Tag Archives: stylus t. Frog

The illustrated Sunday Brunch…

I’ve chatted about him before but a good friend of mine is also an amazing inventor/maker. Occasionally he invents things for me (such as this wonderful tablet easel stand called the Eye) and more often than not he comes along and helps when we do amazing events at the college… Nick was invited to have his new one wheeled self balancing unicycle (link goes to last years version) shown off on Channel 4s Sunday Brunch – as part of promoting the Maker Faire happening next week in Newcastle and I was more than happy to help him carry the unicycles when they were powered down….

All in all it’s been a heck of a weekend. Let’s recap shall we?

On arrival, once we’d safely stowed the one wheeled objects away of course, we headed out for dinner. That was always going to be at Honest Burger in Camden. Because pudding in Camden is always:

Chin Chins
, but you knew that, right? This flavour is Mango sorbet with hot sawwce (chilli, garlic and other fiery ingredients) and Pistachio and Cardamon powder. Yum…. However:


Post dinner at Honest (yes, pudding came first) and drinkies at the Grafton we headed back to the hotel to have a very lovely chat with the Tech Camp team about their project that they would be showing off (something very cool called a Time Machine – strobe illuminated water droplets that could slow, stop and move backwards… ) prior to shut eye.

Five hours later and it was back up and running time. But that’s unfair on the hotel, which was excellent. Especially good were the complimentary Dairylea dunkers that had to be seen to be believed:


Onto the production studio for the show and a complimentary bacon sandwich, coffee and time for two pictures to be drawn on my trusty Tesco Hudl:


I honestly drew these before ‘the incident’ and no, I’m no claiming some sort of Odessa Effect style pictoral foreshadowing here.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We were whisked past a very cool ceiling window:

before Nick was filmed riding the Jackal:

It was deemed more suitable for Nick to drive the Jackal after Tim the presenter flew off the front of the machine having let go of the dead mans switch (which is perfectly understandable as a thing to do. I’ve done similar myself on the Noway Nick built). I didn’t take a photo but it’s there for all to see on 4OD as of tomorrow I think. He ducked and rolled well though and was smiling/still positive about the invention, which was very good of him. Did cause a slight wound to the Jackal:

…but if you’re going to get a ding then for it to happen on a pre recorded sequence for a live morning show on a major TV network seems the best way of doing it.

Pre-record completed there was a run through of the sequence, which they were kind enough to let me stand in the background and draw:

and then after a short wait (when a slight debate about whether a potentially strobing light was more dangerous than a Tesla Coil or a laser gun):

we were onto the live sequence itself:

…and, since I didn’t get thrown out immediately I drew Yvette Fielding prior to her interview segment which followed the Maker Faire sequence.

… and then I was chucked out 🙂 Partially as a taxi was  due to arrive to take Nick and I, and the unicycles, back to rainy Surrey. Which was a real shame… I’d have loved to keep drawing – especially would like to have drawn Lethal Bizzle and Katy B – but time was pressing and the studio staff had a million thinks to think about without also having to worry about an orange hairy potential trip hazard.

Then it was catch up with the family, sharing Easter presents, watching son play Wii Fit and, to chill, I hooked up with @DQSlothdude on iPad/Drawing Together app (all of the pictures above were drawn on my Hudl using either Sketchbook or Photoshop Touch) and drew this:

Basically? An Easter to remember 🙂

Paperwork, the process and inspiration…

Powered through a hundred bits of paperwork today 🙁 as well as doing a catch up session for a couple of students… So I’d deserved a brief sketch break. And when one of the students had an HTC One that he said he was happy for me to confiscate that answered the obvious question of what I should draw on.

My styli, for the most part, are at home (didn’t think I’d get the chance to draw today) but I’ve always got a Nomad on me so Q1, 2 and 3: screen and scribble stick were both sorted and Sketchbook Pro was the only app he had installed.

Which left me with Q4: What to draw?

And this is where I often come unstuck. Life’s so busy and hectic at the moment knowing what to draw is often the leaf that derails the brain. So, when stuck I tend to throw a line on the screen and see what happens. The pic above started off that way. I wanted to doodle something in SketchTime between breakfast and bus so that’s how the face above started (and if I get the chance I’ll post the animation to YouTube sometime so you can see how it went from line to picture). The Frog below? Well, I started with a line and thought, part way through, that it looked like a lightbulb in a window and helped me know what to draw.

So: pic above – iPhone 5S, SketchTime and cheap eBay stylus. Pic below – HTC One, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Nomad Compose and 20 minutes between doc files 🙁  Hope you like. Prefer the Frog pic and, to be honest, prefer that phone too.

Painting at the Gadget Show Live.

