The 3M Smart Pen for iPad

The Smart Pen from 3M is a very nice stylus. Well worth the asking price which I believe is about $30.00.

The Smart Pen is constructed from a light weight metal and has a clip and a rubber tip which is slightly smaller than the Boxwave for example, but is just a bit bigger than the Bamboo from Wacom and the Kuel from SGP.

The tip glides nicely over the screen and is quite smushy, making it require very little pressure to interact with your device. It is just a hair shorter than the Wacom Bamboo and a good bit longer than the Boxwave, Acase and so on. It is available in 4 different colors: black, steel, aluminum (pictured) as well as hot pink, if you’re into that kind of thing…

I highly recommend this stylus for artists and note takers who are using the iPad.


The Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad

Wacom’s much anticipated stylus for the iPad arrived a couple of days ago and I’ve had that time to test it out. I had been waiting for this one for a while, when it finally came available it sold out, leaving me checking the site regularly for a refreshed availability.

I use Wacom products daily. I have two Cintiq’s. I have the older 21 at my office and the newer one at my home office. I have also owned and worn through several of their tablets. That being said, my expectations for an iPad product were quite high.

First off, the Wacom Bamboo stylus for iPad and other capacitive screens is a very well made product. It is beautiful to look at and beautiful to hold. It is put together very nicely and and has a clip which you can remove if you prefer- this is a huge plus for me.

It is constructed with aesthetics in mind and is built to last. Mine? Mine should last for ever. Why? Because I don’t plan on using it.

I’ll tell you why.

The tip of a stylus is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. It’s sort of like a pool cue. It the tip isn’t good, it doesn’t matter much. People always roll their cues on the table, looking for the straightest one- its not a rifle! It’s all in the tip. And, as far as Wacom’s stylus is concerned, we have a beautiful body with a worthless tip. The Bamboo stylus is a BUTTERFACE.

The tip requires too much pressure to use for extended periods of time. It also doesn’t hold it’s shape as well as others do. When using it at any kind of an angle, as humans do, as opposed to vertically, the tip can’t tend to stay lopsided, squished at a slight angle. Other styluses instantly straighten out. The main problem with this is that the metal part closest to the tip tends to start touching the screen.  Not good.

If you are looking for a fine tipped stylus for your iPad or capacitive device, I would recommend the 3M Smart Pen. It’s a better bet.

Or, the SGP Kuel. This one has decent craftsmanship but is a little on the thin side. It’s is also close to being too short when not extended.

Back to the Wacom Bamboo Stylus, on the whole, I just cannot recommend this one. It is just not worth the asking price of $30.00. In my opinion, it’s not worth half that.

They will sell fine though. The name Wacom will have them flying out the door for some time to come. I only hope that next time Wacom decides to consult some serious iPad users before releasing a product. I am definitely interested in seeing how they might improve this stylus.


Alex Scott- Painter / Photographer

Not too long ago, my pal, Alex Scott completed his first actual series of  oils. He chose a film noir, old Hollywood theme and went for it. I was a bit blown away by the sheer size he went for with each of his paintings.

The wider, more cinematic of the group size at 48″ tall and 113″ wide! Monsters.

Painted in a monotone, photo-realistic manner (he is a photographer as well after all) these make an impressive collection of one of a kind oil paintings.

Check out his Homepage:

His  Blog:


Jim Martin – Concept Artist / 3D Modeler

Allow me to introduce you to my buddy and roommate (cellmate) for the past year over at Dreamworks. Actually, if either of us needs an introduction it would be me- he’s been at this art game for some time. His solid work will undoubtedly speak for that.

He is a double-threat. A talented 3D modeler, who as far as I’m concerned, and from what I’ve seen, can build a model of just about anything. He can also draw and paint your head off. He has an impressive range, from animation to realistic people, environments- exterior concepts to interiors, oh, and by the way, he thrives on tech.

Checkout his Homepage here:

For more current and up to date work check out his Blog:

Jim is a proud family man, a great friend and a wildly talented artist. Not to mention, he is also witty and does some great impersonations. This is just a bonus, but trust me, it really helps getting through the day on the job!

The crazy “predictions” of The 5th Element

It’s funny, when you look at the film The 5th Element it’s hard to not laugh at the overboard, ridiculous costumes the characters wore.

At the time, The 5th Element was cool and new for the most part. The design of the film was supposed to be outrageous and cooky and that’s exactly what it was. But no one would have believed that this was in any way any type of realistic prediction.

Boy, were they wrong!

