Prints on Wood Blog

  • APP REVIEW: iDRAW

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    Vector art is somewhat of a touchy subject in the art community. Since most people's familiarity with computers comes from how they're portrayed on television, they naturally assume that anything artistic created on a computer was achieved through mashing key commands, as opposed to talent or skill.

    While I'll admit most amateur vector art looks a little too "noodly" for my tasteswhen used correctly, it can create crisp colorful illustrations. A perfect example of professional vector art would be POW's very own gallery artists, Ale Giorgini and Jazzberry Blue.

    ID1Left to Right: THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS by Ale Giorgini & OUTCAST by Jazzberry Blue

    Once you learn to hone in's and out's of vector illustration, if you're savvy enough, you can forgo sketching and create your art entirely within the realm of your computer, cutting your turnaround time in half.

    A few years ago when I first purchased an iPad, I checked to see if Adobe had created a vector based drawing program for the iOS since I do 99.9% of my work in Illustrator... unfortunately they had not. I then scoured the internet high and low for a proper substitute (i.e. typing "Vector Art iPad" into Google) and came across iDraw. At first I was a bit leery about forking over $9, but after seeing that the majority of iDraw's reviews were positive, I decided to take the plunge.

    While reviewing this app, I'm going to teach you kids at home how to draw Prints On Wood's beer drinking, bar brawling mascot, Owly the Owl! Let's get started...

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    Once you open iDraw, you'll notice several already existing images which serve as a tutorial on how to navigate through iDraw, as well as a few examples of vector art created in the program. To create a new image, click the Plus symbol in the top lefthand corner of the screen.

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    After you create a new image file, iDraw provides several backgrounds to choose from such as a lined paper background for a sketchy feel, graph paper & blueprint backgrounds for technical drawings, an image background that allows you to import photos from your camera roll, and finally, a blank white background. Since we're drawing a simple image to print on wood, lets go with the blank background so the woodgrain will be visible.

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    Now that we selected our background, lets adjust our art board for our wood print. I want my image to have a 1:1 ratio so we can print it on a square piece of wood. To change the dimensions of our art board, simply click the Cog icon on the top right hand corner of the screen.

    As you can see here, iDraw offers several different technical options to assist your drawing experience. Right now, lets just adjust the size of our canvas to  864px x 864px (or 12 in. x 12 in. for all you imperialists).

    Now that we got our square canvas, let's get down to drawing everyone's favorite anthropomorphic owl. First lets access the Pen tool. For those of you unfamiliar with a vector based Pen tool, this might take a little practice. When using the Pen tool in a vector program, you use points and handles intermittently to direct the shape and flow of your lines.

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    To use the Pen tool, click the Pen icon on the toolbar to your lefthand side. Then click your first dot and drag downwards. This dot is called an Anchor Point, the lines extending from your anchor point are called Handles. Anchor points are used to connect segments in a line, how you pull on your handles when creating anchor points dictates the shape and flow of the line. For our second anchor point, try to imagine the middle point of Owly's chin and click to plant your anchor point while pulling the handle to your right.

    Creating our anchor points / pulling our handles in a counter clockwise direction allows the line to curve into an oval shape. It might take a few tries (and a couple of swear words) to get the hang of the Pen tool, so take your time. Ultimately you want to draw Owly's skull / head in the shape of a sideways tic-tac.

    Looking at the image above, you can see that my oval is lopsided. Select iDraw's Direct Selection tool from the lefthand toolbar, it should look like an outline of an arrow (2nd icon from the top). The direct selection tool allows you to individually select anchor points and handles to adjust after drawing your line(s).

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    There we go, now it doesn't look as derpy. If you noticed, my line looks a bit thicker. When you have your shape/line selected, clicking on the Information icon at the top of your screen allows you to change the appearance of your selection. In this case I made the stroke (outline) thicker since I'm a fan of fat lines.

    Now that we got Owly's head drawn, let's move onto his eyes. Drawing multiple assets onto a single layer becomes a nightmare further down the road if you're working on a complex image, so let's create a new layer for his eyeballs.

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    The Layers icon is located on the top right hand corner of the screen and should look like a stack of papers. When you click on it, a little drop-down menu appears. Clicking on the Plus sign in the drop-down creates a new layer. Double clicking the layer's default name toggles your iPad's on-screen keyboard and allows you to change the name, which can be helpful when you have multiple layers and forget what is where. When more than one layer is created, iDraw automatically locks the unselected layers, which prevents you from accidentally selecting / changing something on a separate layer.

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    Using a similar technique to how we drew Owyl's head, let's draw one eye first. Using the Pen tool again, draw 4 evenly spaced anchor points while making your best effort to pull all of the handles out an an equal length to each other in a counter clockwise fashion. This should leave you with a (lopsided) circle. Instead of drawing another one, let's just copy and paste the first one to save some time.

