I managed to pick up a new graphics tablet in the Bank Holiday sale, and after it sat there in the box for a while being an odd mix between worrying and utterly uninteresting, I decided I better get it out and have a go.
It's very different to my old one, which had a small drawing area surrounded by a large frame, so you drew only into the very centre square and the rest was just plastic. This is half the size, but all 'alive' for want of a better word, it draws almost to the very edges. The size means I have to handle it differently - I think I've told a few of you before about my unusual technique : I can't rest it on a desk or table or even my lap and draw down onto it, I have
to hold it on my left hand and draw with the right, so the pen pressure is controlled not only by how hard I press with the pen, but how much I resist against that pressure with my other arm. On the old tablet, I'd rest my hand behind it, fingers just overlapping the upper right corner for stability, with the plastic's edge reaching to my elbow.On the new one, it only comes just past my wrist, which means the rest of my arm's left with nothing to do, and that feels odd (imagine you've always written on an A4 pad of paper and suddenly you're given a reporter's notebook and it is tiny and you don't know where to fit your fingers anymore, heh).
The pen itself handles in a similar way to my old one, except that the nib is a little looser, so I find lines tend to jump or kink a little bit at the start as the pen takes up the slack and the nib doesn't go quite where I was aiming it - I'll get used to this, or else shove a slip of paper in there to make it sit a bit more solid, heh.
The only other difference is a sort of slowness to the pressure reactions, like if I drew a line starting with heavy pressure and tailing off, on my old one this would start at full opacity and fade out, where on the new one it's not heavy straight away and fades in
as well as out - this isn't a problem as such, just something I'll have to deal with and allow for, especially when colouring - all efforts so far have come out a bit weird but I'll persevere - the main relief is that it works in my old version of GIMP so I don't have to update to that dreadful new one I tried once before and couldn't stand!
Finally, I've had to alter the hardness setting so I don't press as heavily as I used to : on my old tablet there was a hard plastic flap which folded down and protected the actual surface from the nib scratching, or wearing it down - this one doesn't have that, and after just one
sketch session I could see the silver was starting to look a bit rough, so I've altered the settings for a much softer touch, which means I get darker/thicker lines with less pressure than I'm used to using, and that is
weird, it's taking a lot of adjustment time and having to re-educate my fingers for a sort of delicacy that I never needed before, but if it means I'm not actively destroying
the tablet with my scribbling, it's got to be done, lol
Here's an example of the new inking, I did this one a couple of days ago as a belated May Day picture: Mayqueenlines
. It's Iris chosen as the May Queen, in the style of Mucha cos that's a good inky one to get my teeth into and see if I could get it looking like my usual efforts in this style. By the time it's finished it'll be even later, but the first of May is her birthday so I thought I'd combine that with something seasonal and draw it anyway, otherwise she'd have to wait a whole year, heh.