Sketching

Putting Pen to Paper.

I have to admit I don’t write physical letters and notes anymore. Like so many people I have embraced the immediacy of digital correspondence with a vengeance. I still use pen and paper to sketch out ideas and jot things down, but really couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter to someone. With that said, I still have a thing for finely crafted pens and pencils. There is something about the look, the weight, the way it sits in your hand.

Thankfully Ystudio feels the same way, and have released a new line of writing tools that are drool worthy. The new “stationary collection” is a finely crafted set of writing implements for the discerning author, doodler, or note taker. The set is constructed from pure copper and brass, with a minimalist elegant design combined with pristine materials. The model line includes two rollerball pens, a ballpoint pen, a mechanical pencil, a sketching pen, a pen container a pen case, and a notebook.

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The Drawing the Process.

“Drawing is a thought process, not a means to reproduce what you see.” this quote from Daniel Weil in the video below, is a a comment that surfaces about 3 minutes in. It arrives as Weil shows off his sketchbooks, and talks about his process, why he draws, and how it helps him resolve problems, and complete ideas. I have said for years, you can’t design if you can’t draw.

This is fundamental to every aspect of the design industry from graphic to industrial to motion and beyond. It is also something that seems to be slipping away from many designers entering the industry today. I say this, because less than 3 years ago I sat in a meeting with a junior level designer that actually said “What if I can’t draw?” after being asked to sketch out some ideas. At the time I remember thinking, “How did you get a degree in design if you can’t draw”, and then moving on.

Over the last few years, the “I can’t draw” phenomenon has surfaced again, and again. This video, shows you why as a designer, you need to, and should draw, sketch, and visualize with something beyond your computer.

What if Wacom Built a Tablet Computer? They Are.

If you are a designer or artist working with digital tools like Photoshop or Illustrator, you might have had a chance to work with the Wacom Cintiq. If you are unfamiliar with the Cintiq, it is Wacom’s monitor/input tablet combined. It allows you to draw and paint right on the surface, mimicking an actual physical work surface.

If you are an iPad or other tablet user, you have probably installed a few creative apps like Procreate, or ArtRage and use your tablet for sketching, drawing, photo-retouching, etc. with some kind of input stylus. And while your stylus does a pretty good job, in many ways it is not a substitute for your Wacom tablet or Cintiq. The fact is most styluses, have larger input tips, and almost all of them don’t offer pressure sensitivity like the Wacom. So, why hasn’t Wacom jumped into the tablet fray? Well they have.

The Wacom Cintiq Companion, and Comanion Hybrid are two new tablets from Wacom. The Companion runs a full blown version of Windows 8 and allows you full access to all of your desktop creative tools. The Companion Hybrid runs Android and give you access to all of your favorite Android creative apps, like Procreate, Sketch, and ArtRage.

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Both tablets offer an immersive on-screen creative experience and take full advantage of Wacom’s pressure sensitive stylus on a high resolution portable screen. The Companion running Windows 8 is essentially a mobile workstation with multi-touch control, pressure sensitive input and cloud based connectivity allowing you to create and share you r work from anywhere. Frankly I find this to be very exciting, because it take what I do on my iPad and extends it allowing me to be more creative from anywhere.

The overall specs for both tablets looks pretty impressive, especially for a first effort. Screen resolution is 1920 by 1080, Intel® CORE™ i-7 processor, 2048 levels pen pressure, 256 or 512 GB solid state drive, 16.7 million color display, 8 gig of RAM… I hope that Wacom is successful with this, because competition is a good thing, and hopefully it means Apple, and stylus manufacturers will step up their game resulting in better products for everyone.

There is no word on pricing and or availability as of yet, but you can sign up for email announcements about the tablets as they get closer to a launch date and release pricing info.

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Moleskine and Paper Make the Digital to Physical Transition.

If you are an iPad user, you are probably familiar with sketching and not taking apps like Paper and Taposé. Both apps allow you to sketch, write notes, and grab images in sketchbook form. Paper has teamed up with Moleskine to take the popular iOS app a step further.

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53 the Paper developer and Moleskine now offer the option to print your digital sketch book and have it mailed anywhere in the world. What a great idea. The accordion bound book is a physical extension of it’s digital counterpart. It is a memento. It is a hand crafted object that transitions the digital/physical divide, and from a business perspective it builds brand awareness for both companies.

61 Solutions “Mischief” for Digital Artist Everywhere.

I am always on the look out for digital painting and sketching tools to add to my arsenal. 61 Solutions launched Mischief last month which is a vector based painting and drawing application that looks pretty slick.

Using both pixel-based brushes and the scalability of vectors, Mischief give you infinite zoom, and scalability, without loss of detail. This combined infinite canvas size makes this a pretty powerful tool for digital artist. With a cost of $129.00 it hits a sweet spot giving you big features while not breaking the bank. You can try it for free for 15 days before you have to commit to buying which is an added plus for those on a budget. Below is a list of some key features of Mischief.

Mischief Features:

Infinite Definition

Mischief uses a revolutionary new stroke representation. Get the richness of pixel-based brushes AND the scalability of vectors. Zoom in to any size and get a PERFECT edge. Export at ANY size and resolution.

Infinite Canvas

Mischief has a truly infinite canvas. Your artwork can grow organically without constraints. There is no need to preset paper sizes or resolutions or to resize the canvas during drawing.

Unprecedented Zoom

Mischief handles a zoom range of 50 trillion to one. Create artwork with extraordinary levels of detail or draw a story, within a story, within a story … the possibilities are endless.

Highly Responsive

Mischief exploits the massive parallelism of today‘s GPUs. Get unprecedented performance even for very complex artwork. Scale, pan, and rotate in real-time without compromising quality.

Small File Sizes

Mischief files are smaller than comparable Photoshop and Illustrator files. Sharing high resolution artwork has never been so painless.

No Manual Required

Get started instantly; just pick up your stylus and draw. Pen and paper styles, tool selection, layers, and all the essentials are right at your finger tips. No complex menus or hidden features.