The doodles co DIY stylus

This quick post is influenced by a comment on a previous post on iPad styluses. This is a stylus solution we came up with a while back which uses only two parts.

doodles DIY stylus for iPad - pieces

The first part is a small clump of conductive foam which can be purchased at most descent electronic stores. We found it in sheets about 12″ x 12″ and then cut out smaller pieces for the tip of the stylus.

The second part is a neat little metal pencil holder, picked up from kinokuniya. They come in packs of two and are available in a chrome (pictured below), reddish-pink and blue. Other colors may be available but I cannot say for sure.

doodles DIY stylus for iPad - pieces

Putting the stylus itself together is simple. Take some foam, cut out a square inch or so of it and fold the corners in so that they meet. The other end will be rounded. Cram the folded corners side into the pencil holder where the pencil would normally go, then screw on and tighten the gripper. Poof- a DYI iPad stylus!

doodles DIY stylus for iPad
doodles DIY stylus for iPad

If you have any questions or comments- shoot.

iPad sketches

Here are a few sketches done on the iPad.

This sketch was me trying out different brushes in Sketchbook Pro’s iPad application. I did this at a nearby coffee shop while sitting outside.

Sketchbook Pro

These were done at different times. The chubby fellow with the mobile phone was at a Coffee Bean down the road. I sketched him as he talked to his friend while I was waiting for mine.

Sketchbook Pro

This gal is a friend of a friend who I sketched at a house warming party.

Sketchbook Pro

This one was the result of more experimenting with different brushes.

Sketchbook Pro

This one was a quick scribble in of a face trying to get a decent pencil look going.

Sketchbook Pro

More messing with pencil type brush looks.

Sketchbook Pro

This one again, took place at a coffee joint up the street. This old feller sits out there from time to time and plays chess with whoever wants to play. I sketched him for close to 30 minutes.

Brushes App

This guy was one of my first sketches on the iPad, just a quick test drive.

Sketchbook Pro

Best iPad Styli for Artists to Date

It’s been a while and quite a bit has developed since we wrote a post covering styluses for the iPad and iPhone.

At the time, the Pogo Sketch and the Dagi Stylus were both still very new to the scene. They were the best options available.

Now though, I’ll tell you sternly- don’t waste your money on these two. Apple still sells the Pogo, their employees can be found with them clipped to their uniforms. Sometimes when signing for your purchase, they will hand you one to use.  All of this may feel quite official, almost an endorsement of the Pogo. I’m  here to give you a few options which you can pull out and use with better results next time you’re at an Apple Store or just want to take a note or doodle a sketch.

As these things come out they generally improve. As these new and improved styluses come out, we buy and use them.

Here is an updated offering of our opinions on some of today’s more popular and best styluses. We will focus on three styluses in particular.

The JustMobile Alupen.

When we first got our hands on the Alupen from JustMobile it was love at first site. This thing has a substantial but user friendly weight to it. It is the perfect length and width and feels great in your hand. It is extremely well designed and done so to match and compliment the iPad itself. Aside from the minimalist (and appreciated) branding stamped on it, the Alupen would be the easiest stylus to pass of as an official Apple iPen.

Out of the box it works beautifully. The soft rubber tip glides of the screen and requires little pressure to interact with the device.

The problem with the Alupen is the lifespan of the tip. They seem to have the lifespan of your common goldfish when it comes to quality functionality. Our first one developed a small slit in the side of the tip which made it difficult to use. After emailing JustMobile about five times and giving ample time for them to reply, we went ahead and called Taiwan (I think it was) directly and after a language challenged phone call, a replacement was on the way.

The replacement was the same out of the box- worked great. After about a week of use tho the tip again went bad. This time it was the smoothness of it which just seemed to wear off. When new, the tips have this velvety finish to them. With a little use though, this appears to wear off and the rubber tip ends up being sticky when sliding over the screen. This makes distraction free drawing, painting and writing on the iPad more difficult than it’s worth and you’ll quickly revert back to your finger.

A third Alupen was tried and again, the tip went bad. With a good tip, this would be the best stylus available. Until then, its just not worth the money.

The Alupen is available here: for about $20.00

The iFaraday Stylus.

I think we came across this Stylus in a blog somewhere. After finding the official site for it: we picked up a couple.

Currently there are a few different versions of the iFaraday Stylus available on There is a basic stylus that comes in a few different colors.

Top: iFaraday Stylus Bottom: iFaraday Artist's Stylus

There are also three different versions which are called the Artist Pack. The tip material used is the most capacitive material we’ve experienced yet. These are the most responsive and user friendly styluses we’ve found yet and only expect the innovation and materials to improve over time.

