a 7 tablet set up on the Microsoft stand, it was the first thing I thought to draw. Well, naturally it was the second, but I’d drawn a good few Marmite jars by that point and needed a change.

I mention it as a video was forwarded to me on Twitter (by the excellent @GeekyNicki) of the picture being painted so here goes, hope you like…


(sigh, grrr, doesn’t embed, will check next breaktime).

One of the interesting things (well, interested me anyhow) was that it was drawn on all seven screens (from a variety of tablet makers) using the one bluetooth stylus (a Jot Script Evernote edition from @Adonit) which happily, on one button press, connected to all of the screens and allowed me to draw as quickly as I could. BETT was busy, no idea how long the unedited and unsped up film lasts but as a quess it would be between 10 and 20 mins.

Would have LOVED to have painted on Fresh Paint on the HP wall. Have mentioned to college people that, if the spare money just turned up in my budget (which did cause a small amount of laughter for some reason), it’s one of the things I’d love to get into whatever the next graphics room design is… Fresh Paint on these screens? Yum.

Blue bear.

Vaguely inspired by Sky Portrait Artist of the Yar (sorry, couldn’t resist) which was fabulous throughout (although I rarely seemed to agree with the judges) I painted a teddy bear on Saturday morning.

Blue bear, Procreate app, Thatch Stylus, iPad 3.

Then I exported the video and put that into iMovie.

Hurrah. I like blue bear. He’s been with my wife and I for a number of years, steadfast through happy times and troubles. Keeps me company if I wake up at silly o clock so certainly deserving of a picture made.

On Styli…

((Once upon a time I used to witter on ad nauseum about writing and the books I was doing… Oh how time changes eh?))

I’ve been on a little bit of a stylus kick at the moment, mainly prompted by the loss of a pencil case full of my go-to screen sticks. Was gutted at the time but a: it forced me to return to many I’d used and then discarded in favour of others and b: the marvellous Susan Murtaugh sent me a package of styli to tide me over in my upset grumpiness. Was much appreciated and a very timely reminder that I’m lucky to know some marvellously wonderful people both on and off screen.

So I’ve gone back to the New Trent stylus, the Stylus Sock (which I never left but lost my favourite one), the Bic Crystal Stylus, the Pogo Sketch Pro, the Jot Pro and so on. All excellent styli and good for a variety of roles. I’ve also had some playtime with a Wacom Creative stylus which I was surprised to like as much as I did… And I bought some brush tip nibs for the Pogo Connect which are… interesting. Require more playtime in this case I think.

Yesterday that tied in nicely in two ways with one of the inspiring people I know – the very amazing Nick Thatcher – making me my very own white oak and aluminium stylus as an early birthday present. It’s very cool – light, a warm material in the wooden base which, because it had been sanded with zinc oxide sandpaper and immediately varnished, was also a capacitive conductor. While chatting about it, and drawing the picture below, he also asked me if I had a stylus of a particular make which was the next thing he planned to do. To the best of my knowledge it’s not been made at all and would be fairly unique so I’m interested in what he comes up with. Not that the stylus he made isn’t fabulous, but hey, every new one is new and shiny 🙂


Thatch stylus drawn on Galaxy S4/Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using Thatch stylus 🙂

Painting the World while it’s still there…

In a vaguely unplanned move, bearing in mind this mornings blog post, I found myself on a bus,  then on a train and then on another bus with only the Hudl to draw on and play with… (and indeed I could quite happily have played Plants vs Zombies 2 but I’m stuck on a level and it’s driving me up a wall). So time to draw it was.

Way back in the dim (me) and distant (past) I used to time my pictures by the bus journeys  I took to and from work (45 mins either way). Nowadays I tend to walk to work (different place, would be ten mins on the bus what with all the stops and traffic but is only twenty mins to walk so seems a no-brainer to me) which this gives me less travel drawing time. Today was nice in that it gave me an hour and a half to draw and I do like to create images while commuting. Hence this:

Initial scribble.


Cleaned up scribble. At the time I was going to do something with tablets in the paint coming out of the tube… However…. 

…when I started to block in the colours I found myself with a world/land and sea sort of colour scheme going on, so I swapped over to that.

And then, just at the end (of the train journey) I added in a background colour just for the fun of it. Probably needs muting a little, that said it looked better on the tablet and it may be my laptop which isn’t showing me the correct colours.

On the bus journey back home I made a couple of quick edits to say a ‘good luck’ to a friend who’s the excellent masterbrain behind the amazing Art of the Street coolness about to take over Maidenhead on Saturday morning.

So there you have it. An hour and a half of doodling with not much in the way of thought process. Hope you like.

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…

So, farewell then Fresh Paint…

A while ago I was asked to do an art day for the Office 365 launch. No money (sigh) but it sounded like an interesting jaunt and I hoped it would lead on to other things. And it did…. I’m yet to feel rich and retire that said but hey ho, the worlds best businessman I ain’t. A dreamer, yes. Flush with dosh? No.

Anyhow one of the most interesting things that came out of it was a love for the app Fresh Paint. It really is a doozy and I’m not just saying that for any cynical hope or objective. It’s a LOT of fun to use. That’s not to say that other apps I enjoy aren’t fun, but Fresh Paint on a Surface tablet is a lovely slab of joy to behold. It was a new style for me and I’ve enjoyed giving it a shot.

Sadly the last tablet (last month I had 21) goes back tomorrow so that funs over. But it was good stuff while it lasted.