Tag Archives: LetsHudl

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…)

Anatomy of a slug.

One of my fab students drew a slug while we were at Surrey Opps Fair…

…and the idea sort of… um… hmm. Stuck? Is that the right word?

So on the minibus returning from the show I drew most of this on my trusty and very much loved Hudl (first gen):

Depressed Slug. Hudl, Adobe Photoshop Touch, eBay stylus.

Then, on my walk about leaves yesterday I used my HUdl 2 to take a couple of texture photos which I thought would suit the picture. When I got home I emailed them to myself (not having any better idea to transfer the files, Android is still a mystery to me in some ways) and added them to the picture which gave me this:


…which is miles better (although not for the slug obviously).

Then, overnight (while I was semi-successfully sleeping) I realised I should have moved the mouth and added a small outline to the slug. Which gave me this:

And so on. I might change the outlines in the foot imprint but for the most part will stick with it where it is. Mmmm sluggy.

 

Return of the Hudl.

A year ago I had just come back from Eurogamer. Following a breathless week of tablet and screen art in London’s Earl’s Court arena (ring a bell?) the following morning the Hudl 1 was released and I went to the local Tesco to buy 7 of the 12 they had in stock.

Sounds excessive? Well. I was about to start leading a young people’s tablet art workshop in the Lightbox, Woking, and I urgently needed more tablets. Buying Hudls was a risk but one I needed to take.

Turns out it wasn’t a risk or, if it was, it was one that paid off beautifully. The Hudl (first generation) is a fabulous machine and they’ve served me well since I bought them. A huge range of kids and adults have used the tablets in all sorts of venues and all seven of the machines have held up to the prodding and poking and general art duties with aplomb. And, more tellingly, if I’m heading out with some draw time but nothing planned the Hudl is more often than not the tablet I pick up first.

Fast forward the clock to today which (sort of) saw the launch of the Hudl 2.

I’d phoned my local store and was told that all colours would be in stock (they weren’t. Some were web only. More on that later). I was also told they’d be on sale at 8am. Which is when my son’s school bus leaves so, logistically, the earliest I could get there was 9.30 am. I was slightly nervous that the one I wanted most (the orange Hudl) would be gone by the time I arrived.

As it was I needn’t have worried. Not because the Guildford Tesco megastore had orange ones in stock, but all of their stock was still locked in a cupboard behind the Customer services desk. Twenty boxes of black or white bezel Hudl 2s sat, blissfully hidden from the customers who might want to buy one.

Bearing in mind it was the highly trumpted launch day: a little perplexing. Thinking back on it that’s almost exactly what happened last year.

Unlike last year I had two choices of colour frame and I bought the white one (which I find keeps the eyes on the artwork when you’re making pictures on a screen. Black allows your eyes to drift out on occasion). Which is a vague shame (I also bought a slightly off orange stylus to soften the blow) but I was very keen to spend the day drawing on it so it was a trade off. They had no screen protectors or cases so onwards it was (I was in London drawing at Shake Shack today 🙂 Yum and fun).

Regardless. Review time!

First off. A tiny thing but the box is slightly less good than last time. Silly I know but I thought the packaging for the Hudl 1 was excellent and this time it’s merely very, very good. I like the box, but last years felt just that little bit more like the box of a premier league product. The front flap was attached by magnets and lifted away in a beautifully clean fashion, the cardboard was thick and covered fully in glossy pack shot images.

It was probably a complete pain to make so I can imagine why it might have been simplified this time…

Secondly the screen comes with a matte screen protector/menu to the buttons around the screen. For a split second I thought that they had gone with a matte screen finish (not my favourite) but, again, not a worry. Once the sticker was removed there lay the glossy, glassy goodness, all waiting to be drawn on.

After a short while of inputting email addresses, choosing wifi, updating apps and so on I was ready to go. The setup was pretty smooth and painless and took, roughly, 1.25 coffees.


And then, all of a sudden, I was off 🙂 The remains of the coffee was drained and I was heading towards a train to London, ready to draw.


The first pic was painted in Sketchbook Pro by Autodesk using a Dagi 501 stylus and a Pogo Sketch Pro, both of which worked beautifully on the screen. I’d first tried my go-to fabric stylus (the New Trent Arcadia) which inexplicably didn’t work. This, I think, is a first… That stylus has worked on every screen I’ve ever tried it on. I’ll carry on test driving styli on the screen soon and come back with a report on what does and doesn’t work but, for the moment, the rubber tip (Pogo Sketch Pro, Wacom Bamboo, eBay styli) and the plastic tips (Dagi 501, Jot Classic) work well.

I painted a couple of pictures in Adobe Photoshop (but I can’t share them yet, they’ll be done for next week though) and had a lot of fun while doing so. Photoshop’s a bit of a processor hog on a tablet and, as it does on nearly all tablets, it lagged a little when the brush was enlarged on a low opacity. But if the brush was full opacity I felt no speed problems and was happy enough using the app.

