Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Digital Art: Finding the Holy Grail in Tablet Illustration

Never have I been so obsessed with any technology like I’ve been with the idea of being able to draw anywhere I go.  A while back (click here for previous post), I wrote an article that asked the question “Should Artists Adopt the iPad?”  Well, I’ve come a long way since that post.  In addition, much has changed and I’ve learned so much that I’d like to share here.

One of my professional associates said that it is important to determine if a tablet is a consumption device or a content creation device.  To clarify, one must ask if the tablet was intended for the consumption of entertainment or was it also made for creating content.  While I still think that iPads are fantastic devices and have even found ways to draw on them with pressure sensitivity using a “Jot Pro” pen, they do not easily support my most used drawing and animation applications.

I’ve had the pleasure of testing several devices.  Some were good and some were not so good.  I learned a lot about Active and Passive display/pen technology.  As a previous Wacom Bamboo user, I wanted something that would utilize the various levels of pen pressure sensitivity that I use and that would allow me to draw directly on the tablet.  I have been able to test and use the first two generations of the Microsoft Surface Pro.  The first Surface did not immediately support Win tab drivers (I believe that is what they are called).  So, for quite a while, I was unable to draw on it in Photoshop.  However, I hung on with the promise that they are developing drivers and they did!
Using the Surface Pro was so liberating for me.  I could now go to places like Starbucks and digitally draw while sipping a fun drink.  I found the first Surface Pro very capable of doing what I needed without bogging down very often.  About a year ago, I was able to upgrade to the Surface Pro 2!  Not much changed here accept for more power.  I’ve had no problems with it at all.  If I’m in the office, I’ll always choose the Cintiq HD. But on the go, the Surface Pro 2 is my choice.  I am looking forward to upgrading to the Surface Pro 3 with its bigger screen but until then, I’ll continue to happily draw on the Surface Pro 2!
Happy Drawing!  ~Frank~