Abandoning Amaziograph

Amaziograph 3I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the Amaziograph app – especially since it’s made for making mandalas.  It has a lot more options than Procreate in its radial symmetry, but I just can’t get over the shakiness of the lines.

That’s not Amaziograph’s fault – it’s mine, because I have shaky hands.  And, unfortunately, the older I get, the worse the tremors get.  With Procreate, I can adjust the line smoothing to account for that – with Amaziograph, I can’t.

So for making my mandalas, I’m going to stick with Procreate.  I’ll still use Amaziograph now and then, but it won’t be the go-to tool that I thought it would be when I got it.

I do have my eye on another program I discovered the other day, called iOrnament.  I haven’t purchased it yet, but I will in the next week or so.  After I’ve had a chance to play around in it, I’ll post something here.  It looks a lot like Amaziograph, with the options to do tessellations and such.

I saw a coloring book at the grocery store today titled ‘Kaleidoscope Coloring.’  It was a bunch of animals with zentangle doodles for coloring.  Guess I’ll add ‘kaleidoscope’ to my Etsy tags, lol.

Amaziograph

Amaziograph Logo
Amaziograph Logo

I’ve been drawing my mandalas with Procreate, which was one of the first drawing apps I came across for the iPad.  After I started drawing the mandalas, I discovered an app called Amaziograph.

It’s $0.99 on the App Store and is also available for Android.  The app is made specifically for drawing tessellations and mandalas.  After debating whether I needed to buy another app, I finally bit the bullet and bought it.  I mean, it was only $0.99 – so if I hated it, it wasn’t a huge loss.

I’ve had it for about a month, and honestly, I’ve only played around with it once or twice.  It does have some nice features for drawing mandalas.  With Procreate, I use the symmetry feature, but I only have the option for 2, 4, or 8 areas.  Amaziograph lets you choose the number of areas from 1-12.  So it’s possible to create some really interesting designs when you use an odd number (like 7).

Amaziograph First AttemptThis is my first attempt at drawing a mandala with Amaziograph.  It’s pretty rough in places, but I wanted to get a general idea of how it worked.  The design features are great, since they are made specifically for drawing mandalas.

However, I found I missed a lot of things I’ve grown used to with Procreate, including the auto-shape recognition, the two-finger delete, line smoothing, and the ability to change and fine-tune the brush options.  I think the line smoothing is what I missed the most, because I do have tremors in my hands sometimes, especially if I’ve been drawing for a while.

While I liked the ability to play with the number of areas, it did make drawing more difficult, because when using an odd number, things didn’t always end up connecting where I thought they would/should.

I’m not sure I’ll use it as much as I was hoping I might, but at least I got a chance to try it out and see if I liked it.  I still want to play around with some of the tessellation features at some point.  In the meantime, I think I’ll stick with Procreate.

Subscription Fatigue

App for that
Credit: Pixabay

Remember my music/phone debacle?  After that, I started thinking.  (Dangerous, I know, but bear with me.)  What do we own these days?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a hoarder, I declutter often, and I’m generally good about letting things go.  I’d rather have an experience and memories than yet another thing/object.

But at the base, my frustration over the phone/music issue was because I own the things – the music and the phone.  I own them outright – they are not on loan, they are not borrowed, I am not still paying them off.  When I started looking for internet help with the issue, many of the responses were to get something like Google Play or Spotify.

I don’t want or need either of those.  My youngest has a Spotify account – but the notion of that still seems crazy to me.  Maybe it’s because I’m old.  I’ve paid for the account (a birthday gift) for a year now.  And when the subscription runs out, what is left?  Nothing.  Because you don’t own the music, you just pay to access it.

Same with lots of things – Netflix, Spotify, Adobe CC, Microsoft Office (or 365, or whatever it’s called now), Hulu – you name it, there’s a subscription/app for it.  But again, when you stop paying the subscription, what do you have?

Empty hands and empty pockets.

Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t value in these things.  Obviously there is, because people are using them.  So maybe it is just me.  For example, I want to own Photoshop, not rent it.  I want to own my office suite of products, not rent them.  Maybe that’s why I live in a house instead of renting an apartment.  Why I own my car instead of leasing it.  Why I still have DVD’s – which, come to think of it, I should rip onto my PC. I have a 1TB hard drive with lots of space to spare.  And digital storage is ridiculously cheap these days.

With college tuition for two suddenly looming over my budget, I’m trying to pay off debts as quickly as I can and saving as much as I can before next August.  Which means I’m paying a LOT more attention to my budget and discretionary spending.

House too cool?  Sweaters and hoodies instead of reaching for the thermostat.  Watch water consumption – shorter showers and as little laundry as I can get away with.  Eating home cooked meals instead of eating out.  Paying subscriptions for things I don’t actually need?  Ludicrous.  I don’t need Office 365 – there’s LibreOffice.  It’s free, open-source, and compatible with Office.  I don’t need Adobe CC – I only use Photoshop anyway, and there are free alternatives out there.  For now, I’m happy with my PS CS6 version.  Hulu, Netflix, and the like?  I can watch YouTube for free.

I guess maybe I just suffer less from FOMO than other people?  For example, I’ve never seen a single episode of Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones.  Do I miss some pop culture references?  Sure.  Not enough to matter.  And businesses with subscription models WANT you to keep paying for them, even if you don’t use them.  All I know is, I’m tired of everything becoming a subscription.  Plus, it’s been shown that when people use subscription services, they severely underestimate what they are spending.  This Money article from February 2019 addresses why people continue to pay for subscriptions, even when they aren’t using them (spoiler – it’s FOMO).

I’m hopeful that perhaps people are becoming more aware of the issue.  This article by Ernie Smith details how people are looking to move, change, or combine subs to save money.  (It mentions that you can get Hulu if you pay for Spotify – so I may have to check that out, since I do.)  TV/shows/movies are not a big deal for me – I rarely watch TV anymore anyway.  I haven’t been to a movie theater in over a year, at least.

Maybe I’m just becoming a Luddite in my old age.  Also – stay off my lawn! 😛

Digitally Coloring Mandalas

I’ve been playing with various options with the mandalas I’ve created so far.  I’ve made a bunch that I’ve posted here on my blog, but I am also working on others that will hopefully go into my Etsy store for sale as digital downloads.

I wanted to see what some of my designs would look like if they were colored in, to make sure that the designs were intricate enough to be interesting to color.  I also experimented with different ways to color them in, since I want to give people options.

I took one of my favorite mandalas so far (Mandala 6) and tried a few ways.  I’ve been using my Procreate app on my iPad to create these mandalas, so I wanted to see what they would look like if I colored them in using Procreate.

I know many people have coloring apps on their phones and iPads, so I thought this would be a good way to see how well my designs worked doing so.

Mandala 6 Colored ProcreateI’m pretty happy with the results.  I think there is a good amount of detail in the design and that it works well coloring digitally.  I can see where I’ve made some mistakes in creating the design, but since these designs weren’t specifically created for coloring, I’m not going to worry over it too much.

It would probably look even better if I had used a variety of colors rather than sticking with a blue scheme, but I had a reason for doing that, which you’ll see in a later post.

I am also hoping to offer the option to purchase my mandalas (together or separately) as stickers, so I need to test out coloring them on sticker paper as well.  If nothing else, I’ve had a lot of fun creating the mandalas themselves, so I’m calling all of this a success! 😀