Tag Archives: Graph’It

Post Mortem vs The Next Event…

It’s not post show blues, just a realisation that sometimes things don’t go to plan or my mind is putting more plates on sticks that can realistically be spun.

The Chill Out And Art stand was run by a bone tired teacher, assisted by a second teacher – equally tired (because there’s no let up from enrolment to classes and no we don’t get the whole summer off we get the same amount of days holiday you likely get just fewer places to use them and thank you Mr Gove for your parting present of everyone having to change all of their paperwork, again). It was set up by three dog tired teachers, one daughter, one boyfriend of the daughter and a brilliant friend of the college who’s always been there to help when needed.

And for an hour each day we were running the sixth largest stand at EGX14 with only Ubisoft, Nintendo, Microsoft, Activision and Sony having larger floor footprints.

So basically? We did OK and the students did brilliantly.

Generally I go on gut feelings. I knew the wallpaper would work and OH BOY did it. I knew we could rock the Cosplay stage and it was fab 🙂 I thought the Graph’It pens would go down well and holy heck they certainly did…

All told? It was a heck of a week.

The problem was it was the best show we’ve ever done.

Actually the problem was it was around £2k and a few bits swapped around from being the PERFECT show.

Post show the marvellous Nick Thatcher and I sit and cogitate (cogitate being Latin for chat over a beer) and discuss  what we should have done differently. And the list this year was so small it was frustrating to be so close to where I could have dreamt it to be.

The things that would have made it perfect were a little out of our control but still grate. The stand looked awesome – we had loads of compliments and it’ll be interesting to see how many people wallpaper their stands next time. The Graph’It pens worked a treat and we ran out of paper at the end of the third day as it was such a popular addition to the stand. Bearing in mind the total budget – if I put everything together -comes out at less than  £2k that was a HELL of an achievement in and of itself. All in all? Not a bad three weeks planning/one week of solid work 🙂

My main sadness is that we didn’t have the  IWBs  (beyond the budget) or a cool new projector which allows you to draw directly onto a wall. I still want to do a console art corner (Art Academy on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS + Colors and PaintPark Plus on Sony PS Vita). We’ve not cracked 3d scanning and printing yet but we know exactly how to do it and were tantalisingly close this time. I just need a couple more jigsaw puzzle pieces in place for that one.

REALLY want to do a tablet and stylus bench where people can walk up and try as large a range of styli against as large a range of tablets as possible. As an example we (finally) got the demo Surface RT units working and I ran off to my pencil case of styli to use for a picture…. but because I’ve used most of the styli I know, for example, that the Surface RT works best with the Dagi range of styli in terms of connection but unless you meet a complete nitwit that tries all styli against all screens (ahem) you’re not going to find that useful nugget of information out.

And the main miss of the show, of every show since World Skills, is that the app that would work with and around the event has never been quite there. World Skills Fest would have worked so perfectly with the app I had in mind, as would Gadget Show Live. We’ve always been close but never lit the cigar, let alone removed it from the cool cigar tin that taunts me from the shelf it’s placed on, a smidge out of reach. One day I might get there… but I suspect I may never get to doing the show and the app together. It’s the thing which feels most beyond anything I can plan or budget for.

That’s what drives me on to do the next show and then the one after that. There’s always something new and cool that we could get onto.

The biggest negative point was that, for the second year in a row, Eurogamer fell on my son’s birthday… Both years we bought him to the show on the final day and, both years, he’s met his favourite character (Sonic) which was great. Hats off to the Nintendo booth who, as soon as they heard that there was an autistic child who desperately wanted to meet Sonic, rearranged some of the times of their character walk arounds and got it sorted for Sonic to meet son and vice versa. Was hugely touched by their kindness and thoughtfulness. Next years EGX dates – and venue – have already been announced and they don’t fall on the birthday but they do happen in Birmingham NEC which, budget wise, might preclude us from participating. I hope not as EGX has been a brilliant show to be a part of for the past two years. We’ll see what happens when that conversation comes up.

I’d say when’s the next event, although I know. Sort of. There’s a couple of smaller events to come but I’ve got high hopes on the next biggie.

The main thing is that the kids come through the year thinking they’ve been a part of something amazing and, more importantly for the college and my year on year stats, that they all succeed in their relevant courses – especially graphics. last year we did 20 shows and most came out with As and Bs. But this year I have three times as many students to think on so it’s all that much more stress and work. If I were sane I’d batten down the hatches, teach the basics, standardise the sketchpads, do one event at most (most teachers take their kids to a couple of exhibitions and that’s that).

Good job I’m not sane then.

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…