    Using the Selection tool (the arrow icon at the top of the toolbar), tap on our circle / eyeball. Once selected, tapping on the Paperclip icon at the center left of the screen opens the Edit drop-down menu. Clicking on Copy duplicates your selection, clicking Paste makes your duplication appear on screen. Now that we have our second eyeball on the screen, use the Selection tool to adjust both circles symmetrically on the opposite sides of Owly's head. Your drawing should resemble a pigs snout at this point (and still look kind of boring).

    Let's add some personality to this picture by drawing Owly's eyebrows next. After creating a 3rd layer for his eyebrows, use the Pen tool and start by creating an anchor point while pulling the handle upwards.

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    Draw a second anchor point to the upper right hand side, diagonal to the first anchor point, and pull the handle to your right. This should make an overhand curve.

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    Draw a third anchor point diagonally above the one before it and pull the handle down, resulting in the second half of your line curving underhand. At this point you should have a wavy line curving upwards.

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    Double tap on the 3rd anchor point before drawing the bottom half of Owly's eyebrow. Doing so makes a sharp point. You'll know that you have a sharp edge when the handle pointing upward disappears.

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    Using a technique similar to drawing the top half of his eyebrow, start at the 3rd anchor point and draw a 4th anchor point below the 2nd anchor point while pulling the handle to your left.

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    Finally, double tap on the first point to connect the line while making a second sharp edge.

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    BOOM! Now you've got your owl eyebrow(s)! On a related note, for those of you who are about to slam your iPad against the wall in frustration, keep in mind that I've been using illustrator for 10+ years, so once again, it takes a little bit of practice. Just be patient.

    Now that we've got Owly's eyebrow drawn, I'm going to draw some lines inside the eyebrow to give the appearance of hair / feathers / texture. First, let's switch our pen tool to only draw a stroke without any fill.

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    On the bottom left corner of the screen, you should see 2 circles, one that looks like a donut, and one that looks like a full circle. The donut represents the Outline / Stroke color, the full circle represents the Fill color. Selecting either one toggles a color wheel. Since I only want to draw a line, I selected the Fill color to remove it completely. This can be achieved by clicking on the black box with a diagonal grey line at the bottom right of the menu, doing so removes the fill completely. Afterwards, I selected the Outline / Stroke to change it to black.

    Now that we can draw only a black line, use a technique similar to drawing the top half of Owly's eyebrow and draw 3 lines inside.

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    Once you complete his eyebrow, toggle the Selection tool and drag your finger on the screen, you should see a blue box appear. Draw the box big enough to fit everything and take your finger off the screen. This should select the eyebrow shape as well as the 3 interior lines.

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    Once selected, click on the icon on the top right icon that looks like one rectangle overlapping another, opening a drop-down menu, then click on Group.

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    This groups your lines / shapes together, so that when we move or rotate this selection (which we're about to do), all of these assets travel and move together. Now with every piece of Owly's eyebrow selected and grouped, copy and paste a second eyebrow onto the same layer.

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    Once pasted, click on the Ruler icon. On the bottom left of the drop-down menu, you should see two arrows pointing away from each other with a vertical line in between. Clicking this icon flips your selection horizontally. Now with two eyebrows on the screen, adjust them using the Selection tool so that they sit right above Owly's eyes.

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    We're getting there! Now lets give our feathered friend some eyes and eyelids. Using the pen tool with only a black stroke, draw two opposing diagonal lines on the top of Owly's eyeballs to get the ball rolling on giving him a nice Bill Murray / Slacker gaze.

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    To draw his eyes, first switch out your Stroke and Fill colors so that the stoke is now empty, and the fill is pitch black. Then select the Elipse tool (the circle icon in the middle of the toolbar on the left) and draw 2 black circles in the center of his eyes, these will be his pupils. If you keep two fingers on the screen when sizing out your circle, it keeps the proportions constrained allowing you to create a perfect circle. After doing so, switch the fill color to white and draw two smaller circles in the top right of his pupils so that he has a twinkle in his eye.

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    This is were I thought I was going to copy the eyelid lines and use the duplicates to cut off the top of the pupil so they look like they're behind the eyelids, using the Pathfinder tool. Unfortunately iDraw's Pathfinder tool works a little different than Illustrator's.

    What is a Pathfinder tool you might ask? Lets access iDraw's version of this tool to go over it.

