Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Little Trees

Growing up, when there were absolutely no cartoons left on TV, I'd resort to one last option before giving up and finally doing something else. I'd watch a serene, globe-haired hippie named Bob Ross teach folks how to paint happy, little trees. Though this landscape oil painter from The Joy of Painting passed away in 1995, his relaxing painting vibes live on.

I recently snagged a new accessory to the iPad called the Nomad Brush—a paint brush-style stylus. I was stoked on the clean design of both the product and packaging and the construction of the brush totally complements the industrial design of the iPad. Most definitely stocking stuffable.

After finding a couple of painting apps that the Nomad site pointed me toward, I started what was going to be my masterpiece. And sure enough what did I immediately start to paint? Happy. Little. Trees. It was pure, unfiltered instinct on my part. And I'll admit, the process of digitally channeling my inner Bob Ross was completely therapeutic.

I scored the dual-tipped Nomad Compose, and I found myself using the short tip on my iPhone, doing quick little sketches at the airport while waiting for a flight. Very relaxing. There's just something calming about holding a brush in hand and creating with actual brush strokes. It trumps digital finger painting, for sure.

The Kyality Kids love it too. All I needed to do was hold up the brush and the iPad. Thanks to their complimentary design, it instantly registered with them what to do. They just yelled AWESOME and then I didn't see the iPad again for well over an hour. Apparently they made a happy, little kitten.

Some quick tips. I'd recommend paying for a less expensive painting app than opting for a free one. The quality of the app has a lot to do with the overall digital painting experience (though the free ones are fun too). And you'll learn quick not to press too hard with the Nomad's longer brush tip. When spread out, the fibers read as multitouch-points and zoom into your canvas rather than paint on it.

Bottom line, if you're ever feeling a little stressed, perhaps shut down the new Twitter app, grab a brush and light up some zen-like moments by painting some happy little trees.

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