Tag Archives: Guildford

Return of the BETT.

 

Touch screen art... Engage. #BETT2015 #SMARTboard.

The past few years have been a rollercoaster and the peaks and troughs generally come at the same times… Event days and the huge amount of work they entail.

I’ve been a teacher for 120 months now and the first 60 passed by in a fairly normal fashion. Teach, paperwork, mark, paperwork, chase students, paperwork etc. Then we were asked to demonstrate tablet art techniques at the World Skills Festival which was thoroughly fabulous.

How do you follow that? With turns at the Barbican, the Royal Academy. Teentech (x4), Bohunt, Magic Summer, Europamer (x2), MCM (x3), Sky Arts, Electric Theatre and much more. So many places we’ve been demonstrating tablet art on so many devices.

And, of course, there was the Gadget Show Live:

…which was the only show where everything has gone to plan despite being the biggest we had done (until recently). 70 or so students from 6 different classes on a seven day working residential. A 120 sq m stand which we filled on a budget smaller than most other stands free drinks budget. It should never have worked… but it did and it was brilliant.

Which brings me to BETT. How does that fit into the calendar? Surely the students would prefer to work at the comic conventions or the computer games shows or the music festivals or the art galleries?

Team Friday McAwesome. #BETT2015.

Well. Yes. Those were fabulous. But this time a surprising number of students who said they enjoyed this one most of the shows we’ve done this year. I loved it, because I love BETT, but they thoroughly enjoyed it too, and it was all down to the tech.

Thanks Team SMART. Had a fab time helping you on your stand. #BETT2015 #SMARTKapp

Sometimes we’re asked to do shows with tech that the students work brilliantly and professionally with at the time but afterwards grumble about an app or a device. We’ve been very spoilt, but to be fair we’re also pretty good at what we do. This year we were asked to draw on the SMART stand (again. They asked us last year too) and we drew on devices as we always do.

#SMARTKapp at #BETT2015 (close up ") ).

Lets be clear though, this year was different. Last year we drew on Interactive Whiteboards and it was good but, at the end of the day we were just drawing on large screens, which we’ve done, a lot.

SMART board art at #BETT2015

This year SMART had a 1-2 sucker punch of devices that I loved using and want in my classroom, stat . I’m absolutely NOT saying this because SMART paid for the travel and sandwiches (to be frank they got a good deal -I charge more for two pictures than they paid for all of the student train fares and I drew significantly more than two pictures over the past four days). SMART amp and Kopp were my two stars of the show. BETT obviously agreed as SMART amp won best collaboration software. If Kapp didn’t win an award it was robbed  its a fabulous piece of tech

Drawing on SMART board. And iPad ")

I’ll write some more later, today is my VERY MUCH DESERVED lazy day following four 15 hour days in a row. However I wanted to show off some pics of my students being thoroughly brilliant, as the always are at a trade show, and I wanted to big up the SMARTboards while BETT is still fresh in people’s minds.

Interview time #SMARTAmp

It was an ace show for us, there are hopefully some very cool things to come out of it too, but for the moment let’s just say that BETT is fab, the students were too, as was SMART and, you know what? So was I 🙂

As ever as always: lovely to draw on a #SMARTboard at #BETT2015

(Apols for some of the formatting. I’m writing this on a Surface 3 and it’s not allowing me to do some of the things I want…)

Teentech Surrey.

In a slightly ironic move (given Nicky Morgan’s comments yesterday) Wednesday saw the students and I deliver a full days teaching of tablet art technique to a range of year 10 and 11 students from a wide range of schools.

Excellent fun it was too, although I was utterly dog tired when I managed to drag my weary feet home… We used Flowpaper (which allowed me to talk about the very talented artist/programmer Richard ‘Dr’ Bailey who created some wonderfully beautiful procedural art images. After that we created an image in Brushes app (v2. v3 sadly doesn’t appeal to me in the same way) which allowed me to talk a little about Hockney and the RA. It’s a bit mean of me to teach on the app, really, as it’s not commercially available but it is a masterclass in UI design, even now years on from this version release and a year or so since it was pulled from the (app) shelf. Brushes remains one of the best tablet art apps which is what makes it all the sadder that you can’t buy it.

Finally, we did a picture in ArtRage app, a hugely powerful and phenomenally lovely piece of software available for desktop and tablet. It was good fun to use and, while the students all had their favourite app, this was the one that the teachers gravitated towards the most.

