Toshiba Encore Write 2: An Artist’s Review

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I am in love. After two iPads, an iPad mini, and a Wacom Cintiq Companion, I’ve finally found a TRULY portable digital drawing device- the Toshiba Encore Write 2. Yeah, I know, I hate that cumbersome name, too. But I LOVE THIS TABLET. And get this… Its just under $400! I’ve been meaning to write this review since February when I bought this device, but I’ve  simply been too busy… drawing on it!  

The 10 inch Toshiba ( as I will call it for the rest of this review ), is incredibly light (lighter than an iPad and therefore WAYYYYY lighter than the Companion, which is a monster IMO), and a great looking tablet PC. It runs Windows ( as a Mac guy, I’m still making my peace with that), and is a full computer. With an HDMI port and a USB port. It’s battery life is great, too. Although it will run down, even when turned off and not using. So you have to plug it in regularly. 

Alright, I’m not a tech-y guy, so that enough of that talk. Well, okay, one more thing… The Toshiba pen is powered by Wacom FEEL. So you artists out there should know what that means…. Yep, it has PRESSURE sensitivity! No more trying to draw with a stick with a pillow on the end of it, or trying to keep your Bluetooth connection to get some semblance of line variation ( both are iPad references, for those who don’t know).

Clip Studio, the digital version of Manga Studio, runs great on this thing. Ever since Photoshop has made their software “Cloud only”, I have used Clip Studio, opting out of paying Adobe every month. I am NOT a sheeple. I read some specs on the Toshiba that said it would have an issue running PS anyway, with its processor speed or something like that. But Clip Studio runs beautifully. 

  

I use Kyle Websters great Manga/Clip Studio brushes, and they are amazing.  These past few months, I’ve drawn a ton of things on the Toshiba. Caricatures…..

  


Figure drawings….

  

  

  

  And comic strips. And I’ve done them at live events,  coffee shops, hotel rooms… Anywhere and everywhere.

  Because this thing is SO portable. So far six other illustrator friends of mine have bought one of these after my recommendation, and they all love it. Hmmmm…. Maybe I should be getting a commission. LOL. 

SerIously, if you want a great, TRULY PORTABLE drawing device, give the Toshiba Encore Write 2 a shot ( okay, I said that name one last time). 

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Live Sketch and Review: Burger Craft

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My latest sketch and review. Another local fave, Burger Craft:

BG From the cool interior, to the always present, always welcoming owner, to the great burgers, this is my favorite burger spot whenever I’m in Clermont. ( I am from nearby Orlando, but find myself up in Clermont fairly regularly.). The beef is hormone free, they have gluten free buns, and they buy everything from local vendors- what’s not to love? I’m not at all sure why there are so many negative Yelp reviews on this place. Maybe it’s because it’s Clermont? My apologies to my friends who live there, but this is the land of chain restaurants. And this isn’t one. This place would thrive in Orlando, where there is more of a foodie presence. I can’t wait till my next visit!

Event Drawing at Epcot’s Living Seas

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Here’s a drawing I did live at a wedding reception a couple of weeks ago, that I thought turned out cool. This reception was at Disney’s Living Seas in a super elegant, super private room that is on the other side of the water tank. Park guests never see this room, and it’s cool to see fish, sharks, and even sometimes Mickey himself swim by ( in his scuba gear ), as you’re working.

Live Sketch and Review: Hot Krust panini kitchen

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Hot Krust Panini kitchen is, hands down, my  new favorite lunch place. I don’t give five stars very easily, but this place definitely deserves it. When I walked in, I thought that it was so clean, so professional looking, so well run, and the employees so nice and well trained, that it must be a new chain concept that I hadn’t heard of yet here in Orlando. But no, in a pleasant surprise,  I found out that it’s a Mom and Pop place. In fact, the owners have been there every time I’ve been in. One of them, Evan, was the subject of my live caricature I did the other day while I was in for lunch. You can see that drawing above. ( Drawn completely on my new Toshiba Encore Write 2, btw, for all of you techies and artists out there ).

Now about the food. All the meats at Hot Krust are fresh and natural ( Hello, “Catch of the Day”! My last visit here, the catch was… SHARK. Delicious!). The sheer variety of sandwiches is amazing. And plus… they have GLUTEN FREE bread available! Wow. Being GF, I haven’t had a sandwich in years outside my home, and made by someone other than myself. You really don’t realize  what a treat that is to a GF person.

Give HOT KRUST a try, and tell Evan I sent you! You won’t be sorry!

Live Sketch and Review: Twistee Treat – Ocoee, FL

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They had me at the Ice Cream cone shaped building. Seriously, as an artist, I love businesses like this. Randy’s Donuts out in LA, the old Brown Derby that looked  like a Derby style hat… it’s one of my kitschy loves.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t love ice cream. Some people do ( hello, Dad ), but I don’t. It’s not that I don’t LIKE it, I just never have a taste for it. HOWEVER, Twistee Treat is hard for even me to resist. It’s the only ice cream  place I EVER find myself wanting to turn in and eat at.
I’m simple in my ice cream tastes- soft serve chocolate does it for me. But my wife and daughters LOVE the Oreo and Cookie Dough Twirls. If you’re near any of their Central Florida locations, give them a try!

Darn, got myself thinking about them now. I might just have to go get one.

Live Sketch and Review: Fresco Cucina Italiana

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My family and I hardly ever eat at home. We have a kitchen because it came with the house, my wife likes to say. So I experience a lot of restaurants, good and bad. Dives and Fine Dining, we go to them all.

Often, I have my sketchbook with me. So I thought I’d begin to share here some of the things I draw when I’m out and about. “Live Sketches” I’ll call them for now. ( By the way, yes, that is my wife and I in the foreground. I always stick myself in the drawings somehow. It’s a “Where’s Waldo” kind of thing. ). If I have any thoughts about where I was when I did the drawing, I’ll share those as well.

For this first installment, I’m going to share my review of a favorite restaurant of mine here in Orlando, Fresco Cucina Italiana. I shared it on Yelp! ( I’m a big Yelper… newly crowned “Elite” status, btw ), and now here it is for you:

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My brother and sister in law lived in Italy for several years, and visiting them is when my wife and I fell in love with real Italian food and Italian wines. Fresco is owned by an Italian family, and the food is the best Italian I’ve had in the U.S. It tastes JUST like “real” Italian. Also, the wine selection is amazing ( and very reasonably priced). Our family’s favorites include the Carpaccio, the Antipasto Plate ( amazing proscuitto), warm goat cheese salad, angelhair pomodoro, and the tiramisu ( the owner’s grandmother’s recipe).   Oh, and for all of you Gluten Free foodies like myself, they have GF pasta and GF Pizza! Yep, PIZZA. And it tastes GREAT!

Don’t go for the myriad of chain Italian restaurants here in Orlando when an authentic, “mom and pop” place like this is SO good.

The ISCA!

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This week I am in Reno, attending the annual  International Society of Caricature Artists ( ISCA ) convention. Unknown-1

As most of you know,  besides doing this strip and owning an Artist’s Talent Agency, I have drawn caricatures for over twenty years. Most of the time at retail stands and events at a Magical Central Florida theme park run by a Mouse. 02-18-08 016And at corporate events all over the country.

I went to art school ( SCAD ), but  the ISCA was really where I learned to draw caricatures. It’s an organization I really believe in, so much so that I’m a past President. So this week I’ll be schmoozing, drawing, and hanging out with caricature artists from around the world.10