Get Scribbling - the modern way! (guest blogger Kate Mason)

Kate Mason is one of Australia's most loved mixed media artists. A former For Keeps Elite Team member, Kate is a published author and mother of five beautiful children. Kate has been a friend of mine for many years and I am thrilled to have her a guest blogger today.


I think many artists would agree that their ideas for working creatively come from anywhere, often unexpected and at any time.  I wish I could harness all those ideas that plants seeds in my brain & get them recorded, written down, scribbled out.  If there were some sort of USB port implantation into the brain to capture ideas, I'd be first to put my hand up for that innovative new surgery, for sure.  But I don't think its coming any time soon.

I also think many artists would agree that to progress work from just an idea to something real, tangible, workable, you need to get that idea written down, sketched out, expanded upon.  Artists often keep visual journals with notes, scribbles, swatches, colour options and research prompts. Its one of the first things you learn in arts study at uni. And you are assessed on it! 

There is no doubt in my mind that I find it difficult to progress any new work at all without first scribbling it down in my visual journals. Its not often I've left the house without a sketchbook, just in case inspiration strikes!  Until more recently that is...  You see I got an iPad this year.  And I am loving the ease & fun I am having with the Adobe Ideas application.  Its a vector based drawing program and its fabulous.  I find no matter where I am, I can get out my little iPad and scribble out some ideas very easily.  I've also bought the additional 'layers' program so that I can easily add layers from photos or previous artworks I might have in my iCloud, Dropbox or iPad photo albums.

Whether your work is digitally based, paper based or on canvas, this portable way of progressing ideas with easy save & email functions is definitely worth having a look at.  I mean for starters, not only can you access varying widths of line, but a comprehensive colour palette, eraser tools, opacity levels & layers relocation.  You will seriously love seeing your lines, handwriting & each mark made, snap up sharply, taking out all the wobble. Its fabulous. Did I say that already?

And there is no bulky pencil case to lumber around! Nor eraser & pencil shavings.  I also love how you can zoom right in to work on tiny details too and zoom back out to get the right perspective on things.  
Whilst I still do love paper & there's nothing like the feel of scribbling with an art marker, there certainly is a case for using this new tool to work out some great colour concepts with ease or working an entire digital piece from scratch on your iPad!  Documents are saved & emailed as PDF's so they are quite a decent size once emailed onto your desktop, should you need to expand your work in photoshop or other graphics programs.
Here's a quick little step by step of how I created my one of my little scribbled ladies, which will later transfer onto canvas for collaging.

Image 1:  I pulled a work in progress [on canvas] photo into Adobe Ideas as my first layer as I wanted to have a patterned dress to work from.


Image 2:  I've added a new layer and painted all the areas from the photo layer I don't need with white to block them out.


Image 3: I've now got my basic dress shape and I've opened the colour palette to choose my skin tone.


Image 4:  New layer has been added & I've sketched in arms, neck & head

Image 5:  Another new layer and now I've zoomed in to work on the finer details of the face


Image 6:  New layer and this time I've added hair & outlines to body & dress 


Image 7:  Last layer added, I've added a birdcage to finish off.


Image 8: Saved my image & emailed the PDF to my desktop. Easy peasy.


Adobe Ideas can be purchased from the AppStore for around the $7 mark & the layers add-on [which I think is definitely worthwhile] is another $1.  And even if you end up not finding it useful in scribbling out some ideas on the go for your own art practice, you certainly will have some fun with it.  My 5 & 6 year old daughters are very proficient at using this program [without the layers] and use it on a regular basis for their own digital art working, so its obviously very intuitive and hey, its lots & lots of fun!

Kate's blog
Kate's Etsy
Kate's Twitter