Dec 28 2011

iPhoneArt.com 2nd Annual Mobile Art Contest ($1000 Grant for winning artist)

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There only a few days left for this one–so if you’re interested be sure to get your work in now.

Our friends at iPhoneArt.com (IPA) have launched their 2nd Annual Mobile Art Contest with $1000 going to the winning artist and additional prizes going to the 20 artists selected by this year’s jury.  Here are the details: Continue reading


Aug 30 2011

New Pogo Sketch Pro Review

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OK Fingerpainters, for those of you who prefer the comfort of a stylus there is a new one on the market, that I have had the honor of testing for the last 6 months and I must say it is my favorite of the new crop. It’s the Pogo Sketch Pro. Yes, made by the same people that gave you the small foam tipped beauty you could clip to your iPhone. The Pro version sports many new design features, each hitting a home run as far as I’m concerned. Fist, the purified solid aluminum tapered body, more reminiscent of a paintbrush than a pen. It’s about 5.5 inches long, an inch longer than the Wacom Bamboo and inch and a quarter longer than the griffen/targus/boxwave brands. Like the Bamboo it has extraordinary balance. Unlike any others though you can hold it at any angle.

That’s right, 5 degrees to straight up 90 it works. I have many, many styluses (styli?) in my collection and no other performs like this one does. It has a new patent pending tip technology involving patterned structures with in the tip itself. Kind of like little perforated holes so the tip is in constant contact with your preferred slab of joy. It is comfortable with my iPad 2 on an easel or iProp as well as my iPod Touch in hand.

It’s really responsive. The rubber tip being the same size and “squishiness” as the Bamboo (which is also a good choice for those who prefer a pen type stylus). The Pro also has a comfort grip, my hand never tires of using it. And best of all, it’s affordable at $24.95. It comes with 2 tips (I didn’t know that while I was testing.) The new rubber one and the classic foam tip. And even more good news, in October you will be able to purchase just replacement tips if anything happens to your Pogo Pro. I have had a fair share of the rubber tipped wonders just stop working and I love the idea of protecting my initial investment. I don’t know the price on those yet. I’m sure an announcement will come soon.

Now for those of you who are going to ask how it compares to my stylus socks…. I still LOVE those too. I am going to admit that my homemade charcoal holder with a shapedad plug shoved in it is still my favorite, but that’s because working with an easel the almost 10 inch length is best for me.  But I am an odd duck.

I do carry the Pogo Pro everywhere I take my iPad or Touch. It’s especially good at taking notes as well as painting. I am waiting for the kickstarter Flow brush and the Cosmonaut… last I’ve heard they are still in production You will get my opinion as soon as they get to my door. Conclusion… if you like a stylus, You’ll love the Pogo Sketch Pro.


Jul 5 2011

MobileArtCon 2011: Registration Now Open!

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The long-awaited moment has arrived. iAMDA’s MobileArtCon 2011 is back and “On The Move” in NYC!  The Con kicks with an ArtCrawl through the city on September 30th to be followed by a 2-day artist retreat and public art showing on October 1-2, 2011 at NYU’s ITP Department. Continue reading


Jul 5 2011

Call for Submissions: U Scribble

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(Note: Submissions deadline on flyer has been extended to mid July)

Johnny Scribble, a rising superstar and cult-favorite among Hipsters and stick figures everywhere, is calling for back-up!  You might remember we introduced this Bond-like mobi-digi daredevil to you a couple months back. Continue reading


Apr 28 2011

Johnny Scribble – An iPad Animation

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I recently discovered a really cool and fascinating animated series called Johnny Scribble. Its about a well dressed (ok, well, i like his tie!) stick figure who faces endless threats of of mobile digital mayhem orchestrated by his arch nemesis Bowtie Bibble. The series is drawn and animated on an iPad using Red-Software’s Animation Creator HD app . Continue reading


Mar 24 2011

A look at Procreate, a new painting app for the iPad

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(This is a guest post by fellow fingerpainter Chris Menice, aka rebelpapa)

Procreate is simply one of the best painting apps I’ve used on the iPad. I didn’t realize this fact until after a couple days of digging into the app.

Continue reading


Mar 12 2011

iPad 2 – Initial Impressions from Rebelpapa

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So how does it feel?

The iPad 2 “feels” like a much smaller tablet. It’s lighter and thinner. The thing that surprised me the most about the iPad 2 was the weight. It’s much more comfortable to hold. If you lay it on a table it doesn’t wobble like the original iPad.

How fast is it?


Just swiping screens around you won’t notice much of a speed bump. No big deal.

I decided to give Artrage a try. I did a memory wipe restart on both iPads so they started with a clean slate.

I sat with both iPads on my lap and launched Artrage in unison. Artrage started some seconds faster on the iPad 2. I should have timed it, but it was more than noticeable.

