Entries in Paul Kercal (6)

Book Review: Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction by Paul Kercal

Paul kercal

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.

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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.

Kercal ipad paintings

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.

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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

Be sure to visit Paul's blog and follow him on Twitter.

Paul Kercal demonstrates collaborative iPad drawing using Sketchshare

At the time of writing, Draw Something, the marvellously addictive turn based drawing game, is holding the number one position in the UK App Store charts. It's thrilling to see such a creative iOS app cause a stir amongst iPad and iPhone owners across the globe. We believe that everyone is an artist, it's simply a matter of having the right opportunity, some thoughtful training and a whole lot of encouragement. That's where Sketchshare can help.

Sketchshare essentially creates a shared virtual canvas on which up to four people can sketch in realtime. However, because of its clever use of Apple's Game Center framework, Sketchshare feels more like telepresence at times. Game Center can be used to invite up to three friends to a sketching session, it's also the Game Center framework that allows for realtime voice chat between all 'players'. This realtime chat support turns out to be the special sauce that makes Sketchshare so appealing.

Sketchshare is fluid and fun, with a pleasing balance between simplicity and capability. We can imagine artists and designers getting a great deal of benefit from it. A scenario that immediately jumped to my mind was using Sketchshare to thrash out the initial ideas behind a company rebrand. Oftentimes, just having the client sit with you for half an hour whilst you sketch ideas can save days of wasted time further down the line. Sketchshare makes this kind of organic idea prototyping possible, no matter how vast the distance between you and your client.

In the video featured above Paul Kercal, a superb iPad artist and art educator from Guildford College, uses Sketchshare at the Surrey Skills Fair to demonstrate to local school children the kind of forward thinking art education Guildford College can offer them.

We think this is just the tip of the ice-berg for this kind of collaborative art. The opportunities for educators and learners alike seem to be growing exponentially.

App Store Link: Sketchshare

Further Reading: More on Paul Kercal

Get Involved: Dancing in the Digital Forest

Here is a chance for everyone to get creative, be part of an International Art Project, and possibly have your art featured in a new app. Whether you are aged 3 or 103 (note: there are no age limits), can't draw for toffee (like one of the iPC team) or can sculpt a digital masterpiece that makes everyone jealous, you are encouraged to submit your Tree to the Dancing in the Digital Forest project.

Organised by digital artist and educator Paul Kercal from Guildford College, Dancing in the Digital Forest is an art project that will encourage participating school-age and FE students to draw their own trees or colour in trees submitted by you and other contributors.

The resulting 'Forest' will be a collection of all the Trees submitted plus the students' creations, displayed in a 50m2 space at London's ExCel exhibition centre from 5 - 8 October 2011. By submitting your Tree picture you could also have it included a Digital Forest app!

Here's some details from the project's Facebook page:

...this is a doodle/art event for anyone. You can be a confident artist or a happy doodler, an unconfident scribbler or a first time picture maker. It's not about who's tree is best, it's about how amazing all of our trees look together...

All we need from you is a tree: can be colour, black and white, abstract, realistic, sketched on paper, painted on iPad, up to you. A tree which you are happy for the college to add to the app and the picture. 

Please check out the Facebook page for more details and get involved. There are already some great submissions, including the lovely tree below from 5 year old Mateo Guijarro using the Brushes app on iPod Touch: 

Mobile Artists Hit the UK

For three days last month a small group of talented iPad artists assembled together in Guildford, Surrey here in the UK for an iAMDA (International Association of Mobile Digital Artists) event, the first of it's kind on these shores.

Organised by Paul Kercal, iPad artist and lecturer at Guildford College, assisted by a number of other artists and faculty staff, the event (Facebook page link) was a great success.

Photo courtesy of Valeri Beeby on Facebook

Although a small beginning it bodes well for future exploration and celebration of art creation on mobile, touchscreen, devices. Hopefully next year's event will bigger and attract a larger group of artists as they here about how much fun was had at this year's event.

Paul has created the video below which captures some of the sessions, the artwork created and the social events during the 3 day conference. There are also some photos of the conference on iAMDA's blog.

A Little Monday Inspiration from our Readers

It is Monday again and for many of us it is back to the 'day job' after a weekend of playing around and trying something creative with our iPads.

To keep your inspiration going and to maybe spark a bit of creativity on this the furthest day away from the weekend, we would like to offer a few videos from our readers who have shared their iOS device creations with us recently - we hope you enjoy them.

Plastic Man by Paul Kercal

First up, Paul Kercal's Plastic Man sketch which we liked a lot. Paul created this with the Brushes app on his iPod Touch (but he is also prolific on his iPad too) whilst on the Bus, at home and wherever he happened to be, showing off the versatile and portable nature of the multitouch interface as a drawing canvas.

We would encourage you to check out more of Paul's work on Flickr and you can also follow him on Twitter.

Fender AmpliTube Recording by Michael Coffman

Michael recorded this whole track on his iPad using the new AmpliTube Fender for iPad and the in-app upgrade 8 track recorder. Drums were audio copy/pasted from InstantDrummer Heartbreaker. It has a great Bluesy vibe which we liked a lot.


Michael has more of his musical creations over on his SoundCloud channel and you can also follow Michael on Twitter.

There you go, we hope this gets your creative thoughts going for today, even if you do have to wait until you get home to try them out.

If you have anything you want to share with us let us know on Twitter or on our Facebook page or you can email us using the link at the top right. We would love to see what creative things you are up to with your iOS devices.

MobileArtCon in New York this weekend - You Are Invited

We would dearly love to be in New York this weekend! Starting tomorrow 22nd October and continuing through to Monday 25th the first ever iAMDA (International Association of Mobile Digital Artists) Mobile Art Conference will be held at will be held at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of the Arts.

The focus is on art and music created on handheld touchscreen devices, our favourite topic.

The Conference itself is on Saturday (23rd) and Sunday (24th). The Conference programme looks amazing with live demonstrations and hands-on sessions from some of the leading lights in iPad (and other mobile device) painting including David Kassan.

Healing Touch by Mia Robson (created on iPad with Brushes)There will even be a session with a live link to London where Paul Kercal (a UK based art teacher, iPad Creative Flickr Group member and, we hope, still reader of this blog) is leading a 'Team Teach' with a group of students, as he informed us about in his comment on our recent post.

We are very excited for everyone who will be involved in MobileArtCon and wish everyone the best for this weekend's activities, we are sure everyone will have a lot of fun.

Here is a bit more detail about the Conference from the Press Release, for more information and to see what it is all about check out the MobileArtCon website:

The free event features artist presentations, app demonstrations, and forums hosted by the world's most prolific artists and app developers. Topics range from publishing and printing options to theoretical discussions behind the evolution of digital art and its community. There will be hands on and interactive workshops including a Master Class demo by noted New York figurative painter David Kassan, whose Gizmodo-featured iPad demo became a 1 million-viewer internet sensation.

The conference also features multiple outside activities including a private artists' reception on October 22nd, plein-air painting sessions throughout the city, and a large scale group exhibition, "Illuminated Touch", displaying artworks generated by the attending artists on October 24th. The exhibition is open to the public and will be held 7pm-10pm at Openhouse Gallery in Manhattan.

If you are fortunate enough to be attending, or are in New York this weekend and decide to drop in on the exhibition, do let us know what you thought, we would love to hear from you.