By 3.30pm I was needing to get the train back so I put the tablet away and headed for home. On the train I finished off the Marmite picture:


…and, once back in Guildford I sat on an almost stationary bus (the peril of living near one of the worst junctions in Surrey – hallo A3 turnoff) and drew this:

(both drawn in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro app).

Any other comments? Well after a full on six hours of drawing the battery had drained from 90% to just under 30% which is pretty good. Nothing pushes a tablet or phone as much as a tablet art session.

The screen ratio is somewhere between an inflated iPhone 5S/c, a Samsung Galaxy 8.9 and a Microsoft Surface 1 or 2 (if you’re looking for precise maths look away now. That ain’t me). It reminds me of the finish of a iPhone 5c, a Lumia phone or tablet – although the plastic is matte rather than glossy (whereas the original Hudl reminded me of a 3GS with it’s shiny plastic back and rounded edges). It feels like a premium device, not too heavy but good to hold. The power button is to the right of the volume controls which strained at the muscle memory all day when I expected the volume up and down to be the other way round. I’ll get used to it I’m sure. Interestingly the Hudl 2 is designed to be thought of as a portrait orientated device (whereas the original was landscape which is how I see most tablets). Again it’s not a problem… Bemusing maybe (I would have though the majority use a tablet in landscape orientation – yet phones are more often portrait).

WIth the original Hudl the camera was the negative and, having had a quick play around with this one I’d say that’s possibly still the case. It’s an improvement at least and it’s hard to tell what lets the side down: the hardware or Android which I’ve never found focuses quickly on any device I’ve used it on.

The viewing angle is extraordinary. I found it impossible to hold the screen at an angle where the picture wasn’t clear and precise. It may not be retina quality but I found my eyes couldn’t focus on the screen at a distance where I might see the pixels. The colours are a smidge over saturated although we’re certainly not talking anything like Samsung phone and tablet levels of Las Vegas style neon subtlety. I’ve yet to find a screen contrast option in Android but with luck there will be something I can tweak. It’s not massively off-putting though but I could imagine a purist finding it verging on the tail edge of gaudy.

I’ve never used Spotify (or similar streaming service) but, since it was there, I thought I’d test drive Blinkbox Music and it worked simply and well. I’ll probably keep using it I think. The box comes with a small clutch of vouchers which I’ll try and make use of this time (last time I forgot and they all went out of date on me).

I like the fact that Tesco are putting an emphasis on child safety and parental controls. As a growing number of increasingly younger kids are being given their own tablet it’s something that I appreciate the effort to implement. I’m not overly keen on small children being given tablets (it strikes me as something that can’t help long term eyesight for a start and I think there are many more age appropriate toys to grow up with) but it’s going to happen so the internet safety options are a valuable choice.

Anything else? Well. To put the boot in, just before I started to write this, I had a check up on the manual included in the box and all… ALL… of the images used to demonstrate the Hudl options and choices are the Orange Hudl option. So I think they knew it was the best colour too.

Grr.

But hey ho. It’s been a lovely day drawing and the Hudl 2 hasn’t disappointed. A fab tablet. Definitely recommended. A few websites have proclaimed it an excellent budget tablet but I think the ‘b’ word isn’t necessarily needed. It’s an excellent tablet (which also happens to be cheap).

Mornin’ Drawin’: Talking Rubbish.

I often get asked where the ideas come from.

Basically everywhere and anywhere. The trick is to let them carry on running from something that starts off as an interesting idea to see where it gets to as an image, animation or so on. The only difference between me and anyone else who giggles about an object having a funny face on it is that I then scribble the idea onto a tablet and a certain amount of practise in doing so.

This mornin’*, for example, I was waiting for a bus as I generally don’t. Normally I walk into work but today I was carrying too much paperwork so I thought I’d take it easy on myself and it was only then, with 14 minutes of potential standing around time, that I noticed how much the wheelie bins looked like people, especially one nearby that had obviously had too much to eat.

So out came the trusty Hudl (which is probably my favourite tablet at the moment – fantastic little thing**) and I was scribbling away. 20 minutes later (sigh) the bus came and I’d drawn this. I didn’t have my styli on me (assuming that I’d only be doing paperwork today) but I did have a freebie pen with stylus tip in a pocket and that worked well enough, given the choice I had.

So. ArtFlow app? Any good? Well, for the money – certainly! It’s a corker at free (for a feature limited version) and less than £4 for the full on app. Apart for bang for buck value? The features are all there but the interface is a bit cludgey. There’s lots of travel around the screen to do anything and anything that you do do then obscures a good deal of the screen as you do so. So I’m not fully sold. But it’s powerful, simplified in places where it should be and probably in the top 3 art apps on Android as things stand.

