Support SaysBrad
  • (Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger) Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output, PowerIQ Technology
    (Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger) Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output, PowerIQ Technology
    Anker

    This thing, you need. Run your smartphone for days.

  • Klear Screen iKlear Cleaning Kit for iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor and Keyboard (Cloth, Wipes and Spray)
    Klear Screen iKlear Cleaning Kit for iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor and Keyboard (Cloth, Wipes and Spray)
    Klear Screen

    I use this cleaner for my iPhone, iPad 3, iPad mini and MacBook Pro. It’s great all-around and won’t mess up the oleophobic coating on iOS device screens.

  • Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
    Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
    Artic Silver

    If you’re having problems with your Adonit Jot capacitive touch stylus or Hex3 Jaja, you can improve its performance and reliability with careful application of thermal paste! For more on this, check out my capacitive touch stylus how-to fix-it guide. Months later (Sep 2013), my styli are still performing great!

  • Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
    Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
    Adonit

    Adonit Jot with Pixelpoint, works with a lot of new drawing apps on iPad.

  • Klear Screen's iKlear 8 oz. Pump Spray Bottle 7351-IKHP, Others, Electronics & Computers
    Klear Screen's iKlear 8 oz. Pump Spray Bottle 7351-IKHP, Others, Electronics & Computers
    Klear Screen

    The stuff I use to keep my iPad screen nice and clean!

  • Cosmonaut: Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screens
    Cosmonaut: Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screens
    Studio Neat

    Awesome capacitive touch stylus created by Studio Neat. Great guys, great product. I use mine every day! Bradtastic Approved.

  • Adonit Jot Pro Stylus for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Other Touch Screens (ADJPG)
    Adonit Jot Pro Stylus for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Other Touch Screens (ADJPG)
    Adonit

    Adonit Jot Pro is an awesome capacitive touch stylus for iPad & other tablets.

  • Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus for iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad 3/4 - Walnut
    Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus for iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad 3/4 - Walnut
    FiftyThree

    Even if you consider yourself a casual doodler or note-taker, you’ll love this well designed stylus. Built for Paper by FiftyThree, the iPad app — however, many other apps support Pencil.

  • Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards (Pack of 2)
    Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards (Pack of 2)
    Sportsman Supply Inc.

    Playing Cards for your password creation or poker game!

My Amazon.com Wish List
If you’re looking for an app, need personal or corporate branding, marketing material, an illustration, logo, sketch or design — there’s a Brad for that!

Entries in design (23)

Saturday
Dec132014

Marrakech Magic Theater Card Design

I haven’t posted in awhile so I thought that I would share a design. I’ve posted some recent projects at Behance if you’re interested. But here’s a design created on the iPad using SketchBook Pro.

The design is work-in-progress and part of a project for The Marrakech Magic Theater, San Francisco’s #1 rated show on both TripAdvisor and Yelp. If you’re in San Francisco or visiting soon, make sure to check out the show and let Peter Morrison know where you heard about it.

I’m also working on a few new projects for MMT that will be completed and released soon. It’s nice to work on something that I have a lot more control over; I’ve been having pretty bad luck at Video Poker lately. However, I did place in a slot tournament for the first time and won $100 Free Play at JA Nugget last week, so maybe things will turn around. Wish me luck!

Wednesday
May292013

SaysBrad says Bradtastic

Just a little update about the blog and me.

This year really hasn't been good to me yet. Been really sick and over the past few weeks I've been having stomach problems and RLS. I have been trying to improve my mood with a few games and sharing content online, including new images added to my tumblr and Instagram.

Over the years I've taken a ton of photos and have created hundreds of designs that I've never shared — I feel like I might as well. I don't really know who cares to see it all, but it'll be there. Who knows how long this life will be or if I'll ever chisel into history a piece for myself. Can't spend all day and night worrying about that, though.

I'm in the process of writing up a little life hacks email guide with some stuff that I've found useful. That was going to be my next post; however, it's fairly comprehensive and time-consuming — and as such, it isn't finished. I've had some technical issues with my blog as well, so I'm looking into long term solutions and other platforms for online expression.