A year ago (and a week, last years setup started on April the 1st) I was doing this:

This year? Well. There was a lot of talk about doing a stand again, and the students and I were certainly keen… But with some tech problems hampering student output, with an EQR just before and another to go back to, not to mention the dreaded O word coming up soon (and in ed that only means one thing) it just couldn’t be worked into the calendar. Very sad but the stress levels are high enough at the moment, ta.

So instead a friend and I went up to do the show together (to just, you know, walk a show floor without being in charge of 40 students and 20 screens for people to draw on 🙂 ) and excellent fun it was (and is, being on until Saturday I believe).

Too much to blather on about now but I shot a lot of video, which I’ll edit when time allows (but soon I hope) and I’ve got a pile of marking I’ve got to get to at some point. But here are some of the bits I enjoyed most. You know they’re going to be about screen art before you scroll down though, right?

I bought an Olloclip! Well. I bought my third Olloclip (having had a 4S version, a 5S version and now a multi macro version 🙂 ) Expect more macros. Here are a couple of 21 x shots of a 3d printed selfie 🙂

((ironically the above pic is my favourite of the 3d Selfies… Less in focus* but something about it makes me smile.. *the less in focus is more to do with the fact that I took the pic on the train from Watford to London Euston 🙂 ))

So, yes, that also meant I was 3d scanned and printed 🙂

I drew on little screens (a Nokia 1320 and another one but can’t remember what number it was…)

Less little screens (Lenovo 7 inch Windows tablet):

and bigger machines (Dell Venue 11 tablet):

Slightly bigger desktop screens (HP desktop):

…and bigger than that screens:

… and bigger than that screens 🙂

In short? Lots of fun 🙂 Drew quite a few Stylus T. Frogs and Marmite jars, chatted to loads of people, including a few friends from other trade shows and last years Gadg-a-stravaganza and did a lot of demo-ing a range of styli on a range of screens ‘cos I’m more than happy to multi task and chat when someone asks me a question…

Now my feet hurt so I’m sitting and blogging and drinking a cup of coffee 🙂 and, in my mind, I’m sort of planning next years stand, really hoping we do one.

And finishing up with the obligatory Olloclip picture of my lunch:

Macro Sushi seaweed. Yum 🙂

Yesterday was fun…

So I stopped off on the way home for a very therapeutic draw time. 45 mins later this had happened…

(Tesco Hudl, Adobe Photoshop Touch app, Jot Script, Jail Ale. Stylus T. Frog as himself).

While on the subject of Youtube process videos here’s the one from the life drawing session on Monday:

(iPad 3, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Nomad brush, Adonit Jot Script and Pogo Sketch Pro).

A little more ‘Leccy.

A couple of stray pics post kids tablet art stuff yesterday.

The one above is a pic I started upside down while talking to the kids in the group and explaining how to do layers in Sketchbook Pro. Added a smidge more colour and there you go.

The first of the two pics below is an iPhone Autostitch picture that I edited via ArtRage – all on iPhone. The ‘Leccy liked it so much they asked if they could have a higher res version, which is nice 🙂

The second pic, well, I took some soft stuffed creatures to be models for any of the kids wanting to draw from a model. They were the first two I found in the filing cabinet so I thought ‘why not…?’

The third is a very cool metal Owl I bought from the pound shop while picking up wet wipes to clean the screens at half time 🙂

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 🙂

The Surface RT tablet and it’s recommended stylus*…

*Recommended by myself and Stylus T. Frog that is.

Every tablet has a flavour. I like drawing on most machines, truth be told. I’ve yet to find a favourite and tend to find something easy to like about the machine I’m using at the time… And, of course, many tablets also have apps specific to them and each piece of sortware has something to offer that others don’t.

What I have noticed is that some styli suit the flavour of a tablet more than others…

(This is all massively subjective of course, and I have HUGE piles of respect for tablet artists who use and adore styli – or apps – that I don’t have much time or love for. As previously mentioned Mia Robinson likes long hair Nomad and I like short hair. Roz Hall likes Alupen and I find it a bit draggy. Both are awesome artists creating amazing work).

On iPad I’ve yet to find something I like more than the one two-three-sucker punch of the Nomad Compose (short hair), Pogo Sketch Pro and Stylus Sock. Each do a different thing and I hold all three in one hand to use them for various parts of a picture (that said I’m using the iPad very infrequently at the moment bar daily plays with Draw Quest).

On Galaxy Note the SPen reigns supreme although I do like using the Sketch Pro on the screen as well.

(And, as also mentioned in the past, respected tech journalist Sir Andy of Ihnatko and I are currently in agreement on one thing: no tablet is perfect and he and I would both love to see an uber tablet made from the choice of the iOS store, the SPen of Samsung devices, some aspects of the Surface tablet – Vapor MG is nicer than Aluminium – and the entirety of the Metro UI. In one of those Twitter arguments that mean little and add nothing to the happy running of the world that was what we both came up with and who am I to argue with such a revered and sonerous voice? Especially when he and I were the ones agreeing with each other against a whole host of people saying only one tablet is the only one tablet 🙂 )

On the Surface RT? I hadn’t found a stylus that suited me best until now: the Dagi Accu-Pen is the Surface stylus of choice for me now. Perfect for the tablet it is. I’ll say why later – if I work out why it is –  but if I were using the Surface at this very moment I would only be using the Dagi with it.