And, of course, I’ve given you a title which is a gift if you want to add a comment… Talking Rubbish…? Well…

*Hence calling my pics as I get ready for work Mornin’ Drawin‘s*** as I try (and more often than I’d like fail****) to draw for 10 – 25 minutes before I get to work every day. Practise, practise, practise, for a start, but I also find it blows the cobwebs of the day before away in a pleasant manner…

**Admittedly the camera is a bit blah. This is partially down to the hardware and equally down to Android having a bit of a poor photo app imo. The rest of the Hudl is ace.

*** Which my iPhone repeatedly decides should be autocorrected as Mormon’ Darwin’. Grr.

**** I REALLY do need to start tagging things properly in Flickr for example.

Digital life drawing.


I’ve long been a fan of life drawing to sharpen up/improve skills and, well, just be an enjoyable acid test of drawing skills. A new session has started up near me once a week and, although I won’t be able to get to it quite that often, I should be able to get in some regular drawing and painting practise, which is very nice.

Last night was the first one, and I was sort of on duty as one of my autistic students was there and I felt I should keep and eye on his progress/mood as it was his first life drawing of any kind. However my iPad and Hudl were both kept fairly busy (although tbh most of the pictures didn’t really go the way I’d intended or hoped for). More practise to come, much needed…



Drawn on Hudl and iPad using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage apps using, mainly, Jot Script, Nomad Compose, Nomad Mini 2 and Pogo Sketch Pro. More on the Flickr feed. The first picture I’ve got an animation of, just not the energy to edit it at all, but will edit that in later anyhoo.

Why the colours? Well, the theme of the night was to try and implement some pop art techniques, especially with Natasha Law in mind, which I tried…

Forgot about this one 🙂

Hudl, ArtFlow app and Nomad Compose brush, Jot Script stylus.

Plus, in case you don’t notice it in the other post, here’s the process video of the top image, created by pressing the time lapse record in Sketchbook Pro (iPad version).

http://youtu.be/_BWHT8hMHxk

(which won’t embed. Grr).

Android art apps (and styli) in five tweets.

I really should find time to update my ‘so you’ve bought/been given a tablet’ page as new styli and apps come out all of the time and my preferences have changed a little. However was mentioned yesterday in a tweet that I could suggest some of the best art apps on Android and here are my replies (because 140 chars is just not enough sometimes 🙂

Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop, Didlr, Art Flow, Infinite Painter, Watercolor pencil are my faves (in order).

Clover is interesting too in a hmm way. S Note is pretty good too if you have a Samsung.

Harmony + Webchemy work well if you have a web connection, PhotoViva is good odd. Drawing Pad good for all ages 🙂

Depending on what you have, it’s also all about stylus. Jot Script has worked on 90% of Android screens I’ve played with.

After that I tend to go for Dagi, Pogo Sketch Pro, Nomad Mini 2 or Compose + Stylus Sock for Android.

To be honest I might be being a bit harsh on Clover there. It’s a very cool, quirky and odd art app and I thoroughly enjoyed drawing with it yesterday. The only problem is that the interface is VERY unique and tends to take up a third of the screen, which is quite a lot on a 7 inch tablet. Also – I’m almost embarrassed to admit – I took a while to work out how to save/share a picture, even when I found the save button. It’s THAT obtuse an interface…

That said, in the absence of some of the heavy hitters on the Android store (ArtRage, Procreate, Art Studio et al) it’s growing as one of my favourite real world media apps on a non iOS machine. (That said: Fresh Paint is by far my favourite real world material app when I’m not on ArtRage…)

So there you have it. I can be brief, it seems, but only if I use Twitter to compose my blogs and then I’m not brief where Twitter in concerned.

I should get back to writing books. It’s obviously an itch that needs scratching.

Drawing with a Jot Script.

Latest on the (long) list of styli I’ve been keen to have a draw with is the jot Script. It’s unusual in terms of a screen stylus as it has a thin point (rather than the – until now – accepted norm of a 6 mm wide stylus tip). Its bluetooth but, sadly, not pressure sensitive.

The second unexpected result was that it works more than happily with the Android device I tested it on (a Samsung Galaxy S4)*.

The third unexpected thing is how effortlessly it pairs to the screen and works in all apps, seeming to pair to the device rather than on a case by case app basis. It just, to borrow a phrase, works. I’m trying to work out what I think about it but the initial feelings are all very positive. Nice one Adonit.

The pics below were all drawn last night except for the Selfie which was drawn on the bus into work this morning… Stuck in traffic…. In the rain.

Stylus: iPad + Procreate.

Selfie: Samsung Galaxy S4 + Sketchbook Pro.

