Tag Archives: Fresh Paint


Very fond of my Surface Pro and Wacom Feel but haven’t had the time to sit and play with it as I’m normally in work mode at the moment ๐Ÿ™

That said… Last night I painted this in ArtRage to wind down from an odd old day:

and this morning I painted this in Fresh Paint to start what likely will be another odd one ๐Ÿ™‚ :

Neither painting took much longer than an hour and each was the right way to start or end the day.

I love ArtRage and Fresh Paint equally but for different reasons. FP is free, for a start, and has a lovelyย  playful feel to it. It arguably contains the closest approximation of resistance and gloop from pixels pretending to be paint. There are limitations (no layers, no palette knife, no animation capture and so on) but it’s a joyous and uncluttered experience and is the first app I look for when drawing on the demo screens of any shop that I fall into. It’s Windows 8 and Win 8 phone only.

ArtRage is similar – in that it mimics real world tools and physics – but contains so many more options it can seem a little bewildering on first install*. Like Fresh Paint it captures the feel, resistance and tactility of paint and is available on a range of devices for a remarkably low price. For what you pay you get a heck of a lot of pixel art possibilities. You can record an animation, upscale, use a wide range of real world tools and play about with the settings of the brushes to your hearts content.

Which app is best? Both are, in the places where they are best at.

Which do I prefer painting with? Both. They are equally good apps and, depending on the mood I’m in and what sort of picture I want to come out with neither make me wish I was painting in the other. Like the stylus blog post yesterday – why choose? Lots of apps do lots of remarkable things and, on the Surface Pro, both are must installs**.

*That said ArtRage has a very good interface and shows off the range of options in, generally, a very gentle and sensible manner. There’s just a LOT more choice and that can be a bit scary. We’re not talking Flash or Photoshop levels of ‘Blimey! Buttons!’ interface though.

**Didlr is a must install too imo, and I’ve got a lot of love for that app, but it’s not working on my SurfyPro at the moment ๐Ÿ™ boo.

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.

In the Shadow of the Spider Tree.

I don’t normally paint like this, coming back and noodling around on a picture. But a: I’m not the same person I was two months ago and b: Fresh Paint does make it fun to sit and paint with.

So anyhow. The Spider Tree. I’ve been walking past it on my waddling commute to work for ten years and have always been fascinated by it. It grows so close to an overgrown, unreachable and forgotten aspect of a main tributary of the Thames that the branches which grow upwards are reflected back into the green stillness, making it look like the worlds biggest spider – ominously waiting for people to come close even though it stands alone in its own patch of shadow.

Near it, a couple of years ago, two swans nested and tried to hatch eggs – but the weather put paid to that hope and, for many weeks, walking past the derelict eggs became a daily reminder of natures cruelty.

Last year the swans returned, the eggs hatched, and they moved on soon after. Have barely seem them since although a friend told me the – goslings? Swanlets? Were growing very happily.

And now the Spider Tree has taken on another aspect for me. I’ll carry on walking past it, for the moment (but have been looking for new adventures for a short while and think I may just leave to seek one come August whether one finds me first or not). It’s no longer the enemy of the swans but a bit more omnipresent. I thought it hadn’t moved but it turns out I was wrong in many ways and it allows me to give a character to some of my blacker thoughts; like a black dog re-imagined by Wes Craven. Occasionally I imagine myself floating down the leaf filled still waters towards the tree and whatever outcome that would deliver which is basically where this painting comes from. A sanguine moment of stillness and contemplation.

Will continue noodling around with it, hoping I dont overwork the painting (which is something I almost never do as a picture is rarely a continuation for me). Then again I might come back to the tree sometIme in a different picture. But for the moment I’m restful near it, hopefully not permanently in its clutches.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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 – ย 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 ๐Ÿ™

Stylus T Frog and Phil the Flimgo. Getting ready for April 1st, honest.

So much to say but shan’t. Don’t want to spook it. Cautiously optimistic of dream project coming together. Several dream projects in fact, but… but…. nervously optimistic.

Stylus T. Frog you know of course but Phil the Flimgo (sic)? You may not have met her.

Basically I am not your average teacher. Not at all. Every Tuesday in graphics class we have WTF to close – Who Th’ Flamingo – where one student is given the yodelling flamingo of shame for doing something silly. Or something brilliant. Or… well… anything really. Someone’s had it for breaking their wrist during deadline week – ‘WTF for exceptionally poor timing, Phil says get better soon’ – and another student had it for ‘casual overuse of internetisms during normal conversation. Phil does not say ROFL out loud’. It’s a positive thing – we have an exceptionally close class at the moment which is something I take a lot of pride and happiness in. More on that to come I suspect but the two graphics classes of 12-13 have been awe inspiring at times.