Hopefully I'll start to feel better, too. Right now I'm pretty nauseated and my head hurts.

Tuesday
May142013

Brad's Personal Update No. 2

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I think I’m starting to feel a bit better. But I don’t want to jinx it. I do, however, want to share a few things. I downloaded the update for Paper by FiftyThree and I’m so happy about the new zoom tool. Although I think it still needs some tweaking, it’s a very clever way to achieve a blend of style and functionality that fits the theme and mission of the Paper sketching app. If you have an iPad, you need Paper, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or creative. It’s just that cool.

I’m writing this blog entry from the official (semi-janky) Squarespace app because for some reason, my favorite, go-to app Blogsy isn’t able to load my categories. I don’t yet know if that’s a Squarespace problem or a fomola (Blogsy devs) issue, but I emailed Lance (fomola Big Boss aka CEO aka awesome friend) to find out. [I’m still very interested in migrating from Squarespace to WordPress, but I don’t have the knowledge or energy yet to start making that happen — I’d want a nice WP theme and don’t know how to go about putting that together.]

Paper by FiftyThree art

Inspired in-part by the Guild Wars 2 Mesmer profession (which reminds me of Accel World’s Kuroyukihime character), this purple abstract butterfly was created on the iPad mini using Paper specific tools (primarily the pencil and watercolor) in order to familiarize myself with the color wheel and zoom. Although it’s still work-in-progress in both forms, one is a screenshot showing off the new zoom/magnifying tool. It took a few minutes to get used to, but in general, I like it; although I might’ve preferred a more traditional zoom functionality, this style does have advantages because you can see exactly where you are drawing relative to the whole page/screen, without zooming in and out, back and forth. It’s also very fast with a decent margin for error, and doesn’t interfere with the undo/redo feature.

I’m excited, because Paper is finally an app I can use start to finish for my style of design. Until now, it’s been a rough ideas and sketching tool; first it was limited by a restricted color palette — they fixed that — and now they’ve added zoom. I’d still like to see a smaller eraser tool (or a variable one with opacity adjustment) and portrait mode, but as is, it’ll work well. I’ve come to prefer the two-finger circular undo/redo and now wish that other apps had it.

Next

I have to take things slow and pace myself, but I’ll see about adding new sketches and designs to dribbble along with more blog entries here such as app and stylus reviews & tips. Until then, take care, enjoy life, and wish me luck. Thank you all!

Friday
Sep072012

Design is a Serious Lifestyle

BC Logo Concept 2
"BC" logo conceptual designs, #madewithpaper

 

Bradtastic Brad Chin BC logo concept designs made with paper by fifty three
Putting letters and symbols inside of shapes and playing with balance and positive versus negative space. Reminds me of "cake cutting" from NUMB3RS. Says Brad

 

As an artist, designing for yourself is often one of the hardest things to do.

When I started designing professionally eight years ago, I would meet all kinds of professional artists who didn't have their own business cards and websites. Sometimes, I'd get the qualifying statements excuses, "oh, this card is temporary," (or old), "my site is under construction." Fast-forward: things are about the same, except I'm not out much due to disability and chronic pain.

Sometimes I talk to artists online — at least now it's easy to setup an online gallery, free blog, flickr account, etc. — but the situation is still similar. As a solo freelance designer, you can't hire someone else to design your own stuff, and if you want to pay the bills each month, you have to keep working.

Disability and chronic pain changed everything for me, every aspect of my existence. I'm doing things and dealing with things that I never imagined in my pre-teen years. However, I still like a lot of the same things.

I've tried to create a little something for myself over the years, eventually settling on something that I liked, only to create something better the next day, week, or month. As an artist and as with all things, learning and improving — progress — should be constant. Consistent. So it's only natural that I'd continue to get better.

Design is a mission

Design should evolve and progress with society and culture. Being a designer is a commitment — the process itself is its own art form. Design is a way of thinking and a way of being. Design must grow, and sometimes through growth, change, but the commitment remains in the roots. Great design requires a commitment to perpetual excellence.

