Cool Stuff for Mosaic Artists

5 Free Tools to Enhance & Preserve Your Creativity

front elevation of casa batlo

Creativity is more than an attribute of a mosaic artist, it is a valuable asset. As such, it has to be enhanced and preserved. These five free digital tools will help on both accounts.

First is the web browser, Google Chrome. All of the devices in our company are Apple devices with Safari. Yet my preferred web browser is Chrome. There are a number of reasons why, but the one that relates to this article is the "extensions" we can add to it. They are sort of like adding apps to a phone and thereby, customize its functions to fit our creative needs.

If you don't have Chrome, it is easy to download and install from Google. Once Chrome is open on your computer, you can get to the extensions by clicking on the 3 vertical dots in the top right and then More Tools in the menu.

The second tool is called OneTab. When I am searching the web, whatever the topic, I often open many tabs in my browser with the pages that interest me, then come back to read them later. Sometimes, life throws a curve ball and I have been forced to close the tabs and search again on a later date. No more. Just by clicking on the One Tab icon all of the tabs are consolidated and saved to a list. When I am ready to resume the research, I click on One Tab, then click on an item from the list and it opens. Even better, by reducing the number of tabs that are open, the computer performs better (faster).

The third tool is called Similar Pages. Say I have come across the article about Gaudi's Barcelona Mosaics on and want to see what else might be available on the web. I can either leave the page for a search engine or simply click on the icon for Similar Pages. The extension uses the content of the existing page to identify more and present them in a side bar without loosing my place.

The fourth tool is called Pocket. This is like an artist's journal on steroids. It can be used in Chrome as an extension or as a stand-alone app on your phone, or both. So if Katherine England's heart sculpture inspires you, just open the image in a tab, click on the Pocket icon, and it is saved in what is essentially your digital journal. You can access it anytime you want from any device that has your Pocket on it.

Finally, there is SumoPaint. I am a Photoshop expert and evaluate image editors from that perspective. Sumopaint is incredibly powerful and free. You can use it online, or download it, or both. If you want to sketch out a new mosaic idea, or edit a photograph of your newest mosaic piece, or even combine photos and sketches, it is up to the task. The only downside is its printing capability is limited to page size patterns, so you will have to dig into creative problem solving if you want to print a large pattern.


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