Stylus: iPad + Didlr. Process animation >> here <<

Hellophant: iPad + Sketchbook Pro. Drawn on the bus from my house into town so clocked in around the 12 minute mark. I forgot, as normal, to set animation going, which made me Grr. I like Sketchbook Pro a lot but the fact that some parts make me grr as often as they do stop me from loving it as the art app of choice.

… and while we’re on a hard tipped stylus vibe I had a fab drawing time with friends last night during which I got to play with a Wacom Cintiq that, when not connected to a desktop machine, runs Android software (and Sketchbook Pro). One of my friends (a very lovely person) drew a happy Tomato sauce bottle on my iPad (and she seemed to completely fall fr the Jot Script while doing so) and I drew a less cheerful one, as is my wont. I also drew the Adventures of Pizza Guy below (and hope to be able to post the original pics sometime soon).

What did I think of the Cintiq? Well to be honest Android as an OS is very good but the app store is not and the range of art apps available is woeful compared to iOS. I’d have far rather played with a Cintiq running Windows 8 and Fresh Paint (although I like Sketchbook Pro very much as an app).

Overall I liked Wacoms take on a tablet. The screen is Matte so, presumably, would be more comfortable to draw on for concerted periods of time (and is less glare-tastic as well), and I would like to have been able to draw on it for a little longer. But all in all the Jot Script was the more fun discovery during yesterdays screen time (and certainly the more affordable one).

*Brief update: I just tested the Script on a Tesco Hudl (one of my favourite 7 inch tablets) and it worked as well as it did on all of the other screens I threw it at (metaphorically speaking).

Tesco Hudl + Adobe Photoshop Touch.

Taking a line for a festive walk…

No idea why but these lines:

…became this:

Which is at least a little festive bearing in mind I’m delicately balanced between cheerful and humbug, depending on the minute.

Drawn, as is the picture below (Pie Chart) on my Tesco Hudl using a range of styli and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I’m not the sort to give out end of year awards but if I did that would be the tablet that I’d say I’ve enjoyed most drawing on. An absolutely fabulous little slice of tech and a joy to have worked with this last part of the year.

Were I to do awards the stylus of the year would be a dead heart between the Nomad Mini 2 and the Wacom Intuos Creative. Both fab things in completely different ways.

Anyhow, I don’t do that sort of thing so no runners up, stats or so on.

I did draw a Pie Chart, as mentioned, on the Hudl which, again, I suppose is vaguely festive, but not in the normal ways.

(and I don’t normally add on photo filters on upload, but I do sometimes whip through them to see if they’ll deliver something interesting. This time it did so a remix below, filtered through the Flickr app):

If I don’t blog before next Weds (very likely given historical precedents) hope that everyone reading has a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. Here’s to 2014, which I’ve been saying since about the end of August/early Sept…

 

 

 

 

When the Owliens invaded Woking…

For the past few months I’ve been rushing from one job to another, which has been busy and occasionally stressful but utterly lovely throughout. The culmination was everything that the weeks weren’t but not in any sort of a bad way at all.

Confusing? When is anything that I ever do not?

The initial brief was to spend 10 weeks teaching young people to draw on tablets. At the time I didn’t have a fleet of tablets to my name so that was the first problem to solve. The Tesco Hudl came up in the media and was launched a week before the first session started so that seemed the answer to that question (and so it was – the tablets have all performed brilliantly, the negative being that I could only afford to buy 7 and had a class bigger than that so a lot of creativity was made throughout to make each session run smoothly).

Anyhow: ten weeks of drawing on tablets? What could we do to fill that amount of time with 8 – 10 year olds?

In the end I cheated a little, but with a very specific purpose. In addition to the tablet artwork time we also had three weeks of shrink plastic artwork  (because of what came last and also I know it’s something that just always goes down well).

On the tablet side we drew pictures in Photoshop Touch and Sketchbook Pro, created panorama images (a little cheatily again as I couldn’t find a suitable app on Android so we used the excellent Autostitch on iPad) and face mangled pictures in a range of apps on Hudl including Liquidroid, Cymera and Photo Warp +.

And then, when it was week 9, I made a mini book diary/story of all the things we had done as detailed below.

The printed pages.

The pages folded into the component parts, numbered so I knew which ones to stick where…

Venues swapped the sticking process began…

All books stuck together…

A tower of mini books 🙂

Another view of the book tower 🙂 With a mix of artwork – tablet drawn robots and liquified faces…

The handheld library.

… and numbered just for the fun of it. I had the kids pick their book out of a hat so that they all received a random number.

And finally we had the last hurrah of the shrink plastic. Each young person created a front and back cover for their books:

The front covers.

The back covers 🙂

The last one I could picture… By this time the parents were waiting to come in and pick up their kids and the artwork to take home with them.

All in all it was a thoroughly lovely time in a brilliant venue (the Lightbox in Woking). More to come, I think, but this series was a lovely one to be a part of.