The bodies of the styluses are not mass-produced in a factory in China or some such place as are most others. They appear to be hand crafted, one at a time- likely out of a garage somewhere. Considering this though, they are very well made and easily worth the money.

If we could recommend one stylus for your iPad- this would be the one.

They sell for about $10.00 a piece (absolute steal!) on

The Boxwave, Acase, Targus etc. Stylus.

There are several different brands all selling very similar styluses right now. By all appearances, these are all manufactured by the same people- our guess, either in Taiwan or China. Then, these different American companies buy them in bulk and brand them as their own.

This stylus (regardless of what name you call it by) is actually a quite descent one. Probably our second favorite. A bubble-like, black, rubber tip that is very responsive and lasting. The tip is much like those found on the Alupen from JustMobile, with one main difference- they last longer than a week. In fact, we haven’t had one fail yet.

We prefer the Targus out of the different brands, simply because the Targus stylus is left plain. They decided against having their brand and logo printed on the body of the pen, probably to save money. If branding doesn’t bother you at all you can get whichever is cheapest or most convenient.

The Targus has a simple metal body with a matte black finish. They have a chrome, end cap with a hoop on the back end which enables the use of a small clip or lanyard. Some brands ship the pen with such an extra. We don’t care much for them though so it’s not a make or break deal whether or not they do or not.

They also come with a chrome clip for securing to a shirt pocket, pants pocket or whatever you like. We however DO NOT LIKE the clip and feel that it would be best without it. Or, having the clip be removable would be a great feature.

This stylus is a little bit on the short side. It’s just long enough to hold normally, but holding it further back to get any distance from the screen becomes more difficult. Who knows, maybe the guy who designed it was a munchkin.

They retail for about $15.00 and can be found at these sites:

The Targus can also be picked up in-store at Best Buy stores.

There is a “second generation” version of this general type of stylus, which brands are starting to sell as well. Ours just came in today and we’ve played with them a little bit.

Top: Targus, Boxwave... basic model. Bottom: Newer model

The thickness of the stylus is the same, but the tip is significantly smaller and helps with accuracy. The smaller tip though seems to require a little bit more pressure.

This new and updated model also has a significantly longer barrel. It also has a clip, but a different (and honestly cheaper looking) type. The end cap is slightly different the same as the previous and more common versions- but seriously, who cares. This stylus looks and feels more ideal. Unfortunately though, it is slightly less responsive than its earlier incarnation.

You can find this newer version of these styluses at these sites:

The doodles Stylus Setup.

Here is a very workable little setup which is what we are currently doing. We are using both the iFaraday and the Targus styluses. But we are also using a chalk holder as well. Let us explain.

The iFaraday stylus comes with a clip which can be removed quite easily.

The Targus/Boxwave stylus’ clip however is not so easy to get off. We use a Dremel!

Once your styluses are free of their stupid clips, you’ll want to have picked up a Caran d’Ache Fixpencil crayon holder for a decent art supply store or just get one online somewhere. They aren’t cheap but are very nice.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil

They are meant to hold crayons made by the same company, but we aren’t talking about crayons here. They also happen to hold the above two mentioned styluses perfectly.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil holding the iFaraday Stylus (top) and the Targus Stylus (bottom)

Because you’re using an extender, you can determine how long you want your stylus to be! Have it shorter and hold it more like a pencil, or extend it out and use it more like a paintbrush.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil holding the Targus Stylus at adjustable lengths

You’ll also be holding the extender so you’ll have a thicker, hexagonal shaped form to hold in your hand. This is a plus for many people. This makes these styluses more comparable with the Alupen in size and design.

JustMobile Alupen (top) and doodles stylus setup (bottom)

When not using it, simply slide the stylus out, turn it around and reinsert it tip-end first. The crayon holder becomes the perfect bodyguard for your stylus- holding the tip deep inside, safe from potential harm.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil holding the iFaraday Stylus (top) and the Targus Stylus (bottom) with tips inside

Comments and Recommendations.

If you’ve gotten this far, might as well leave a comment! If you’re commenting to help with SEO for your site or blog- that’s cool, we can dig it. Just do us a favor and say something with a touch of relevant thought in it. Simply saying something generic like, “I liked your post. Good topic.” isn’t going to cut it.

If you’ve found any cool styluses or stylus solutions for the iPad or digital sketching in general- tell us about it!

Thanks for reading!

TRON – a religious movie

(contains spoilers)

This is a short review and study of TRON. Being in the film business, I’ve had some interesting bits of information come my way regarding TRON and rumored problems they were having- costume problems and mostly re-shoots. Re-shoots especially can tend to be a sign of structural, storyline problems and changes. This can turn out ugly.

