Tag Archives: Tablet art

Coffee and screens: painting on a Dell Venture Pro 11.

Yesterday started in the normal Monday fashion – loads of work and hitting the ground running… Monday and Wednesday are 3d at the moment – basic environments to one year and basic modelling to the other. I wanted to show the students vertex displacement using a procedurally generated image and then a hand drawn texture map and somehow this happened. Which they said I should blog. So I have.

That was followed by the borrowing of a Dell Venture Pro 11 Win 8 tablet from the College’s IT dept with the promise to return it the following morning. That gave me the time to draw this:

(Romantic zombie ‘Jugular, Jugular, Wherefore art thou?’ Fresh Paint plus a range of styli).

Followed by this:

(The United Nations of Finger Painters: Fresh Paint plus a range of styli).

…and then , after an acceptable nights sleep:

(Mornin’ Drawin’. Mainly drawn in the oil pastels mode as I realised I’d barely used it up until now…)

Followed by this:

All in all? I liked the tablet a lot, and certainly like Win 8 on a touch screen tablet and VERY MUCH like Fresh Paint as an art app. It’s a little slice of joy to play with and always makes me smile to click on the happy yellow and red icon.

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Back at the ‘Leccy.

I’ve done a few art events for young people at the Electric Theatre but, until now, they’ve predominantly been shrink plastic sessions, which is fine, as they always sell out quickly and get very lovely feedback.

For some reason, this time, we all agreed that tablet art sessions might be a good fun thing and a bit of a change for all involved. And, yes it was πŸ™‚ I’m not 100% sure it was an easier session to do (although it was a lighter session to pack up and carry… but the charging of 15 machines twice in one day was a little tricksome to facilitate).

We started with simple art lessons, just so everyone was up to speed on basic drawing tactics (and also to preserve a little bit of battery life). There are a quick set of ten lessons that I’ve been doing as long as I’ve been doing Fish and the Family Festivals which I occasionally rejig a little (mainly in terms of the order I do them in as much as anything) but which teach a huge amount of simple art principles – and confidence – in 30 minutes.

My pic to explain some art principles using the example of a soft, stuffed owl.

One of the kids pics following an example of how to draw a 15 point person. Basically I think I was owned, as some of the youth are wont to say…

Then we moved onto the tablets. And the kids took to them with as much speed and enthusiasm as I could have hoped. We stuck, for the most part, to Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (which might have surprised me a year ago but I’ve really grown to love as an app). Also, again for the most part, we used Tesco Hudl 7″ Android tablets (which to be frank I REALLY should be on commission for and again is a bit of a surprise to me… If you’d told me a year ago that a relatively inexpensive small screen Android tab would be one of my favourites I’d probably have asked if I could see the world through the strange tinted spectacles you were wearing).

I didn’t have enough tablets to do a whole group with the Hudl’s though so we also used a few iPads and Nintendo 3DS’ and the kids themselves brought a range of devices from iPad to Nexus, Samsung to an unbranded Android device I’d not seen before.All in all a wonderful day and the kids were enormous fun to share the sessions with. More pictures to come, when I get the chance to upload them all.

I did make up a still life for the kids to draw if they found themselves stuck for ideas.

More fool me, really. They were a hive of ideas and came out with some brilliantly crazy things to draw and create and we had a lot of fun talking about how some of the pictures came to be. Both 130 min sessions flew by and, hopefully, a full gallery will be up soon on the Leccy webby…

Also did a bit of a collab draw… One of the participants did a pencil drawing that I especially liked and we took a photo – mainly so I could show her how to colour it in using layers to help. That became this πŸ™‚

Anyhow: long day, 31 happy kids, 60 pics drawn minimum over 5 different screen formats? Once blog posts done it’s screens off and a bit of relax time I think.

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 Β (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 πŸ™‚

Another view of the book tower πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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.


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 πŸ™‚


Updated the Cupcake a smidge… Which leads me onto wondering if I should do some more as it was a lovely thing to draw. Hmmmm…

Also… did a little photo-editing effects work on an Android app called Photo Viva which left me with this:

I’ll keep plodding along with that app – I was looking for liquify apps at the time but it seemed to have a nicer, fuller, feature set. So far, it’s interesting. Won’t get a chance for a full on play but I think it’s coming up time soon for me to update my ‘so you’ve bought/been given a tablet‘ post from just after Christmas…

Anyhow: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro/Hudl tablet/Dagi and Nomad.

Dell Solutions tour, London.

Latest in the lovely series of places that I get to draw in has been the Dell Solutions tour who invited me up to draw on the tablets that will be released between late November and early December… (the fact that my tablet art class are getting itchy fingers for new hardware is also possible an interest to them, but I think my budget’s well shot for this year as we’ve had to expand the class again and subsequently buy new hardware).