On new canvases, I selected the largest watercolor brush with the wet on wet setting. I applied a large red triangle with a fast stroke on both iPads. The iPad 2 finished the three triangle sides before the original iPad finished the first side. The iPad 2 is quite a bit faster, but not fast enough to remove the lag of the watercolor brush. I changed colors (blue) and brushed again making sure to do some round circles to mix the colors. The original iPad had barely started the stroke by the time the iPad 2 finished. Not impressive, but almost.

Next, I opened up the Artree app. The purpose of this app is to auto generate trees. I never thought anything about the speed or growth of the tree. The original iPad seemed fine, growing the tree in a relaxing way. Artree on the iPad 2 grew much much faster, it was a little shocking.

Last, I tested the Brushes app. On new canvases, I just made some fast strokes. Brushes is already really fast and neither iPad lagged. Not a very good test.

I exited the painting to the gallery and highlighted a painting I did a few weeks ago. The painting has a good number of strokes. I timed the playback on the original iPad. The movie of the painting played back in 3 minutes, 4 seconds. That same painting on iPad 2? 2 minutes and 2 seconds. Damn fast in comparison.

Those were just a few quick tests.

Should you upgrade?

It depends on a couple of things. If you feel like the apps you use are slow, then you could certainly benefit with an upgrade. For instance, I love Artrage, but some of the tools are really slow. For me that was a deal breaker. Artrage on the iPad 2, while not lag free, seems much more up to the challenge. But it’s not as good as my iMac.

If you think that painting on the iPad has been revolutionary and you are happy with how it’s going, I wouldn’t recommend the upgrade. If you have the spare cash, I think it’s worth the upgrade. I obviously made it myself and doubt I will regret it. I’m painting more than I ever did before and now it will be faster.

The iPad 2 is a step in the evolution of the tablet genre, but it’s not in my opinion a new product.

 

Rebelpapa

 

 


Mar 9 2011

Inkpad App Reviewed by John Bavaro

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Inkpad. A Simple but not Simplistic Vector App

Review by John Bavaro

Last October, Brushes developer Steve Sprang, and founder of Taptrix Inc. teased the attendees of the iAMDA Mobile Art Con with a creation in the works- a vector program called “Inkpad” which he had slated for release in November of 2010. Much like the “Brushes” app, it had an enticing “touch and go” quality about it, with the ability to easily make paths, add and delete anchor points, create unlimited vector layer and custom gradients, etc. He effortlessly demonstrated a test piece in real time for conference attendees, and the prototype looked like it might be yet another Taptrix success. While the eventual debut was actually four months delayed, It appears that it might have been worth the wait. Early reviews of it are good, in the 4+ range on the iTunes Store, and my own experience of it has been very positive.

 

 

It’s NOT Illustrator

First of all, don’t expect a high-powered $1.99 version of Adobe Illustrator. It’s not even close, and despite its capabilities, Inkpad is not meant to compete with a professional desktop program (yet). Its tool palette is somewhat sparse, containing only one free drawing tool (a brush icon), which creates shapes. In order to draw a line, one has to use the stroke option with no fill at the smallest line quality. There are no spray paints or texture paints yet. It has a simple oval and rectangle tool, an eyedropper, a pen nib for adding and subtracting anchor points, a selection tool, a direct selection tool, a scaling tool and a rotation tool. The bottom menu allows users to “select all on layer” or “select all” in general, and this is useful for scaling, moving, all or selected elements in the drawing. I was actually surprised with the simple, and limited tool bar, but Sprang pulls off the “less is more” effort  and a user can immediately figure it out without plodding through the help menu.  I would hope that future updates might eventually add a live paint bucket, custom brushes,  an eraser tool, a line segment tool, etc. While it’s possible to turn text into an editable “object”, (it can be scaled, turned flipped, etc), it’s not possible to fill text with a custom gradient, or to convert it to outlines in order to make bezier curves and alter the text object’s shape- a staple of text editing in vector programs. Perhaps this omission will also be addressed in a future update.

Despite these limitations, the app is remarkably versatile, intuitive and can easily provide an artist with a sketch on the go that can be outputted as an .svg file directly to your Dropbox, or emailed as a .png, .svg, .jpg, or .pdf. The ability to export as an .svg is a valuable feature, as it can be edited in Adobe Illustrator (with all paths intact.  It might not be the software of choice as a complete “studio” software  in its own right, but it certainly can be your “subway commute software,” and that presents a remarkable opportunity for artists and designers to work on the fly and produce a more than adequate start to a legitimate design. The serviceable sketch that this app can produce serves as more than just a base for a finished, publishable product. In fact, a skilled designer could easily produce a finished piece with it from start to finish.

How is the Engineering?

