Friday, December 23, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: How to Be a Virtual Artist

Friday, 23 December 2005

Ever wondered about exercising your doodling skills? Here are some sites where you can be an artist without any fear of embarassment.

First take a look at some of the efforts of professional and amateur artists taking a stab at self-portraiture. Artists are invited to take a photo of themselves, and then make an artwork based on that photo. The resulting artworks are on Flickr, and the collection is called, 'Eye:Hand'. (If you dig through the pictures, you'll find a self portrait by me.)

Now that you're inspired, do some doodling of your own at Kaleidoscope Painter. This is a site that allows you to occupy yourself making animated kaleidoscope pictures. Unfortunately, the site doesn't allow you to save your artworks. It's more of a zen, 'live in the moment' kinda tool.

Which leads us to a potent online sketchpad called Websketch. This is the kind of interactivity I like. You have a blank canvas and a whole bunch of different painting and drawing tools. You start your sketch, choose different colours, erase things, do whatever you like. At a certain point, your muddle of nonsense might start to look like something. At that point, hit 'save', and you've got a permanet record of your artwork. But there's more... press the 'replay' button, and the site recreates your masterpiece stroke by stroke, as you did it!

Now that you've tasted blood, and liberated your inner artist, you might want to try your hand at making some money from your artistry. Head straight to Cafe Press, where you can use your artworks to create t-shirts, mugs, cards, clocks, and even fridge magnets. It costs you nothing to setup the items. Instead, you open yourself an online store where you can sell the fruits of your labour! Get all you friends, family, and fans to go and buy your stuff!

Go get 'em, Leonardo!

Listen to a full podcast of this item at


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