Tag Archives: iPad artwork

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…)

Love shed and Foldify app.

Valentine’s day consisted of taking the youth group kid to see other youth group kids performing in a school performance of Little Shop of Horrors. And excellent fun it was too 🙂

So the night before wifey and I had a very nice dinner indeed at a restaurant we both like and swapped cards. Hers was typically cute, mine was the above, made into a 3d object and containing a Walnut Whip.

I made it in Foldify app, which I like LOADS and should play with more often. It’s a clever app (although it struggles a little on my iPad 3… I should run it on my iPad 2 to see, although that’s not a fair test as so much of the 3’s processing power is geared up to running the retina screen).

Regardless. A cool app. Occasionally, before I had iPads to call my own at college, I would let some of my students have a go on mine so I often find pictures they’ve created dotted around the apps. This one is of me and (I think) it looks a little shocking, or is that just me?

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 🙂

Young Rewired State 2013.

Two Sundays ago (yes, I’ve been so busy since this is the first chance I’ve had to blog about it) I was invited to see the finale of the Young Rewired State Festival of Code week. It always comes at exactly the wrong time of year for me as the school holidays hit with a bump and a family holiday is much needed by that point… But last year I helped with the ‘Thank You’ video and I was delighted to be asked again this year. I don’t need much selling on the idea: as a youth worker for way over 20 years, a teacher and an aficionado of quirky techy stuff the idea of kids coming together to code and create is something I can get into quite easily.

(last years vid).

Which leads to this years. Again – a bit of a chaos beginning but artwork fell off the screen fairly easily and then I was off on holiday with the occasional re-jig of artwork as requested happening once the kids had come off the beach or similar. Some of the pics I was really pleased with, bearing in mind the ‘hit and hope’ nature of need in some cases, but the video hasn’t been put online to my knowledge just yet.

I did, the day of the hack showcase (and the day after I’d returned from holiday) step on a train at half 7 to get to Birmingham to watch some of the kids present their work and HUGELY INSPIRATIONAL it was too. They were fab, the kids, the mentors, the judges and more. It was a huge room, apparently having suffered some issues during the weekend but as a visitor I saw nothing to suggest that, and I was very glad I made the journey in a cauldron of train that Cross Country sold me a space on.

And I drew there, of course, ‘cos it seemed like a fun idea. Pics attached, poss video later too. Hope you like.

Basically? It’s all go…

Exciting times at Studio Me*.

*Not a real studio name, nor an indication of what I’ll be doing next year. I think. Although there is something in mind 🙂

The Marmite One Million:

Painted on iPad using a Nomad Compose brush for a community challenge to design a banner for the upcoming Marmite 1 Million likes Facebook extravaganza. TBH I rarely succeed in these but hey, it was fun to do…  ArtRage app, which is lovely.

Process video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vWeT-l0_4A

The Didlr/Nokia Dream Accessory site:
My Didl.

The pic being painted over a two hour, two halves (Hog’s Back Utopia which is LOVELY) and two coffees session. I used to time artwork by how many trips I took on the bus to and from work (which is something I miss, the bus journey and the workplace). Now I time images by coffees in Wetherspoon’s if time allows.

Dave McKean artwork drawn by fab kids at a schools workshop:

The longer explanation of the pictures, where they’re from and who did them, can be found >>here<<.

And just to finish off, an iPhone macro picture of a drying rose, taken with the AstroMedia clip and edited with Snapseed app:

Busy. And I haven’t even mentioned Magic Summer yet. But I will… Soon…

Draw Quest is my New (current) Jam.

By which I mean that I’m thoroughly enjoying the app and the cleverness it disperses. Good show.

Not that I’m not enjoying ArtRage 4 (loving it), Fresh Paint (loving it too), ProCreate and so on and so forth. Liking one app doesn’t mean I don’t love the others. But Draw Quest is the one I’m enjoying loading up once a day to see what’s new and to draw something on…

(*sorry about the ad on the vid. Thoroughly irritating as the soundtrack has been misnamed by Youtube. I shouldn’t complain – Youtube is a phenomenally fantastic service – but under the dispute tag you can’t put in ‘Youtube got it wrong’ which is a little un-humble of them imo).