What the app lacks in extras, it makes up for in the intuitive interface. Sprang has a good sense of programming from the point of view of the user, and not from the mind of the developer’s “in-language.”  This kind of ready-to-use quality is what can make or break an app in a few cursory tries, and it can make the difference between becoming a “go-to” app, and one that never gets used again. Inkpad’s  drawing brush, layer menus, toolbars, intuitive tapping and pinching reactions, etc, almost always do exactly what one would expect them to do, reflecting an intuitive engineering that doesn’t lose a user in the process of artmaking. Simply put, the app WORKS like it should.

 

Screen Shot of an Inkpad shot in progress

Some of the other vector apps such as Paintbook 3.2, iDesign and others actually have more capabilities for drawings and versatility for layers, but I find them to be a little less intuitive, or at least having a slightly steeper learning curve. While digital-savvy artists might actually prefer complexity and extended tool options, the layman artist probably will want to be able to jump right in. Like Brushes, Inkpad seems to bridge the amateur-professional divide with a user interface that doesn’t require a training seminar.

Brushes users, or those who enjoy pure drawing/painting might not really enjoy, or have a need for Inkpad-nor might professional designers who are already accustomed to a more complex language. But Inkpad produces a product that will be immediately recognizable as the graphic design lexicon of the day. Early artist efforts I’ve seen on the Ikpad Flickr site consist mostly of designs made up of color-fields, stroked with surrounding lines or merely consisting of  a conglomeration of hard-edged organic or geometric shapes. This style ironically resurrected or perpetuated the modernist obsession with flattening and fragmentation, while the computer has codified it as a uniquely 21st Century style. I  haven’t seen many artists directly incorporating the photograph yet, and this may relate to the absence of erasers or the ability to alter layer opacities. These features, if added might might provide for more subtlety and versatility in the apps end products.

To Buy or Not to Buy.

Sprang originally announced that the app was to debut at $9.99, which would already be reasonable if it weren’t for the fact that we’ve now become accustomed to anything in the $5.99-$9.99 range as the going price of a “professional iPad app”. Taptrix Inc. has debuted Inkpad at an introductory price of $1.99, which is most certainly an introductory offer. At this price, the app is more than a steal, but even when the cost goes up,  I would still advise any interested artist to grab it.  Its main strength is its speed and simplicity. It delivers in its ability to draw freeform shapes in unlimited layers, and to do it in “real time” without bogging down in a lot of memory delays. The ease, versatility and simplicity of it is quite remarkable. Sprang has  already proven with the Brushes app, that a well-designed app holds the day when it comes to gaining  word-of-mouth adoption.  I don’t know if Inkpad will rise to the level of popularity of Brushes. The drawing language isn’t for everyone, and the uninitiated, or the causal artist might not be inclined to employ the harder-edged, and more commercial language of graphic design or have the patience to draw solid fields exclusively via bezier paths (as opposed to traditional brushwork).  For that reason, it might be confined to a more limited crowd than a drawing/painting app. But certainly, with this app, and other vector apps, the challenge will be to court high school and university-level art courses, as there is a real need for vector apps that don’t require many tutorials. An app like Inkpad might be just such a solution for mass-usage. Time will tell if Inkpad” enters the vernacular as a default term for iPad vector graphics in much the same way as “Brushes” became synonymous with fingerpainting at its inception, but it’s a solid debut, and further evidences that mobile art is well on its way to the popular mainstream of art and design.

 

John Bavaro is an artist and an Associate Professor of Art at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.



Mar 2 2011

iPad 2 Unveiled

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iPad 2 has been unveiled with a fast approaching worldwide release date (March 11, 2011). Looks like its got some cool new features.  But are they enough?  Does it meet the mark for the mobile artist?

I had a wishlist for only a couple new features–MORE memory (to minimize crashing) and video-out–for ALL apps.  Though I have to say, the thinner, lighter in white does draw me a bit.

Check the list of upgrades: Continue reading


Mar 1 2011

Sketch Club – App Review

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One of the coolest things about our online network of mobile digital artists is that it’s very unlikely for a good app—no matter how small or under the radar—to stay there for that long. If an artist sees potential, they’ll be more than willing to explore it and share feedback about it with others.  And if someone says “download it.” and nothing else.  Well, its a good sign, for sure. Fortunately for me, someone was nice enough to share a little app called Sketchclub with me.


Self portrait by MROB (sketchclub for iPhone)
Self portrait by MROB (sketchclub for iPhone)

When it comes to newer apps, I tend to start off small. I’ll do a quick test of tools by incorporating its use into my daily metro sketches. It’s an uncommitted and pain-free way of testing the waters. Thankfully, Sketchclub had both an iPhone and iPad version. So I downloaded it onto my iPhone for some quick exploration.

Continue reading