I was pleasantly surprised when James Gurney invited me to review his latest app, Vol 1 Boyhood Home. James Gurney lives the life of a painter/illustrator and shares his work extensively on youtube. He is also the artist and author of the book ‘Color and Light’ and Dinotopia. Yup! I am a huge fan of his work.
When I found out about his app, I thought to myself: “Why didn’t I think of that?” It embraces technology and allowed user an opportunity to get closer to an artist’s sketchbook. The app functions as an ebook with the option of voice narration. Some pages also included videos to his painting process. Imagine a talking sketchbook with videos.
The only 3 buttons in this app.
Unlike a physical book, there were few words to read and users can zoom into every painting for its brushstrokes and details. Each painting is also accompanied by a voice narration and James carefully recorded the ambient sounds of each setting to give us a better sense of the actual environment. With sights and sounds, he takes us through his decision-making processes and introduced us to his painting tools, techniques and materials.
The app was really intuitive and easy to navigate. To go to next page, you swipe the image. To zoom in, you pinch outwards. Last but not least, there are buttons that brings out the voice narrations with occasional videos of how he has painted on-site. Though most of his fans may have seen his paintings videos on his youtube channel, this app presented a uniquely seamless and comprehensive experience to peek into James Gurney’s sketchbook.
I love how James is constantly improving his work and exploring new avenues to showcase them. This app is a great example of how traditional art can co-exist with technology and deliveries
The first volume of the Living Sketchbook app will be available March 20 for $4.99 for both iOS and Android phones and tablets (go here for updates).