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Photo-Based Art Emulating natural-media painting techniques

Tablet and Stylus - I took the leap

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Old 03-30-2005, 09:49 PM
DannyRaphael's Avatar
DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Location: Near Seattle, Washington, USA
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Tablet and Stylus - I took the leap

Well, after nearly five years of using a mouse "to draw," I just ordered a Wacom Intuos 3 6"x8" tablet.

This was a HUGE leap for me.

First of all, I'm pretty tight with a buck and it's hard for me to part with my hard earned money. (Voices in my head: "Hey, you've used a mouse all these years. What's wrong with that?" "They cost HOW MUCH? Get real. You'll never be that good.")

Secondly, I'm really entrenched in the "If it isn't broken, don't fix (change) it" school of thought. In other words I really resist these types of changes. Why? Because they always seem to come with technical hassles -- Windows service pack levels, driver updates, connectivity hurdles, -- plus messing with installation, cables, setup, control panels, etc. And, then, of course I'll actually have to learn to use the dang thing, a daunting task in and of itself considering I've used a mouse for everything since 1992.

Finally I'm going to have to reorganize the equipment on my desk to make room for the new toy. That also means sorting through piles of magazines I intend to read someday and paperwork that should have been filed years ago. Yikes. What have I done? Get me some boxes.

So you can see why it's been easy to procrastinate taking action until now.


1. This past weekend I attended a class presented by Marilyn Sholin and saw what she was able to accomplish with a stylus and tablet. It's one thing to see the results she gets by viewing examples at her website ( or on her Painter tutorial CDs (, but seeing her "in person" and "in action" is a whole new ballgame. I came away inspired and fired up.

Why this brand and model? This is the one she was using. She spoke very highly about how much she liked its size, functionality and ease of use. Normally I would have spent months reseaching such a purchase decision, reading every review on the planet, compiling lists of pros/cons, and still sweating every inch of the way over which size, brand and model to buy.

But this one was a no-brainer: Why argue with the advice of a proven master of her trade? Seeing was believing.

2. Today I received Jeremy Sutton's newest book, Painter IX Creativity. Initial abbreviated review: Jaw dropping. The Painter 8 version was good. This edition is better. I read the first 50 pages while my kids were playing at the park today after school. I could have read for a couple more hours, but the fatherly responsibility gene kicked in and I took them home for dinner. I'm itching to read more, and better yet, try some of his new techniques.

Turns out there's a very comprehensive section in this book on the care, setup and feeding of this tablet, too. How about that?

3. I've had Painter IX "waiting in the wings" for several months waiting for a reason to install it.

Bottom line: I'm now hugely inspired to install IX and explore some of the methods I learned from Marilyn and that are described in Jeremy's book.

- - - - - - - - - -

I'll add to this thread as events warrent...

- - - - - - - - - -

In the mean time comments/suggestions/pointers/observations from current tablet users are welcome (they can be on any brand or model).

Questions on tablets are welcome, too.

I'll keep you posted on my progress, but do not expect it to be rapid!

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Old 03-30-2005, 10:03 PM
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Neve Neve is offline
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I purchased a tablet a couple of months ago and it certainly suits my needs also. It's a comfort to know it has Marilyn's stamp of approval! What a delight that must've been to see her in action Danny. I'd have given a lot to have been able to attend also...I wonder if she'd consider a visit down under???

My next decision is whether to upgrade to Painter 9 or not.

Good luck to you and all the best with all your future creative endeavours.

I'm for you.

Last edited by Neve; 03-31-2005 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:30 PM
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Patricia Patricia is offline
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You are going to wonder how you used that mouse all these years!

I got the same size and model for a Christmas present, it makes painting soooo much easier. I'd have never attempted Painter without it. I like it so much that I got the 4x5 to carry with my laptop when I travel.

I use the wacom for almost everything now, except typing. My poor mouse is getting lonely. I can hold the tablet on my lap, much more ergonomically correct than having the mouse up on the table.

As for sitting in on a Marilyn Sholin class - I am green with envy! I love her work.

Oh, and just as a demo of my tablet, here's my latest Painter 8 attempt. The original photo was taken in Tombstone, AZ, on a day when they were having a re-enactment "contest" to see who could do the best re-enactment of an old west gunfight. We couldn't stay for the actual gunfights, but people in costume were wandering all over town, and most were more than willing to be photographed. This is the first of many I plan to add to my "Rogue's Gallery".
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:34 PM
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Neve Neve is offline
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Wonderful effort Patricia! I'm sure this will spur Danny and all of us to keep right on learning more about Painter.
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:15 AM
Xaran Xaran is offline
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I am sure you will never regret it Danny.

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Old 03-31-2005, 09:12 AM
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Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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A big CONGRATULATIONS to you. I'm sure you will find yourself wondering why you didn't do it sooner.

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Old 03-31-2005, 09:21 AM
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Legacy~Art Legacy~Art is offline
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Congratulations Danny to your new addition to the family, i hope you shall be very happy with your new "wacom baby"
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:19 PM
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raniday raniday is offline
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Danny, you'll understand why they say drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a bar of soap. I've had my Intuos 3 for a few months. The biggest adjustment was letting it find its place beside my keyboard.
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:29 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Danny, good luck with your new pad. After using a mouse for a long time, it will take some adjustment to get used to a pad, but persevere, and you'll find it so much easier to do detail work. I just could'nt imagine going back to a mouse, though I still use mine for browsing and word processing.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:52 PM
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Fizzgiz Fizzgiz is offline
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Congrats Danny!!!!

Ok, here's my advice. I do not agree with you that you didn't think you would ever be good enough to use a pen and tablet. This is a tool in your trade that makes it easier to do your work. I tell my mechanic husband this every time he feels bad about spending money on a tool for his work. He feels the same for me even though I don't bring home the money like he does. Anything you will use every day that makes your life easier is good. Fortunately for me, my husband had good credit when I started studying this businesss. Next, there are three kinds of tablet users from what I've seen here and elsewhere. One, the people who try it and don't like it. They may have not givin it a good go, or like me with rollerblades, try and try and try, and just can't make it work. I look like a fish out of water no matter how many times I see it done, and attempt it. And it always looks so easy! Then there are the ones who try hard or not and found it to be an asset to their photo work. They only use it in their photo programs, and use their mouse for all other work. The last group is the one I found myself in. I fell into it. The great optical mouse that my computer came with, and the equally great cordless one that came with the tablet, are now sitting side by side collecting dust, and I don't touch them at all for anything. At least they are together. I hope that you are one of the latter groups, and enjoy the freedom of drawing without using a bar of soap.
BTW, the whole desk clutter thing, is still going on at mine. I just shoved everything over to make room for my new toy, with promises to myself that I would file and organize. Yeah right!!! LOL!! I'm squished and loving it!! Let us know when it arrives.
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