I do want to try the Surface Pro and the pen that comes with it. I’m interested for a number of reasons (ArtRage 4 on a tablet screen? Fresh Paint with pressure sensitivity? Get in! But the Dagi is the one which does the job so perfectly I’m happy with it for now.

*slight edit of 100 typos 🙁

A matter of styl(i).

Yesterday, over twitter, I was asked which stylus I used to make my Creative Week images.

It’s a good question, a valid question, and an incorrect question and it strikes at the heart of how some people see iPad art. The other day I responded to a different tweet (from a technology magazine) about the 7 inch iPad and I said that I was looking forward to it and thought it would do well in the education world. “Why, don’t the deserve a real iPad?” came the reply. I’ve often been asked if I do ‘proper’ art as well as draw on iDevices.

This is the problem. To me the iPad is the most interesting creative tool that I have come across. The screen lends itself to drawing and painting and creating and collaborating. Styli help with that effort (but you can draw without them). But this new realm of artistry didn’t begin with the iPad (nor did it begin with the iPhone) but it was the New Yorker, Jorge Colombo and the Brushes app that popularised it to the extent that I and millions of other sat up and took notice. So was the iPhone a toy? Certainly not. So why would the 7 inch version be a plaything? For primary school children with smaller hands the smaller version will be perfect. The price will help, it’s an interesting proposition (as is the Nexus 7 but the app store doesn’t support the hardware anywhere near as well as the iDevices and their access to more tools that you could ever imaging utilising). I like the idea of a 7″ iPad (or iReader as Kyle Swager thinks it will be called – and I wouldn’t bet against him).

Would you tell an oil painter to use one paintbrush? A sculpter to use only a hammer or chisel? So why are people surprised when I say I use a handful of styli? Because it’s unexpected. And that’s part of the magic. For the majority of users an iDevice is understood as a content consumption tool. Draw Something challenged that stereotype for a brief, beautiful moment, but people still look over my shoulder when I’m painting, especially when I do so on a train or a bus. I’m always happy to answer questions about what I’m doing and what stylus I’m using – what surprises me is that so many people ask, especially on the tube.

So, onto the styli:

(Click for larger image. Drawn using Adobe Ideas on an iPad 2).

I’ve more but these are the ones I could find, having been asked to submit an image on the subject at pretty short notice. All of them I like, all for different reasons. A stylus is as personal as a paintbrush and most artists I know have a good few brushes that they move between, often stored upright in a paint stained jam jar (although I always preferred a Marmite jar myself 🙂 ). Me, I keep my styli in a Stylus frog, to make sure they don’t roll away when I’m not looking or the bus turns a corner.

In addition to these I also have a cheap eBay knock off of the Alupen (not at all responsive), a cheap eBay rip off of the Dagi, surprisingly good but not transparent, a couple of eBay styli with thick, chiselled rubber tips (horrible, slow and laggy), a Samsung stylus (which I loved but died after a few months of concerted work) and a cheap eBay stylus with a biro pen on the other end which was fab but I’ve since lost… 🙁

The styli I want to use are: the Redpen, the Aponyo, the Collusion, the oStylus, the new Dagi, the o-tool and, like many mobile device artists around the world; the Blue Tiger prototype from Ten One Design. Which looks very, very interesting indeed. (the only problem is a: cost and b: the fact that at the moment I’m a part time teacher with an occasional freelance funding stream for such things and small matters like replacing a roof at short notice tend to take priority over fripperies like another stylus for my collection. Sadly).

Do I have a favourite stylus? Often. But not the same one all of the time and not the same one for all of the apps. It’s a mood thing and, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so, I always encourage people to try a stylus before they buy a stylus. I’ve done a few events over the past year (World Skills Fest, London International Tech Show, 2 x Pechakucha’s and a few other things here and there) and, at each one, I’ve taken my well fed Stylus Frog with me for people to try and find the one that works for them best. I’m in the process of being booked for two events in October and, if you can join me you’d be most welcome to test drive a stylus or two.

So, what did I use at the Adobe session on Tuesday? Does that signify a favourite or two? I used the Stylus Sock and two Nomad paintbrushes (short and long hair). Why them? Well, I do love them both, but the main thing was that they were silent and I had a camera perched on my shoulder 🙂 You see? Different styli, different uses. All amazing.

(Drew this to test out the Cosmonaut… If i get a new app or a new stylus I try and draw something, often my frog, just to see how they work…)

(and, ahem, I also named my iPad art book after him, so he’s that important to me 🙂 )

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