In my last post I discussed how the effective writing and delivery of Jim Sterling inspires others in their creativity. This week is a case in point.
I have had a hard time moving from my beloved paper artwork in this digital age. I’ve tried drawing, scanning the pencils, then vectoring the pencil art. It didn’t work well. I’ve also tried having the artwork inked, then scanning it and vectoring from there. That tended to work better, but still required about 4-6 steps before I could get it in a format to be edited digitally. I’ve tried two versions of Wacom style tablets where a tablet you hold controls a cursor on the screen. That had marginal success, but I had a lot of trouble making the connection between the pen touching a black surface to a cursor making precise actions on screen. It went ok but I’m not good enough at it to produce even close to what I do on paper. The next step was an Android tablet with software that simulates graphic design. It sounded good because it would allow me to draw right on the screen. The downside was the only styluses I could find were about the size of an eraser. Trying to do precise markings was out of the question and even trying to tell where they stylus was touching the screen wasn’t always easy to determine.
During a book signing for Matthew Inman aka The Oatmeal he mentioned he uses a Wacom Cintiq and that sounded perfect. It essentially allows you to draw right on the screen with a pencil-sized stylus you’re your choice of graphic software.
Unfortunately since I haven’t won any lotteries recently I couldn’t get one of those…so I began browsing off brands.
After much consideration I landed on the Ugee drawing screen and it has solved my digitization woes. The first piece of art I produced was my Jim F’N Sterling Son from my last post.
I drew into Manga Studio as I preferred the look and feel of its interface as opposed to Illustrator’s. It just felt more like a real pencil and could be adjusted with sliders to be lighter or darker, as though I was picking a different kind of lead.
After doing the “pencils” in Manga Studio I imported the pencil art into Illustrator, created a layer, and “inked” using Illustrator’s calligraphy tool. Probably not the best but it worked for my first effort. I was pretty impressed with what could be done relatively quickly, from pencil to colored art took only a couple hours.
The Ugee has my approval, its drivers loaded perfectly, it has a large drawing surface, and has an excellent stand. The only “complaint” is that it can wash out a bit at the wrong angle, but that’s not a big problem when working on a project, just when using it as a regular screen.
As a side note, I’m hoping Jim recovers quickly. Here’s hoping he’s back on his feet and giving them hell as soon as possible. We need him in the trenches!
My original Jim Sterling post