Tag Archives: learning

Ever Want To Learn How To Draw?



Digital Art

Have you ever wanted to be able to draw decent-looking artwork for your website? One of the things I’ve had a fledgling lifelong desire to do is learn to draw. However, I never took the desire seriously. Somehow I’ve always been convinced that in order to be able to draw well you have to be born with some mysterious “drawing talent” which I somehow never had much of.

I recently purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which comes with a high resolution touchscreen and a precision stylus called the Microsoft Pen. I was drawn to the Surface Pro 3 strictly by the ability to run a full version of Windows 10 on an ultra-portable touchscreen tablet equipped with a powerful processor that doubles as a laptop running full Windows 10. The Microsoft Pen stylus was a curious extra packed in the box. The first couple of weeks I left the stylus in the box because initially I didn’t have any secure place to put it. Once I purchased a protective case from Amazon that has a loop to securely stick the stylus in, I finally dug the stylus out of the box. Only then did I start to play with it a bit, initially looking at it the same way I look at the stylus that came with my Note 4 – potentially useful on occasions, but parked in the holder the vast majority of the time.

Curious about how other people were using their Surface Pro’s, I watched a bunch of Surface Pro YouTube videos. I ended up running across a very detailed video by an artist named Riven Phoenix reviewing the drawing capabilities of his Surface Pro 3. As often happens when watching interesting videos on YouTube, I ended up watching some of his other videos, and I quickly discovered he is a veteran 20-year art teacher and has quite a few art training videos posted to YouTube. After following along with several of his videos, I was quickly convinced that his teaching methods could teach me the skill of drawing. I had always assumed that drawing was a mysterious ability you had to be born with, but in fact the ability to draw is a skill to be learned if one is able to supply the motivation and is provided with the proper instruction. Riven Phoenix teaches with the powerful approach of inventing concepts and then constructing sentences with those concepts.

After watching several of Riven Phoenix’s videos, I went to his website www.alienthink.com and ended up purchasing full access to all of his instructional videos. He gives free access to the first 19 videos of his 225 video course on how to draw the human figure. He currently has full access to his entire website priced at $45 dollars, which includes 77 hours’ worth of video lessons. The first free 19 videos posted to YouTube contain a lot of material and completely convinced me I CAN learn the skill of drawing whatever I want.

His teaching skills come across very well in the videos. He breaks the task of learning to draw realistic-looking human figures down in a very formulaic way so that virtually anyone motivated and following along with his instructions in the videos will successfully learn how to draw realistic-looking human figures.

I am absolutely convinced that anyone with the motivation can use these videos and begin to learn how to draw. To my complete surprise, I’m now finding myself spending an hour or more each day practicing with the videos. I had no idea that purchasing the Surface Pro 3 would end up leading me in this new and fun direction.

Though devices such as the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 3 have something called “palm rejection” that enables you to rest your hand against the screen as you draw or write with the stylus, there are products for sale called “digital artist gloves” that cover the part of the hand that naturally rests against the writing or drawing surface. They are designed to electrically insulate the part of the hand resting on the capacitive touchscreen. I ordered the Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet priced at $17.99 on Amazon. I have yet to receive these and will write a future article once I’ve used them for a while.

With the popularity of the Surface Pro and Apple’s newly-released iPad Pro, here is an opportunity to learn the skill of drawing and put that new equipment to work.

 


Magazines are iPads That Don’t Work



Watch the video below and let me know how you feel after watching it, but for the purposes of discussion, remember two things first. One, to avoid any pro- or anti-Apple bias, ignore the fact that it’s an Apple iPad and assume that it’s just a generic tablet. Two, take what the video shows at face value as one could easily make a case that some of the actions with the magazines are normal behaviour and don’t show anything special.

Add your comments below. I’ll chip in later.


Pocket Computers As Learning Devices



Normally I have very little interest in games. However, a friend got me to install an app on my iPod called “Words With Friends,” an iOS/Android cross-platform app that allows games between people and utilizes push notification to let you know when it’s your turn to play. This allows for asynchronous play in spare moments.

That caused me to start thinking about other possibilities. I searched the Apple iOS App Store for the term “vocabulary” and found quite a number of different apps, both free and paid, that are designed to help the user master words for purposes such as taking an SAT or GRE test. Or, as in my case just enjoying myself. I know, I know, it’s weird, but I enjoy perusing words and their meanings.

After experimenting with a couple of free apps, and a “lite” version of a paid app, I ended up buying a $4.99 app called “GRE Smart Vocab.” One thing I really like about the app is that it figures out your level of progress and deliberately concentrates on helping you learn words that you don’t know or have trouble remembering the meanings of. The app has two alternating modes, a study mode as well as a quiz mode.

Even though you may be penurious or feeling impecunious, acquiring vocabulary apps such as these will fill your torpid, vapid, prosaic hours with a turgid, torrid plentitude of fun.


EduFire says it can help students learn and teachers make extra money



edufireA couple years ago, I talked with a friend who was a teacher. We put together an idea for a website to help teach. It never made it off the planning stages, but I knew something would eventually come along.

It’s hailed as the “eBay for teachers”.  EduFire is a site that has been around for a year and has over five thousand teachers creating hundreds of classes with over 30 thousand students. For $30 a month, you get a Superpass to all courses.

Teachers get a cut of all students that take their lessons. EduFire gets 85% commission. It’s not unlike a musician renting a practice room for lessons or a personal trainer for a Pilate session. A good teacher that gets hundreds of students per course could easily make some good extra cash.

But is it a quality education system?

With five thousand teachers and growing, you would have to keep up with the content being published. There seems to be no accreditation needed to teach or tutor. Sign up for an account and go.

There is a “Tutor score” to weed out the bad ones. 1-4 = minus 1 point, 5-6 = 0 points and 7-10 – 1 point.

Still, it might be a great place for your kid to get the extra help needed to pass the ACT, or improve an individual academic. It even looks like a place to help those kids who have English as a second language. The flash card section is also pretty interesting.

Bottom line – if your child is partaking in the course, keep an eye on it. Make sure they are not giving misinformation. If you are a teacher, it could be some good extra money, but make sure it’s not going to cause any problems with your regular job.

As for my friend, I am going to point her in this direction. It looks like everything we discussed a couple years ago. I think this will be right up her alley.