The London Mac User Group Sept 12 meeting poster…

I’m very fond of the chaps and chapettes of the London Mac User Group (and also of the British Tech Network as there is a lot of overlap). A fab bunch of people; friendly, jovial and knowledgable across a range of disciplines and skillsets. I’m always happy to meet up with them if time allows (and even happier if the time allows me to get to the very wonderful Chin Chin Labs prior to getting to an LMUG meeting… Hence there being a smidge of Chin Chin on the final poster, also a fond hallo to the marvellous Mr Will Green who has been known to say the Ch word once and then twice on his fantastic British Mac podcast).

My favourite sessions are the ones where we’ve all come together to celebrate the keynote sessions, everyone hanging off the words displayed on projectors and discussing whether our credit cards are prepped and ready. For the past two keynotes I’ve been asked to provide posters for the events and time has been on my side so I was happy to say yes. This time I was asked again and time wasn’t on my side…. So I said yes anyway and sleep was the casualty. You can see the first two posters, in animated process video form, here and here.

So, time being against me, I should have gone a little easy on what I was planning to do, yes? That would have been sensible.


Well, yes, it would have been sensible but no, that’s not what I did.

(click on the poster for a larger format one…)

(process video. Click to watch the image drawn from initial sketch to final painting…)

A couple of reasons led me to do the above image. The first is that it’s held in a National Trust held pub of historical significance, which is something that does pickle my organically grown onions. The pub, the George Inn, sounds fabulous and I’m looking forward to visiting (my fifth National Trust venue visit over the past 2 weeks since the family joined). (The other four places visited were not pubs, incidentally).

Another reason? Looking through pictures of the pub (while doing the research for what it is what I was going to do) led me to the pub sign and that was instantly what I intended to work my picture around…

Let’s be honest, that’s Tim Cook isn’t it? Startling facial similarity… So I started to draw him in the poster I ended up withand then thought, as it’s Olympic year (I can say that, right? No need for lawyers to get involved), I’d go for a bit of home field advantage. Because Sir Jony Ive is one of the most fabulous people this country has produced… Every time he speaks (sadly via pre-recorded video, why has he never taken to the stage I often wonder?*) during a keynote he has the most fabulous driven and passionate way of talking about what he and his team have come up with. I know that Apple is a team and that a huge number of people are responsible for its success as a company but none, to me, are as fascinating and important as Sir Jony.

Hence the poster. Painted on iPad 2 using the very powerful/extraordinary ArtRage app using my current go-to styli: Stylus Sock Pro and short hair Nomad Cobalt Compose paintbrush. I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed the making of it. As mentioned it contains a few things I love (keynotes, Jony Ive, Chin Chin, National Trust, bit of history, pint of beer and more) and I’m always happy to be painting things on a small slice of computer power and the apps that run on it.

Lastly, yes, I know that the company has not been called Apple Computer Co. for a while (and some might say detrimentally although it’s a market decision and, with a retina Macbook on my one day wish list, it’s not as if the computers are an afterthought or being phased out… I do think, sadly, we may have moved away from the days of each update of the computer delivering a beautiful case update as well – the iMac has reached a level of industrial perfection I can’t imagine where it might go – and the Cube, lampstand and so on may likely never happen again… but the iPhone, iPod and iPad have all revolutionised the way I work so fair play to Apple for changing the world again and again and again and again). The Apple Computer Co. was added to the poster as a loving hint, as is much of the image, to the original Apple logo by Ronald Wayne which I frequently use in the logo classes of my A level graphics group.

If you’d like to join in the fun of it then the meeting will be in the George Inn, near London Bridge, on the 12th September. All welcome, I’m sure they’d say.

(*personally I blame Oasis for the lack of Sir Jony on stage and assume that the health and safety/risk assessment team at Apple assume the SJI will take to the stage drunk, stick two fingers up at attending journalists who have slighted him in the past and kick a demo stand over as he leaves the venue. To be fair there might be a number of reasons why he doesn’t take to the stage, but a lack of knowledge or lack of fans or humble voiced delivery are not likely to be on the list).

