Category Archives: Art

Taking the Apple Pencil with you

One of the best pieces of advice that I never followed very well is that if you want to be a better artist, always have a sketchbook with you. That’s why I’ve been so excited about the Apple Pencil, since it transforms the tablet you might already have with you into a great sketchbook too. There’s only one problem: you have to actual remember to bring the Apple Pencil everywhere.

Myke Hurley gave an overview on his blog about some of the additions he’s purchased to customize his Apple Pencil, like a clip, stickers, and this loop to hold it to the iPad Pro:

Wherever my iPad Pro goes, I want the Pencil to be with it. So to make sure I didn’t have yet another thing to remember, I decided that I had to find a way to attach the Pencil to the iPad. And that’s when I came across the Leuchtturm1917 Pen Loop.

And on the latest The Talk Show, Serenity Caldwell shares the tip of buying a $2 Micron pen and snapping off the clip to use on the Apple Pencil. See this tweet for what it looks like.

Lately I had been carrying the iPad Pro around without a bag. This also meant leaving my Apple Pencil at home. While I don’t use my Apple Pencil every day, I want to. With a bag I can carry the iPad more easily and also always have a spot for headphones and the Apple Pencil.

I ordered the Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase and I’ve been using it all week. You can see it in this photo I took while setting up to work at a library the other day. I haven’t used a messenger-style bag in a long time, maybe in forever. (Apple handed out one to WWDC attendees years ago before they transitioned to the jackets phase of WWDC of freebies, but I gave most of my bags away.)

So far I’m really enjoying having a bag that doesn’t feel oversized for the iPad Pro. It’s much smaller than my full backpack. I expect that it will be perfect not just around town but also for traveling light.

Apple Pencil and sequential art tech reviews

Serenity Caldwell has a fantastic, hand-drawn review of the Apple Pencil for iMore. It reminds me of Scott McCloud. (I blogged about his book Understanding Comics about 13 years ago.)

I’d actually love to see this graphic review style used for other products too. It nicely balances against the trend of long written reviews. Both could have their place.

As for Serenity’s conclusions, I think you’ll hear widespread agreement from artists: the Apple Pencil is significantly better than any other stylus. The palm-rejection alone is reason to get one.

The legacy of software as art

This post from Andy Brice, via Simon Wolf on ADN, makes a nice complement to my recent post on software as an art form:

“My grandfather worked most of his life as a stonemason. Much of that time was spent restoring the ruin of a Bishop’s palace in Sherborne. His work is still visible long after his death. The work of the stonemasons who built the palace is still visible after more than 8 centuries. How long after you stop programming is any of your work going to last?”

Not long, of course, and I’m not sure this is solvable. The best we can do is make sure our software runs on systems as long as possible, and to preserve the rest in screenshots and videos.

There are echoes of this theme in my post on permanence last year too, but for writing:

“Nothing lasts on the internet. I could write on my weblog for years and the next day get hit by a bus. The domain expires, the posts are lost, and it doesn’t matter if I had 10 readers or 10,000; it’s as if it never happened.”

As much as I dwell on preservation, my actual code and apps and the work I do in the software world might not be that significant. Instead, software can be the tool to make and preserve the important stuff: the writing, art, and discussions online that will matter later. Although I’d love to preserve the software as well, there is so much work to do just to keep the blogs and tweets. I’m content with making that easier.

Dave Winer also gives a nod to what software as art means, in an otherwise unrelated post on the press for Little Outliner, again framing it as what we’re building for other people to use:

“I think software is like other creative arts — music, architecture, cooking, even design of everyday things like bikes and clothes. It takes a relentless focus on the act of using, and what kind of effect you want to create.”

Joe Fiorini takes it even further:

“Perhaps our legacy is not in the software we build but the lives we touch, even in small ways, through the problems our programs solve.”

Like Andy Brice’s use of the word ephemeral above, Joe’s statement is difficult to measure. There’s no one thing we can point to years later. We just have to create something worthwhile and trust that it’s making someone’s life better, and that maybe that one customer will leave a mark on the world that survives long after our apps no longer run.

Small icons

I mentioned on “Core Intuition”:http://www.coreint.org/ episode 11 that I’ve been having fun making small icons for my new app. Here are a few partial screenshots:

clipstart_icons.png

Some of these are just pixel-by-pixel drawings, with slight gradients in places. For other parts of the user interface I used vectors in Photoshop, which gives a nice anti-aliased look that is important for some types of shapes, but for really small icons and widgets it’s pretty satisfying to just poke at things “fat bits”:http://www.google.com/search?q=fat+bits+macpaint style.

“Gus Mueller”:http://gusmueller.com/blog/ pointed out that I should be using PDFs or drawing them in code to be ready for resolution independence. He’s right of course. Maybe Apple will announce a device at Macworld that will make that task seem more practical.

Austin Sketch Group

Ismael A new sketch group officially started up yesterday, led by local artist John Rubio. The first meeting was at Opal Divines. We passed around sketchbooks and discussed art, comics, animation, and how the digital world has effected independent artists. Some people brought laptops, some brought prints. Most everyone sketched.

Looking Rick gave out copies of his comic book, Budget Strips; Justin had his Flash short films on his PowerBook; Ismael showed some framed prints inspired by doodles; and John and Jasun both had great sketchbooks. About a dozen people showed up, an incredible mix of talented artists. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of keeping a sketchbook and drawing more regularly, so it was a big inspiration.