July in Berlin

Open-air cinema in Kreuzberg

I won’t mention the weather. #disappointing

This is what the whooshing sound of July’s deadline for the Picklets iPad app sounded like;


Through July I worked a couple of days a week at a coworking space called Co.up in Berlin Kreuzberg. Excellent environment for my style of quiet, self-driven software development.

During one of these days I was shadowed by Ann Danilkiw who is documenting the lifestyles of mobile digital professionals. Ann’s intention is to produce approximately three-minute-long documentaries of each of her subjects. Hoping to see mine sometime in September.

I also attended a couple of evening events as a result of meeting people at the coworking space. Japan-based developer/translator Jed Schmidt who presented ‘Around the world in 50 cafés’ at Pecha Kucha Berlin, and the July meetup of BerlinJS (for javascript developers) hosted by Jan Lenhardt in the Co.up offices.

Punchcard-reading weaving machinery at the Deutsches Technikmuseum

Business Development

I was fortunate to meet a couple of Berlin-based illustrators at a Stammtisch in Kreuzberg a couple of weeks ago. I took a stack of my mini-comic ‘Understanding Picklets’ (in German) and passed them around. The following week I gave a demonstration of the picklet project to a group of 12 or so locals, in the Co.up meeting room.

The week after that I spent a few hours with some of those participants getting them set up with Picklet Builder accounts and a bit more familiar with the workflow.

I’m quite excited about the ideas these illustrators are bringing to the picklet platform.

Just last night I went to a meetup of Berlin-based comics and ‘zine folks at Renate Comics in Mitte, with the few remaining copies of Understanding Picklets. Chatted with a few interesting folk there too. Hopeful of some follow-up.

R Stevie Moore and Tropical Ooze at West Germany, Kreuzberg


I did also get out and see some touring musicians during July, which was pretty sweet.

Mainstream Cultural

And then I did some touristy museum visits (some with visiting friends) as well, because it’s Good For Me.

I’m in Berlin for two more weeks which will be packed solid with coding. Coding, coding, coding.

You’re welcome.

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Getting started with Picklet Builder

To create a picklet you’ll need;

  • recent Safari or Chrome web browser
  • Adobe Photoshop (CS3 or later)
  • Dropbox client software and account – the free account is sufficient
  • Picklet Builder account (send me your Google account name and I’ll create an account for you: stewarthaines@gmail.com)

Have you received your Picklet Builder invitation email? And clicked on the link to create your account? Excellent. There are a few things still to set up;

1. Connect to your Dropbox account

Login to Picklet Builder and authorise your Builder account to access your Dropbox account.


Picklet Builder uses OAuth to get permission to retrieve metadata about the files in your Dropbox account. You can withdraw permission at any time from your Dropbox.com account page.

2. Setup the PickletExport script

Download PickletExport.jsx, save it somewhere you can find it later and set it up to run as an Action bound to a function key.


3. Create a picklet

Create a picklet template using the PickletExport action in Photoshop. Create some layers and run the script again to export image files to your Dropbox/Public folder.

Check that the files have sync’d to dropbox then in Picklet Builder create a new picklet.


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Bandits teaser

From my couch-based Sunday morning in Berlin here’s a video preview of chapter one from Ben Hutchings’ soon-to-be available picklet The Three Baddest Bandits of the Wild Wild West. With additional illustration by Jase Harper and Arran McKenna.

The ‘scrolling picklet’ concept and the parallax effect you see here is entirely Ben’s design. He has fought with the picklet builder software to make it happen. It has turned out to be a natural reading experience and there are more interactive surprises in chapters 2 and 3 of ‘Bandits’.


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Picklet Author Workshop: Berlin

Berlin (green), Melbourne (orange) and London (red) editions of Understanding Picklets

Have you read Understanding Picklets but still want to know more about picklets?

Why not come along to the next Picklet Author Workshop and find out how to make picklets?

Oh. You don’t live in Berlin. Schade.

Next Wednesday evening I’ll be demonstrating the picklet creation workflow in Berlin Kreuzberg.

Here are the details;

If you can come, and can bring a laptop with Photoshop CS3 (or later), Dropbox and a recent Safari (or Chrome) browser, we may be able to get you up and running with the picklet software during the workshop.

I look forward to seeing you there.

NOTE: workshop will be in English because my German isn’t up to it.

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Berlin and Green Edition

Idling in the afternoon print queue on Graefestraße

Waiting near my house for the guys at the print shop to staple and trim 60 copies of Understanding Picklets, (in German, with a rather handsome green cover), I tried my best to justify being in Berlin while Melbourne shivers.

Job done, I think.

So now I’m ready to meet Berlin-based illustrators and pitch the picklet platform to them in their native language. (Thanks to Mark Tuente for providing the German translation of my mini-comic.)

Next week I’m going along to the monthly Stammtisch of Illustratoren Berlin with a few copies of the comic and we’ll see where it goes from there.

First German edition of Understanding Picklets

Ben Hutchings (@benhutchings) has delivered a final version of the picklet he has created with Jase Harper (@guhcomics) and Arran McKenna (@azzamckazza) so the only missing piece is a fully functional iPad/iPhone native app. And the only thing standing in my way are long summer evenings in the beer gardens of Berlin.

Wish me luck!

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