The Art of Expressive Colour


Wherever you go with a smartphone, you go with a camera. Oh yes, you can shoot everything in sight, but really you can’t beat the freedom of sketching to express what you feel about what you’re looking at.

A photo is a record but a drawing is a memory.

You see more intensely when you draw than when you simply snap a photo of a subject.

Sketch on a tablet, phablet or phone and you have a full studio toolbox with you as well as a camera.

Expressive colour makes mood moodier

Most mobile drawing or painting apps include a rainbow palette of colours, literally at your fingertips – without the fag of carrying a paintbox or bundles of crayons.

Continue reading The Art of Expressive Colour

Love Birds. A Bit of Phablet Painting with the Best Tablet Stylus.

A pattern of pigeons
A pattern of pigeons on Galaxy Note 3

Drawn and  painted on a phablet, using a phabulously pressure sensitive new soft nib in a Wacom Bamboo Feel stylus.

I’ve taken to drawing wood pigeons as they waddle up and down outside my window. The only paper to hand is usually only memo pad scraps. Thus the screen of my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet  didn’t seem so small when I came to doodle a pigeon in my best-known painting app, Sketchbook Pro. I do have a perfectly good Galaxy Note 8 with more screen space, but having got going on the smaller device I forgot it.

Maybe it’s the high resolution and pinch-zooming to home in on detail that makes the Note 3 display seem larger than it is. Then of course you can snap back to screen size to assess the overall effect without having to dash to the opposite side of the room to view it from afar.

But I digress. What I really wanted to enthuse about was the new nib I was using for the first time in the best tablet stylus I’ve ever tried, the Wacom Bamboo Feel.

The Bamboo Feel stylus nib comes in two varieties, Soft and Firm. I have yet to try the Firm, but the soft is a joy to use.

I’ve tried many a touch tablet stylus, for both iPad and Android tablets. The Bamboo Feel is so far the best tablet stylus I’ve tried, far the fastest and most pressure sensitive. With a soft nib it’s even better.  The point remains fine and, once set up properly, pin point accurate. Ideal for drawing – and of course writing, which can be pretty dire with a finger.

In the past I’ve given a private snort when told this device or that is the best tablet stylus because it can respond to up to 2048 levels of pressure, varying the width, transparency or both of the line it’s drawing. Surely I’m not the only one who has struggled to manage even ten variations of width on a touch screen tablet. More often it’s only two.

Purple owl butcher with string of sausages

The Bamboo Feel stylus with soft nib does give a really variable line. Let’s hope it’s soon compatible with more than the current limited number of screens.

Fresh Paint App for the Surface Laptop-cum-Tablet

Multicoloured leaf
Leaf. FreshPaint on Surface Tablet.

Is this the next step in the evolution of the personal computer? Merging of the laptop with the tablet?

Last time I was browsing in PC World, the idea of a laptop-cum-tablet really tempted me. Before I knew it I was making for home with a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 in the bag. 

Mind you, even before unboxing I realised this tablet was a lump. 2 pounds. Not too bad for a laptop, but tiring to hold for a tablet.

 Another disadvantage reared up soon after.  At first I was attracted by those Microsoft desktop panels with their simple, no-nonsense squares.  It didn’t last.  Several years ago  I switched to Mac from Windows,  and I soon discovered  I didn’t take kindly to going back. 

Alas, my elegant Surface Pro is Ebay bound pretty shortly.

One thing I shall really miss. Even in the few days I have had the Surface Pro, I have come to love the painting with the Fresh Paint app.

The Fresh Paint app for Surface comes with the tablet. During its evolution, the Fresh Paint app was developed in the materials lab at MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was tried by some 60,000 people at the museum in over a year.

The Fresh Paint app has wonderful oil and watercolour brushes. I used them together with the blender tool for the autumn leaf above.

Fresh Paint app even works with my marvellous Wacom Bamboo Feel stylus, though the tablet does come with a stylus of its own.