Digital Doodle

September 2, 2016Software

Since getting the iPad, I discovered a great app that inspires me to draw. It’s called Paper by 53 and it has a bunch of nice features, but the one that I like the best is the sketching/doodling function. You don’t need a stylus to draw and can use your finger, but, lucky me, when I ordered my iPad cover it came with a stylus.

My drawings are quick sketches and because I am using an iPad and a stylus they’re not at all sophisticated. Today, I discovered how wrong I was that you can’t create layered and complicated art on the iPad with a stylus. I happened to look at apps Twitter feed and saw what others are creating. It puts my doodles to shame. In any case, I thought I would show you some of my finest pieces. I am quite proud of them because I’ve never been good at drawing.

Here are the first images just using my finger and testing out the app:

Doodle - 29

Doodle - 26

Doodle - 24

Once I had the stylus, I began to sketch some items around the house, including a beagle:

Doodle - 20

Doodle - 14

In the drawing feature there’s a paintbrush function that’s similar to painting with watercolors so I went ahead and played with “pigment”:

Doodle - 12

I’m discovering that each day I draw that I’m improving little-by-little. Below are the sketches I drew in the last three days:

Doodle - 2

Doodle - 3

Doodle - 6

What’s interesting about Paper by 53 is that somehow it isn’t as intimidating to digitally draw as it is (at least for me) in a traditional sketchbook using ink or pencil. Last night, I decided to give the iPad a rest (actually, more like a charge) and decided to draw in my new sketchook. With my sharpened pencil hovering over the page, I had this sudden fear that this non-digital sketch would never turn out as good. I persevered, put away the pencil and drew a series of flowers with my new set of colored pens:


I’m partial to the blue flowers on the lower left-hand corner.

I was inspired to learn to draw after viewing Meighan O’Toole’s Instagram feed and watching her progress. I reckoned if she could start fiddling with paints, pencils and colored pens, I could do the same. So now I have a pretty good selection of watercolor pigments, brushes, palettes, colored pencils, pens, sharpies, sketchbooks in different sizes, but Paper by 53 is my predominant drawing application. However,  I will continue playing with all mediums and will keep you abreast of my progress.

Becoming More Mobile

August 11, 2016Software

My Writer for Hire produced no new clients, but I managed to get a generous project that allowed me to consider investing in an iPad and installing the new iOS Scrivener. The deciding factor was a social media client who needs daily updates on Instagram and Facebook (so much for that hiatus). Technically, I could do these updates on my phone but the tiny onscreen keyboard is hard on the eyes and I don’t like typing with my thumbs.

I researched the various generations and settled on the iPad 4,which runs iOS 9, which is what IOS Scrivener requires. Lucky me, I found one on eBay from a seller that refurbishes iPads. Mine has a new screen and a couple of nicks around the edges. Otherwise, it’s pretty close to new. Let’s say newish at best. It arrived on Monday and it felt like Christmas and my birthday combined. I played with it. I downloaded apps that I had on the phone and purchased Scrivener.

Thoughts thus far…it took me a while to understand how to sync with Dropbox and after viewing several videos, I was even more confused with the instructions. I sort of figured it out and when I synced Julius and opened it on the iPad, but I noticed that my gallery of images had disappeared. What happened? I don’t know, but I think it was an error on my part. What I saw was that the index cards were labeled but no photos. I managed to find the images and repopulate the gallery and sync it back again—actually there were several steps or attempts in between of linking and unlinking Dropbox, but I sort of figured it out. Or so I thought. To make a long story short, after a texting exchange with a friend now I understand how the entire process works and what I was doing wrong.

I’ve linked several projects onto the iPad and I am writing this post using iOS Scrivener  as a practice run to get acquainted with the interface. I’m currently using the onscreen keyboard and it’s not that bad at all. In fact, Scrivener has included some added-value keypads so you don’t need to be toggling back and forth between the iPad’s alphabet/symbol/punctuation onscreen keypad. Just as an FYI, I intend to offer tutorials in two weeks both on Simply Scrivener and privately. For private class rates, drop me an email.

But getting back to becoming more mobile. I’ve always had the concern that if I took my laptop to a coffeehouse, the library, or needed to travel with it at some point, and given the odds because it is a MacBook Pro, it would be stolen or break. Plus, after a while, it gets heavy to schlep around. I considered a Mac Air, but pricey and, again, there’s that fear of theft. Of course, the same could happen with the iPad, but the dollar loss isn’t a thousand bucks

So I’m happy with it and the old iPad 1 I bought in April for almost nothing will be a back-up Kindle.The Samsung Tablet I am giving to a friend. And after this purchase I believe I am done with the early Christmas presents to myself.

Tools for Writers Presentation

October 29, 2013Software

A week ago I was a presenter in a webinar hosted by the European German and Austrian chapter of the SCWBI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). The webinar consisted of an active desktop where attendees could see my every move while I rambled and showed them the various writing software tools I use (Scrivener, Aeon Timeline, Scapple and Tinderbox). In addition to demonstrating some of the functions, I had a PowerPoint presentation that gave a quick summary of each program and a few screenshots. The most useful part of the deck was the Resource section.

After playing around with several formats, which exceeded the maximum size to download, I went ahead and turned it into a YouTube Video. No narration because there’s too much activity happening here and the dogs won’t keep quiet. And besides, do you really want to listen and sit through a Powerpoint presentation?


And there you have it. In the next few weeks, I should be making a BIG announcement, assuming everything goes as planned. That’s all I’m saying for now, but will keep you posted.