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    Click on the overlapping rectangles on the top right and select Combine at the top of the drop-down menu. What you see above is the Pathfinder tool. This tool is used to combine or divide shapes that are selected in unison. I thought clicking Divide would cut my overlapping selections where they converged, but when I selected the eyelid lines and black circles to do just that, the eyelid lines would disappear and my black circles wouldn't slice.

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    I know I probably lost 90% of you when I mentioned this app cost $9, and another 9% of you bailed when it came time to draw the eyebrows. As for the remaining 1%... you rock!

    Just between you and me, I circumvented this issue by using my duplicated eyelid lines to draw full shapes. THEN I used the Pathfinder tool to cut the pupils! THEN I cut and pasted my sliced pupils back into my drawing!! THEN I deleted the leftover shapes!!! THEN I SWITCHED THE FILL TO BLACK!!! BOOYAH!

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    Where were we? Oh yeah, now that I adjusted my black circles to look like inset pupils in the most convoluted way possible, lets draw this fuzzy freaks bird beak and get this stupid App Review / "How To" over with. If you've followed this jumbled mess up until this point, your skill level in iDraw should be Wizard, so I don't have to go into detail anymore for you to know how to do anything (deal with it). To draw Owly's mouth, just draw an upside-down tear drop and a curved line on the right side for a smirk.

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    I can't tell if he's laughing at your for spending so much time reading this, or laughing at me for spending so much time writing it. Probably both. Finally, select the skull layer (remember that part of the article from 3 hours ago?) and use the Elipse tool to draw 3 circles for Owly's Mickey Mouse face-mask outline thingy.

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    Now select all three circles and merge them together using the Pathfinder tool and switch the fill to white and the stroke to black.

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    Now your done! Not if you're me though. I hate myself just enough where I feel like I need to add more to this Turd de Force. I mean, why stop now!?

    Owly

    Look at that smug bastard, he probably just punched the Paul Frank monkey in the face. But how does he look on wood, hmmmmmmmm?

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    Great! Now the review.

    RATING

    Yeah... it's that cool. Best $9 you'll ever spend. Seriously.

    I love vector illustration, and I went looking for the closest thing I could find to Adobe Illustrator on my iPad. While the actual name of the app itself might trick you into thinking it's banking on the whole lower case "i" prefix fad that most apps and gadgets use to sucker people out of money, I assure you this is the closest app with dignity you'll ever get to Illustrator. Best part is there's a desktop version of iDraw to use on your Mac.

    I highly recommend this app to budding young graphic artists. While most of you might not have the ends to fork over $400 for a legitimate copy of Illustrator, iDraw is a great, affordable way to get familiar with the incredibly steep learning curve that vector art requires. iDraw also allows you to export your images in a professional, universal format, such as PDFs, SVGs, PSDs, etc, as well as allowing the ability to set the DPI of the image so that you can print is as big (or small) as you like, should you choose to output a raster version of your work.

    While $9 for an app is a bit steep for most people, it's a measly pittance for those wanting to learn how to create vector based illustrations all wrapped up in a fun intuitive mobile app.

    For more information on iDraw for the iPad and Mac, please visit: http://www.indeeo.com/idraw/

  • COACHELLA WOOD PRINTS

    If I told you I put on a neru jacket and danced around in a kilt after drinking 12 beers when you asked me what I did this weekend, you'd probably recoil in disgust while clutching your valuables. If I told you I did the exact same thing, while adding "... at Coachella." at the end, then you'd probably just roll your eyes and think I was some sort of pretentious jerk with rich parents.

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    What is Coachella you might ask? Well, if you're Vanessa Hudgens, it's an excuse to spend thousands of dollars on clothes that make you look like you were thrown out of a moving Volkswagen by a bunch of renegade hipsters into a Plato's Closet parking lot.

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    For the rest of us, it's an annual musical event held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Running strong for the better part of 12 years, Coachella has snowballed into a pop-culture juggernaut where everyday normal people (like Steve Ballmer) can rub elbows with a digital hologram of Tupac. (I'm still waiting for a digital hologram of Freddie Mercury.)

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    This annual event marks a momentous occasion for Prints On Wood. Not because we can afford tickets to go to Coachella, but because we get to experience the next best thing... a relaxing month long flurry of printing wooden signs for the event!

    C4Not Pictured Above: The Descendents

    That's right, in addition to the standard throngs of people who think the Ramones and the Misfits are a brand (and not a band), this year, our wood prints will also be in attendance at Coachella! Sure, it might not be as exciting and glamorous as Katy Perry glowing from a light glistening of sweat in her revealing summer outfit, but... aw hell, there's no point here. I just wanted an excuse to show a picture of Katy at Coachella this year for all you greasy neckbeards!

