Making a comic: Whale Scout edition


I’ve been working on a little comic for It’s taken me a while, but it’s finally done, and will be up on the Whale Scout website soon! Woo!

I used the iPad app Procreate, which I’ve been a fan of for a while now. Years, maybe? I loved it from the get-go, and it really just keeps getting better. I’ve tried a lot of different drawing/painting apps, and this one is by far the best. Highly recommend!  As for ancilliary tools: I used an iPad 3, a Bamboo stylus, and Premiere Pro for some minor editing. I might as well also reveal that I got my best work done while sitting on the couch with Modern Family playing in the background. Don’t question the method people!

One of the features in the Procreate app allows you to export a video that shows the progression of your artwork. I’m actually not sure anyone other than me will be even vaguely interested in watching it, but here it is anyway.

Making a comic: Whale Scout! from Michelle Wray on Vimeo. Music: Something Elated (Broke For Free) / CC BY 3.0

Brushes experiment

Oh, hello, procrastination!  Wonderful to see you again.  I have two exams tomorrow, yet still I felt the need to share this video with you guys.  I made this more than a year ago, and was sure I’d already posted it, but I guess not.  It’s actually just an iPad Brushes app animation of a drawing I did of my friend Val and his daughter, Gracie (ah, Brushes, the one iPad app I really do miss). I swiped some music from the life aquatic soundtrack, and put it together in iMovie. Hooray for technology, and for not learning about pre-formed nitrate and radio-carbon dating for a few minutes. Now. Back to the books.

Experiment with Brushes from Michelle Wray on Vimeo.

Data visualization and statistics

While flipping through Flipboard* on the iPad last night, I stumbled across this very cool site,  It was created by Nathan Yau, a PhD candidate in statistics at UCLA.  From his website:

FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization.

There are lots of neat ideas and and examples on his website.  I knew I liked it when I saw this post:

Why learning Code for Data is Worthwhile

* Flipboard is also totally amazing in its own right. If you have an iPad, and haven’t downloaded that app yet, do it!


I always liked the Goodreader iPad app. It was one of the first ones I ever got, and is the best for reading journal articles. It’s always been great, but over time, the few issues that I had have been resolved, and the new updates always have something unexpected, but awesome. A few updates ago they added Dropbox access. I was onboard immediately.

One thing that bugged me until just today was that I found it a bit tedious to make annotations. Getting to the annotation/notes menu took a couple of steps, and it just seemed like it was not quite as good as paper and a pen and highlighter. I think I can now say that the app has finally reached the point where it’s just as easy for me as paper. I finally just grabbed the latest update, and it’s fantastic. There are now file tabs, a new and improved page slider, and my favorite – the new side menu! It makes highlighting and taking notes so fast.

Here’s an example of an annotated page from GoodReader:

Puget Sound forearc basin

I had another good question from my Ocean 200 kids on Monday that I had to check for them.  It was a question about the relationship between the glacial and tectonic processes in the Puget Sound area.  Here’s what I gave them:

Around 20,000 years ago there was a glacier between the Cascades and the Olympics. It advanced and retreated periodically for a long time, before finally leaving for good about 13,000 years ago. Puget sound is actually in the forearc basin of the Cascadia subduction zone (not the backarc basin). The glacier did not cause this depression, rather, it filled the basin that was already there (ie. filling in a topographic low).

As it sat there, it pushed down all the land in the area, resulting in a relative rise in sea level (relative to the subsiding land). When the glacier retreated, the land slowly started to rise up again to reach isostatic equilibrium. This is called post-glacial rebound. It’s still happening today, but very, very slowly.

I hope this helps, and doesn’t have any outrageous flaws in it.  Also:  the sketch was done entirely on the iPad 🙂

Evernote, iPad, and PDFs

I’m really liking Evernote, and I like having it on my iPad and iPhone.  The iPhone app isn’t that great, but it’s just an iPhone app, I wasn’t expecting too much.  I’m a bit disappointed with the iPad app though.  I read a lot of papers.  In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why I got the iPad in the first place.  And when I read papers, I like to highlight and annotate for later reference.  I’m currently pretty happy with GoodReader, but you can’t search.  It would be great to be able to, say, look for papers that have the words “whale” and “double differencing” in them.  But Evernote DOES have the PDF searching capability, as long as you have a premium membership.  The problem is, it only seems to work in their desktop software. You can’t even view the PDF in the Evernote app, let alone highlight and annotate.  🙁

Luckily, the Evernote folks are releasing new iPad/iPhone software soon – maybe all of these problems will be solved!