Lastly, forgot to mention it but the image was painted in two 4 hour sessions on a Friday and Saturday night (having been asked to do the poster at 5pm on the Friday). Would have been longer but my brain has a habit of going offline around midnight/1am and I had a family birthday party throughout Saturday… See? I said time was against me on this one… 🙂

Also, lastly lastly, this may be one of the very few images of my own I end up using in the class. The reason is the left most scroll edges. Look closely and you’ll see that they aren’t on the video. It was a complete gut feeling thing that adding them would help the eyeflow on the piece and that is something that the A level class majors on. Basically, without the darkened scroll ends, the eyes of the viewer naturally gravitated to the top left text box, which is good as that was where I wanted the text to be read from. But almost as soon as I put the image to bed (well, emailed it to Steve and then put myself to bed) I was thinking ‘must add a dark edge on the left hand side’. Not with any more thought process than that really, I just knew that it would work, and having done that I think it does. The viewers eye, balanced between the darker edges on the left and right hand sides of the image, now naturally gravitate on Sir Jony’s eyes and then are lead to the text box which, I think, is the better eye flow for the whole piece. It’s not the most detailed image I’ve created on iPad (probably the Marmite / Marmalot painting) nor the one I’ve spent longest on (that’s probably still the Drew Struzan Up poster I did) but this poster makes me smile and, I think, works well for the time I had to complete it.


Joining the Marmarati.

Also in this weeks exciting blog post updates (oh I jest, as if I updated the blog anywhere near that regularly):

The Marmarati are having a competition. Participants are to create Marmite related imagery for.. well… don’t know, actually. Something or other. To be honest they had me at Marmite artwork. Few pieces of design have as much of a hold on me as a Marmite jar has. For some reason it’s a completely beautiful object, from the shape to the colour, and one that always makes me smile.

I’ve drawn things that are Marmite related before and blogged about them in the past but this time it’s personal. Well…. It’s something I’m more than happy to do in my spare time. Yes. Spare time. Hmm. Well, when that happens I like to draw so here are a couple of new pics with the intention that, while I’m on holiday soon, I’ll finish off two that I want to create with more time and focus devoted to them…

(drawn on iPad 2 using ArtStudio app).

(Drawn on iPAd 2 using ArtRage app).

(drawn on iPhone, on a train, using Adobe Ideas).

Should you be so kind you could click here and vote for my artwork in fact 🙂 No idea how I’ll fare against the other pics on display but I must admit to wanting to win the Marmarati crested Tankard…


The British Tech Bash and other adventures…

So, yes, I know. Lack of posts and business shouldn’t really be an excuse.

But there’s just so much on! Yowsa! Only a short post to say hi, I’m still here. Mostly sane. Waning in places.

Last week was taken up with the same thing as most other weeks this year: getting a very mixed bunch of students through to marking and EV. It was, at times, a very stressful experience but now done I’m looking at (unless they are challenged at all) my highest bunch of stats for a few years. The lowest stat is 87% and the majority 97 – 100%. Which is nice. But OH BOY did I have some students who wanted for all the world to fail. Sigh. Most were brilliant and I’m VERY happy with the standard of artwork I got from the students but it’s had a good few moments. Next year is stupidly exciting as I really like the students who I’ve interviewed and offered places to, including the four Asperger students which is an interesting addition to the class. Really intrigued by how next year will work.

This week? relaxing into everything I’ve not done for the past 6 as the stress levels ramped up post half term. Not all done but some are, which is nice. To come? A 50 strong yr 9 – 10 iPad art showcase and interactive session, a July 4th celebration with publishers in London, the British Tech Bash on Friday/Saturday, artist in residence at one of the Adobe Creative Week events, another school event (shrink plastic this time) an prepping for a couple of summer schools. Which, actually, is a heck of a lot calmer than I’ve been for yonks.