    C5That is until I got an intimidating phone call from Getty Images. ;(

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    For more info on the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival, please visit: http://www.coachella.com/

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: TOBE FONSECA

    If you've cracked open an Urban Outfitters catalog lately, you probably already know that Beards are kind of a big deal right now. As a dirty old man, I remember of a when having excessive facial hair was looked down upon by both women and potential job employers. Back then, having a beard symbolized how much of a Salty Sea Captain / ZZ-Top Guitarist / Wandering Vagrant / Hasidic Rabbi you were.

    These luscious locks of chin hair were not grown my friend, they were earned. Seeing a man with a beard meant that he had an important life story to tell. Unfortunately, beards have become more of a fashion accessory and less of a status symbol. But legend has it that one man in recent times earned his whiskers through performing noble deeds, rolling up the sleeves of his plaid shirt, and looking like an all around Boss... that man is Tobe Fonseca.

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    POW: American television portrays Brazil as a magical land full of bikinis, beaches, and beautiful people. When I asked my Mom if this was accurate when she visited Rio de Janeiro, she said that it's completely different in person (but I think her opinion might be a little biased because she wants me to marry a nice Costa Rican girl), although I noticed when looking at your artist profile, you appear to be an incredibly handsome dude (but my opinion might be a little biased because we both have awesome beards).

    As a Brazilian native with intimate knowledge of this wonderful country... is my Mom a big fat liar?

    TOBE: LOL! I don't remember another interview that made me laugh so hard in the first question! Good start! Brazil is a really big country, so we have this side full of bikinis and "caipirinhas" and all the beach vibe but we're diverse. Here where I live there used to be tons of Germans and Italians imigrants so we are a bit different. Here we prefer beer, wine, reading books next to the fireplace (yes, I live in the south so It's really cold here in the winter, it even snows). So It's the main reason to have a beard! And - as we know - beards are awesome, everyone should grow one! Except my mom, and probably yours too. Well, you get it!

    tf1MONDAY by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: A great deal of your portfolio has a very strong musical theme, showcasing artistic representations of instruments, album covers, and musical notes. When illustrating, what type of music (or bands) would you say inspire you the most during your creative process?

    TOBE: To be honest I'm not much eclectic, I don't hate any kind of music but I have my favorites and I stick to them like forever. Gavin DeGraw, Birdy, Gabrielle Aplin, Keane over and over. I have no problem in listening to some other artists but those, year after year, are still in my playlist.

    tf2LISTENING TO MY SONG by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: When visiting your profile on some well known Print On Demand sites, I noticed that even though you have several successful submissions, there's literally hundreds of designs you've submitted that didn't seem to resonate with voters (even though they're all really cool). How do you keep from getting discouraged when dealing with the submission process when there are times when you put in so much, and get back so little?

    TOBE:  Because with time I learned to have a process. I create a design and I know that even if it's good, the site may not have space for it in that time, so I have to move to the next site. Sometimes it is hard when it gets an awesome score, but it doesn't get picked...But when you send a work for a site like this you have to understand the mechanics. I know about 50 sites that pick works like this, so... Persistence is the key.

    tf3TOOTHED SABER TIGER by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: As a freelance artist with a long list of impressive clients, what advice would you impart with younger Graphic Designer's apprehensive about taking the plunge into self-employment?

    TOBE: Create. Show your work in every place you can, make contacts with other illustrators and create as much as you can to stay sharp. To be honest I'm still figuring it out but It's a good base.

    tf4CHOICES by Tobe Fonseca

    POW: What's up with all the bears and cats? Is it because your kind of furry yourself?

    TOBE: Hahaha, probably! I have a cat called Tiger and he is always around so It may inspire me. My dad has an impressive beard so I think it's a family thing.

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    To learn more about Tobe Fronseca and his sweet beard, visit his website at: http://cargocollective.com/tobefonseca

  • GALLERY 1988: 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW

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    If you're near Melrose this Friday (April 11th), then we suggest you stop being lame and swing by Gallery 1988's 10th Anniversary Show: The Subtle Art Of Pop-Culture. This show is going to be so cool, all of our friends are going to be there, and by friends we mean our POW gallery artists!

    We highly recommend seeking out the art of Jimbot, Cuddly Rigor Mortis, Megan Majewski, and Ruel Pascual. We don't know who or what they've painted, but my money's on some sort of quasi-offensive picture showcasing our most beloved cartoon characters doing something questionable! :O

    After indulging your eyes on this all you can eat visual feast, I highly recommend a visit to Pink's and pamper your insides by ordering one of their world famous chili-dogs. Who knows, if you're lucky enough, you might just end up seeing Brad Pitt getting kidnapped. (They also got veggie-dogs for all you weirdos.)

