A different kind of medium

MARSHALL – It was just another day when Steven Smisek’s daughter, Emma, was using a drawing app on her electronic reader to make a picture.

“We were just sitting around one day, and she was fiddling with her Kindle (Fire), and she showed me a picture she drew,” said Smisek of Marshall.

Smisek tried the app for himself and fell in love. From there, he created an exhibit of pictures he made with the drawing app on his Kindle Fire, which is currently hanging in the Daily Grind in downtown Marshall. Several of Emma’s drawings are also part of the exhibit.

The picture Emma had drawn that caught Smisek’s attention was titled “Woman With Butterfly,” which is also part of the exhibit.

Smisek said the app, which is free, is called Sketch Guru. It is a drawing pad that gives you different colors and brushes to use to make an artwork.

Smisek said he’s always been interested in art, and that he dabbled in drawing and photography.

“It’s always been there, but I never had the time,” Smisek said. “I always knew I could (draw), I just didn’t have the patience.”

With Sketch Guru, people can use their finger to draw an image. Smisek said his daughter uses her finger to create her artwork, but he prefers to use a stylus on the Kindle Fire’s touchscreen. The app allows artists to choose their background color as well.

Smisek said he suffers from depression and anxiety and doing the artworks have helped him a lot.

“Whatever I was feeling came out at the time,” he said.

He may draw a little shape or a line to see where the work will take him.

“Feelings started to pour out of me onto the screen,” he said in the artist statement he has in the Daily Grind. “I would start with a random line, not usually knowing what it was going to turn into. Sometimes it’s frivolous, sometimes it’s deep, but it all matters to me.”

Sometimes an entire sketch can take five minutes, and he’s done.

“Another one took a week because I had to come back to it,” he said.

Once he had about eight to 10 of the electronic tablet sketches put together, Smisek figured he could do something with them. So he got several frames to start getting his exhibit together.

Then came transferring the images from his gallery on his electronic tablet onto paper so he could display them for himself and for others to see. Smisek said he tried to print them on his printer, but he wasn’t happy with the quality. Photography sprang to his mind, and he uploaded the images to a photo studio. Some were printed on metallic paper, which gave them a nice shine, he said.

“It made me feel even better than I did when it was on the screen,” he said in his artist statement.

And he also needed to make the images 8 by 10 to fit the frames.

“That’s where Photoshop came in,” he said. Smisek said he had to expand the background to fill the empty space.

Since he started using the app as his medium and has been successful with it, Smisek said it makes him want to try painting.

“Art to me is anything created, either physically or naturally, that makes you feel really good. That certain tightness in the chest, or goose bumps on your flesh,”?Smisek said in his artist statement.