A lot of work then, especially as it was my day off, but it was a lot of fun. Everyone seemed to have a good time and we had some great pictures drawn on the devices. Bearing in mind each kid had less than 15 minutes to draw on the screens I think we came out with some very nice pieces of work.

As well as being my day off it was also the day of no classes for most of the students who joined me. Despite that they also did a full days work, never complaining (well, apart from not enough food in one students case) and being as good as I could have hoped. Well done them, as always. On their break, between sessions 5 and 6, the students sat around to do even more work, drawing the NAO Active Robot who made a short appearance on our stand. I got to draw for 20 minutes too, so all told it was a happy time…

(I will add some of their pics to the blog soon but as soon as I arrived back I put the iPads in the classroom and headed off home. That’s an update to come…)

Therapeutic draw session in PC World, Guildford.

The half term break has been neither restful nor peaceful so a therapeutic draw session was called for.

First off – the Samsung Galaxy Pro:

…which I was delighted to see had S Note app installed. That made me smile – it’s something I’m more than happy to use to create a picture.

That was closely followed by an HP Pavilion 11 inch laptop:

Which I was also delighted to see had the very fab Fresh Paint app on. So delighted I completely forgot to take anything like a good photograph of (and had also forgotten to bring a USB stick with me so was doubly stuck).

That was followed by a Lenovo Yoga 2:

…which only had Paint on. That’s not terrible – it’s not a bad drawing app at all. But Fresh Paint is the first thing I always look for on a Windows 8 touch screen. I also couldn’t find a way to get rid of the ‘Touch here to find out more’ dialog box…

The last machine I drew on was the Surface Pro 3 which I like a lot. I even managed to persuade a staff member to try out the app (Fresh Paint again) and he did a pretty good job indeed for a first time on a touch screen 🙂

All in all a lovely 90 minutes drawing on a range of touch screens. If I had the money I’d have bought all of them – there weren’t any I disliked the screens or machines of.

Ironically I went in in the hope that they might have a Google Nexus 9 and had a few conversations about it… but that’s still to arrive (although the staff were as keen as I am to see the tablet. But hey, I can always pop back later and draw again 🙂 )

Digital art Big Draw workshop at the Electric Theatre, Guildford.

As if often the case in a half term The Electric Theatre in Guildford asked me to run a couple of art sessions for 5-9 year olds. Mondays theme was traditional art and Wednesday was digital.

We started, as almost all of my classes do, with a couple of psychological tricks to explain how easy drawing is. Once that barrier is broken (about 10 minutes in if I’m taking the scenic route) we started to draw on tablet.

And excellent fun it was too, as these sessions often tend to be 🙂


On the touch screens we started with the very lovely Tesco Hudl (first generation) and used Autodesk Sketchbook to take photos of drawn owls and colour them:

Then we did a little bit of face liquifying (still on Hudl) which went down brilliantly 🙂

We did a bit of Autostitch panorama photo taking:

(click on the photos for larger versions)

…and we drew on a range of apps:

Fresh Paint app on Surface RT.

Brushes app (v2) on iPad.

Autodesk Sketchbook on Hudl.

Adobe Photoshop on Hudl.

ArtRage on iPad.

All in all? A lot of fun and, I think, a good few new 6 year old touch screen artists ready to carry on where they left off after the 2 hour session (all asked which apps and styli they should buy and all of the parents/grandparents looked relieved when I told them that the prices were generally low and affordable). The feedback was excellent with the often asked question ‘are you going to do more of these sessions’ becoming more and more pressing on my mind 🙂 Hopefully soon (although not until early 2015 that said).

I was also lucky enough to be joined by three of my College students – all very capable tablet art tutors in their own right – which meant that if I’d so wanted I could have delegated all of the work to them! I didn’t of course – doing youth arts work is too much fun to not be involved in – but it was lovely to know that I could hand off to them when I wanted the younger kids to have some extra assistance…

Next up? Half a days rest. I think I’ve earned it 🙂

Traditional art Big Draw workshop at the Electric Theatre, Guildford.

I’m lucky that my job is often my hobby (and vice versa).