    For more information on this event, please visit: http://nineteeneightyeight.com/

  • NEW SEEKER FRIEND: LIFE

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    Another month, another awesome Jeff Soto wood print! Picking up the Elemental theme and running a freakin' marathon with it, Jeff Soto unveils his latest seeker friend: LIFE.

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    LIFE will be offered as a limited 24 hour timed release wood print. Going on sale at 12:00 PM on Thursday, April 10th, this 6 x 6 print will be offered at a 3/4" thickness and retails for $30. Get a life quick, because this bad boy returns to his home planet on 12:00 PM on Friday, April 11th.

  • APP REVIEW: CAMERA 360

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    I'm going to be honest... I'm all burnt out on camera apps. While they're packaged and marketed under the guise of offering fun, exciting new ways to take pictures, once you get them up and running they all turn out to be Instagram clones. Generic filters combined with standard image editing effects and viola... you're now 99 cents poorer. That's why I groaned and rolled my eyes while thinking "GREAT! Another boring picture app!" when someone suggested I review Camera 360.

    Don't get me wrong now, I'm a simple man. I like pretty dark-haired women and breakfast food just like the rest of you. I don't need an app to feature a brand-new-in-your-face experience every time for me to like it. I just want to see an honest effort made to provide something tangible and cool I can have fun with... not a cheap ploy to sucker me out of my money.

    After relenting against my apprehension, once I downloaded Camera 360, my brain elicited a response incredibly similar to how I felt when I watched The Big Lebowski for the first time: "I... I think I like this!"

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    Activating Camera 360 prompts a neat little inspirational slide show, using a clean design and bright colors to lightly touch on some of the abilities this app has to offer. I'll admit, this was enough to draw me in, but not enough to overcome my skepticism (yet). Having downloaded several apps that looked shiny from the outside, but seemed rough once I got inside, I felt like I was going out of my way to find something to pick apart. Sure, it's cool now, but I thought sooner or later it's going to start sucking or hit me for money when I try to apply a filter.

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    Camera 360 has different camera styles and effects to choose from, all catering to a specific style of image. The Burst feature allows you to take a small group of photos in succession to capture a person or object in motion

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    The Scenes feature offers several different pre-masked images that places your photograph inside said image to give it an artistic effect (albeit somewhat corny). Granted this seems like a feature that would be exploited by every annoying person on your Facebook friends list. Although for those completely unfamiliar with Photoshop, it's definitely fun to play with.

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    When testing out with this feature, I flagged down POW's rebellious troubadour, Mike, to pose for this effect. While this Scenes effect makes it look like he's macking on two chicks, we normally have to photoshop all the girls OUT of his pictures!

    The Double Ex feature allows you to overlap two photographs taken in succession together, for yet another cool photo effect. I tried my best to recreate a corny Tim & Eric esque double exposure glamour shot that would look great hung over the mantle in my Grandma's house for the next 20 years... AND KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK, YO!!!

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    One thing that surprised me is that Camera 360 has a "Camera Store" allowing you to download additional effects / filters since the app only comes with 4 installed. Surprisingly, despite the name, all the features in the Camera Store are free to download. I kept anticipating to get hit with a prompt asking for money to unlock a filter, but it was nowhere to be found.

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    The most prominent feature of Camera 360, and also my favorite, is the Easy Cam. This feature has several helpful tools to help make for a better picture such as a grid, live preview, and the ability to scroll through filters. All of of which can be very helpful for taking pictures of others with the camera on the back of your iPhone, or taking selfies with the front-facing camera.

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    To better illustrate the more practical uses of the Easy Cam, I took this lovely photograph of POW's foxy Sales Support Associate: Devon, while she was flashing me her saucy signature head-tilt.

    c3_6Damn gurl! That smile is so bright I can still see it when I close my eyes!

    Once you take a photo (or upload one), you can access it in Camera 360's album. Clicking on each image allows you to edit them. Like most apps, most of your normal image editing tools are present, but as mentioned earlier, they are presented in a very clean, aesthetically pleasing UI.

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    Clicking on Effects brings up a menu of different image filters. One feature that seems to be unique to Camera 360 is the Magic Skin filter that softens the image so that a person's facial features appear to be more delicate. The best part is that this effect is incredibly subtle, sidestepping the whole unnatural / overtly Photoshopped / Kim Kardashian / Teflon appearance that graces 99% of magazine covers.

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    Another valuable effect contained in Camera 360 is the Face Fix tool. It allows you to place 3 dots on the eyes and mouth of your subject that makes them look like Mr. Bill, seen on the left. Once you settle on the location of these dots, the filter enhances the color and uses a spherize effect to makes the eyes and the mouth of your subject more pouty. As you can see on the right, I tried to use the Sweet filter on Devon, but it had little to no effect on her picture since she's so sweet already! *wink* ;)

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    Finally, the crop tool seems to be very helpful from a printing aspect. It offers several different aspect ratio's that scale to standard photo sizes, which is ideal for a custom wood print. Speaking of custom wood prints, let's see how the picture I took of Devon in Camera 360 looks printed on wood!