But logos? Logos should be constant… at least for longer. Like a name, a logo is an essential symbol of identity, but it should be more. It should convey values and ideals, traditions and origins. It should impress upon and instill its audience with a thought or feeling. Good logos deliver messages. So how does a designer design a logo? Design is always changing, designers are always improving, but a logo should stay the same. A paradox? No. Difficult, though.

The big blessing, The New iPad

Using Paper, I created a few "BC" logo concepts — something I could use, like a monogram maybe. Throughout the day, I tweaked and refines these sketches; some were erased, others duplicated. Some of them work, others not so much. During this process, I thought about how I was doing what I was doing… and how special it is for me.

Several years ago, Apple released the iPad and surprisingly, changed my life. Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to get The New iPad; just a minor update/refresh of the iPad 2 for some, this device changed my life again, and continues to with new apps and app updates.

Equally surprising is the app Paper by FiftyThree, my thoughts paralleling the first-generation iPad. (I loved The Next Generation from the beginning) When I first saw (both of) these, I thought more style than substance, and I probably won't use this. In both cases, I'm very happy to be so-entirely incorrect.

I couldn't envision the benefits. Both seemed too similar to stuff I already had, stuff I was satisfied with. Both have blown me away, both I've mentioned before.

I mention it now because both the iPad (especially the new one with the Retina Display) and Paper (with my super styluses, oStylus DOT and Cosmonaut) are my main creative tools. Despite my condition, I can quickly draw and write, even laying down. With Dictation on the New iPad, I capture thoughts without holding the device!

The stuff I've drawn here probably wouldn't exist without these things. Hopefully, both will continue to improve, as design should! (Paper could really use more color options, zoom, and Jot Touch/Jaja support!)

The bigger, better

The relationships that I've developed because of the iPad are perhaps even more extraordinary. I'm friends with people I'd never have met otherwise; people across the country, some from other continents, others out of our solar system on outpost space stations and starships.

Some of the app developers have inspired me to keep trying, keep improving. iOS developers and accessory makers (those I've interacted with) are all really nice people, easy to communicate with and quick to respond. They appreciate and often encourage feedback, constantly improving, as designers should!

In particular, I want to mention Lance Barton. His company makes blogging happen on the iPad. Blogsy is fantastic as-is, and is always improving… (there's a pattern to things I appreciate and admire)

Lance has been really courteous and generous with his time. We email, and although he isn't a big writer, he always responds. Hopefully we'll video chat; FaceTime or something. He's from California but llives in South Korea; I think that's pretty cool. Aside from being my friend, I think it's great that he cares a lot about Blogsy user experience and answers everyone's questions. I had an relatively minor issue publishing here using Blogsy; he invested a lot of time troubleshooting, and had his team figure out how to fix it.

I also want to mention Andrew Goss. He's a manufacturing jeweler in Canada and is fantastically generous and kind. He designed and made the amazing oStylus, and then improved it with the DOT, and then improved the DOT! He's also a grandfather. He designed the oStylus because he wanted a great stylus to use with his iPad. That's pretty cool.

Sometimes, the process is more remarkable than the outcome.

Design lead me the iPad and these people just as graphic design is the basis of the images above. Sometimes, the journey is more important than the destination. Perhaps design isn't just a way of life or result. Perhaps it's in the core, the components, the elements, the trials, the errors, the paths — both what is done and how it's done. Maybe sometimes God is in the details.

 

A final thought on portfolios for professional artists out there.

I've found that sometimes, a comprehensive portfolio can work against you and your client or prospect. This happens when a potential client sees work done for someone else, and is then set on something similar. Instead of presenting previous projects and too many options, if I thought someone might offer repeat business, I'd create a few free design concepts. The advantage is that it's customized specifically for that potential client, the disadvantage is that it could mean doing work for no money — and the risk that that s/he/they might take that idea and give it to someone else. (There are a few ways to mitigate this risk, however.)

Wednesday
Aug222012

Says Brad logo ideas

I've been thinking about adding a favicon and other branding here, so I've been sketching ideas in Paper by FiftyThree for this blog. Mostly it's just practice—for fun… design and art is sort of like writing, use it or lose it.

