Tag Archives: PC World

The first screen art splurge of 2014.

#HappyNewYear, for a start.

Drawn on Nokia 520, Dagi stylus, Fresh Paint app.

For todays couple of hours of art therapy I started with a doodle card for a friend who’s reached ten years of fine service in a very noble cause… I suspected she’d like Bubbly Choc more than Champers (well, may be wrong on that one, may be an even tie) hence this:

(the ears isn’t an unkind thing about north of neck adornment in case you’re wondering, more a thing about the charity that’s the employer. Drawn on Samsung Galaxy S4 using S-Note and Jot Touch).

And then to finish a little bit of doodle bombing my friendly neighbourhood PC World. I do like popping in there and testing out a new screen (or three) to draw on, preferably something new, and they didn’t disappoint today with an enjoyable beginning doodle on a Lenovo touch screen desktop taking up the first half of my hour+ a bit in the store.

Stylus T. Frog furnished me with a Pogo Sketch Pro, Nomad Compose short hair brush, a Plai eStylo wooden stylus, a New Trent Arcadia retractable cloth/micro-weave stylus and a Jot Touch plastic tip pen. All performed admirably except for the Jot which wouldn’t connect to the screen at all for some reason.

After that had a quick draw on a Surface Pro, mainly using a Wacom Feel pressure sensitive stylus.And finally I finished up on a Samsung Note 3 (which I have a real soft spot for) which gave me the chance to start and end the couple of hours I had to draw on S-Note – a very under appreciated art package.

2 days. Four hours of drawing time probably. Five different screens, three different apps. Marvellous. Hoping the year continues this way 🙂

Doodlebombing PC World.

Finances, budget and, lets be honest, need all preclude me from owning all of the tablets, styli and apps that I’d love to create pictures on so thank flip for shops that allow you to rock up with a handful of styli and try the screens out. In fact my local PC World pretty much encourages me to draw on screens as it tends to gather a bit of a crowd each time so that generally goes down well.

Today wasn’t wall to wall fab… best left to the past once I get to tomorrow I think. But I did go for a walk and have a two hour draw in the store. Which was very therapeutic and allowed for some much needed non-thinking time.

So I drew these as we all know it’s Doctor Who Day and the Marleks are one of my favourite things to draw.

 Sony Vaio Duo 13, Sony Pen and MS Paint.

Nexus 7 2013 edition, various styli and Webchemy app.

Advent/Tegra Note tablet, Nvidia draw app and a range of styli, including the built in stylus…


Surface RT 2, Fresh Paint app, range of styli.

Thoughts? The Advent is a weird shape which makes the screen positively sink into the bezel which is no mean feat as that’s normally the effect of a white surround not a black one. The speaker grills are so distracting (being front facing and very eye catching) that the screen almost becomes the last thing you look at. Coupled with a hint of washed out colour saturation and it didn’t endear itself to me from the get go.

But… the stylus is fascinating. A thin form factor; like a cross between and 3DS stylus and  S Pen – and two rubber ends – one to create a thick line and one for more detail. It’s an interesting stylus to use and made less of the in built app than I might have hoped. To be able to spin it around in my hand and change line widths was very good though. Liked that. The thin end of the stylus was odd though – hard to work out how to connect with the screen as it didn’t have an obvious point. Didn’t dislike the tablet at all and the stylus does make me want to play more with it.

The Nexus 7.2 is much how I would have expected it having drawn a few times on the 7.1. Snappy (although the 7.1 did seem to grow into a laggy state after a few months use) and running Android as well as you would expect it’s a good slab of tablet. The screen ratio seemed a little less thin than some other tablets I’ve used too which was nice to see. Liked it although it refused to connect to a couple of the styli I used (wood and paintbrush particularly) which was odd.

The Surface RT2 and Sony Vaio Duo 13 were the ones I enjoyed the most, partially because of the increased screen real estate and partially because they’re both thumping good machines. Way back in the past year I took a number of students to the Gadget Show Live and the machines I enjoyed most were the Sony Vaio Duo 11s with the Sony Pen. Fabulous machines and the 13 is a worthy successor. If money were no object I’d go for the limited edition red one as it’s a corking hybrid machine to draw and paint on but, oh boy, it’s a bit expensive…

The Surface RT2 – personally I’ve no idea why RT became so toxic as it’s no different, in ways, to the difference between iOS and OSX. But hey ho. I’d forgotten my Wacom Feel stylus (or at least, sigh, my replacement stylus as I lost a clutch of mine two weeks ago 🙁 ) so I stuck to the RT 2 tablet and was delighted to see it had Fresh Paint installed and ready to go.

Two hours and four pics later I waddled home to watch Who with family. That at least was a lovely end to the day.

A solid hour of doodle bombing…

Every so often I escape the clutches of the work room that makes me miserable and go somewhere to draw. Occasionally that’s a bench on the duck pond in the park next door to my work place (I’m very lucky), sometimes it was my favourite pub (The Rowbarge, much missed 🙁 ) and if not there the Wetherspoon’s pub in Guildford. I try and mix up the beers with coffees so I’m not just in it for the ale, it’s more a comfortable place to sit and draw.

