The (Digital) Artist Inside

I am first and foremost a writer. Have always had the skill, the urge, and the drive (or is that the same as urge?)

Recently, out of the blue, I got this strange craving to try to make handwritten posts for my blog.  Something to add a personalized touch, I guess (but really the more likely story is I had discovered the world of tablet styli, and I believe nothing revitalizes a hobby like buying new toys for it).

After shopping online for a stylus, I realized Walmart sadly had the largest selection (sadly because I am not a fan of theirs; however, they are open 24 hours, and I’m a big fan of shopping after work at 4 a.m.)  I stopped in after my Friday night shift and, sadly again, realized their store stock was only a tiny percentage of their online selection. I really, really hate this. Because I know I can get what I want on Amazon (cheaper and exploitation free), but sometimes I just don’t want to wait for shipping. So what’s the good of checking online before going to the store if 90% of their stuff is only online?

As I drove there, I envisioned a large, beautifully organized peg hook section with a dazzling array of styli. The reality was maybe ten hooks, eight of which were the same item in different colors, scattered hither and yon in a variety of larger, barely related categories of products (Mobile Accessories.  Computer Accessories.  iPhone Accessories.  GET IT TOGETHER, WALMART). Plus one stuck on a clearance end-cap.  And another actually stranded in the back-to-school pens (this is how desperate I was).

I bought one, and returned it the following day when I realized how disappointing the experience was. Tablets, it turns out, are not very handwriting friendly.  Had I been more devoted to the idea, this post would look something like this:

Do you want to read 1000 words of this?  Because I don't

Do you want to read 1000 words of this? Because I don’t

I think we can all agree that’s pretty horrid. My handwriting is much nicer than that in reality, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Then I realized I had been looking only at note-taking apps, ignoring the slew of sketchbook apps. Maybe that was the secret?  It wasn’t, but after trying nearly all of those, I stumbled on the app that would change my life!

Sketch N Draw Pad HD. Look for it on the Android Market; I think it may be one of those gems we have that Apple doesn’t. This app is nothing short of magic, people.

I tried art in high school but, while it was a very relaxing activity, it never matched the image in my head and that was too frustrating, so I turned to writing. Words would be my brush strokes, my canvas the minds of whoever read them. That was before. Welcome to my after:

First attempt.  Nothing to write home about, but certainly different from anything I've put on paper

First attempt. Nothing to write home about, but certainly different from anything I’ve put on paper.  And unmistakably a cat, although for some reason I felt it needed clarification.

Hmmm.  How did that come out of my hand?  So I moved on to a character that’s never far from my mind, Severus Snape.

Not bad, in a cartoony way

Not bad, in a cartoony way

Try again, using different tools:



I posted some of my halting beginnings on Facebook (all about as sophisticated as these) to scurry up some praise for my fragile developing talent.  What I didn’t expect was enthusiastic requests for more.  My friend asked for CATSSSS.  I was happy to oblige, after finding a stylus at a computer store that worked much better than the crappy Walmart choice.

window catLogan

I‘m crazy proud of both of these.

Then my other friend asked for a turtle.  I had no idea what to draw, so Google Image searched and found something I thought I might be able to do. I swear to God, I scribbled this out before running to the airport to pick up Tery:



COME ON.  I swear, before this I could barely play Pictionary.  Now I’m ready for a gallery opening.

Couldn't resist making him a TMNT

Couldn’t resist making him a TMNT

Then my sister made a couple of requests for my 4-year-old niece, and please copyright people don’t hunt me down:


She has very eclectic tastes.

At this point, just to be sure, I tried the same thing on an app that seems to be a big deal in the sketch app world:

That settles that

That settles that

Good.  I was starting to fear I had an awesome artist hidden inside me that I’ve been ignoring for 20 years.  Wouldn’t THAT be tragic?  (Tery calls me Grandma Moses)

Once at a party, my neighbor asked an odd question: Do you think your soul comes from the past, present or future?  She always felt she was born in the wrong time, would have fit in better back in the 20’s or something crazy.  Without even thinking, I answered I was from the future.  The more I think of it, the more I think it’s true.  I’m always looking ahead, eager for the new technology or the next big thing.  When I’m about to die, my sadness will come from missing what’s still to come.  My talent was apparently just waiting for the invention of tablets (and this app).

