Sunday, April 14, 2013

beginning the art of tablet from scratch

As usual, if I determine to do something that requires habit changing work, it don't work. But if I'm curious, aching to try it or stumble upon, the game is on. This is why I got a pen and tablet years ago but never used it. Now that the thrill is gone and the tablet is many years old, I'm ready to use it.

Hey it still works like new! A Wacom Graphire 2, the working area of the 7 x 8 tablet is 4 x 5 inch. First make it comfortable for me. I took the lid of an old laptop and mounted the tablet inside it. I used foam board to fill out the sides and match the size of the lid. Then I covered the whole surface a sheet of thin mylar. The active area is still 4 x 5 inches but the lid is 8 x 13 inches, a little bigger drawing plane.

The surface of the tablet is slippery for the pen tip. It makes drawing unstable. I taped a sheet of paper over the the active area. The grain of the paper slows down the action of the pen on the surface enough for good hand feel. You got to feel you are in control. Having always drawn on paper, the pen tip across paper feels right. The next thing is to doodle, make lines and shapes to develop stroke skills. It is like drawing with a pen overloaded with ink. The lines start before you really want to write and finish after you intend to stop. Why? because the equipment is sensitive, you have to compensate. This tweaking involves both your equipment, your motor skills and eye/hand coordination.

On that web site "deviantArt", there is a couple of tablet tutorials that have exercises. These are much like the pencil and pen skills you learn in art class.
Now while you have the momentum, start sketching stuff and look at tutorials on you tube. That's where I'm at now. Do do it. Here are my recent attempts.

These were done in the program called MyPaint. I'm not much of a freehand drawer. I want to first draw the way I do in my sketchbooks. Then I will start working on projects for cards and printer art. But what I like about MyPaint is the keyboard shortcuts to control pen size and hardness. This frees you up from clicking menus. And also I like that the drawings look like I drew them and not the computer. On the computer but not by the computer. So, I made the jump, your turn.

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