I went in to see it expecting a fun film with great special effects, but was prepared for weak story with questionable performances. I was also weary about the digital, younger version of Jeff Bridges. Although clearly very well done, it was clearly digital and reminded me of Benjamin Button which was personally distracting.

I was wrong about my predictions for TRON. It turned out to be quite a solid film from beginning to end.

For the most part, the digital version of Jeff Bridges was not supposed to be a real person, but instead, a digital copy of him. In a sense, it was better this way.

The performances by the actors were great, not so good that they might distract from any other aspect of the film but plenty good enough to not only support but also nicely compliment the rest of the film.

Jeff Bridges clearly steals the show with a top notch performance which even has a good dose of the “Dude” from The Big Lebowski tossed in.

In itself, TRON was a visually beautiful film about an entire world, a digital world within our computers or a specific computer- I’m still not quite sure. The storyline was really well constructed, something I was doubtful about.

The most interesting part of the movie was the fact that it is a story about computer technology, science and so forth but all in all it was far more religious than anything else. Of all movies, TRON ends up being scientific only on its outer skin, but the mass and guts of it end up being a clear and true analogy for Christianity (as we know it today).

Jeff Bridges plays Flynn who is older and wiser when we find him. He dons a beard and fittingly, he is the creator of this new digital world but is now trapped in it. Jeff Bridges is “God”.

Before being trapped in this world, he would visit it and then leave again. His visits would be to create a “perfect grid”. His visits would be thru a portal which would open in the sky. This glowing portal is their version of the “Sun”. It symbolized Flynn’s arrival.

Flynn, while creating his perfect digital world, also copied himself so he would have a partner. This copy of himself he named Clu and is the analogical personification of “Satan”. This is the case not only in that he is the villain in the film but his the first creation of the creator (Flynn) and is unhappy with the direction the creator is going in and decides to take over and create the world the way he sees fit.

Flynn’s son, Sam, enters the world his father created and eventually helps to make it right again. Sam is the “son of Flynn”. Sam is the son of “God”. Sam is “Jesus”.

This can be taken further in that the colors of Clu is a hot yellow and his digital minions are red- fire… Hell. One could say that Jeff Bridges’ character, Flynn was trying to create Heaven in a digital version of Earth where all things would be perfect.

For the most part, anything having to do with science or computers, which you’d assume would be the whole film, was merely vaguely explained. One aspect had no explanation and was cleverly described as “bio-digital jazz”.

I went with my fiancé and her brother who was visiting from out of state and it was a hit with the three of us. It did not however inspire a lasting awe and continuing discussions as did, say, The Matrix or Inception. All in all it was a very well thought out and put together story with good performances and state of the art special effects and is well worth seeing.

iPhone 4G – photos leaked! – real or fake?

Photographs of the rumored next iPhone or the iPhone 4G are starting to circulate. I had been planning to post what I’d like to see from the next incarnation of the famed phone from Apple. My plan was to take photos of the iPad’s backside and alter them in Photoshop to build a mockup of a new iPhone from them. Looks like I don’t have to now! Here it is the iPhone 4G.

Now, I can’t tell you for sure that these are real. They look real to me tho. Two hitches have me hanging. First off, I’ve read of naysayers using how many holes are in these bodies as evidence of them being fakes. Some have said that there are too many. I count a correct amount of holes: a camera on the back, a volume rocker and silent switch on the side, the 30 pin connector in the center of the bottom, screw holes on the sides of that and lastly, on the outside of the bottom, two more holes, one for the mic and the second for the speakers.

My hangups are a bit different. The first iPhone had a metal body but had a black plastic part on the bottom of the back. This was for radios, to let signals travel to and fro the device without having to fight thru a metal casing. The following models, the 3G and the current 3Gs have one-piece plastic backs. The iPhone has a few radios, one for phone reception and signals, one for Bluetooth and a third for WIFI. The black plastic backs let all of these signals thru without problems.

These new designs appear to me to be aluminum, like the iPad. This would make sense in that Apple has been consolidating the designs of its product lines to be more uniform. I completely approve of this newer design direction. This leaves me wondering about how this new design for the iPhone would allow all of the signals it needs to function properly to get in and out smoothly. Take a look at the two iPad models for example. The WIFI only model has a solid metal back while the WIFI/3G model has a black plastic piece. Behind that plastic section you will find the guts which deal with the 3G signal.

The other sticky part of these photos is simply the fact that Apple is a master of keeping secrets. Look what they did, hid with regards to the iPad for years. In hindsight, we had plenty of rumors and predictions but all we really KNEW was what they wanted us to know.