Witness the Electric Theatre Family Festivals, for example 🙂 I get to stand and run around and draw with dozens of lovely kids and their parents and grandparents and, generally, do traditional and touch screen drawings together. I’ve done various things there on Surface tablet, Hudl and iPad but the sessions which are the most popular are almost always the Shrink Plastic sessions

On Monday the ‘Leccy asked me to run a drawing session with a theme of making cities. The thing that came to mind was allowing the kids to rampage through cities as a monster or a superhero… But I was aware that when you have a dozen kids all asking for help at the same time, not to mention the fact that you’ll be tied to an oven cooking shrink plastic for much of the session, on my own, then it all had to be fairly self explanatory and easy to conduct. On a material budget of £30.

So we made masks:

and we made city buildings to be added to an ever growing Electric City…

…which anyone could be photographed in…

but, of course, the major part of the session was Shrink Plastic…

…and, all in all, it was  a very lovely five hours of creative chaos, drawing, cooking shrink plastic, chatting and laughing.

Except for when pumpkins were scarily (but fabulously 🙂 ) drawn… Aaargh. Back there soon to do tablet art again and I’m hopeful that’s an equally lovely session.

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! 🙂

Drawing on screens that are not mine.

 

Friday I drew on an Apple iPhone 6 Plus. Sadly there was nothing on the device in the way of an art app so I loaded up Safari and the excellent Harmony drawing web app and doodled the above while the very excellent Mr Nick Thatcher walked around and bought the things we needed for EGX.

Saturday – still very much on EGX mode I popped into PC World Woking (having been to Hobbycraft to buy stuff) and drew this on an HP touch screen desktop while I was chatting to staff seeing if they had something in stock I needed.

Saturday – again buying things for EGX (spot a theme developing?)  I drew this in Argos on the demo Surface Pro machine.

Basically? I love drawing on screens, all sorts of shapes, sizes, brands and makes. I sat in a pub once with some tech heads and they were getting a little irate as we sat directly under a huge advert on the wall for a certain brand of tablet from a company which at the time (and continues to) ignore any emails I sent asking for tablet lends for my students. The advert seemed all but ignored by the general populous which walked underneath it and my use case seemed to have more bang for buck and the people I sat with seemed to be getting far more angry about the situation than I was…  I’m used to getting to Plan C at least on any project.

Hey Ho. Until all art apps are taken from all demo machines at least I’ll be able to play according to my hearts content (and free time, and shop opening hours, and so on). So that’s definitely something…

A long story about Eurogamer Expo, told backwards.

The last bit:

To whit, this:

The theme  for our interactive gallery stand at this years Eurogamer Expo  is the League of Extraordinary Guildfordians (as organised by Guildford College, run by Guildford students and focusing on artwork made by Guildford Devs).

The Cosplay diorama themes will be (dates subject to change but I’ll confirm on Monday):

The Lots Of Us (Sept 25th). Joels, Ellies, zombies and clickers all very welcome.
Syndicated Assassins and victims (Sept 26th). Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed and historical characters? Rock on up.
NintendoSegaLand (Sept 27th). Any Nintendo or Sega character? We choose you.
The Alien Cantina (Sept 28th). Star Wars, Who, Mass Effect, any alien of any flavour? Come say hi and join in the gathering.

Come and join in. If you’re cosplaying you can be painted on our stand either separately or as part of the group effort. If you’re an artist and want to paint on a tablet or Interactive Whiteboard using one of a wide range of styli then turn up and say hi 🙂 I’ll be the stressed one with, I hope still by that point, orange hair.

eg: the Lots Of Us from MCM earlier in the year

If you’re a Guildford games artist give me a shout too, would love to hook up with some at the show. We’re also aiming to do a couple of tablet and computer only art sessions around Eurogamer time so give me a shout about those dates.

So! Eurogamer! Exciting. Want to do some touch screen awesomeness? Check out the gallery stand. It’ll be all sorts of awesome.

The middle bit:

So here we are, 3 weeks before the next big one, a large space (60 sq m? About that?) in Eurogamer Expo. We’re going to do some awesome things with tablet art teaching, large screen artworking (tbc), Cosplay painting, Cosplay dioramas, all sorts of awesome stuff. We hope to have bespoke computer game artwork up (some sorted, some at the mercy of as many emails as I can send out around paperworking and new student enrolment and so on). Exciting stuff. Apart from footprint (and to be honest I don’t know whether I could ever do 120 sq m again, as for the most part this is just me sorting things out).