But I was asked to join in, and it was on my day off, so it seemed like an interesting place to be… The venue being Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC. I’m partial to a bit of football, although don’t have any team allegiance really, but I liked the idea of seeing the stadium.

Anyway I was impressed, both by the stadium and by all of the four machines I got to draw on. One machine (the Venue) was a corker. Handled every stylus I threw at it. The only negative was that the machines were set up with no art software bar Paint so I didn’t get to play with Fresh Paint on the screens πŸ™ But, again, another meeting sorted out for the class and I to play with a couple more screens and screen sizes.

Started out a very nice day, weather wise. Started raining shortly after which has kept going for four days solid now πŸ™‚

The journey was slow, hot, sweaty and from one packed train to another. The coffee was needed as soon as I arrived and signed in. Painted on (as are the Frog and abstract face) MS Paint app as it was the only thing installed… Using a variety of styli (Dagi, Nomad, New Trent, three or four cheap ebay jobs, Plai eStylo and Pogo).

(drawn by request πŸ™‚ )

Yes. I know, two from a competing platform… It was just what I had in my bag at the time and my Surface was completely out of juice πŸ™ Would have happily drawn the sessions (Intel on Ideas and Microsoft on Procreate) on a Dell tablet but they all seemed to be chained to tables and I couldn’t find anyone to rescue one for me to play with πŸ™‚

This was my favourite machine… A Venue (?) but didn’t get the model number. Due for release at the end of Nov I think they said and ran Win 8.1 more than happily.

((A brief aside – if you want to know the most about a machine you should always give it to an artist. I don’t think I can think of anyone who pushed the processor, screen, software and hardware as much. From quick zooming to a range of input devices to constant screen interaction I think screen painters find the nooks and crannies of tablets and touch screen devices quicker than anyone else…))

And then I had to dash off… (before lunch even!! πŸ™ ) Had to be back for the school bus so had to leave but, as I was doing so, I realised I’d not taken any pictures of the stadium so that turned into this:

And my personal favourite:

… because (at the risk of being boring) I like software that gives you the possibility to break a panorama as well as take it… Architecture that has a lot of related paths and repeated themes often gives the best results (for example here and here also…) Will try and get to stadiums in the future I think… Was a lot of fun to snap. As was the day, thanks Dell πŸ™‚

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 parkΒ next door to my work place (I’m very lucky), sometimes it was my favourite pub (The Rowbarge, much missed πŸ™ ) 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.

An hour playing with Procreate 1.8.

Like it loads. As smooth as it ever was (that smooth 60 fps really shows) with a fabulous brush editing engine that is best in class and then some (better than Photoshops and as good as Pixelmator on desktop/laptop computer for a start and, on a tablet, that’s fabulous, powerful and freeing).

The only negative? Well, I’ve only played with it for a couple of hours while talking to friends on Skype but they STILL haven’t fixed the slider issue. Slider issue? When offered the range of colours you have to click on the dot and slide it, not click on the colour you want and move from there. It’s a silly, niggling issue, but irritates me a little every time I use it. Imagine wanting a dog to fetch a stick. Instead of throwing the stick you have to drop the stick, walk over to where the dog is, then lead the dog back to the stick.

Over and over.


But apart from that one small issue (and the fact there’s no animation or remembering of process – which I can see it would be hard to do with such a powerful underlying engine – I do ask for the moon on a stick sometimes) it’s a fab app, well worth downloading and playing with… Β And of course it was the THOROUGHLY deserved winner of an Apple Design Award for itsΒ “technical, aesthetic, and creative excellence”.

App mashing, with added Marmite…

Someone asked me the other day if I ever get bored of drawing and painting on an iPad… How can I when so many apps are so good, and new ones are released every day? Above is Sketches, which I like, and is very cool in a good number of ways… But it only takes one quirk to irritate me and this apps is that you can zoom into an image – but not OUT of an image (also – OH BOY) it has an odd interface. Hmm. Undecided but it’s odd.

Anyhow – above is my go-to ‘What do I draw today’ Marmite Jar (I is a Jartist for a start)… But it’s also a crowd pleasing (or rabble rousing πŸ™‚ depends whether you love or hate it I suppose) image that’s something I adore drawing.

Below is the above image taken and reworked in ArtRage – which is also an app I love on iPad and on desktop (and on touch screen enabled Windows device).

So. Do I get bored? Rarely, if ever. Tablet and touch screen art is all sorts of fun and I’m sure it will remain so for many years to come… (unless I end up drawing on watch screens or something πŸ™‚ )