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    Hot Damn! This picture made my eyes bulge out of my skull (in a good way), while little heart shaped bubbles popped over my head like a cartoon wolf! If we did the Employee of the Month here at POW, it would be Devon every time so we could stare at this picture all year! (That and because she's awesome at her job!)

    So what did I think of Camera 360?

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    Looks can be deceiving. My last couple of photo app reviews were based on how cool they appeared to be before I downloaded them. Unfortunately, once I had them up and running they appeared to be nothing more than a gimmick, paper clipped to a generic photo app.

    The little details in things can make the difference between good and great. While other photo apps overcomplicate things with their interface or hide charges to manifest halfway into the experience by attaching them to a filter or effect, Camera 360 keeps things nice and simple. Even though Camera 360 offers somewhat standard photo editing features... the look and presentation of Camera 360 allows the ability to shoot and edit photos in an streamlined, efficient, easy to use process that leaves you with a professional looking image.

    If I may get deep for a moment, the introduction of apps and smart phones into the general public over the last couple of years has allowed consumers to access goods and services that were once unobtainable. One of the biggest draws to tech these days is the ability to pick-up and play. No hard to read manuals, no long-winded tutorials, just you and your intuition. Camera 360 understands the importance of this and has integrated it into their app. Camera 360 trims the fat from with their photo app and focuses on the meat of the issue, what people really want, and that's the ability to take a nice clean photo without the need of an expensive computer setup or a fancy camera.

    For more information on Camera 360, please visit: http://www.camera360.com/

  • CHOPPING BLOCK: ADRIENNE VITA

    Having spent countless hours hunched over my computer with my long retired dwarf hunter in World of Warcraft, I can speak from experience when I say that Spirit Beasts are completely badical! (bad + radical) Thankfully for those of you who HAVE a life, you don't need to be a level 85 beastmaster or own an overpriced gaming mouse to subdue one.

    Hailing from the weirdest city in the world (Portland), this week Prints On Wood was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with artist, Adrienne Vita. A woman who wields her skill with pencils and paintbrushes to tame these majestic ethereal creatures.

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    AV

    POW: The first thing I immediately thought of when looking at your artwork was "Spirit Animal". What animal would you say is yours, and can they be mythological? (I really dig Unicorns!)

    ADRIENNE: Spirit totems are such an awesome way to feel connected with animals. I TOTALLY think Unicorns and any mythical animal falls on the list. Spirit animals are really about how you feel connected to them. So, they can be mythical animals, sea creatures, birds, reptiles, insects, or any kind of land animal, really. We can have multiple spirit animals and they can change over your lifetime. As for mine, it's always been a penguin since I was little but I am very drawn to drawing bears. So, I guess I have two spirit animals.

    AV1SAGACIOUS by Adrienne Vita

    POW: When I was browsing your website, I must confess, I developed a huge crush on your remarkable portrait paintings. As a (mediocre) artist myself, it seems that one common question I'm commonly asked by people I don't really know when they discover my (mediocre) artistic abilities is: "KAN U DRAW MY PIKTUR!?" (Which I can only assume is a question you get bombarded with on a daily basis.) 

    Could you please describe your process when choosing the subjects you depict in these charming paintings? Is your selection process incredibly strict? Do these people inspire you artistically?

    ADRIENNE: Aw, if people are asking you to draw them, you must be AWESOME!! Drawing someone's portrait can be a little challenging but very rewarding. I offer custom portraits in my online shop. I generally work off a photo given through an email exchange, so the connection to the customer is really nice. I never know what I will get so it's really fun. I am pretty meticulous and study things to a T. I have my eraser handy to keep working at it until I get it close to realistic. In the old art school days, I had to draw someone from a live pose. It was obviously more challenging, the model has to be frozen for short intervals so I had to work a lot harder and longer at it. But the internet allows me to reach people from afar, so photos really work best. As far as being strict, I just ask that they send me good photos with good lighting. I used to work off of bad photos in the beginning and I don't anymore - mostly because even I wasn't totally happy with how they came out. Live and learn. Good photography definitely inspires me.

    AV2CUSTOM PORTRAIT by Adrienne Vita

    POW: KAN U DRAW MY PIKTUR!?

    ADRIENNE: Anytime!