I’m also relating this years Eurogamer to the Gadget Show in my mind as it’s the first one I’ve had a theme completely planned out in my mind and can’t wait to see realised. Obviously what we do is important on the stage, but to know what the stage will look like, especially the image which welcomes people to our space, is cool to be thinking on…

The beginning bit:

The students and I have been on some grand events over the past few years, drawing for Dell, Adobe, Barbican, Royal Academy, Sky Arts, Eurogamer and more….

eg:

The last one is the most pertinent – The Gadget Show Live was the largest show we’ve done, 120 sq m, a small budget, a LOT of reliance on hardware loans and the excellence of students over the week. It was a little bit of an energy drain; I worked 90 hours that week (and that’s ignoring all of the set up), walked 40 miles  and fell asleep waiting for dinner with the students one evening and, um, sitting down mid way through a day causing a small man hunt as I’d said I’d only be off the stand for five minutes.

#MetSurfacePro3

Give me a minute, we’ll get back to the above picture later.

I do like, as has been mentioned before, the Microsoft Surface tablet. Especially with Fresh Paint, an app which suits it down to the ground.

A short while ago the hashtag #MeetSurfacePro3 popped up on Twitter to cover a Microsoft tour of UK Currys/PC World stores (and Harrods) showing off the Surface Pro 3 before launch next week. Sounded like a nice plan so I checked the interactive map and found that my two local stores weren’t being visited which was a bit of a boo 🙁

So it wasn’t in my mind when I popped into my local PC World this morning to buy a fridge for my dad (long story). While there the staff noticed I was in and sent a Microsoft rep to me to say they had a Surface 3 in store and asked if I want to play? The original plan had been to buy the fridge and skidaddle but my long suffering wife raised her eyes to the heavens and said that I could walk back and she’d go and get the shopping on her own.

Hence the picture above. (That said I it last on a Surface Pro 2. I’ll get onto that later. Again).

The first picture I painted:

No prizes for guessing why… 🙂 I love both Daleks and Fresh Paint’s signature pink colour.

Once done I walked home… But it was so much fun I decided to pop back later (when we’d measured the space for the fridge). While I walked to the shop I worked out what I wanted to draw, hence this:


(although in retrospect I wish I’d added a green glow to the love hearts 🙂 ).

And then, as I walked home for the last time, I popped into Argos (PC World not having a fridge in stock) and found myself drawing on their demo Surface Pro 2.

All in all a lovely Surface drawing day. Thoughts on the 3? I like the screen aspect ratio (although I liked the widescreen one too), the kick stand works well (although I couldn’t test how it stands up to a longer drawing time as the first pic took 20 mins and the second took 40).

The pen? Well, bearing in mind there  was a lot of hoo hah about the 512 steps of sensitivity I found it perfectly fine to use, better than most of the BT pressure styli I use on other tablets. It reminded me of the Sony pen which worked on the Vaio sliders which is high praise – that’s still one of my favourites.

All told an excellent tablet and I can’t wait to play with it some more…

 

 

Screen Sharing (and so on and on and on :) )

Results day at college today which is always a little emotional for good and bad reasons. All of my students passed, which was good, but they didn’t always pass all courses, which is less so.

So come 3.30 it was time to escape and draw something so off to PC World I went to do 70 minutes of drawing. Which I have been known to do off and on (and on)… (and on). (As well as at the Gadget Show and so on).

I started off with a LG G3, which I’ve wanted to draw on for a while:

Which I liked loads. VERY nice screen and built in art (and notes) app which worked very smoothly. Drawn with a Jot Script stylus (as were all of the pictures below as well).

Once I’d drawn on that my eye went to an Asus hybrid laptop. I’ve wanted to draw on an Asus Vivotab 8 for a few weeks now and this was as close as they got. No idea what to draw and a brief trawl through the sludge of my memory  came up with a Cyberman so that’s what I drew using the very wonderful Fresh Paint app:

(which I also liked loads and makes me more interested than even to draw on a Vivotab 8).

And then, as I still had a few minutes left of the hour I’d allotted myself, I drew on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 2014 edition. I’d been told that side of the shop had a Samsung Galaxy Pro to hand but that proved not to be the case but, while that side of the shop, I decided to draw on the more recent version of the tablet instead:

All in all a lovely hour (well, 70 minutes) of drawing… Enjoyed doing the Cybermen too, so may come back to them in the future.