Drawing with my tablet

 neko-sleeping

Drawing with my new tablet PC is lots of fun. Instead of being stuck in the basement or near a table large enough to hold a laptop and a regular tablet, I can draw pretty much anywhere – like the couch where Neko loves to nap.

There are plenty of drawing programs for tablets. Some mimic traditional drawing media: pencils, charcoal, even oil paint. Some let you use all sorts of effects. Others take a different approach to drawing, with lines and shapes that you can draw and edit. I like the latter more, because I can tweak my drawings until they look more like what I had in mind.

My favourite drawing program is Inkscape. Using it in full tablet mode isn’t as convenient as working on the Cintiq because I don’t have all the buttons I’m used to, but I’ve been working on my configuration to make it easier to draw. I use mouse gestures to switch between different tools so that I don’t have to click on the toolbox, and I’ve mapped one of the buttons on the tablet frame to “Delete”.

Growing up, I hadn’t really thought of myself as artistic. We’d fallen into the habit of labelling ourselves, I guess. My eldest sister and I were academically and technologically inclined. My middle sister was the one who was good at photography and drama and all that stuff. In high school, the split became even bigger as I compared myself with classmates who created beautiful landscapes and still-life drawings in art and drafting. Gadgets and presentations lured me back into drawing. I got a Nintendo DS to play games and draw on it, discovering along the way that drawing was a lot of fun. I sketched a presentation on it, and the overwhelming response to that told me I’d stumbled across something more fun than illustrating my presentations with impersonal stock photographs. I’m beginning to think of myself as someone who can draw–perhaps not amazingly well, but enough to make me and other people smile.

I have a feeling this will definitely be worth the money I set aside for it. =)

My Inkscape settings

Here are some things I change right away in my Inkscape settings:

  1. Double-click on the pencil tool, and choose “Last used style”.
  2. Draw something, then click on the fill color box. Choose X for fill.
  3. Switch to the Stroke style tab. Select a rounded joint and a rounded cap.
  4. Open File > Inkscape Preferences. Click on Transforms. Uncheck “Scale stroke width”.
  5. Use View > Snap to turn off snapping to the grid or to guidelines. That way, you can use guidelines, but your strokes will still look natural.