    AV3CUSTOM PORTRAIT by Adrienne Vita

    POW: The "About Me" section of your website highlights your work experience in creative fields such as animation and graphic / product design, which is immediately followed by: "After years of meandering in various creative positions, I came back full circle to pursue my passion of painting and illustration."

    While the work involved with the artistic occupations you've held can be fun and challenging at times, what distinction about what you do now would you say is the most rewarding?

    ADRIENNE: Even though working more corporate gigs was challenging at times, I feel really fortunate to have worked them because a lot of what I learned helps me today. All the marketing, product design, web design, color, trends, project management and knowing digital art programs, definitely comes into play. The distinction now, is working in a more natural medium. I make all my art by hand and only use digital programs unless they're necessary. Also, working for myself allows more creative freedom of expression to do what I feel is best in the moment. The most rewarding thing is the connection with my customers. They can say the most awesome things in person and on social networking. My art merges with mysticism and I do intuitive readings for people as well, so it makes my work schedule unique. Helping people on their life's journey and knowing that my work creates a memory or a feeling they enjoy, is really special to me. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

    AV4LIFE ABOVE LIFE BELOW by Adrienne Vita

    POW: Given your great deal of artistic experience in both your personal and professional life, is there a particular medium, occupation, or project you feel you have yet to experience?

    ADRIENNE: I am interested in SO many things but I haven't made an animated film in a very long time. I would love to do that again. In terms of "yet to experience" - having my work in films, books, writing or even teaching is of interest. The sky's the limit.

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    To learn more about Adrienne Vita, please visit her website at: http://adriennevita.com/

  • D*FACE: GOING EVERYWHERE FAST!

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    Prints On Wood is excited to announce our latest artist print: Going Everywhere Fast by world renowned street artist, D*Face!

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    This 44" x 27" wood print features a beautiful reflective chrome layer, and will be extremely limited to 10 prints, all signed and numbered by D*Face himself! This mixed media print goes on sale April 3rd, and will retail for $1,500 per print.

  • ADVENTURE TIME: GALLERY 1988

    Greetings fellow humans! It's time to strap on your white bunny hat and dust off those navy blue daisy-dukes… or should I say it's Adventure Time!

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    Gallery 1988 has partnered up with Rook clothing to host an art show honoring the sweetest cartoon Boy / Dog team-up since David & Goliath!

    at2VINTAGE BMO & BUBBLEGUM PRINCESS by Dril One

    This Thursday, April 3rd, Prints On Wood will be in attendance at the opening night for the Adventure Time art show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles. Doors open at 7pm, so move those little baby feet and come hang out with us!

    at3JAKE by ROOK

    We'd also like to plug POW customer, and all around awesome dude / artist, Martin Donnelly, who will be showcasing some of his mathematical art at the show this week. (Which we were fortunate to print on wood for him!)

    Martin Donnelly ADVENTURE TIME WOOD PRINT by Martin Donnelly

    When we posted this bad-boy on our Facebook page, it garnered 700 likes in 5 seconds! Lets hope someone can match that many likes with dollars at the Adventure Time show this Thursday! Martin also has another super secret Adventure Time wood print that goes on sale this week at Gallery 1988! How secret? You just got to show up and see!

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    For more information on this event, please visit Gallery 1988 at: http://nineteeneightyeight.com

    To learn more about Martin Donnelly, please visit him at: http://known-as-unknown.tumblr.com

  • APP REVIEW: HALFTONE

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    When the recent Batman triology began with The Dark Knight back in 2008, fan-boys everywhere raced to their mother's basement to nerd-rage over the liberties Christopher Nolan had taken with his latest adaptation on the darkest, stickiest corners of the internet. While everyone broke their caps-lock key "shouting" their hostile opinions at each other on Reddit over bagel-bites, one thing these white knights could all agree on was how stupid Batman sounded while he talked.

    As a self-proclaimed dork, I must admit, I too was a little disappointed with these films. Not over the fact that a world famous millionaire / vigilante with daddy-issues disguised his voice by doing his best Michael Wincott impression. No. For me, growing up on re-runs with Adam West, I was crestfallen over the sever lack of BIFF's, BAM's, and POW's every time Batman crammed his fist down someone's throat.

    That's why I'm so excited to review this weeks app, Halftone! An app that boasts the ability to turn your photographs into comic book panels by the combining of Comic Sans with action balloons. If you've ever looked at any printed material up-close (like comic books), you'll notice a that the images aren't comprised of solid colors or lines, but a collection of dots varying in size and hue. These dots are what printing professionals refer to as a "Halftone", which is where this app gets it's name.

    To get started, Halftone prompts you to begin with either uploading an existing photo or taking a new one. For this review, I'm going to use this selfie that inspires my mom tell me how handsome I look every time she see's it.

    uncleandySure Mom.