Sunday
Aug122012

Awesome iPad Stylus

There are 46.1 million capacitive touch styluses (styli maybe) on the market. Approximately. Most are the same with a different name. Many of them suck.

The Cosmonaut by Studio Neat is a wonderful iPad stylus for just about anyone. Don't let the odd looks dissuade you. Check out Studio Neat's product video.

Below is something that I wrote using the Cosmonaut stylus and Noteshelf on my iPad.

 

Saturday
Jul142012

New blogging platform Squarespace 6

I've been blogging with Squarespace for several years and it's been a great experience overall — especially so because my focus is on content instead of code. Squarespace is well organized and uses a clean, robust interface (complete with step-by-step guides) for adding widgets, pages and content. It also has a detailed traffic analyzer built-in. Squarespace has great customer service, too — businesses could learn a lot from them.

Oh yeah, Squarespace is also really pretty.

For Says Brad I use Squarespace 5, a platform tweaked and improved over the years that offers customizable templates, fancy modules and flexibility. The templates are gorgeous — much better looking than stock TypePad and WordPress offerings — sites look great from the get-go, and from there, unlimited tweaks and changes can be made to the themes. I like pretty and unique… I don't like to code. I like code itself, I'm just not that great at it. I don't study it, practice it, or keep up with its latest trends. I focus on graphics, design, branding and English. Programming isn't my forte.

Thusly, my website style options are fairly limited and updating the site's visuals is a significant endeavor. Squarespace 6 might be the answer.

Squarespace 6?

Squarespace 6 is a new platform, independent from 5. It uses templates and a beautiful WYSIWYG UI. Adding content is drag-and-drop, colors are chosen from a wheel — the demo I saw made it clear that 6 offers design flexibility that 5 cannot match without custom coding.

So I am thinking about switching. Right now, I enjoy blogging from my iPad using Blogsy; presently, Squarespace 6 is only compatible with the Squarespace app and desktop web browsers. I really like Blogsy — it's a beautiful app made by a dedicated team in South Korea run by Lance Barton — and I don't think I'd switch to SS6 until Blogsy is compatible. The iOS SS app has always had issues: faulty image uploads, lost images, blank posts, crashes, lost content — I don't trust it.

Other factors.

I can't really edit colors, layout and themes from my iPad as is (using Squarespace 5) so I don't expect that 6 will be different in that regard. However, SS6 themes have built-in mobile versions for smartphone and tablet browsing, potentially offering a better experience on the devices I love most. Maybe if/when I get a new MacBook Pro (with Retina display, maybe? *wishes*) I'll reassess.

If I were to switch, it won't be completely seamless and simple. It's not like updating an app on an iPhone; Squarespace 6 is incompatible with SS5 and some things might get lost in migration, as currently, the two lack parity. I read something about an import/export tool, but it sounds… frustrating, like more complications, stress.

I need to really study the themes and perhaps play with them first. Says Brad won't migrate anytime soon, but I want to get a portfolio site up to showcase my artwork and graphic design and Squarespace 6 might be the solution.

I'm looking for opinions and feedback on Squarespace 5 versus 6

I haven't tinkered with version 6 yet so I have no idea about its flaws or bugs, if any. I'm planning on moving away from TypePad because it's ugly and I get a lot of spam comments there, and I'm thinking I could ditch WordPress as well. I'm not actively using WP, but because it's practically an industry standard, I thought I should know how to use it because I occasionally get asked if I can design for it. However, if Squarespace 6 is what I think it is — it could be a fantastic small business solution — I'll eventually work on graphics for those SS6 sites, so…

Perhaps the better face-off is Squarespace 6 v. WordPress?

Thursday
May032012

Paper by FiftyThree actually awesome!

If you sketch, doodle, jot, draw or paint, you will love Paper by FiftyThree.

That's what I think, anyway, especially if you use an oStylus (Bradtastic Approved, of course!) the world's best capacitive touch stylus. Of course, you need an iPad.

Download Paper by FiftyThree (from the App Store)

They've announced on their blog that Paper has been downloaded 1.5 million times, an impressive number, especially for an app that isn't a game (and even for a free app). They also announced the number of pages that have been created, though I don't know how they know that without spying on people's usage… a scary thought. I will have to ask them.