Once again, the app is Sketch N Draw Pad HD.  As a caveat, you might have to sell a tiny piece of your soul to make it work, but that seems a small price to pay.  You know that Progressive insurance ad where the wife is mad at Flo because her husband thinks he can juggle chainsaws now?  Now everywhere I look I see things I imagine I can draw.

Even makes art out of 90's song lyrics

Even makes art out of 90’s song lyrics


9 thoughts on “The (Digital) Artist Inside

  1. “And another actually stranded in the back-to-school pens” You gave up to soon. You should have made your way over to kitchen supplies and snagged yourself on of these babies: But yeah, it’s getting hard even for big box stores to offer enough options to cater to the truly discerning consumer.

    The Sketch N Draw Pad HD (I love any title the uses the N conjunctive) reminds me of this program:
    Of course, I mostly used it to draw “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” style drawings. It never occurred to me to draw majestic turtles.

    • LOL I’ll admit, part of the appeal of the hobby is using very sexy art supplies. I tried and heartbreakingly had to return the very well-made Wacom Bamboo Solo ( because it didn’t perform nearly as well as the cheaper no-name I found at the computer store. Wooden spoon stylus not so sexy (nor is the famous “sausage stylus”). Of course part of the problem is I don’t have an iPad. I’ve watched hours (okay, minutes) of demo videos using an iPad and everything seems to work extremely well on it. But isn’t part of being an artist the ability to work with what you have?

      Hey! That’s EXACTLY the same! I’m still trying to figure out what it does to make even random circles look so stylish. It’s brilliant, whatever the trick.

      I’ve never seen a single drawing from you. How do the kids say, pics or it didn’t happen? I never would have chosen a turtle as my subject matter either if Nicole hadn’t asked. I never would have thought I could sit down and draw whatever I put my mind to, either. I hope I’ll be able to use my new power only for good.

        • I have an Archos tablet — made by the French, only a fraction of the cost (and capability) of the iPad.

          Hmmm. I have no idea what I just looked at, but I like the brush strokes. When you said “scary stories to tell in the dark” I imagined something a bit creepier (although the first one looks like something Tim Burton might sketch).

          Was this a recent entry? Maybe I didn’t notice because drawing hasn’t really been on my radar until, you know, I was doing it myself. I feel like a terrible friend now.

  2. At least you’ve spelled CAT right.

    For the record, the drive is not at all the same as the urge. I have only one of those.

    I could try again to point out the joys of handwriting on actual paper, but I’ve had my fill of pointless arguments today. 😉

    I wouldn’t want to read 1,000 words of that stylus-writing, but I very much like it in small doses.

    Spider-Man turned out very well!

    Maybe your calling isn’t in art but in blog reviews of apps. More please!

    • Not to say that I’m not extremely impressed by your pics, you know I am. I just also really like this app-review sort of format.

    • Ugh. Fuck you, Tyler.

      So the urge is the need to write, the drive is finding the energy to?

      My handwriting looks great on paper. Maybe one day I’ll handwrite a post and scan it, but it just seems like a huge step backwards to me.

      Thanks! Do you like how I solved the problem of human bodies? (I did take a stab at drawing him full-length–further reinforced my belief that I don’t actually have any talent)

      I certainly will do more if I come across apps that get me as excited as this. That’s all part of the drive to write.

  3. I have the Bamboo tablet and haven’t tried it yet. But I admit i bought it only to do things like draw arrows or make small comments on photos. That’s all i wanted it to do. At some point, I’ll try it.

    Your art is awesome! yay!

    • I am such a sucker for sleek electronics that look high end but are relatively affordable. It truly broke my heart to return my beautiful Bamboo stylus, but it just plain didn’t work that great and $11 for a useless stick, no matter how pretty, is too rich for me.

      Thank you! Who knows? Maybe you have a digital artist waiting to come out of you too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s