    First things first. Once you select your photo, Halftone jumps right into adjusting your image. After getting a couple of app reviews under my belt, one constant that's always included in every photo editing app is the typical stable of image editing effects: Red-Eye Removal, Sharpness, Brightness, Filters, ETC. all of which are present in Halftone.

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    I glossed over these because in addition to knowing how most of these tools work anyways, I was more excited to play with the artistic aspects of this app. While there were several less traditional features such as the ability to Whiten or Tilt-Shift your images, let's just say that these tools worked as well as they should. I'm the type of person who likes to edit my images before I upload them into an app because I feel I have more control in Photoshop on my computer than fumbling with my iPhone. For those of you without access to either, the image effects included in Halftone can provide to be quite helpful.

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    Once settled on the image effects, your launched into Halftone's UI. Once I reached this screen, I looked throughout the app, searching for the feature to create a halftone pattern to give my image that printed comic book feel. I finally realized that the app does it automatically. While this is convenient, I would have liked the option to adjust the dot size or intensity of the halftone patterns on my image.

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    Clicking on the ear-marked paper icon toggles Halftone's Paper tool. This feature works similar to the Filters tool in most image editing apps. Your selection is overlaid on top of your original image to give it a aged / distressed appearance, which ties in nicely with the whole vintage comic vibe this app shoots for.

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    The frame icon accesses Halftone's Layout tool. A common literary device used in comic books is when someone is speaking in third person (be it the protagonist or the narrator) the text is encapsulated in a yellow box. The Layout tool offers several different panel layouts including these dialogue boxes.

    When you select a layout, it defaults with the day's date on the top, and some filler text at the bottom. Double clicking both allows you customize the text in these boxes. While this feature works really well with the overall theme of the app, I feel that the developers of Halftone missed out on an opportunity to make this app more engaging by neglecting to make the layouts and the dialogue boxes more customizable.

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    Onto the next feature. No comic is complete without word balloons! While most are familiar with the standard oblong word balloon, several different variations exist to emphasize tone or cadence when reading. A square word balloon indicates stiff robotic dialogue, a jagged word balloon indicates urgency or action, and a bubbly word balloon indicates a character's internal monologue. While most people might be unfamiliar with these variations, it's nice to see these little details included in Halftone.

    Once you've placed your word balloon(s) onto your image, tapping it once allows you to change the text, tapping and dragging the point of the balloon's tail allows you to place it accordingly, and double tapping the balloon changes it's style.

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    Now is where we get to the fun stuff. Halftone's library of comic book elements is so true to it's source material, it made me want to prance around flamboyantly in blue stain underwear! Let's have some fun shall we?

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    The comic book element library in Halftone is chock full of action text and effects found in golden age comics. You can also change the gradient of your selection to better match the look and feel of your image. My major gripe with this is if you look at the far right image, I wanted to use the action lines in the library for my image. Problem is these go on top of the layout dialogue boxes with no layering option to move them behind. If I made the lines small enough so they wouldn't cover these boxes, then the effect would end up covering my face entirely. While not a complete deal breaker, it made me grumble a bit.

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    Finally the last feature in Halftone is the Font tool. When I came to use to Font tool, I had several word balloons in my image and wanted to adjust the sizes of each since the Word Balloon tool only changes the look and content of the balloon, not the size.  Unfortunately, when you adjust the font size using the Font tool, it changes the size of every word balloon and dialogue box, not just one individually.

    So after compromising on about half of what I wanted to do, lets see how my final image looks.

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    I'm impressed! Halftone allowed me to create a comic strip that's almost just as unfunny and boring as Family Circus. Now lets see how my smug-mug looks printed on wood.

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    Normally I'd chime in with a pun or anecdote related to the theme of the article, but I was transfixed after getting sidetracked watching videos of Adam West dancing awkwardly for the past 45 minutes, so lets just get to the point.

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    Although a pay app, Halftone offered several in app purchases. While this would seem like a good idea to unlock different comic book effects or fonts, these purchases unlocked more image filters. Keep in mind these filters are added before Halftone applies it's comic book filter to get that printed look, which seems like they would go unnoticed after the fact.

    If I may nerd-rage for a bit, about halfway into this app Halftone started to feel like a glorified template. Time after time I've downloaded apps that were fun at the moment, but were long forgotten shortly thereafter. When more customizable features are included in an app, it creates a longer shelf-life in the mind of the consumer. Especially when thinking of all the combinations of effects and features they have yet to explore.

    Overall, Halftone is a very fun app, but only for so long. The attention to detail in replicating the look and feel of older comics made me feel like the developers had a good idea at the start. Unfortunately, Halftone is an app that's high on concept, but low on content.

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