Oct 5 2012

A short interview with Dave Skinner about the pogo connect

Benjamin Rabe

the pogo connect

I wrote a post about the pogo connect earlier this month. Now Dave Skinner of tenonedesign was so kind to answer some questions I had about the device.

The pressure response on the connect is great: can you tell us a little more about the underlying technology? How does the crescendo sensor work?


The Crescendo Sensor is a solid-state technology used for sensing pen pressure. Although the details are a tightly-held trade secret, we can tell you there are more surprises to come related to this sensor.

So far there’s only one button on the connect, but stylus on eg. wacom tablets use many buttons, and also direction sensors. is that a way to go?


In our testing, multiple buttons provided some benefits, but also caused mistakes for some users. We think our customers will appreciate the simplicity of a single button. Accelerometers, gyroscopes, secondary buttons, laser pointers, bottle openers, and secret compartments are all possible in the future!

Character sletch using the pogo connect and procreate

Character sletch using the pogo connect and procreate


What happens when the tip wears off/ gets punctured, will it break the functionality?


The tip is engineered to be as bulletproof as possible. If you are somehow able to puncture it, the pressure performance will not be reduced at all.

Can you tell us anything about your future plans?


We think accurate pressure sensitivity is a great first step for iPad artists. It has been a long time coming. We’re planning to show off what other things our Crescendo Sensor is capable of early next year. Beyond that, we will be closely listening to what our digital artist friends are telling us. If we can better the experience of digital art in any way, you can bet we will do it.

What are the main obstacles with implementations/SDK?


Our Pogo Connect has been graciously received by app developers. As of now integration is completed or nearly so for most of the top-tier artistic apps.
The largest challenge was making enough samples to send developers. The very first pens we sent out were made from plastic on our 3D printer. There was a comically large strip of copper tape running down the outside. They were quite possibly the ugliest thing you have ever seen.

What role played the community in developing the product?


We always enjoy hearing thoughts over email or on Twitter. In fact, the Locator Beacon feature of Pogo Connect was inspired by a Twitter comment. Ten One Design is a very small company. Every tweet is read by the designers. It is a opportunity to get inside their heads and inspire the next great feature.

Thx Dave for the interview! The pogo connect is now available for pre-ordering, expected to ship on October 31st.


Sep 24 2012

First look: the pogo connect

Benjamin Rabe

Pressure sensitivity has always been one of the most requested features amongst mobile artists. With the Adonit Jot Touch already on the market, it seemed like a logical step that tenonedesign, who were amongst the first to come out with a stylus for the iPad (the legendary pogo sketch, and later the pogo sketch pro), have been also working for a pressure sensitive stylus for a while now. Secretly named the BlueTiger Project, it is now scheduled for October for pre-order.

Thanks to Dave Skinner of tenonedesign, I was able to test-drive the pogo connect bluetootch 4.0 Smart Pen before its public appearance.

the pogo connect

The setup

I used the connect mainly with procreate so far, but it also works with ArtStudio, SketchBookPro and ZenBrush.
Surprisingly, the connect doesn’t have a power button. Using a standard AAA battery, the pogo is an always-on device. Other than the Adonit Jot Touch, which has a small rechargeable battery built-in, that means you don’t really have to care about power consumption much. I have been using the connect for a week now, and the battery indicator (it’s being shown in procreate) only went down one level so far.
The pogo connects via bluetooth and the connection dropped only occasionly in my case when using it a full day to do life illustrations during the mlove mobileXmusic event last week.

Live sketch done using the pogo connect and procreate

Sketching with the pogo connect

To put it right upfront: sketching with the pogo connect is pure fun. I was surprised how well the rubber tip seems to transmit the pressure data. You get a very constant distribution of pressure while sketching.

Where the Jot feels more like a wet brush, the pogo connect feels more like a crayon to me.

Here’s a very quick video shot from hand to give you a quick first impression:

In procreate, you can map the sensitivity to either size or opacity by switching the glaze button.

Overall I really like the device. If I had to criticize anything I would say it lacks good grip. Since you have you apply more pressure compared to the jot, I often accidentally pressed the button on the pogo. Eventually I held it a little more towards the top and used the app undo button. And even though I got to really like the precision disc of the jot, the wider rubber tip of the connect didn’t really degrade the overall experience for me.

I will post a more detailed review soon. The pogo connect is open for preorder beginning october 1st for a price of 79.95$.


Jul 22 2012

Nate Park talks about the LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012

Benjamin Rabe

The LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012 helicopter guy

The LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012 (August 18-26, 2012) is approaching fast, an I had the chance to have a quick chat with Nate Park of iPhoneArt.com, the organizers behind the event, to talk about helicopters, mobile art and an “Olde Curiosity Shoppe”.

Nate, you are in the midst of what seems to be a core mobile art event in 2012, the LA-Mobile Art Festival. When I launched your website for the first time, there was a picture of a man flying a mini-helicopter, seemingly from some decades ago. Is mobile art a timeless thing for you?

Art in and of itself is timeless. It’s one of the things that makes us human. My partner and Co-Founder Daria Polichetti talks about this in the iPhoneArt Manifesto, how the mobile art movement draws similarities to a time when fine art photography was beginning to come into its own about 100 years ago. Similar to that period, artists are exploring and pushing this medium, and people are really just discovering what it is, what it can be, and ultimately finding its place in the fine art world.