Initially, I didn't like Paper.

I thought it was overpriced form over function, more style than substance. My opinion was formed using the one free tool, and though I'd like to think that the App Store reviews did not influence me, I'm sure that that was a factor as well.

I was comparing Paper to "pro" drawing and painting tools. In doing so, I missed the beauty of Paper — simplicity. I saw its minimalist interface as a negative, something between crude and kitschy. I thought of paper as one thing trying to be something else, and decided to dislike it on that alone. Throughout, I still acknowledged that custom ink engine and crisp feel were special — noteworthy… good.

Discovery.

About a week or so ago, I downloaded The Essentials (the $7.99 USD IAP) after discussing it with several people, reading reviews and emailing FiftyThree. I decided that it made more sense for two reasons:

  1. The Essentials may include other features or tools in the future.
  2. it's a hassle to download each individually at a savings of 3¢.

I first got the full Paper experience first on the iPad 2, and was immediately struck by the difference. The trial versions (called "Try it!" in the Store) do not do justice. Paper instantly transforms (think butterfly) from dull to dangerous. This wonderful sketching app delivers a rich, satisfying experience, perfect for doodlers and serious designers alike.

Some ways to use Paper

Paper can be used to make masterpieces — I've seen some — but that's not its strength. Here are a few ideas.

  • mind-mapping
  • visual notes

Both of these have dedicated apps, but the simplicity and aesthetics makes Paper a good choice for concepts.

  • doodles, scribbles
  • diagrams
  • graphology (handwriting analysis)

  • telephone notepad

good for phone numbers and jotting quick thoughts while on the phone; also great for idle moments and rants (while you're placed on hold)

  • logo ideas
  • conceptual design
  • scenery
  • symbols

artists of all skill levels and types will likely find that Paper's tools are a great balance between speed and control.

Four stars, work in progress.

Paper isn't perfect — it's WIP. FiftyThree is still adding features. If you have suggestions, contact them; I did, and got a very sincere reply. Being critical of an app and offering constructive feedback early on will help to shape the direction of this tool.

Some people just don't like Paper, and that's okay. There are a lot of drawing apps on the iPad, and many great professional tools such as:

  • Procreate
  • ArtRage
  • SketchBook Pro
  • Layers
  • Brushes

And there are inexpensive alternatives with wonderful functionality as well:

  • Sketch Club
  • Infinite SketchPad
  • Noteshelf

There's also fun, social stuff like Clibe.

I created an Infinite Sketch discussing key points of Paper, pros and cons, and additional features that I'd like to see.

Check out a web version of the Infinite SketchPad outline that I made. I would love to hear your ideas as well, so don't hesitate to comment or message me!

Coming soon: more detailed thoughts on Paper, including comments on specific tools and the UI.

(btw, I love being able to set auto-post times for blog entries, allowing me to write when I'm feeling okay, yet stagger the entries. I know this isn't a new or revolutionary feature and that many people use it, but still… it's brilliant!)

Saturday
Mar032012

Spock for Blogsy wip illustration

I said I was going to share more of my illustration and design stuff, so here's another work in progress, (partially) in support the fine folks at Fomola, makers of the iOS app Blogsy, the best blogging tool for iPad. Lance Barton, Fomola's principal, has been really nice, so I've decided to help promote his app. As a bonus, I get to promote and share my art as well! Win win!

So why Spock for Blogsy?

Live long and prosper. The popular Star Trek mantra is part of the Blogsy app icon. So I decided to make a loose, interpretive "Spock" using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for iPad based on a few Star Trek TOS screen caps I found, outline it, and fill the negative space with BLOGSY and LIVE LONG AND PROSPER.

After some trial and error, I've managed to create a rough draft. When I have more energy, I want to clean up the lines and slightly reshape the design. It's close, however, and when I'm done, I'll share the final version. It'll have some extra personal touches as well.

Hope you like it so far.

Want a custom design or illustration?

Let me know! Maybe I'll come up with something. Maybe not. ;-) Says Brad.