The British Tech Network? Who dey den? Well, if you know your podcasts you might be aware of the TWiT US tech network. I’m fond of their shows but the UK equiv, the up and coming BTN have a huge amount of heart, soul and character. And they’re the local vote. And they’re better than TWiT in a lot of ways. I’ve been invited to join in with their weekend meetup and I’m looking forward to it a HUGE amount. I’ve also created four bespoke images, just for them, which went off to print this morning and will be sold on the Bash weekend with all proceeds (over costs, sorry, I’m as broke as a broke thing and have been since going down to two days teaching a week) will go to the NSPCC. I really hope it’s successful* so that I can do something similar for the National Autistic Society (people who know me will know why) but the Bash charity of choice is NSPCC which is cool. Very happy to have done the posters for the Bash with them in mind.

*hahahaha yes, I know. I’ll keep on plugging away. Something I do has to work out sometime right? Tenacious is my middle name (if you jiggle the letters about and swap a couple).

Sample, teaser, tweeted images here:

(using the hashtags #btnb12 and #nspcc if you wanted to seek it out and retweet away. All of the artwork was created on iPad 2/3 using ArtRage – except one made using Brushes app. All were created using a mixture of styli but Nomad Brush being the key stylus on each image. I know each pic was taken with the images in Photoshop – in retrospect that’s a smidge confusing but that’s the program I used to resize them all to the correct paper size and check for CMYK gamut warnings. For the most part I think I still like Pixelmator a smidge more than Photoshop but the latter program still wins for large size work and gamut checks).

Apart from that? Probably forgotten a whole heck of a lot of stuff and hope to update the blog again in the not so distant. Exciting stuff on the horizon though, just a bit weary plodding through the maze.

Stylus t. Frog and the book on the digital shelf.


So, now it’s here: Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction. 100 pages of iPad artwork.

Yes, my ability to pick a succinct and snappy name still eludes me, that much is certain. But I like Stylus t. and felt he deserved equal billing. Although, again, bearing in mind he is in the title and I am a footnote also says a lot about me, psychologically, I suspect.

Anyhow, a sample can also be found at the same link above, and at £4.99 for 100 pages for the full on version  it’s…. good value? Hard to work it out. Some books are cheaper, some more expensive. Hopefully it’s a fair price. I am a struggling artist with a next generation Absenthe style addiction to uphold (hello Comixology app).

Hope you like! Let me know, if you do 🙂 There’s lot in there from art apps (Brushes, Adobe Ideas, Art Rage, Eazel, Sketchshare and more), styli (Nomad Brush, Pogo, Stylus Sock and so on) and much much more…


Previously, in Kercalblogland:

(apologies is that’s confusing. I just realised I’d buried the lead in a big way).

Oh boy this has been a bit of a journey.

In Feb Apple released a desktop app called iBooks Author. I was instantly smitten, inspired, excited and so on. Within weeks I’d produced 90% of a book on iPad art.

So far so good. The application was easy to use, had a couple of niggles but nothing show stopping, and the process flowed pretty well, often late into the night, night after night.

And then I read the T and Cs. To sell a book I needed a US tax code. That took…. a while… I needed an ISBN. That was a little easier. And it needed to clear Apple iBookstore QA. That also took a while (6 weeks in fact although, fair play to them as soon as they opened the floodgates that must have been a LOT of words they had to read from a large number of submissions).

Hundreds of screen refreshes later I was rewarded by the little green dot and was so delighted I didn’t know what to do. As it was just gone 6am (having been woken by my son getting cross with Mario Kart) I tried and failed to get another half hours sleep. Now it’s the morning of emailing, texting, tweeting and as much as I can do to get any sort of interest in the work. We’ll see how that goes…

…and a brief info burst, as I’ve been asked for one:

Who: Paul Kercal – A level graphics teacher and iPad artist. And youth worker. And occasional writer. Where? Guildford College mainly. Why? Love iPads and iPhones: the screen offers a lovely immediacy – it’s fab to be involved in friction free artworking. When? I draw on busses and trains off and on. Sometimes in cafes, occasionally in pubs. For more info contact wd ((at)) kercal ((dot)) co ((dot)) uk