Continue reading


Jul 16 2012

The ARTSi case, a palette shaped iPad holder

Benjamin Rabe

I don’t really know what to make of it, but at least it’s a curious thing:

The PR blurb:

“The ARTSi case is designed to complete the iPad painting experience. There are a lot of great apps and hardware for painting and sketching on the iPad. However, it’s not always convenient to hold the iPad with one hand and paint with the other. We’ve created a case that makes it fun and easy to paint and sketch on the iPad in a way that is recognized by almost every artist.”

You can back it over on Kickstarter.


Jul 3 2012

The Ringbow is now Kickstarting

Benjamin Rabe

Remember the Ringbow? It’s a wearable device that pairs with your iDevice and let’s you perform all kind of actions without leaving your actual context of actions.

Potentially this is could be a very interesting add-on for fingerpainters, as long as it will be supported by the app developers. They are now Kickstarting the project, and are getting close to their aim. More info over on Kickstarter.


May 26 2012

iPad painting on a real Mercedes slk

Benjamin Rabe

Matthew Watkins covered a Mercedes slk with his artwork, using his iPad. Great look at the process. Here is an interview with Matthew on Apple blog Cult of Mac.


Mar 24 2012

Stef Kardos’ collaborations with his son

Benjamin Rabe

Brillant pieces, from both of them. Not sure if fingerpainted, but since Stef is the unmentioned hero behind all things mobile art, it definitely belongs here.


Feb 23 2012

Sketchshare let’s you paint with others, wherever they are

Benjamin Rabe

Sketchshare has kept me (and many others) occupied during the last two nights, and it might be the collaborative painting app, many fingerpainters have been waiting for. So far it’s a fairly basic app (no layers, no undos) that let’s you connect with up to 3 other artists via game-center. It has a nice stroke quality already, and you can zoom and spin the canvas freely. And honestly there’s not much more you need, because the magic unfolds once you start a shared session. It’s hard to describe, but it again shows you the power of painting with data, instead of ‘stuff’. It feels like your invisible buddy is sitting next to you, only you don’t interfere or get in each other’s way during the process of painting.

Here’s two pieces from my last night’s session with Aardman’s Stefan Marjoram.

Sketchshare session w Stefan Marjoram


Feb 22 2012

An Interview with Hansol Huh, creator of SketchTime

Benjamin Rabe

In the past weeks, I was lucky to beta-test SketchTime on the iPad and the iPhone. Since I have been knowing Hansol Huh, the developer behind the app for a while, I asked him for a quick interview. Hansol lives and works in Seoul, South Korea.

Hansol, what do you see right now when you look outside your window?

That’s very saddening question. Seoul is packed with too many people, buildings and traffic. I hate this city.
I can see just cold winter from my office window.

Ok, next to something more warming :) Tell us a little bit about the idea behind SketchTime.

SketchTime is an iOS app aiming to be handy for quick sketches and taking notes. I made this app for everyone who love scribbling and sketching often anywhere anytime.
I really like this quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry:

“perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away”

I just wanted to make the simplest sketch app in the world which has only the absolute necessary features and for the artists to use them easily and quickly.
In particular, I hope this app will become useful for designers, artists, architects, and cartoonists, and that it keeps evolving from their needs.


by Hansol Huh

What was your personal motivation to develop SketchTime?

I am a person who sketches and scribbles very often even in a bus and subway. So I think I need some sketch app which can replace my moleskine.
There are already plenty of painting and note-taking apps out there. But I couldn’t find the right app for quick sketches. Full featured painting apps have too many features and options to control. (For example, If I want to change the size of pen, I have to tap a pen option button, change the size in slide bar, close the option panel, then finally I can draw with a different pen size. This can be too tiresome sometimes for quick sketches.) And most note taking apps are focused on only taking notes. They have no zoom control or various pen size. Moreover, some of them are a bit sluggish.
With these reasons in mind, I wanted to make a simple and light-weight sketch app for myself and people just like me.

How important is community feedback for you during development?

It’s absolutely important to me. We designers and/or developers tend to think they do understand users, but it’s hard to play both roles.
3 guys (YongWoo, Simone, and Benjamin) have helped me to beta test this app.
They’ve told me what they feel uncomfortable with, and what they would need. And watched their using behavior through their drawings. For example, square pen tip and marker blend mode was requested by testers, and I added those features.

by Hansol Huh

You started working 100% as an IOS developer now, and you already have quite a range of art apps out now, can you share any next plans?

The next is “Typedrawing V3.0″.
I’ve been putting off the update of TypeDrawing for a long time. It’s time to update it now.
It will be not just a update. It will be a huge upgrade. You’ll see :-)
I am planning to release V3.0 no later than this April.

by Hansol Huh

What do you think about the mobile art movement and do you know of any art.shows or meetings in the asian area?

I think It’s still in the beginning but it is growing fast. Anyone can start to draw and paint without real brushes and papers, and her paintings are saved as data. These are big merits compared to traditional fine art. Data could be copied, regenerated, and mixed. They can be evolved like live cells. And this movement and evolution keep motivating and inspiring users and developers.

I can’t see any strong activities yet in asia. (I don’t know exactly) I think it’s mainly because we asian don’t have common language, like english for american and european.
In Seoul, there are some small activities, but they are still in their infancy.

(This interview was done via mail. All artwork by Hansol Huh)


Jan 29 2012

Mourning the loss of the Most Beloved Leader by cloudbuilder

Matthew Watkins

Mourning the loss of the Most Beloved Leader