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John Caleb’s first oil painting

This morning while the older two were outside playing in the snow, John Caleb did his first oil painting on my LE1600 Motion Computing Tablet PC using Art Rage 2.5.

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It helped that the stylus was tethered to the Tablet, as he kept trying to walk off with it and write on something else. John Caleb is one year old.  I changed the colors for him, for the most part.

Have a great Saturday.           

I bought a book on how to draw cartoons…

I’m not sure if I have time to learn to draw cartoons, but I really liked the thought of drawing cartoons when we went to the Hobby Lobby in Wichita, KS.  The I bought is a nice hardbound affair, “The Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Cartoons: a step by step guide to drawing Fantastic Cartoons by: Paul B. Davies, Kevin Faeber, Terry Longhurst, and David Pattison, with text by Amanda O’Neill and seems pretty well thought out.

So, tonight, I thought I had a fire department meeting, but I didn’t, so I had the gift of an extra hour.  How often does that happen?

Not very often.  I wanted to get a set of paints and an easel, but really, when and where would I find the time?

Holly is going off cooked food so she’s busy making some Raw food treats.  Elisabet is working on photos, so I thought I’d get out my Motion Computing LE1600, fire up Art Rage 2.0, and practice on the first lesson in the book.  After 40 minutes, here’s what I I have this fish that I know how to draw. 

fish #1

Take care.  Perhaps I’ll do another one later on if there’s time.

The Friendship Pole is now in place

We had a big ceremony today where we moved the friendship pole and officially opened the new school up for the town.  First we had speeches at the old site, then AP&T took down the pole and put it on a long trailer, then we moved to the new site and had some more speeches.

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It was a nice day, although it rained through nearly the entire ceremony, and I took a ton of pictures.  It was a good time to be reminded of the purpose of the friendship pole and remember who worked on it.

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Here’s an Oil Painting I did today…

I like this one.

It is particularly fun to mix and blend colors, to swoop and swirl them, to go clock-wise one time and counter-clockwise the next, to pick muted colors and blend them in with rich colors and then pop them right next to some outlandish vibrantly bright colors.

Colors are cool.  BAM.

Capture1Here’s a picture of the screen when Ink Art is running. In the lower left-hand corner is the tool selection tool, and just above that is the tool size selector, it’s currently set to the oil paint brush that is 52% of it’s maximum size.

In the lower right-hand corner is the color selector tool.  To use this layout,  one selects the desired color from the vertical line spectrum, then then selects the tone of the color from black to white and everything in between. The red 1/4 ring near the bottom lower right-hand corner tells which color is currently selected.  There’s an eye-droper tool at the top of this tool which you can probably barely see that is very useful if you want to duplicate a color you already have in the painting or on the reference photo you can import.

If you haven’t gotten a cool painting program, I recommend Ink Art to you right away for oils.  If you want to do pencil sketches, use Alias Sketchbook Pro, as it has much better pencil algorithms than Ink Art.

Painting is cool.

BAM.

Is Oil Painting Dead?

Yesterday, I downloaded Ink Art from Microsoft’s Tablet Experience Suite and have to say that I’m very impressed with it.

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Here’s what I like (keep in mind, I’m a math teacher/photographer not an artist):

  • The strokes actually look like brush strokes.  BAM!  People look at the screen and say, “Wow, it really looks like an oil painting!” 
  • The oils blend in a natural way.  Notice the blending in the swirls: Cool.
  • The brush gets contaminated with all the various colors and has to be cleaned to get new colors (or it can be set to auto clean on each stroke) 
  • The colors palette is huge: anything from vibrant, to muted, or lively to dreary can be selected in an instant.  I don’t have to mix up each color, just pick them from a spectrum.
  • The user interface is simply a masterpiece of software engineering.  Hands down, this is the easiest software to use that I’ve come across.  Kudos to the designers. When I want a wider brush or chalk, I simply make it wider with a flick of the pen, want to switch colors, BAM! you’ve got a new color.
  • I haven’t done this yet, but the program has a tracing paper function that is probably quite powerful.  The basic idea here is that if you have an image on your computer that you want to paint you can simply load it into Ink Art  and have it directly beneath your artwork.  It can be set to auto select color from the image, or not.
  • It runs really fast on my Tablet PC, which is an 2005 vintage Motion Computing LE1600 (Centrino 1.5 Ghz, 30GB HD, with 1.5 GB RAM).  In other words, it only has a single core processor.
  • It has a really cool WOW factor with the kids.  They see the paintings, think they’re cool, and want to draw their own. 
  • Drawing tools included: pencil, crayons, chalk, felt tip pen, oils, and you can scrape with an adjustable knife.
  • There are nine different ways to select your colors.
  • Pressure and stroke of the pens is VERY adjustable, instantly.  It feels very natural to draw on the screen, almost like drawing on paper.
  • The best thing about Ink Art is that it’s a free download on Microsoft’s site.

Here’s what I don’t like:

  • No Mac Version.  Actually this is a bit of a plus.  It turns out that Ink Art is almost identical to a PC/Mac program called Art Rage 2.5 which is also a free download.  Take note that there is a Pro version which costs $25.
  • Ink Art will not run on Windows Vista.  But this is not a problem since it’s nearly identical to Art Rage, which is a free download for the beginner version.
  • This program is designed for a Tablet.  Whereas you can use it on a regular PC, it is very tough to find the pointer when using a mouse, point stick, or or track pad, since it’s a very tiny dot.  This is not a problem with a tablet/stylus setup as the pointer is always right beneath the stylus.
  • I don’t see any way add multiple layers.  If you outgrow the beginner version, pony up $25 for the Pro Version of Art Rage and add layers to your heart’s content.
  • No actions (Macros)
  • I don’t see any customizable brushes.
  • The *.ptg file format is not an industry standard but the program does export files to *.bmp, *.jpeg, or *.png files.  These options are easily accessible in the file menu.
  • The program could benefit some with a higher end computer or tablet interface, I think.  When I’m doing really fast swirls where colors are blending, sometimes the brush skips over the paper.
  • The default image size is just about screen size for most things  and is given in pixels so output sizes need to be calculated outside the program.  It would be cool if one could designate an 13″x19″ image at, say 300 dpi and it would automatically calculate the pixel size for me (300×13 by 300×19).  I haven’t even tried working on a file that big yet, as I’m sticking to smaller ‘desktop’ file sizes for the time being (1024×768) which would only print as 4×5″ outputs.

These cons are just niggles.  Ink Art is a compelling program.  For Windows XP users, I don’t see any reason not to download Ink Art and start having fun (unless the baby is crying). For me, Ink Art is a load of fun. It draws me in to the creative process and time flies. 

I highly recommend it for anyone who has never tried digital painting.  I’d love to see what an experienced person could do with this type of program and I think it’d be a real HOOT to take a painting class.

Review by an artist: Chad Essley

I’ll upload some more paintings in a bit.