App of the Week: Brushstroke

Name: Brushstroke
Cost: 2.99
Platform: iOS 7 or later

code organa logoBrushstroke is a seemingly simple app that turns a photo into a painting. You might think to yourself, so what? But really, it’s a pretty powerful tool that gives teens, teachers, and librarians the chance to use a variety of effects on their photos and is a great way to start discussions on painting techniques, styles, how visual messages change as a result of visual choices, and even artists and art movements.

The way it works is that a user selects a photo from an iPad or iPhone camera roll or takes a photo from within the app. The next step is to crop the image if need be. After that, and I admit it took me a minute to figure out how to get from the crop screen to the painting screen – it’s the > on the top right (as you can see in the images below) – the image is rendered as a painting. In the photos below you’ll see the original version of the photo I painted on the left and the painted version on the right. Continue reading

Don’t Forget About Art

Ballerino

Ballerino. Photo from flickr user Scooter Lowrimore via Creative Commons license

The other night I dropped my son off for his first dance class. It was heart warming to see him so fully engaged in something new, a positive activity that will undoubtedly help him build self-confidence and an appreciation of art. I had a fun reminder of his enthusiasm for the performing arts this morning when I saw a post by the Teen Librarian Toolbox about books for dance lovers, and I made a connection between my experience as a parent and what we do as librarians. The TLT blog author points out that we shouldn’t forget the arts in the mix of all the new STEM projects we host at the library. In fact, I have heard many librarians refer to the acronym STEAM which throws art in the mix, right beside the hot topics in science, technology, engineering and math. As you build your programs for this fall and winter, don’t forget about art. Continue reading

App of the Week: Waterlogue

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Title: Waterlogue
Cost: $2.99
Platform: iOS only

Instagram forever changed the mobile digital photography landscape, but for those who want to get a little more artistic with their camera snaps, the Waterlogue app, which offers a single version for both iPhone and iPads, offers a foolproof way to convert the photographic into the painterly.

Waterlogue provides a dozen options for rendering your photographs into lovely watercolors, from the draftsmanlike to the abstract. You can manipulate the sharpness of each image after the filter is overlaid.

Not only does the app allow you to output frame-worthy personal momentos, but it offers countless options for inventive library signage and brochures — and, as the Waterlogue FAQ states, if you own the image, you are free to do what you want with the watercolor produced, including commercial applications.
Painted in Waterlogue
Continue reading

App of the Week: Wallpapers2

wallpapers2

Title:’ ‘ Wallpapers 2

Cost:’ Free

Platform:’ iOS 7.0 or later

Wallpapers 2 (which, as recentlly as last week, was known as’ ScreenMotion iOS7)‘ is a teen-recommended solution to a teen-voiced conundrum. Why don’t you have the ability to “zoom out” when you set a picture as your iPhone wallpaper? Too much can get lost, cropped out by that process.

ScreenMotion lock screen preview

Wallpapers 2 lock screen preview

As one student told another about the free app with a range of art optimized for iOS7 devices, I downloaded it as well. There are hundreds (at the least) of very attractive HD pictures, ranging from pets and nature to cityscapes and abstract digital images. I didn’t see any that weren’t “school appropriate,” though the advertising is a little bit spicier. Continue reading

August Eureka Moments

Is this what they call the dog days? Not for me! This is my first summer living in Boston instead of Tucson, and I’m soaking up the beautiful high-80s temps they call “hot” around here and spending as much time outside as possible. But I did manage to go inside and find a few interesting tidbits for your personal interest and professional usefulness.

  • Have you ever tried to explain to someone why their offhand comment that “that’s gay” offends you? Or been annoyed when you offer to help carry something heavy and you’re refused because you’re female? Maybe someone made a rude joke about Middle Easterners not knowing you are of Saudi descent? These are called “microaggressions,” and the Microaggressions Project, a collective blog made up of submissions from anyone who wants to share an experience of feeling belittled, ignored, or just frustrated, whether because of their religious beliefs, gender identity, race, victim status, or a variety of other factors. Without resorting to hate speech or angry tirades (and no specific names, locations, or other identifying information is in any of the submissions), this blog would not only be a great resource for teens who feel like their voices aren’t being heard, but you could talk with your advisory group and possibly start your own project, with something as easy as index cards and a locked jar or box. Continue reading

App of the Week: Graffiti Me!

Title: Graffiti Me!

Price: $.99

Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.

The teens in my library are always looking for fun new ways to take pictures of themselves to share with friends on Facebook. They usually know about any new photography app that comes out right away, but this time I shared this one with them! Graffiti Me! is an innovative photography app that allows you to upload a photo or access the camera function to take a new photo and turn it into graffiti. Once you have your photo uploaded, you may stretch the photo with two fingers to place the photo exactly how you would like it to show. You may zoom in and out at this time, as well. Next, the app will display a bar filled with color swatches that will pop up at the bottom of the screen, where you can customize the background effect of your photo. The effects include a wide range of choices from paint splatter, American flag, checkerboard, and many more. After you have the background set, you can use the “effects” slide bar to minimize or maximize the degree of the effect. Continue reading

App of the Week: Art Authority

Title: Art Authority
Cost: $4.99
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.0 or later

I think a lot about how apps can extend the collection for teens or even replace materials on teen shelves. If you have art books in your teen collection, Art Authority provides new options for what you provide teens on the topic of art and art history. The screencast below gives you a view of how the app works and its benefits to teens.

For more App of The Week posts, visit the App of the Week Archive.

App of the Week: Yours, Vincent

Name: Yours, Vincent: The letters of Vincent Van Gogh
Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
(Requires iOS 3.0 or later)
Cost: FREE!

A while back I discovered that various museums have free apps, and since then I’ve been eagerly filling an iPhone folder with museum guides from around the world. While some, like the Explorer App for the American Museum of Natural History certainly informed my recent visit, others, like Your’s Vincent, make the actual visit icing on the cake.

Pentimento’s Your’s Vincent app created by Antenna Audio for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam uses Van Gogh’s own letters as a guide to his works. The app combines image, video, and sound into a personalized and detailed examination of the artist and his art.

Organized’ chronologically, the museum website claims that Your’s Vincent “features many of Van Gogh’s sketches and paintings from the Van Gogh Museum collection, video interviews with the museum’s letters experts and new picture galleries that showcase his art.” ‘ Better yet, the app delivers on these claims. The app in engrossing and detailed and is able to stand alone from its exhibit. I have yet to visit Amsterdam or the Van Gogh museum, and this app gets me close to that possibility while still enticing me to actually visit (wistful sigh).’  Continue reading