Recently I’ve taken to walking to the local PC World to draw on whatever tablet they have on offer. This week was different however as I’d recently received a Wacom Feel stylus to test out and I was keen to give it a go on whichever tablet would accept it.

First up? Galaxy Note 8 with Wacom Feel and Sketchbook Mobile.

Now I REALLY like this tablet. A lot. I was very fond of the Note 10.1 and Note 2’s that I used at the Barbican and MCM Comics Expo and this is a very nice logical successor. I’ve also got no issues with the screen ratio – in fact I’d argue that the screen is closer to the golden ratio that other tablets – and there’s something about it in landscape mode that is more comfortable and friendly. Similarly the poly carbonate back, a problem levelled at Samsung hardware often is one I never come up against. I like the design of the Galaxies and Notes very much. The Note 2’s especially as the removable battery is and has been a spectacularly helpful thing in the past.

That said – and I’ve very much come to like Sketchbook Pro – I don’t like that app on this hardware. No idea why, may be the height of the desk or the intrusive left hand menu that kept popping up, but I didn’t enjoy the pic drawing as much as I thought I might. Worked very well with the Wacom pen though, as good as I could have hoped for. To me a Samsung Galaxy is interwoven with Photoshop for some reason (I don’t like using PS Touch on iOS but love it on Galaxy. Odd, but there you go), would love to play with that app on this hardware. The main thing is that the Wacom Feel styli acquitted itself perfectly.

Next up: Surface Pro, Fresh Paint and Wacom Feel.

Had I mentioned I frickin’ love this app? Very much. Not that I’d stop using other apps instead of it of course and ArtRage has a far wider range of tools and is equally lovely (and can be much more of a daunting tool for the first time user because of it). There’s just something about Fresh Paint that feels so right and, as it’s a free application, I love the fact that it has a huge reach to a brand new audience. Completely enjoyed painting the pic from beginning to end. I also drew a bit of a crowd at one point and, as is normal when I’m painting on tablet, fielded a few questions about apps and styli from PC World customers and staff.

I’m also very keen on the design of the Surface RT and Pro themselves but since Ewen always tells me off when I say that I’ll stop there.

Last off. The surprise package; the Sony Vaio Duo 13…

At the Gadget Show Live the Sony VD11 was the tablet star of the show for me. A fab piece of hardware, mainly because of the Sony Stylus – a pen so well connected to the screen that drawing on it was the most natural thing in the world.

It wasn’t perfect, that said. A bit bulky and heavy, but an excellent mix of screen, keyboard and pen. This sequel – a higher resolution screen and internally spec’d device, not to mention a 13 inch screen rather than 11 – was announced at Mobile World Congress* and I wasn’t expecting to see it on the shelves this soon. I couldn’t pick it up to test weight etc but it looked a lot thinner and lighter from what I could see…

First off I tested the Wacom. No connection. Oh well, I packed a couple of other styli just in case (although frustratingly not my Sony Vaio pen) and looked for Fresh Paint.

Not there. Opened up the store. Password protected.

A bit gutted I swapped over to the other paint app I knew would be there: Paint.

That’s when the third ‘grrr’ came in. No idea why but for some reason the screen was… hmm… not majorly bilked but every so often a line would just appear as phantom connections were made. Which made it quite hard to draw. Significantly tricksome in fact, which is why I was delighted that the picture worked well despite coming through a certain amount of adversity…

So, the verdict? I still want to test drive a Vaio Duo 13 that works and will remember to pack my Vaio pen in the future for just this instance. Apart from the broken screen issues it is a wonderful device – very nicely designed, although I don’t know if I liked the aluminium keyboard colour scheme (but I do always prefer a white to black bezel). And to be fair to the PC World staff it’s not like I asked for help or anything – the picture came out of the issues I found myself introduced to and they’re normally quite helpful if I ask for a machine to be started up or a stylus to be found… Plus I only had an hour and am a stubborn lil wotsit.

Which would I buy? Flip, wish I could buy all three**! All are fab – I like the Surface a lot, the Vaio Duo is a stunning piece of kit and the Galaxy Note 8 is my favourite smaller screen tablet. None are a bad choice, all depend on what you need. Is there a go-to tablet, computer or stylus that I delight in more than any other? Nope. All have their strengths and weaknesses.

Well. There’s one or two manufacturers that I avoid like the plague (HP and Acer) but who knows, they might come up with a humdinger in the future that turns me around.

All in all – not bad for an hours drawing…

*I’m sure I saw the announcement on a live stream of an event but a quick amount of Google searching comes up with nothing. Regardless I do remember having a palpable leap of inner excitement when I read about the launch of the Vaio 13 as the 11 was just so nice to use, even if it was a far too brief lend.

**Google searching did turn this up which was a similar ‘oooooo’ moment. The limited edition, and just a little more expensive***, device looks ultra fab.

***Moot point. Neither Sony’s are in my price bracket by a significant margin.

The Frog and Flamingo at PC World. 25 mins of tablet art show-offery.

Took a small walk earlier today in the lunch break and, for 25 happy minutes drew on a couple of Sony tablets just for the fun of it.

I’m tempted to bill it as one of the tablet art events I’ve been doing as I ended up with a fair crowd of staff and PC World customers behind me, all asking questions and watching me draw so was a shame when I had to dash off back to work… Dare say I’ll be back 🙂