Which leads me to this; the two mascots on, we very much hope, a road trip on April 1 – 7. It’s the holidays, which is not good, but it’s also a chance to do something exceptionally amazing which the kids are very engaged with the possibility of and so am I.

I’ll know, I hope, soon. If so it’ll be all hands to the grind stones of chaos and aarggh. But I’ll be disappointed if it falls through much more than I’m worried about the workload required.

So: Stylus T. and Phil the Flimgo. Painted on MS Surface RT and Fresh Paint. Hope you like. More to come.

Surface artwork…

So I’ve been loaned a Surface RT tablet to make artwork on… These are some of the first few images that came out of the first few days…

For the most part they were painted in Fresh Paint app, which I may have mentioned I love ๐Ÿ™‚ If ever an app sold me a tablet I think it’s the closest to have come to that (and I wait with bated breath to see what Surface Pro will bring to the table. Specifically my table).

So, comments? Too long a day and too much typing today… But I like both the tablet and the OS and Fresh Paint and I look forward to seeing where all three things go in the future.

Oh and, yes, the keyboard is as lovely as it looked in the first keynote they delivered on the tablet and as good to use as I cynically suspected it wouldn’t be.


#Catching the 365.

So, a week and a half ago (I REALLY should have blogged about this earlier but it has been that hectic for the past ten days) I was delighted to be asked to be the artist in residence on the 365: Microsoft’s launch bus for new Office.

It was a wonderful day as, I hope, the photos attest:

(Painted on the moving walkway on the way to the bus… Couldn’t resist)..


The bus at Marble Arch.

(this picture was drawn using Snap – trace – paint. Which I like. But… well… there’s some issues…)

There was an absolutely fabulous band who performed both on and off the bus. Wish I could link to them but in all of our chats about life and gigs and cider and busses I completely failed to ask the band name… (aha! A quick search finds out that they were called the Ray Guns… Amazing they was. Very cool stuff…)

(Not my favourite picture of the day and I do keep intending to come back to it… But most paintings here had to be completed in around five minutes with strange and odd viewing angles so I did the best I could throughout ๐Ÿ™‚ )

I got to sit behind, and listen to, and paint while the bus was moving, Will Greenwood. Which, when I got back to College the next day had a few of my students grumpily green with envy.

For a start, and I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but OH MY GOODNESS he has got huge hands.

Painting on the bus was… well… not always easy but not hard either (it’s one of my zone choices if time allows. That said drawing on a new tablet and a new app on an old style bus that was a smidge trickier.. Still, it all came together in the end – was a very concerted and concentrated 7 hour stint of drawing and, like I said, an extremely cool bunch of people to be around. And to be honest Will looked he was having difficulty even standing up as he was talking; at least I managed to find a seat to draw from ๐Ÿ™‚ ).


And, throughout the day, a slightly hobo chic dressed doodler was a part of the show, drawing the talks and the gigs and so on and explaining, to those who asked, what it was like to draw on a tablet and which app I was using and which stylus and so on and so forth. If you were one of the people who stopped to ask if I was part of the show – thanks! I loved being a part of it but can fully understand why the magicians, guys on stilts and rock stars got the bigger applause ๐Ÿ™‚

More to come, I hope. I’ve certainly not stopped drawing on Surface and Fresh Paint…

All images here were drawn and painted using Fresh Paint app and Autodesk Sketchbook Espress (bar one which I made using a different app as noted). Both have capacity to grow and I look forward to seeing where updates take them but, if you’re drawing and painting on a Surface RT they’re excellent apps to take advantage of.

Another post to come later on working with the Surface RT and a variety of apps but suffice to say I REALLY like Metro, I love the industrial design of the Surface and Fresh Paint app has a feature so good that if I could marry it I would consider it as a viable option.

The Flight of the Frog and Flamingo.

Painted on Surface using Fresh Paint app.

I’ve surprised myself by REALLY liking the Surface (the OS is just a very futuristic feeling system and I love the physical design of the tablet and keyboard) and Fresh Paint is a fabulous app (although slightly better on desktop Win 8 as there are a few tools missing on the RT version that I could do with…)

For a version one product both FP and Surface are impressive things… Am looking forward to Surface Pro far more than I thought I might be before Christmas.

As for the characters and the picture? They’re based on the Graphics class mascots:

the Stylus Frog and the Yodelling Flamingo of Shame (given to the student who has done the silliest thing through the week and always given with a cheer from all of the students). It’s a mark of affection and all students are keen toย receiveย it week on week.

They’re hoping to go out on an adventure in April. Still tying up the ends of the loose threads but… 80/20% likely to happen and, if it does, it’ll be a hugely exciting adventure for them (and me) (and the students).