Making Art on Your Note II

By Your Mobile Life on at

Even since the days of the Renaissance, art hasn’t just been about painting on canvas and chipping away at stone. But ever since we all acquired access to more computing power than was available to the Apollo space programme which put men on the moon, via pocket-sized marvels like the Samsung GALAXY Note II, we also became able to make digital art.

Never has Pablo Picasso’s quote: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” rung more true: now we can make art using the vital communication tools which enable us to run our daily lives.

It’s not too far-fetched to suggest that, were Picasso alive today, he would find it hard to resist the GALAXY Note II. There’s nothing else that is as portable, yet would so fully allow him to indulge his raging, innovative creative urge, and while away from his studio.

The S Pen, of course, can operate as a full set of paintbrushes or, indeed, charcoal, pastels and the full range of drawing implements known to mankind, when combined with the right apps. So, the GALAXY Note II can be used to create conventional art, as well as to generate new forms, as we shall see.


Liquid Pixels

In artistic terms, arguably the digital revolution’s biggest contribution to date has been the rise of interactive installations – which not only look fantastic (sometimes on an impressively grand scale), but actually respond to your input.

If you want to see an example of what we mean – which hopefully will inspire you to create your own stuff on the Note II – then look no further than this short film about the making of Liquid Pixels.

As you can see, Liquid Pixels is a large-scale, water-based installation (using aquarium pumps), which is controlled using a GALAXY Note II: draw on its screen using the S Pen, and you instantly generate a customised water sculpture. It was conceived and created by Steak Studio, a London-based digital agency.

Daniel Kupfer, Steak Studio’s Creative Director, revealed the project arose when Steak Studio featured in a series of Samsung documentary films (called #breakfree): “The idea was to film us in our usual practice showing our most interesting works in the background. We thought we could use some new material, specially created for the GALAXY Note II. Penelope [Grabowski, Steak Director] instantly thought it was a perfect fit for the Liquid Pixels idea which already existed in our sketchbook.”

Cue, by the sound of it, a short but intense burst of creativity: “There was a core team of 5 working on the wiring and waterproofing the tank. Four others did the soldering of the controllers and Penelope and I produced it. From the go-ahead to completion it took about 10 very fast paced days.”

There were, naturally, logistical problems to overcome: “Not every UK pet shop supplier will stock 450 aquarium pumps. In fact, nobody does. The only solution was to supply from China. In the end, the factory made 450 pumps in two days, dispatched them express delivery -- of course, they got held up in customs -- and 7 days later we had them, to everyone’s relief.”

Kupfer offered encouragement for anyone with a Note II thinking of embarking on similar projects: “In theory, no one would need any specific engineering knowledge, as long they are sufficiently creative to repurpose off-the-shelf elements to make them do what you need (which is what we do). Still, if you could consider that disassembling things and rearranging them in new ways is kind of what an engineer does, then you’re probably an engineer (or engineering-minded at least).”

And he spelt out what makes the Note II perfect for the task: “Apart from all the features inherited from smartphones (such as Wi-Fi, GPS, accelerometer and a touch screen) the GALAXY Note II has a really powerful processor that made software development straightforward. Also, the S Pen offers an invitation to sketch when finger interaction wouldn’t feel so natural.”


Get painting on your Note II

You, too, can become the new Leonardo Da Vinci, with a GALAXY Note II – and if you don’t believe us, check out this recreation of the Mona Lisa. Thanks to the precision of the S Pen and the GALAXY Note II’s decently sized HD Super AMOLED screen, it’s perfect for creating conventional art, and there are many great apps allowing you to do just that.

Perhaps the best of the drawing/painting apps is Fresco Paint Pro (Sean Wilson, £1.99). Magic Doodle is a free variation on a similar theme. Canvas Pro (John R Oliver, £1.83) also lets you import photos and manipulate them.

If you’re not quite so confident about your drawing skills, then How to Draw – Easy Lessons (Artel Plus, Free), should help you rectify that situation. And then you could practice your new-found skills in Picasso – Draw, Paint, Doodle! (DPs World, Free), which has been designed to accommodate beginners.


Appreciating Art

Plus, there are plenty of apps that help you to appreciate art, both ancient and modern. Such as, for example, Art Academy (Merdroid Development Team, Free), which includes paintings (and background about them) from the Prado, the Louvre , the Tate and the Tate Modern. It may not offer the same experience as seeing the world’s finest artworks in the flesh, but at least it will turn you into an art expert.

Art Curator (Nikolaev Nikolay, Free) turns learning about great artworks into a game, involving finding differences between original paintings and faked versions of them. And Art Guide (Art Fund, Free), is a comprehensive guide to the UK’s galleries and museums.

Hopefully, there’s enough there for you to be able fully to indulge your artistic sensibilities, through the thoroughly modern medium of your GALAXY Note II – note matter how advanced or otherwise you perceive your artistic abilities to be. If you’ve long harboured the feeling that you’re the next Van Gogh, Picasso, Da Vinci, Warhol or Hirst, now you’ve got no excuse for remaining undiscovered.


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