On March 5th, 2013 I wrote with a great deal of enthusiasm, about a new drawing app called Draw Something, by Zynga, that provided an easy to learn digital drawing platform. This game was my introduction to digital art. It became the primary drawing application for thousands of new digital artists and generated a number of Facebook gallery pages devoted to art created by active Draw Something participants. I also joined the club and participated in the games, the drawings, the contests, and the socialbility. I wrote about the art and the games. We called ourselves Draw Something Fanatics, or Draw Something Addicts, or some other accolade referring this new digital art experience. A game called Monkeysidebars that I have written about was invented. A social network of new art friends communicated with each other and liked and supported the drawings people created.

Two years later, after hundereds and hundreds of drawings made by enthusiastic fans, the game is about to be over. Zynga announced the ending to be on April 1. At first members thought this must be an April Fools’ joke and the facebook social comments of digital artists and those on Instagram expressed disbelief. Next there came a demand and an internet effort to force Zinga to reconsider. Plans were made to plead for the game, or find another company that might buy it from Zynga. Save Art with Friends is the sad battlecry of the many people who feel cheated by this loss of a much loved game/drawing app.

Draw Something stimulated a lot of people, artists and and others who never had drawn, to learn new skills, hone their craft, and make art that was seen and appreciated by a large audience of others like themselves. I believe this is an unprecidented expansion of artistic expression that became available to anybody who was interested in trying and developing the skill of drawing something.

Now that so many people like to draw digitally on their tablets or phones, everyone in the social networks is looking for another easy drawing app. Art with Friends is powerful, as well as easy, and has many drawing tools that are incredibly easy to use and access. I don’t believe that any of the other drawing apps I’ve tried are as easy and satisfying to use as Art with Friends. That is one of the reasons so many people are so dissapointed and upset about the end.

The question is, which drawing app. will people go to in order to continue to learn skills required to become better digital artists? Will there be another comunity of artists who will be supportive and who do interesting drawings? I think I have found the right drawing app for me, and that is Sketch Club. Next time I’ll write about my impressions and experience with that application.

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An amazing thing is happening on the internet. Hundreds of people all over the world are drawing every day  and posting their images on smart phones and tablets using an app called Draw Something. Not only are they drawing, they are making beautiful and interesting drawings.

The most amazing thing about it is that it is a game in which you are required to draw a word for another player. It is like charades using drawings.   The object is for that player to guess the word.  However, people who like to draw have been using the game more as a drawing app than as a game app. Instead of worrying about guessing the word, people are working hard at drawing a very good picture of that word. I am not talking about the many players who draw stick figures and doodles. I am talking about artists, like myself, taking this opportunity seriously. It is a motivational driver for creating art. The game provides the tools in the form of color palettes and a few different line sizes. In addition, there is a limit on the amount of “ink” you are allowed to use in a drawing. This is really a file sever limitation because many artists, myself included, run out of ink way before the drawing is finished. When you have played the game for a while you learn how to manage your ink supply. The game serves as a learning tool for finding out how other artists work. The partner player needs to watch the drawing as it is being made in order to guess what is being drawn. Even if you know what it is beforehand, most artists playing watch the creation of the entire drawing before guessing the word.

 

imageFor an artist to be able to watch another person think and draw an image is an incomparable resource to their own creativity. Many of the artist players use these drawings as preliminary sketches for more complete drawings that may be drawn by hand using traditional methods, or they may expand their drawing experience into more complex digital drawing using various drawing apps that are also available for smart phones and tablets.

Yesterday Talia and I visited the new Modern wing of Chicago’s Art Institute. For me, it was visit number six. Each of my visitors to Chicago gets to go on a tour of this spectacular place with me. I’m not perfect as a guide because I am hobbling around and moving slowly because of having fallen and fractured my pelvis this last winter. But my enthusiasm more than makes up for any deficiency in my movement.

Each time I visit the museum I am just as excited by the space and beauty of this new museum as when I fist saw it in May when it opened. Everywhere you look there is light and space. The art is showcased perfectly. Different paintings have been placed carefully on walls adjacent to other works in such a way that they enhance each. Yves Klein’s Blue painting is across from Mark Rothko’s Orange and Yellow painting. You can look at both of them and the juxtaposition makes each color stand out even more dramatically. All the familiar paintings I’ve seen during my many years visiting the museum, starting from childhood when I was a student at the Saturday school, now look fresh and new to me.

Let me say right now that a trip to Chicago just to see the new museum and visit Millennium Park is worth it no matter what the cost. Of course, it is only 15 minutes away from my house, so it’s easy to say that. But, I mean it.

My Latest Flower PaintingMy Latest Flower PaintingI have been working on my latest flower painting. I had a few moments of
abstraction lately, but I have come back to my original idea of continuing
the idea of flowers and orchids until I get to the 100th painting. It’s a
strange goal, but there it is.

Whenever I set out to create a new drawing I need to organize my working
space. It is important to make sure I have all of the materials needed. If
there is some color missing, it will require a trip to the art supply
store. When I get to the art store I am in deep trouble because for me, it
is like a high end candy store. There are so many goodies to look at and
choose that I get diverted from my original quest and come back to my
studio with a lot more stuff than I intended to buy. This is probably one
of the reasons it is hard to earn anything in the art business. I spend
more on supplies than I earn in sales.

There are so many different kinds of watercolor paper to look at. Hot
pressed and cold pressed and anything in between. Watercolor blocks are
great. The paper is sized and stretched and glued into a block all ready to
use. Of course, this is the best choice for me because I often take paint,
brushes, and a watercolor block with me when I travel. I used to carry a
box of colored pencils in a tin, but this always causes my suitcase to be
opened by “security” so I usually just take a bunch of pencils
and a pencil sharpener in a plastic bag.

After my studio space is organized and everything is laid out where I
can see the colors, I usually draw in ink. I like to use ink
because of the nice black line. I try to use strong lines and somehow if I use ink it the drawing begins to develop. After the ink drawing is composed, I decide on the color scheme by coloring in the shapes. When I have an idea of the colors I want to use, I start to paint. This is where the art work takes its form and comes to life.

I know when the painting is finished when I can’t add or subtract
anything. It has to look “right” to me. It does happen that I may
set something aside and go back to it later at which time it may need
revision. This often happens to my drawings after some time passes or if I have been to see an art exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago and have been inspired by what I see. This was First published on Qassia but has been revised here. All Rights Reserved.