I picked up this book recently – Geek Dad. Of course, I didn’t buy it but picked it up from the library (support your local library before they’re taken away!) and I was very impressed.
I’m not a geek. Or a nerd. One reason is that I don’t know the difference between a geek and a nerd, and to be a geek (or is it a nerd?), you have to be able to tell the difference between a geek and a nerd. Like a geek is a nerd who knows they’re a nerd, or something.
Anyway, the main reason that I’m not a geek is that I don’t know anything about the following: binary, circuits, Java, GoPro, Raspberry Pi, HTML, soldering, Minecraft, memory boards and LEDs. I know these are words. And these words relate to something you can talk about with the staff in Maplin. But other than that, I’m at a loss. Although, new development: I do wear glasses now.
I don’t want to be at a loss, I’d like to be into the things above just because I think it’d be fun to mess about with electronics with my kids. And also, if my kids were into these kinds of things, then the education would prove invaluable. So I borrowed this book. And checked out their website.
A lot of these activities are simple and low-tech. I liked the ideas of making a pirate treasure map, designing your own comic strips and making simple circuits with something called a CircuitWriter pen – which I’d never heard of and which blew my mind.
But I wanted to share a simple but effective way to make unique and personalised colouring in books.
My sons went to a birthday party last weekend and as a thank you, they got a bag with crayons, felts and a colouring book. A lovely gesture and greatly appreciated, thank you! But the colouring book (like many) have a lot of uninspiring (and, honestly, bizarre) pictures like these:
Using photo editing software like Photoshop, the writer of Geek Dad, Ken Denmead teaches how you can make your own colouring in images and it only takes a few minutes.
First, you can take pictures from Google Images. I took one of Captain America and Iron Man (popular with my boys at the moment), and the castle of the beautiful city in Japan in which I used to live (the city, not the castle).
I have a Mac so I downloaded free photo editing software called GIMP, which was advised in the book*. It was then a process of applying three filters to the image: ‘COLOURS – DESATURATE’, then ‘FILTERS-EDGE DETECT-NEON’, and finally ‘COLOURS-INVERT’. This left me with more than adequate images that my kids could colour in. The book recommended playing with the settings to get the best image but that was above me! I then printed them off and the boys coloured them in.
They enjoyed colouring in something that was close to their experiences and I enjoyed the 15-20mins of silence.
* For Photoshop Elements, Denmead recommends a similar process under different names: ‘FILTER-STYLIZE-FIND EDGES’, then, ‘ENHANCE-CONVERT TO BLACK AND WHITE’.