Friday, May 23, 2014

Visual Poet: Good App for Traveling

On our latest adventure to the East coast, I brought my new journal with me, my airplane journal and my iPad mini with its apps. I have written before about Address Booklet & Cards and Brushes (the app made popular by David Hockney), but I don't think I have mentioned a free one I enjoy called Visual Poet by David Summerhays McNally. When I checked the App Store I saw it is still available, and although many people have complained that it crashes (most of them were using it on iPhone), I have not had any problems with it. Again, it is free, so there is certainly no risk.

It is fun to play with and quite simple to use. If, on your trip, you have either imported photos from a camera via cables and adapter, taken them with the iPad itself, or tend to upload them from somewhere else, you can create unique individual work. You can also select from Tumblr, Flickr and Google images. See a pile of examples of finished pieces tagged #visualpoet on Tumblr.


To let you focus on organizing your content without the distractions that are common, the app has a number of constraints.

1. The orientation is in three panels, which are always laid out vertically. 


2. The pictures in each panel are square, but you can decide which part of your original image you would like this square to be. And you can change the size of the square with the standard two-finger pinch.

3. The text font is always American Typewriter, but you can tap it larger or smaller to vary the look.

Other things of note: You can add lots of text as separate strips, or add no text at all. On the Create page there is a place to document a Title, the credits/source of the image or images (if you tap Auto it will put wherever you got it from), and any other notes you would like to add.


After you tap Create, your workspace looks like this

After you tap a panel, then tap Get A New Image, it looks like this.

One drawback is that it is only meant to be viewed on screen: the piece is low resolution so you cannot print it out. And I found it a bit frustrating that the X to delete a text box was so tiny that when I missed it, I created another text box, ad infinitum (and the two-finger pinch won't work to make it a manageable size, either). An aside: it might be nice to be able to work horizontally as well. Otherwise, I think it is pretty sweet and the aesthetic appeals to me. Because the look is visually pleasing, it makes me want to keep working with it.


Working on one in Boston:

This one made in NY:


While we were away I also made a birthday card for a family member from Visual Poet, took a screen shot (hold down power and hold buttons on iPad), cropped it (in photos) and emailed it. I made a few more on the plane home, too tired to draw myself. 

Even easier: you can email the poem directly from the app by tapping on Publish and it will change to "email this poem." The emailed version is approximately 4 x 13 inches, 72 ppi, and will use your title as the file name.

Another from NY:


Tap Browse and you see all the ones you've begun.
Go back to revisit and revise, if you like.

What appeals to me is that you can do a quick little piece while traveling, a kind of creative snapshot.

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