It's like a heartfelt letter from an old friend on a fun adventure. That's the overriding feeling I came away with upon completing Paul Kercal's joyful book on the relatively modern art of screen painting. As a regular reader of iPad Creative that description may well be all the review you need to convince you to purchase your own copy of Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction.
This iPad book follows Paul on a journey. The path takes us via memories of his early childhood, like the moment when he realised that drawing was something that he could do rather well, and past recollections of other drawings and movies from the 80s that inspired his passion for art. Along the way Paul narrates, in a most affable style, his first contact with computer generated art which ultimately led him to screen painting using an iPod touch and later the iPad.
As we move to present day, in chapter 2 (playfully enitiled 'Appy Days), Paul takes the time to review key screen painting and imaging apps for iOS. This chapter alone may well be worth the purchase price for those new to the iOS creative scene, as Paul quickly strips away all the marketing blurb to reveal each application's true strengths and weaknesses.
The book includes an inspiring gallery of Paul's award winning work. It's here that you get to see, among other things, the result of an ace mash-up between 'a Rembrandt study, an Aubergine and a robot'. Yes, that's exactly that kind of random chap Paul is!
As an educator, Paul loves nothing more than to get young people enthused about art and design, and much of the last half of the book delves into the details of some recent projects that have accomplished exactly that.
The books finishes off with a brief styli review. Stylus t. Frog, it turns out, is actually a styli holder, lovingly crafted by Paul's wife to keep him company at the World Skills Festival in 2011. Even this wide-mouthed frog has a hard time holding all the styli that Paul's uses on a daily basis. Chapter 7 reveals just how engaged screen painting has kept Paul in the last few months. In the UK and even beyond, Paul is considered quite the authority on the subject. I have a feeling that Paul has only just begun to unleash his weapons of mass construction.
A rich visual experience
Besides Paul's friendly and fervent writing style, what really hits home are the splendid galleries and videos scattered throughout the book. I've followed Paul's work quite closely over the last year, but many of these paintings are new to me. The videos show each brushstroke of some of Paul's more famous images. Even without the witty and endearing narrative, the book represents a fine collection of screen painted artwork that is both refreshing and inspiring.
There is yet another reason why Stylus t. Frog will be of interest to many readers. Paul created and published the entire publication himself, using nothing more than Apple's own iBook Author application for the Mac. In many ways Paul is trailblazing the route by which artists might get their work published and hopefully make a few pennies along the way.
As you can probably tell by now, I really enjoyed Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction, I think you will too. Each one of us will have our own story to tell about how the iPad has enabled us to create new and wonderful things. This is Paul's story (so far), I can't wait to read yours too!
iBooks Store Link: Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction